Dr. M. Ian Bowmer Award for Leadership in Social Accountability | Medical Council of Canada
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Dr. M. Ian Bowmer Award for Leadership in Social Accountability

Recognizing one medical student and one resident who have demonstrated leadership in social accountability within the schools of medicine in Canada.
About usAwards and research grantsDr. M. Ian Bowmer Award for Leadership in Social Accountability

About the award

The Dr. M. Ian Bowmer Award for Leadership in Social Accountability was named in recognition of Dr. Bowmer’s many years of service as the executive director and registrar.

It is awarded annually to one medical student and one resident who have demonstrated leadership in social accountability within the schools of medicine in Canada. Each recipient will be awarded $5,000 to be used for studies, books, or e-learning tools, and/or conference attendance.

Definition of socially accountable leadership

While leadership is the ability to envision new approaches and inspire teams to follow a conceived vision, socially accountable leadership is a different leadership paradigm; focusing on capacity to engage society with respect and forge a common vision and position.

Social accountability in medicine and medical education requires an appreciation of and fidelity to the needs of the population and society in which we provide care and service. Consequently, to be socially accountable, the design, delivery, and evaluation of new initiatives and directions need to put clients at the centre, through consultations at all stages of the process. Planning and implementation of such initiatives also involve various appropriate health partners and a demonstrated knowledge of the cultural context.

Within this overall context, to qualify for the Dr. M. Ian Bowmer Award for Leadership in Social Accountability, a nominee should demonstrate the qualities of leadership described above. In addition, they should have responded to a community or broader population need by consultatively/ collaboratively developing a relevant approach and vision with interested parties. Through a given initiative, they have created an engaged team or partnership that is actively pursuing a socially accountable vision and managing its delivery.

Nomination process

Each school of medicine is asked to submit formal letters of nomination outlining how a trainee has demonstrated socially accountable leadership during their training and why they should be considered.

Each school can only nominate one medical student and one resident for this award, for a total of two nominations. As such, we encourage each school to discuss the nominations internally.

The letter of nomination can come from the dean, associate/vice-deans of undergraduate or postgraduate Medical Education, program director and/or faculty member. Please note, nominee curriculum vitae will not be accepted as part of the nomination process.

Deadline: The formal letters of nomination must be submitted electronically to [email protected] no later than April 30 of the current year.

2023 recipients

Decorative image of Dr. Owen Luo

Owen Luo, MD

Student Award
McGill University

Dr. Owen Dan Luo is a first-year internal medicine resident at McGill University. He is a social innovator who has built movements to advance climate action and social justice throughout his medical education.

While taking part in patient care in hospitals and clinics around Montreal, Dr. Luo witnessed the growing health impacts of climate change, air pollution and biodiversity loss on Canadians and the significant carbon footprint of healthcare delivery. This motivated him to design planetary health medical education competencies and the Climate Wise slides to prepare Canadian physicians to practice in a climate crisis as a past co-chair of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students Health and Environment Adaptive Response Taskforce (CFMS HEART).

In an effort to decarbonize healthcare, he founded and codirects Project Green Healthcare/Projet Vert la Santé, the first-of-its-kind national community of practice of medical students leading sustainability quality improvement projects in healthcare systems across Canada. He shares his expertise in planetary health medical education and healthcare sustainability on numerous interdisciplinary national advisory boards.

Dr. Luo’s leadership and advocacy is centered on advancing health equity through community action. As the curriculum and cohort director of the Community Health and Social Medicine Incubator (CHASM), Dr. Luo designed social entrepreneurship curricula to upscale health promotion initiatives for structurally marginalized Montreal communities co-designed by McGill students and local community organizations.

Lastly, he founded Swab The World McGill to recruit ethnically-diverse stem cell donors to help Black, Indigenous and People of Colour receive potentially life-saving stem cell transplants. Dr. Luo is humbled to be honoured by this award and aims to continue advocating for climate action and social justice throughout his career as a physician.

Decorative image of Dr. Wolf Thyma

Wolf Thyma, MD

Resident Award
University of Montreal

Born in Haiti, Dr. Wolf Thyma is a resident physician in psychiatry at the Université de Montréal. After completing a law degree from the same university, he also completed medical studies there.

Passionate about social justice, he has been involved in recent years in numerous initiatives serving vulnerable populations in Quebec.

Past recipients



Sukhmeet Singh Sachal, MD, MPH, BSc
Student award
, University of British Columbia
Orianna Mak, MD, BSc
Resident award
, McMaster University
Zach Sagorin, MD
Student award
, University of British Columbia
Jessie Nault, MD, BSc
Resident award
, University of Montreal
Lloyd Douglas, MD
Student award
, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Nicole Thompson, MD
Resident award
, University of Calgary