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Regina pediatrician Dr. Biswa Datta receives SMA’s 2020 Physician of the Year Award during virtual annual meeting (news release)

Oct. 30, 2020 – for immediate release

Longtime pediatrician Dr. Biswa Datta of Regina is the recipient of the Saskatchewan Medical Association’s (SMA) 2020 Physician of the Year Award.

The award was presented as part of the SMA’s virtual 2020 Fall Representative Assembly (RA) on Friday, Oct. 30. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fall RA was held via video conferencing rather than in-person, as is the tradition.

Dr. Datta says he was surprised to hear he is this year’s recipient of the annual award, and couldn’t wait to tell his family.

“The first thought that came to my mind when I received the award was that I had to share the news with my wife and children,” he said. “My wife is my driving force and helps me at the office. In Yorkton, in the early part of my career, being the only pediatrician in town I was on call all the time. My children and wife had to make sacrifices so I was able to dedicate myself to the profession that I love.”

Dr. Datta has been a pediatrician based at the Regina General Hospital since 2001. Prior to that he practised in Yorkton from 1976 to 2001. He was educated in Bangladesh and England, and came to Royal University Hospital in 1973 as chief resident and teaching fellow in the department of pediatrics.

In letters in support of his nomination for Physician of the Year, patients describe him as an “angel” and a “saint.”

“I have shared with many that Dr. Datta is like an angel that came into my son’s life to save him,” one patient wrote. “In our eyes Dr. Datta is a true role model of excellence, diligence and kindness. He is also a hero to my son and I truly don’t know where we would be today without Dr. Datta’s excellent care for us.”

When Dr. Datta moved to Regina, many Yorkton families felt a great loss, wrote a staff member in his office. Parents from Yorkton made the drive to Regina so their children could continue to see Dr. Datta.

“Parents from all those years ago will see me today and ask me if I still keep in touch with Dr. Datta,” she wrote. “Parents will tell me their personal stories of their children and the exceptional care they received from Dr. Datta. He obviously left a lasting impression with so many.”

Some letters of support noted Dr. Datta was deserving of the Physician of the Year award for his service to his patients and to the health of the community he lives in. He is a fellow emeritus of Canadian and American pediatric societies, has been involved in neonatal care initiatives in Saskatchewan and has been a member of the provincial cancer advisory committee. He received the Saskatchewan Healthcare Excellence Award in 2004.

“To his patients he is a miracle worker, to his peers a mentor, and to us a blessing,” one patient wrote. “On behalf of our family, we would like to thank him for the extraordinary care and service that he has provided not only our children, but to the countless others he has had under his care. Dr. Datta is without question the best at what he does and truly one of a kind.  An award of this magnitude is truly deserving and long overdue.”

“Dr. Datta helps to support the caregivers of these sick children in so many ways,” his co-nominators wrote. “He makes you feel important and that finding a solution to your problem is possible. He is so much more than just a doctor. He is a saint in many eyes. He gives hope to the hopeless. He gives joy to the joyless. He loves all who he meets and aims to bring joy to the children. He sees the good in everyone and believes for the best.”

Dr. Datta thanked his nominators and those who wrote letters in support, saying for him, the Physician of the Year award recognizes a lifetime of service to Yorkton and Regina.

“I take a holistic approach in the care and treatment process,” he said. “It is important for me to find the cause for the symptoms rather than treating the symptoms only. Effective medical practice takes a team approach and is interdisciplinary. It is with the support of colleagues in other professions – pharmacists, speech and language pathologists, psychologists, occupational therapists, dietitians, audiologists, and others – that we can provide the best care for our young people.”

SMA presents Leadership Awards during virtual RA

Like the spring RA, the fall RA is being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has changed the way physicians practise medicine, and it has changed the way we meet through the Saskatchewan Medical Association,” noted SMA president Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz. “While we would prefer to meet in-person, and renew acquaintances with our colleagues, which is an important part of the RA, we understand the need meet virtually for the safety of physicians and their patients. We are still able to conduct the business of the SMA and recognize physicians for their achievements.”

In addition to honoring Dr. Datta as 2020 Physician of the Year, SMA Leadership Awards were handed out at the fall RA to Dr. Veronica McKinney for Physician Leader of the Year, Dr. Emmett Harrison for Resident Leader of the Year, and Kate Morrison for Student Leader of the Year.

The 2021 Spring Representative Assembly is scheduled for May 7-8, at a location to be determined.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (www.sma.sk.ca) is a voluntary, member-based, professional association for physicians, medical students and residents in the province and it is the provincial chapter of the Canadian Medical Association. As the trusted voice of Saskatchewan’s more than 2,400 practising physicians, the SMA supports the educational, professional, economic and personal well-being of physicians; and advocates for a high-quality and patient-centred health-care system.

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For further information, please contact:
                       
Girard Hengen, Communications Advisor                 
306-657-4596; 306-230-2673                                                      
girard.hengen@sma.sk.ca      

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