Lab Canada

Tuberculosis specialist wins medical association’s top honour

Edmonton, AB – The University of Alberta’s Anne Fanning has won the Canadian Medical Association’s highest honour, the Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award.

A graduate of the University of Western Ontario medical school, Dr. Fanning did postgraduate training in internal medicine in Montreal and Alberta. She later joined the University of Alberta’s Department of Medicine where she became responsible for the care of tuberculosis patients — a clinical responsibility she held for more than 30 years. She is now professor emerita in the department.

In 1998 she took a one-year position as medical officer for the World Health Organization’s global TB program. When she returned, she became coordinator of International/Global Health with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, a position she held until 2011.

In 2005 the Alberta Medical Association named her as one of the “100 physicians of the century,” adding to her awards for teaching excellence, global health advocacy, and mentoring. Dr. Fanning is a member of the Order of Canada. 

For Dr. Fanning, her life’s work has been full of rewards and achievements. But, she cautions, there is still work to do. Though tuberculosis is relatively rare in modern countries, she says it continues to be problematic in marginalized populations and developing countries, and that the need to raise awareness and provide care is still high.

She adds that the latest honour from the Canadian Medical Association does not mark the end point of her work, but instead, motivates her as she moves forward. “You get something like this and you think, ‘I’ve got to earn this.’ It will take the rest of my life and several more after that to do i she says.