Recognizing Professionalism & Leadership
2021 Gold-Headed Cane Award
The College’s Gold-Headed Cane Award recognizes an outstanding community-based physician who exemplifies professionalism in service to their patients, profession and community.
The College is pleased to announce Dr. Volodko Bakowsky, Dr. Lisa Barrett, Dr. Heather Scott, and Dr. Deborah Straub as the recipients of its 2021 Gold-Headed Cane Award.
Gold-Headed Cane award
The College’s Gold-Headed Cane Award recognizes an outstanding Nova Scotia physician who exemplifies professionalism in service to patients, the profession, and the community. It is awarded as part of a co-sponsored Gold-Headed Cane ceremony in partnership with the Humanities in Medicine Program at Dalhousie University Medical School.
The Gold-Headed Cane Award recalls the 18th-century practice of presenting a gold-headed cane to the preeminent physician in English society of the day. The association of the cane with physicians and the art of healing is rooted solidly in ancient medicine.
Dr. Merv Shaw designed and crafted the cane given to award recipients. He incorporated the Assyrian symbol of healing – the pine cone – and the hand holding it, to create a distinctive head for the cane. Also being a talented woodworker, Dr. Shaw carved a shaft from native Nova Scotia maple, coiling the wooden snake around it. The snake recalls the Rod of Asclepius, long recognized as the symbol of medicine and healing.
Dr. Volodko Bakowsky
Dr. Bakowsky received his MD from Queen’s University, after which he relocated to Halifax to complete his clinical training in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology at Dalhousie University. He is now Interim Head of the Division of Rheumatology at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, Nova Scotia Health, and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University.
He is recognized by his colleagues for his extensive knowledge base, superb diagnostic skills and excellent clinical problem-solving. Dr. Bakowsky approaches patient care with empathy and compassion. He is dedicated to patient-centred care and does his utmost to ensure his patients feel heard and supported.
As a teacher and mentor, Dr. Bakowsky teaches all levels of learners, from medical students to senior subspecialty residents. His approach to teaching is to simplify and distill concepts while injecting enthusiasm and humour into every learning opportunity.
Dr. lisa barrett
Dr. Barrett is an Infectious Disease Specialist who practices in Halifax, where she is a clinician-scientist at Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Health. Dr. Barrett is recognized for her dedication to the pandemic response, her patients, and the profession.
Following her medical studies at Memorial University, she trained in Internal medicine at Dalhousie University and Infectious Diseases at the University of Toronto. She completed a concurrent Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and post-doctoral studies in immunology before going on to complete further post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, USA.
When COVID-19 came to Nova Scotia, Dr. Barrett advocated and lobbied for rapid testing as part of the province’s pandemic response. As a result of her guidance and dedication, Nova Scotia’s testing strategy has been one of the most recognized and revered in the country.
Dr. Heather Scott
Upon graduating from Dalhousie University, Dr. Scott completed her Family Medicine residency at Queen’s University. She later completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Dalhousie University followed by a Fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Scott is the Division Chief in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Director of the Ob-Gyn Global Health Equity and Advocacy Unit, and the physician co-lead in the Birth Unit at the IWK Health Centre.
Dr. Scott has played a key role in developing the Well Women Refugee Clinic at the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and helped establish a Gynaecology consult clinic in the North End Community Health Center. Dr. Scott is dedicated to ensuring that obstetrical health services are brought to those in need, wherever that may be.
A committed leader and advocate for patients in her community, Dr. Scott is supportive and encouraging of colleagues and trainees and has made enduring contributions within her department and community in Nova Scotia.
Dr. Deborah Straub
Dr. Straub obtained her medical degree from Dalhousie University and completed her postgraduate training in both Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine at Queen’s University before returning to Nova Scotia. She currently practises Emergency Medicine at the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow.
Dr. Straub is a teacher and mentor to physicians in the North Nova Family Medicine residency program. As a preceptor for medical students, she provides opportunities for her learners to observe and participate. She is known for her patience and takes the time to review all approaches to care to help her learners improve and grow.
Dr. Straub has been serving the community of New Glasgow for 26 years; she is a trusted, respected, and esteemed physician in Pictou County. Amongst colleagues and hospital staff, she is known for her compassion, kindness, and integrity.