McMaster University medical student Max Gelkopf has received a Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award.

The awards, formally announced today, celebrate second-year medical students across the country with an established track record of community leadership, superior communication skills and demonstrated interest in advancing knowledge.

Gelkopf, who recently entered his final year of medical school at McMaster, says he is humbled by the recognition.

“I am honoured to receive the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award for medical students and am grateful for the support both from McMaster and the CMHF,” he said. “I am excited to represent the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine as one of this year’s recipients.”

Each recipient receives a cash prize of $5,000 and a travel subsidy to attend the 2021 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Vancouver where they will have the opportunity to meet Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Laureates and interact with health leaders from across the country.

Gelkopf was raised in Toronto. He went to high school at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto and attended the University of Guelph before starting medical school at McMaster in 2018.

From a young age, Gelkopf was encouraged to care about people and community, and sought leadership and engagement opportunities to develop his skill set in education, advocacy and social justice.

As a volunteer counsellor at Camp Oochigeas, Gelkopf was able to help children with cancer experience the joy of childhood. For the past three years, he has participated in the Camp Oochigeas 10k charity race, and this year, raised more than $2,000 by selling homemade bread.

Gelkopf spends his free time baking with his father, Marvin, a family physician in Toronto. In 2017 the duo created The Science of Baking: A Father & Son Baking Laboratory, an online platform used to share their favourite recipes.

Gelkopf is actively involved in research with the hopes of becoming a clinician scientist. He has co-authored three papers advocating for the patient voice in retinoblastoma research, with his most recent work focused on developing and executing a national patient engagement strategy.

“As residency applications loom closer, I plan to apply for ophthalmology residencies across Canada,” he said. “The field of ophthalmology has extraordinary room for innovation, and I am excited to continue exploring different research avenues."