$250,000 Dr. Rogers Prize Recognizes Two “Agents of Change”

VANCOUVER, Sept. 25 /CNW/ – Two practitioners recognized as “agents of change” in the revolutionary movement toward an integrative approach to clinical medical practice have split the $250,000 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary & Alternative Medicine for 2009.

Dr. Hal Gunn of Vancouver and Dr. Badri (Bud) Rickhi of Calgary were celebrated by their peers at a gala award dinner tonight in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. Gunn of Vancouver, a one time student of Dr. Rogers, for whom the prize is named, took the fledgling Centre for Integrated Therapy, created by Dr. Rogers and evolved it into today’s InspireHealth, looking after hundreds of cancer patients per year. The InspireHealth approach is a model for integrated cancer care focused not solely on the cancer, but on treating the whole person.

Dr. Rickhi was described as throwing away a promising psychiatric career in the late 1980’s when he trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic, Japanese and Tibetan medicine. He established the Research Centre for Alternative Medicine, now the Canadian Institute for Natural and Integrative Medicine (CINIM), and played a key role in establishing the Integrative Health Institute at Mount Royal College. Dr. Rickhi has been very successful in alleviating depression with his integrative approach and most recently has focused on teen depression.

In keeping with Canada’s recognized international leadership in the use and development of CAM treatments, the Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine is Canadian in origin, and is synonymous with exceptional achievement in the field. The Prize is named for Dr. Roger Hayward Rogers, a Vancouver doctor and CAM pioneer who was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2001 for his work in providing non-traditional therapies to cancer patients.

The largest prize of its kind, the $250,000 Dr. Rogers Prize recognizes the important contributions of researchers, practitioners and others to health care in Canada. The biennial competition for the Prize is open to individuals who have made significant contributions to complementary or alternative medicine within Canada.

Following a nation-wide call for nominations earlier this year, the independent jury found it impossible to put one of these change agents ahead of the other. The five leading international experts included, Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND, the CAM authority who advised both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, MD, Vice Chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and one of this nation’s leaders in the fight to control cancer.

“The Dr. Rogers Prize celebrates the foresight and fortitude of trailblazers in CAM like Drs. Rickhi and Gunn, who are at the forefront of the CAM movement in Canada,” said Dr. Anita Tannis, a West Vancouver MD who practices integrative medicine and spokesperson for the Dr. Rogers Prize. “These two exemplify the vision, leadership and integrity that characterized Dr. Rogers’ lifetime’s work. Changing medical practice to focus on the patient as a whole, maximizing wellness, represents a much needed advance in health care.”

The Dr. Rogers Prize was presented at the gala award ceremony in Vancouver by Dr. Rogers’ son, Geoff Rogers. “My father knew there were helpful therapies out there that were not being properly addressed, and he relentlessly pursued ALL possible safe therapies for his patients. I have come to understand the courage it takes to grapple with the status quo and to investigate alternatives outside the conventional mindset. That is how my father worked, and I know he’s proud that this Prize, which is offered in his name, aims to reward, encourage and inspire those who share this vision.”

The gala and award presentation followed the first ever Dr. Rogers Prize Colloquium on CAM Evidence and Integration earlier in the day at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver. The Colloquium brought together top Canadian and international specialists from across this diverse and important field to share their ideas on evidence and integration regarding CAM.

Studies show that more than half of all Canadians benefit from complementary & alternative medicine. Some turn to CAM to maintain their health and strengthen their immune systems, while others use CAM to supplement traditional health care therapies, or as a substitute when conventional medicine has been unable to meet their needs. A variety of complementary and alternative treatments come under the CAM umbrella, ranging from massage therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture, to naturopathy, herbal therapies and energy healing.

About Dr. Rogers
Dr. Roger Hayward Rogers was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2001, in recognition of his ground-breaking work providing non-traditional therapies for cancer patients. Dr. Rogers received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of British Columbia and worked in Family Practice for more than thirty years. He also taught medical students at UBC, where he served as a Clinical Instructor.

A recognized Canadian leader in CAM, Dr. Rogers began offering complementary and alternative treatments in the mid-1970s and eventually co-founded the Centre for Integrated Therapy in Vancouver in 1992, which later evolved into the Centre for Integrated Healing and today is known as InspireHealth. The Centre was set up to provide treatment and hope for cancer patients who had limited or no success with traditional medical treatments. Sadly, now in his 80’s, Dr Rogers has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.