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International collaboration honorees advance PGME, tackle clinician burnout

We are thrilled to announce this year’s Royal College M. Andrew Padmos International Collaboration Award recipients for their outstanding leadership and excellence in advancing postgraduate medical education (PGME), residency training and health human resource initiatives globally.

Read below their stories, inspirations and collaborative approaches, and join us in congratulating them by leaving a comment! 

Meet the 2023 recipients

A physician’s roots inspire a career in global health

“I felt a sense to give back to the communities I came from,” says Uganda-born Ally Prebtani, MD, FRCPC, while reflecting on what inspired him to begin his journey in global health. “I think a big part of that inspiration is growing up in a family and community where giving back is important.”

Dr. Ally Prebtani (submitted photo) Dr. Ally Prebtani (submitted photo)


The internist, endocrinologist and professor of medicine at McMaster University was awarded the 2023 Royal College M. Andrew Padmos International Collaboration Award for his contributions to global health through his myriad of voluntary roles and founding the Internal Medicine Global Health Program at McMaster in collaboration with Makerere University in Uganda. In the past two decades, he and his teams have built exchange programs, raised funds to support local residency training and developed virtual training and educational courses that were relevant during the pandemic.

“Our mission is to build capacity based on needs, available resources, being culturally sensitive and making sure all our work is sustainable, and one way to do that is through the train-the-trainer concept,” he explains. 

Their mission has also spearheaded training and teaching initiatives in Internal Medicine and its subspecialties and in other areas such as Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Radiology and mental health.

“The impact has been very positive and hopefully will continue to be,” adds Dr. Prebtani. 

Collaboration is key

For all roles and projects, Dr. Prebtani returns to one recipe for success: collaborating with teams of dedicated, passionate and like-minded individuals.

He shares a recent example about collaborating with a team of doctors, researchers, engineers and staff at McMaster to ship close to $1 million dollars of personal protective equipment to Uganda to help battle the pandemic. 

He also collaborates with Aga Khan Health Services on capacity building initiatives in and beyond Uganda in countries such as Afghanistan, Kenya, Syria, Tajikistan and Tanzania. Currently, he and his colleagues are working on including English as an added language in training programs in Afghanistan and Syria. 

A passion for giving back

“I have a lot of support, nothing is done in a silo,” Dr. Prebtani says, while expressing his gratitude.

“Whether it is my colleagues here in Canada and abroad, friends and, of course, my amazing family – many people that support me are individuals who have a similar, passionate mindset about giving back without expecting anything in return.”

On being a recipient of the award, he says, “I’m just an ambassador representing the people that I work with. There are many people who deserve it and I have been fortunate to work with them.” 

“To me, the award means that we can make a difference. If we have the passion, we can make a difference in this world.” 

Quoting a popular proverb that originates from Dalai Lama, he ends by saying: ‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.’

Surgeon helps raise awareness and address clinician burnout abroad

“I hope that through collaborative work, we can shine a greater light on the importance of addressing clinician burnout,” says Barry Rubin, MD, FRCSC, while reflecting on a national plan he helped develop with the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in the United States.

Dr. Barry Rubin (submitted photo) Dr. Barry Rubin (submitted photo)


The vascular surgeon, medical director of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and researcher at the University Health Network in Toronto was awarded the 2023 Royal College M. Andrew Padmos International Collaboration Award for his dedication, leadership and unwavering commitment to decreasing clinician burnout globally. 

His inspiration goes back to addressing one fundamental question: If so many doctors, allied health professionals and staff are burned out, who is going to be here to take care of our growing and aging population? 

“There are big societal impacts due to clinician burnout,” he explains. “My hope is that collaborating to raise awareness and address clinician burnout will help people understand how important it is – and to develop a national strategy to decrease clinician burnout in Canada.”

Crossing paths led to important work 

It started when Victor Dzau, MD, president of NAM and head of the Peter Munk Scientific Advisory Board announced the creation of NAM’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience. “It was through Dr. Dzau that I became interested in clinician burnout and the impact on patients, clinicians and health care systems,” he says.

His interest on the topic and connection with Dr. Dzau turned into a contributing role with NAM’s Clinician Well-Being Collaborative, a network of more than 200 organizations committed to reversing trends in clinician burnout.

The network contributed to the movement by preparing and publishing NAM’s National Plan for Health Workforce Well-Being in October 2022, a national plan for the United States that builds on the foundation of six years of research in which Dr. Rubin, the only Canadian involved, helped create. 

Part of his voluntary work with NAM was developing a compendium of key resources for improving clinician well-being that outlined 80 strategies to decrease clinician burnout. For over a year, Dr. Rubin co-chaired a team of 25 people leading up to the plan’s publication.  

A surreal experience

Looking back at his work with NAM, Dr. Rubin never thought he would be involved in system-level change initiatives on a national level. 

“Helping clinicians have quality and meaningful lives with long and successful careers is important work to be involved in,” he says. “It is a privilege to collaborate and be associated with NAM and all colleagues involved. I almost pinch myself and ask, ‘How did this happen?’”

Dr. Rubin’s work with NAM is also helping drive similar initiatives in Canada and beyond North American borders. “This work will help us contextualize how we address burnout in Canada and other counties,” he says.   

With Royal College International, Dr. Rubin has also engaged audiences on the importance of addressing clinician burnout at virtual conferences in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Do you know someone who demonstrates outstanding leadership and excellence in advancing PGME, residency training and health human resource initiatives globally?

Nominate them for next year’s Royal College M. Andrew Padmos International Collaboration Award by March 31, 2024.

Learn more about the award and submit your nomination