Oct. 29, 2022

SMA honours physician, resident and student with 2022 leadership awards

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) recognized outstanding achievement in leading Saskatchewan’s medical community by presenting three leadership awards Friday during its 2022 Fall Representative Assembly.

The SMA annually presents Physician, Resident and Student Leader of the Year awards at the fall RA, which is being held today and Saturday in Regina. The recipients are:

  • 2022 Physician Leader of the Year: Dr. Justina Koshinsky
  • 2022 Resident Leader of the Year: Dr. Ingrid Tam
  • 2022 Student Leader of the Year: Elecktra Laxdal

“Developing physician leaders is a key strategic priority for the SMA,” noted SMA president Dr. John Gjevre. “The SMA is pleased to honour this year’s recipients, who are an inspiration to their colleagues and Saskatchewan’s entire medical community through their leadership and their work on behalf of physicians, residents and students.”

Dr. Justina Koshinsky – 2022 Physician Leader of the Year

Physician Leader of the Year Dr. Justina Koshinsky expressed gratitude to her teams at work and at home for the award.

“I am grateful to everyone that I work with. When you are well supported by everyone on the team it is easy to come across as a strong leader,” she said. “Additionally, I believe we tend to forget the contributions our family and friends make to our success in medicine. Everyone sees the perceived benefits of being in a relationship with a physician while few fully grasp the significant sacrifices our friends and families make to facilitate our careers. It is to them, that I am grateful.”

Dr. Koshinsky completed her residency in anesthesiology in 2013 after medical school at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan.

“Dr. Koshinsky is among that rare breed of individuals who make everything better by virtue of their personality, their actions and their words,” one nominator wrote.

She is described as a caring and empathetic leader for physician wellness in the department of anesthesiology, spearheading many initiatives such as welcome barbecues, wellness retreats and staff parties. She has been instrumental in the department’s pandemic response both clinically and providing emotional support to her colleagues. As simulation director she creates scenarios that are used locally and nationally. During the most difficult days of the pandemic she developed multiple scenarios to care for the sickest patients, coordinated and attended sessions no matter when and where.

“Her knowledge and clinical judgment are outstanding,” wrote one of her nominators. “Within the multidisciplinary setting of the operating room, she creates an environment that is pleasant for all. Under the most challenging of clinical circumstances, her demeanor is amiable, calm, and confident. These characteristics alone are indicative qualities of excellent leadership.”

Added another nominator: “Dr. Koshinsky is a universally beloved colleague, admired and respected for her accomplishments, selfless nature, dedication to resident and physician wellness, boundless energy and enthusiasm, and ever helpful personality.”

Dr. Koshinsky said she was initially in “disbelief” when she heard of the award, followed by “amazement that others value my contributions to the extent that they not only thought of me when the nomination process opened but went to the effort to go through with the process. To subsequently be selected by my larger physician family from a group of deserving nominees is, humbling.”

Dr. Ingrid Tam – 2022 Resident Leader of the Year

Dr. Ingrid Tam, a third-year resident in pathology at the U of S, says she is “humbled and surprised” to be chosen 2022 Resident Leader of the Year.

“I am so grateful to be surrounded by an amazing group of residents, attending staff, and leaders who inspire and support me,” she said. “I saw the opportunity to affect positive change within my program and was able to implement new ideas with the help of others in the pathology department.”

Dr. Tam brings enthusiasm and team building to the program by nurturing first and second year residents. In her second year she initiated curricular changes to first-year modules, which have been a resounding success. Her communication and analytical skills were on display when she led a review into Competence by Design for the pathology program and presented to all faculty. As resident representative on the department wellness committee she has championed residents’ concerns and organized events and retreats. She has developed an impressive dossier of publications and has worked on many research projects in her short time with the program.

“Dr. Tam embodies all the great values, stellar attributes, caring nature, and passion for service that modern medical leadership requires,” one of her nominators wrote. “It is with my deep appreciation for what she has brought to our residency program that I would like to nominate her for the SMA resident leader award and sincerely hope that by acknowledging the service of this exceptional young physician, the SMA will continue to inspire the true leaders of the future of the province.”

Elecktra Laxdal – 2022 Student Leader of the Year

Elecktra Laxdal is “honoured and elated” to receive the SMA 2022 Student Leader of the Year Award.

“I want to give a special thank you to all the students, mentors, and colleagues who I have had the pleasure of working alongside,” she said. “The contributions I have made over the years have only been possible with their unwavering support and guidance.”

Laxdal established and developed the new position of Indigenous Health Representative with the university’s student medical society and is working toward creating an Indigenous students’ medical association and a medical recruitment program for northern high schools.  She had an outstanding and decorated career in middle distance running with the Saskatchewan Huskies. While attending medical school she has been an assistant coach with a Saskatoon club that focuses on providing opportunities for Indigenous youth in track and field.

She is described as personable, respectful of others, and proud to maintain her Indigenous heritage by learning Cree.

One classmate wrote the following: “She has been a leader, teacher, colleague, and friend to me and many others. We are all fortunate to witness how she connects her culture, her life experience and her passion for medicine in everyday life.”

“Elecktra is an exemplary leader, not only because of her multiple leadership roles but because of her courage,” another nominator wrote. “The courage that it takes to present and host events to teach peers about the traumas and injustices done to herself and her people. One can only imagine the heavy emotional weight she must carry every day and yet she pushes forward in the hopes of creating a better learning environment for future students and a better healing environment for future patients. I am witness to the power that her words carry and in constant awe of the change and healing she has created.”

Success is a team sport. It requires hard work, a little bit of luck, and people around you who are dedicated and supportive. I am fortunate to not only be working with wonderful people, but also to be living in a community full of wonderful people. As such, the award should really go to the whole medical team in Hudson Bay, as well as the town itself.

Dr. Pieter Maree, 2022 SMA Physician of the Year

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