Dr Sharon Bal was honoured with a 2021 Award of Excellence for her community and medical leadership by the Ontario College of Family Physicians.
The College of Family Physicians of Canada Awards of Excellence recognize family doctors for exceptional achievement in the specialty of family medicine in the previous 24 months. Nominations come from peers or the public to the provincial chapter of which the nominee is a member.
Dr. Bal is no stranger to rolling up her sleeves to make a difference. From the early days of proposal development, Dr. Bal has been actively involved in the design and implementation of the Cambridge North Dumfries Ontario Health Team (OHT). For the past several years, she has been working to engage her physician colleagues and develop strong partnerships across various sectors to promote the importance of creating one seamless, integrated healthcare team to improve community care. In the year leading up to the creation of the OHT, Dr. Bal rallied colleagues to implement best practices and support surge planning – all to establish a more responsive primary care system. Her strong person-centered, team approach has made her a trusted leader in Waterloo-Wellington’s evolving system.
Dr. Bal was tapped by Ontario Health to oversee the local COVID-19 response in long-term care and retirement homes. She has fearlessly entered facilities considered destabilized and unsafe, as needed to assess residents and help ensure their clinical needs could be met – no doubt making a difference to outcomes in these homes and saving lives. As the primary care contact for the region’s COVID-19 response, Dr. Bal has advocated for primary care involvement in testing and vaccination. She also ensured populations with the greatest vulnerabilities were not overlooked, working to support Indigenous community-led efforts around testing and vaccines, as well as collaborating with outreach workers to support local shelters, including during outbreaks.
A passionate advocate for accessibility to quality care for vulnerable populations, Dr. Bal also works to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in medicine. As co-chair of OMA Women, gender pay gap, ally-ship, women in leadership and mentoring of early-career women physicians are among the topics addressed in committee outreach and programs.
Also in this meeting, Dave Bechtel will be delivering his personal vignette.