Researchers earn Canadian Academy of Health Sciences honours

(Clockwise from top left)  s Shannon Stewart of the Faculty of Education, Adrian
(Clockwise from top left) s Shannon Stewart of the Faculty of Education, Adrian Owen and Carlos Quiñonez of Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Trevor Birmingham of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Cindy Hutnik of Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry were elected Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. (Rob Potter image)
From work on the brain to children’s mental health, research recognized for impact on patient care More than 20 years ago, Adrian Owen rescued a woman from the gray zone.

Kate Bainbridge, a 26-year-old schoolteacher, had lapsed into a coma three days after coming down with flu-like symptoms. While her infection cleared in a few days, Bainbridge awoke from the coma but was diagnosed as being in a vegetative state. Her story and those of many other patients are part of Owen’s best-selling book Into the Gray Zone, a part of his body of research done to understand the relationship between brain, mind and consciousness.

Professor Adrian Owen receives his Canadian citizenship days before being announced Fellow of the CAHS. (Adrian Owen photo) His work has earned Owen election as Fellow to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). Just prior to that, he celebrated becoming a Canadian citizen on Sept. 19 at a ceremony over Zoom.

"I feel extremely honoured to be made a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences," said Owen, a professor in physiology & pharmacology and psychology at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

"Coincidentally, I became a Canadian citizen just a couple of days earlier, so this really was a week that I will remember."

Owen was among five Western researchers to earn the CAHS honour, including Dr. Cindy Hutnik, chair of ophthalmology, professor of pathology, and Dr. Carlos Quiñonez, vice dean and director, dentistry, Trevor Birmingham from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Shannon Stewart from the Faculty of Education.

Owen co-directs the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research ’s Brain, Mind, and Consciousness program. He has published more than 400 scientific articles and chapters and in 2019, he was awarded an Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for services to scientific research.

Here is a quick snapshot of the other inductees.

Trevor Birmingham, professor of physical therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences

Trevor Birmingham (Faculty of Health Sciences photo)

Trevor Birmingham is Canada Research Chair (Tier 1, Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation) and leads a trans-disciplinary team of researchers investigating how rehabilitative and surgical interventions can be combined to change the way the knee bears weight during walking. 

In addition to measuring pain and function, the team studies how changes in biomechanics affect the joint’s structure and biological processes. The goal is to slow, halt or even reverse the progression of knee osteoarthritis, a leading contributor to pain, disability and health costs globally.

Birmingham’s work combines outcomes based on patient reports as well as performance studies, with biomechanical, imaging and biological measures in clinical trials.

"I am honoured and excited to be elected to the Academy - especially as it recognizes long-standing and continued efforts to build collaborative teams with collective leadership in musculoskeletal health research," said Birmingham.

Dr. Cindy Hutnik (Schulich School of Medicine Dentistry photo)

Dr. Cindy Hutnik, chair of ophthalmology, professor of pathology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Cindy Hutnik is also the ophthalmologist-in-chief at Ivey Eye Institute, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, Ont. Her major research interest is focused on the pathophysiology and management of glaucoma.

Hutnik has contributed to evidence-based directives on clinical practice guidelines, disease screening, disease management, shared responsibilities and health care trends, including the creation of quality standard documents for Health Quality Ontario.

She has supervised and mentored the research activities of more than 175 students at all levels of training. She is a past president of the Canadian Glaucoma Society and currently serves as the governing chair of the Academic Medical Organization of Southwestern Ontario.

Dr. Carlos Quinonez (Schulich School of Medicine Dentistry photo)

Dr. Carlos Quiñonez, vice dean and director, dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Dr. Carlos Quinonez ’s scholarship centres on the history, politics and economics of dentistry with a focus on health and social equity. He is a world authority on the political economy of dentistry, having published the only monograph in this area, and his research is regularly used by public and private agencies to enhance their practice.

His work is shaping the landscape of public dental care programs to the benefit of millions of Canadians.

"It is truly an honour to be recognized like this. I am humbled. Most importantly, this recognition speaks to the hard work of my collaborators and students, as nothing is possible without them," said Quiñonez. "And of course, I’d be nowhere without the sacrifices of my family, who have allowed me the luxury of being committed to my work."

Quiñonez is a Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy , International College of Dentists and American College of Dentists. He has received numerous awards including an Award of Merit from the Canadian Dental Association and a Committee

Shannon Stewart, professor of applied psychology, Faculty of Education

Shannon Stewart is a registered psychologist and serves as the clinical training director for the PhD program in school and applied child psychology. In July, the program was accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) for a three-year term, making it one of only six doctoral programs in school psychology across Canada to earn a prestigious endorsement from the CPA.

Stewart is also an associate scientist at the Children’s Health Research Institute, as well as a Fellow and Board Member of InterRAI, a collaborative network of researchers and practitioners from more than 35 countries committed to developing assessment-to-intervention systems for vulnerable populations.

At InterRAI, Stewart is leading international efforts for the development of the InterRAI Child and Youth Mental Health Suite of Instruments. These instruments aim to support early identification, best practice and improved outcomes for children with mental health issues, as well as developmental disabilities.

"I am very humbled to be part of this group," Stewart said of being elected as a CAHS fellow.

"I also think it’s lovely that children’s mental health is being recognized as an important addition to this fellowship."