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Two alumni lauded for outstanding contributions to health field

May 2, 2014 — 

Two University of Manitoba alumni – one a world-renowned AIDS/HIV research expert and the other an “ambassador” of health research– are recipients of 2014 Partners In Research (PIR) National Awards.

Frank Plummer [MD/76], Canada Research Chair in Resistance and Susceptibility to Infections and U of M Distinguished Professor, will receive the PIR Biomedical Science Ambassador Award.

Janice Filmon [B.H.Ecol./63], Chair, CancerCare Foundation Board of Directors and an outstanding community leader in support of health research, will receive the 2014 PIR Ronald G. Calhoun Science Ambassador Award.

Both will be honoured at the PIR National Awards ceremony May 23, 2014 in Ottawa.

Distinguished Professor Frank Plummer

Distinguished Professor Frank Plummer

The PIR Biomedical Science Ambassador Award recognizes outstanding contributions of a body of work over a period of time to the biomedical sciences and clinical medicine and their promotion to the public by a Canadian researcher.

“Frank’s trailblazing leadership of AIDS/HIV research has had far-reaching impact around the globe. We are very proud that he continues to be recognized for his contributions to the understanding, prevention and care of HIV infection and how it is transmitted,” said Brian Postl, Dean of Medicine and Dean and Vice-Provost (Health Sciences) at the University of Manitoba.

Plummer’s significant contributions in the field of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, have influenced research, implementation of interventions, prevention strategies and training. Some of the ground-breaking achievements of Plummer and his research team include the discovery of a largely heterosexually-transmitted epidemic of HIV in Africa; protective effect of male circumcision on HIV acquisition in men; identification of Female Sex Workers (FSWs) who are resistant to HIV infection; and focused HIV transmission prevention programs for FSWs and their clients.

Plummer’s innovative and transformative work has led to the development of research programs and policies which have saved thousands of lives and prevented hundreds of thousands of new infections.

His outstanding contributions to medicine as a public health pioneer have garnered him many awards including Order of Canada (2006), Order of Manitoba (2009),  McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada (2012), Prix Galien Research Award (2013) and Killam Prize in Health Sciences (2014).

The PIR Ronald G. Calhoun Science Ambassador Award recognizes a member of the community who has provided outstanding leadership over several years in support of health research.

Janice Filmon

Janice Filmon

Arnold Naimark, University of Manitoba Dean of Medicine Emeritus and President Emeritus who chairs the CancerCare Manitoba board noted, that “Janice Filmon is clearly a public-spirited citizen par excellence whose activities and influence in Manitoba, and in Canada more broadly, have benefited a remarkable range of organizations concerned with societal advancement – health, higher education, youth, the performing arts, amateur sport, advancement of social, economic and scientific development; and, the nurture of community leadership.”

Filmon has long demonstrated her commitment to community and health promotion by serving on boards involved with advancing health care and health research. She has been dedicated to fund-raising and awareness of cancer research and treatment, juvenile diabetes and childhood diseases, as well as heart and stroke research. One of her great accomplishment was chairing the $26 million Foundations for Health campaign to build a research facility housing a wide range of health research scientists.

Filmon has been recognized with numerous awards for her leadership, service to community and advocacy for health care and research including the Guardian Angel Award – Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation – MCTRF and Great West Life; University of Manitoba Distinguished Alumni Award (2005); Order of Manitoba (2007) and Order of Canada, (2012).


Partners in Research (PIR) is a registered Canadian charity founded in 1988 to help Canadians understand the significance, accomplishments and promise of biomedical research in advancing health and medicine. Since its genesis, PIR has broadened its scope to encompass Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as fields of discovery and study for Canadian students.

The PIR National Awards recognize and honour excellence in Canadian research as well as commitment to promoting the benefit of one’s research through public outreach. The Awards are presented at the annual PIR National Awards event.

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