Dr. Vivien Brown Accepts FMWC May Cohen Award

Dr. Vivien Brown is a family physician in Toronto and the Vice President for Medical Affairs, Medisys Health Group Inc., a national business dedicated to preventative health care. Educated at McGill University, she currently is appointed to the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, holding the rank of Assistant Professor. An award winner for teaching on many levels, her major interests are in the area of health promotion and prevention for women, and continuing medical education. She is particularly focused in the area of Adult Immunization and Vaccine Preventable Illness.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Member and Guests of the FMWC, Fellow Award Winners, Dr Wong and the Awards Committee

FMWC President Dr. Kathee Andrews, Dr. Vivien Brown, Awards Chair, Dr. Anne Wong

I am so honored to be here today, to be the recipient of the May Cohen Award from the Federation of Medical Women of Canada. This is indeed humbling, as I stand here in the presence of many previous award winners, our newly elected President Dr Kathee Andrews and so many Past presidents who have led the way for this organization over the last many years. Thank you for the honor you bestow on me, for the privilege of being this years May Cohen award winner.

This award in part recognizes the importance of mentorship and leadership not only for our organization but also for Canadian doctors in general. Dr May Cohen has been a beacon in the field of women’s health, of mentorship, of sex and gender recognition and of diversity in general. Thank you May for setting an agenda, for establishing the core values that we need, that we aspire to follow, that we pursue on an ongoing basis. You have been an outstanding leader for 50 years and we continue to learn from you.

And I have learned from many others in my life, some present here today, some long gone.

I want to thank my father, for my father was a feminist before it was fashionable. He encouraged me to apply to medical school at a time when I had no funds to do so, no female role models, no science prerequisites. For his girls could do anything!

I want to thank my mother, fearless and determined who instilled confidence in me, believing in me, and helped me with her wisdom, her love of learning and her support, tireless and unwavering. Her lessons to me remain meaningful every single day.

But I have had other mentors, numerous and varied. I will take just a few minutes to mention a few.

Dr Marla Shapiro, a special friend, generous and clever, who has taught me about sharing and giving opportunities, supportive and fierce, always true and inclusive.

Dr. Kathleen Gartke, who models the role of dedication and being steadfast and resolute, even when it is not the popular choice.

Dr. Anne Niec, a mentor in the role of collaboration, excellent and open to new ideas, new horizons.

Dr. Janet Dollin, a mentor in creativity and positive energy.

Dr Shelley Ross, a mentor in advocacy, politics and relationships.

Dr. Mamta Gautam, a mentor in coaching, supportive and reflective, helping me see a broader picture.

Dr. Monique Bertrand, who is gracious and exudes professionalism at all times, in all circumstances.

Dr Beverly Kupfert, my colleague, my supportive friend, who mentors me in friendship and caring.

And Dr Lucie Filteau who has taught me so much about colleagues, sharing her advice unreservedly.

And so many more of you, doctors I have learned from, thankyou for being the people you are, the members of this amazing organization, my colleagues and collaborators.

And I have learned so much from my family, as a mother, as a partner.

My daughter, my beautiful Ashley has taught me about the importance of being authentic and true to oneself, no matter how difficult.

My son Jared has taught me about loving and caring and the value of sensitivity, not diminished by distance. And my daughter in law Yael, so caring, supportive, strong and fearless.

And what have I learned from my grandchildren….do they really teach at a young age? Indeed they do. From Ethan and Ryder and Elielle, I am reminded daily of the power of joy, unconditional love and the value of family.

I have learned from my brother and sister and sister in law and families, love and honor and support, lifelong lessons.

But most of all, I have been blessed, I have been mentored, I have been taught by a loving and caring partner in life. In the Jewish world, there is a term describing a partner, that is meant to be, that fate has created for you. That partner, that mate is your “Beshert”

In my husband of 42 years, my Shelley, I was lucky enough to find my Beshert. He has always been there for me, caring and loving through stress when I have been exhausted after call, exhilarated over an achievement, or saddened from a loss. He has shown me unwavering love and unconditional confidence in my abilities, encouraging me, helping me. He continues to demonstrate the lessons of unselfish love every day. He is a gift to me without measure and I am forever grateful.

Thank you.

Thank you all.