Nov. 5, 2021

SMA presents Physician, Resident and Student Leader of the Year awards for 2021

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) recognized outstanding achievement in leading Saskatchewan’s medical community by presenting three leadership awards during its virtual 2021 Fall Representative Assembly.

The SMA annually presents Physician, Resident and Student Leader of the Year awards at the fall RA, which was held virtually on Nov. 5, 2021. The recipients are:

  • 2021 Physician Leader of the Year: Dr. Michael Bayda
  • 2021 Resident Leader of the Year: Dr. Amit Persad
  • 2021 Student Leader of the Year: Carissa McGuin

“The SMA is pleased to honour individuals who have inspired Saskatchewan’s medical community through their leadership and their work on behalf of the physicians, residents and students,” said Dr. Eben Strydom, SMA president. “They have been leaders during the pandemic, stepping into roles where they are needed and advocating for change in the medical system. I congratulate the recipients for their well-deserved recognition as medical leaders in Saskatchewan.”

Dr. Michael Bayda – 2021 Physician Leader of the Year

Dr. Michael Bayda expressed gratitude to his physician colleagues for his nomination and the SMA for recognizing leadership in medicine, but reserved special thanks for his four children and wife Dr. Laura Marshall, “who is an amazing physician, for being so understanding, my best support, and really the one who keeps us all afloat.”

“I am so appreciative and thankful to be receive this award,” he said. “There are so many people working so hard, especially over the last two years, it is really very humbling. Saskatchewan is full of inspiring physician leaders who are great role models, and I am truly fortunate to be part of such a wonderful province and a fantastic team in La Ronge. I can’t imagine a better place to practise medicine.”

Dr. Bayda graduated from the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine in 2009 and has been a family physician in La Ronge since 2011. He is an integral member of the physician group and the wider La Ronge area community as a coach and mentor for many children’s sports teams.

Dr. Bayda has taken leadership roles as Mamawetan Churchill River Regional Medical Association president, physician lead for his clinic, and most recently, Saskatchewan Health Authority Area Lead. He also serves on the SMA Medical Staff Association.

He is described by one of his nominators as a team builder who is focused on consensus building and open, respectful dialogue among local physicians, SHA officials and allied health providers. Physicians also appreciate the updates he has been sending to them during the pandemic.

“Mike has shown his outstanding leadership skills in many ways, especially during a tough time,” a nominator wrote. “His summary emails for physicians are an excellent way for all information to be in one place and make it easy to look back on. Not only that, but the little uplifting tidbits he adds to those summary emails help to bring a smile to your face during a time when they may be in short supply.”

“When I think of Mike, the 3 As of a good leadership come to mind: Affable, Approachable and Available,” another nominator wrote. “Mike is exemplary in all three…. Mike has excelled in a tremendously challenging and difficult COVID era, giving direction and keeping us up to date. He has been a trailblazer as a community leader in La Ronge and can be consistently relied on to tie up the loose ends for the local medical fraternity.”

Dr. Bayda thanked the medical community across Saskatchewan for their inspiration. “Leadership is contagious and guided by actions – both big and small. Whether these are systemic, within local teams, or at an individual level, everyone is a leader. There are so many shining examples in communities across the province – we can embrace that positivity moving forward together.”

Dr. Amit Persad – 2021 Resident Leader of the Year

As a supporter of Dr. Amit Persad’s nomination wrote: “Anyone in medicine knows that neurosurgery residency is one of the most demanding, stressful, and time-consuming programs offered. Therefore, it’s particularly astonishing to look at the many roles Amit fulfils in addition to being one of the top neurosurgical residents in Canada.”

Dr. Persad received his medical degree from the University of Alberta in 2017 and is a fifth-year neurosurgery resident at the University of Saskatchewan. He is past-president of Resident Doctors of Saskatchewan (RDoS), after serving in previous years as president, chief negotiator, member at large and PGY1 rep. He is also the Resident Doctors of Canada representative.

His term as president coincided with the pandemic. He joined the vaccination task force, advocated for early vaccinations of residents and arranged vaccine appointments. He negotiated an agreement that paid residents to assist with vaccinations and spent many hours as a “hesitancy coach” at mass clinic sites answering questions about vaccines.

“While some people fulfil roles in title but not heart, Amit is passionate about every role he maintains,” a nominator wrote. “He was a fierce advocate for resident wellness as we faced the COVID pandemic. More recently, he worked with the provincial task force to allow residents to have a role and get engaged in the vaccination efforts in our province. He always maintained open communication with residents across all programs, to ensure we had opportunity to express our needs, as well as to keep informed.”

Dr. Persad is neurosurgery administrative chief resident and during his time with RDoS has spearheaded numerous initiatives with a variety of stakeholders on behalf of residents. He has been accepted for a 2023-34 clinical fellowship in neurosurgical oncology and radiosurgery at Stanford University on California.

“I am very grateful and honored to have been thought of for nomination for such a prestigious award,” Dr. Persad said, adding the year has been busy especially managing RDoS while collaborating with physician leaders during the pandemic.

“I became involved in RDoS and helped out with resident vaccinations because I care,” he said. “I wanted to steer RDoS toward a better tomorrow and wanted to ensure that the residents most involved with the COVID-19 pandemic were protected during the early vaccination rollout. I put my all into leadership because that is how I can give back to my colleagues and leave a residency situation that is better for those to come in the upcoming years.”

Carissa McGuin – 2021 Student Leader of the Year

Carissa McGuin was born and raised in Prince Albert and is a third-year medical student in the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. She is senior gender issues representative for the Gender Engagement in Medicine (GEM) student interest group.

She advocated for the removal of a Saskatoon crisis pregnancy centre as a community placement for second-year medical students, gaining national-level support for the student-led initiative, which was ultimately successful. Medical students argued the centre intentionally spread misinformation to convince women not to access abortion services in Saskatchewan. This had led to further conversations within the College of Medicine on abortion education for students. She also hosted the 2021 Women in Medicine panel put on by GEM.

“I am beyond grateful to the physicians and medical students who nominated me for this award and wrote letters of support,” she said, adding she has been inspired by physician leaders who speak with conviction about their beliefs and who push for changes to better serve their patients and communities.

“To be recognized by some of these same physicians for the work I’ve done is so encouraging,” she said. “It has strengthened my resolve to continue working toward a Saskatchewan with more comprehensive and accessible reproductive care.”

One nominator wrote she, in turn, was inspired by McGuin and her work and GEM. “This award would help recognize, express gratitude and celebrate Carissa’s advocacy work as a student leader improving medical education through system-level change that ultimately improves the health care of our patients.”

Another nominator noted McGuin’s understanding of complex issues facing today’s patients, medical learners and physicians, despite being in the early stages of her medical training. She has connected female students to women physicians who share their perspectives, and she has spearheaded improvements to medical education.

“Carissa McGun is working to make health care more equitable for physicians and for patients, and she is the kind of leader who we need today and in the years to come.”

I became involved in RDoS and helped out with resident vaccinations because I care. I wanted to steer RDoS toward a better tomorrow and wanted to ensure that the residents most involved with the COVID-19 pandemic were protected during the early vaccination rollout. I put my all into leadership because that is how I can give back to my colleagues and leave a residency situation that is better for those to come in the upcoming years.

Dr. Amit Persad

2021 Resident Leader of the Year

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