Indian origin doctor gets the top honour of Ontario (Canada)
An Indian origin doctor, Sheela Basrur on Thursday has been honoured by Ontario’s top civilian award in Ontario, a Canada’s most important province that has now been assimilated in Toronto, one of the biggest cities for her extraordinary efforts in public health during her service. She is now suffering from cancer, a rare type vascular tumour.
Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario David Onley awarded her at the Grand River Hospital in the nearby city of Kitchener where she is undergoing treatment. She has been selected for the top honour due to her incredible participation to raise the health condition of the province and especially to manage epidemic of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which had outbreak in 2003 in Canada and US.
She was then Chief Medical Officer of Health there and she had served from 2004 to 2006 before being diagnosed with vascular tumour disease, a type of cancer.
Honouring to Basrur, David Onley praised her and said, “Dr. Basrur has provided inspiring leadership in the face of heavy responsibilities and daunting expectations. She has compiled a truly remarkable record as a talented health professional, and as a committed public servant and Ontarian.”
The 51-year-old Basrur after receiving the honour, said, “It's an incredible honour to receive the Order of Ontario. Like many others in the field of public health, I get tremendous fulfilment working to safeguard the health of the people in this province. I'm humbled at being recognized for doing work that I enjoy.”
The Executive Director of Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario Doris Grinspun who was present in the award ceremony admired: "Dr. Basrur is a most worthy recipient for this highest honour in Ontario. Her expertise, humanity and courage make her a formidable professional and an exceptional citizen of our province."
Basrur had been honoured the post of Chief Medical officer for two years, Medical Officer’s post for six years and also served the province as being assistant deputy minister for health.
During her job, she has developed and implemented Operation Health Protection, a three-year action plan to protect and promote health after SARS outbreak. Besides this, she also oversaw the merging of six public health units into one with 1,800 staff and an annual operating budget of $160 million, the largest in Canada.
She was admired for her innovative effort of the DineSafe programme, in which she awaken Torontonians regarding to adopt hygienic and safe food to avoid obesity using safety rating of restaurants and other eating establishments.
To paving the way of banning non-essential use of pesticides and to make smoke-free environment by creating tobacco control strategy are her other’s remarkable job.
Dr. Basrur holds honorary doctorates from Ryerson Polytechnic University (2004) and York University (2007), and is an honorary member of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario.
The Order of Ontario is the province’s highest official honour that is being awarded to those who makes an outstanding contribution by any means for Ontario’s society and for the world. So far 25 persons have got this pride.
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