Two Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) professors have been honoured as Women of Distinction by the YWCA of Hamilton for their contributions to medical education and research. They are two of nine women connected to McMaster University to receive a 2022 honour.

Professor Susan Denburg took the YWCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and professor Dawn Bowdish won in the Health and Recreation category.

The citations say:

Susan Denburg – Lifetime Achievement Award

Susan Denburg is the FHS’s executive vice-dean and associate vice-president, academic, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and is a professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.

Denburg created a clinician-educator stream for professional advancement, offering mentorship to aspiring leaders who have gone on to hold key local, provincial and national positions. Her vision for faculty development led to the creation of new support programs, including the Academic Leadership Program, which is paving the way for future leaders.

She collaborated with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues to develop a facilitated admissions process for Indigenous applicants to the undergraduate medical school program, and the Indigenous Students Health Sciences office.

Denburg spearheaded the creation of innovative professional programs, such as the physician assistant program. She also oversaw the launch of distributed medical education at McMaster, with the establishment of medical school campuses in Niagara and Waterloo.

Denburg led the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative, supported the launch of McMaster Institute for Research on Aging, the affiliated Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging, and helped to promote aging as a research priority at McMaster.

Dawn Bowdish – Health and Recreation

A professor of medicine and the Canada Research Chair in Aging and Immunity, Bowdish is also the executive director of the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health.

Not only is she known for her commitment to protecting older adults and helping them stay safe, she leads pivotal studies that are uncovering how the aging immune system and the microbiota interact to prevent infections and give older adults more years of healthy, independent living.

McMaster’s other YWCA Women of Distinction winners were:

  • Lianna Genovese, a student of the biomedical and mechanical engineering program as Young Trailblazer
  • Laurel Trainor, neuroscientist and professor of the Faculty of Science, for Art, Culture and Design
  • Renata Hall, PhD student in social work, for Education, Training and Development
  • alumna Sarah Jama for Community Leadership
  • Zobia Jawed, assistant professor of engineering for Research, Science, Technology and Trades
  • alumna Navita Dyal for Research, Science, Technology and Trades (Halton)
  • alumna Kristine Leadbetter-Gold forBusiness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
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