Dr. Richard Simons credits his distinguished career to following his passion, working with talented colleagues and never taking no for an answer.

Dr. Richard Simons honoured with TAC award

Living in the limelight does not come easily to someone as humble as Dr. Richard Simons.

Fortunately, that didn’t stop his peers and colleagues from applauding him on February 24. At Trauma 2017, the Trauma Association of Canada’s (TAC) annual conference, Dr. Simons was honoured with the Dr. Charles Burns Board Recognition Award.

Only the second recipient of this national honour, the award is reserved for TAC members who demonstrate outstanding leadership, endless passion and a spirit of volunteerism. Like Dr. Simons, recipients are considered visionaries and innovators in the field of trauma care by their colleagues.

“It’s always nice to be recognized and when the award comes from your peers it’s especially meaningful,” says Dr. Simons. “It has truly been a team effort to achieve the body of work I’ve been part of and I accepted the Dr. Charles Burns award on behalf of everyone I work with.”

Award tops a career of achievements

Over his 20-year career with VCH, Dr. Simons has been at the forefront of many landmark accomplishments and previously recognized for his work in trauma systems development in BC and Canada — no regional trauma systems existed in BC prior to his arrival in Vancouver in 1996. Today, BC’s regionalized trauma system is considered to be one of the most highly developed in North America.

Ask the man of the hour what other accomplishments he’d highlight and he offers the following with modesty and many thanks to those who worked alongside him:

  • Accreditation of VGH as a Level 1 Trauma Centre in 2000, thanks in large part to Vivian Eliopoulos and Leanne Appleton.
  • Development of the first Canadian Forces Trauma Training Centre with Dr. Ross Brown.
  • Expansion of the VGH Trauma Program to a Regional Trauma Program (includes Trauma Centres in VCH, PHC and PHSA), which was accredited in 2005, accomplished in partnership with Tracey Taulu and Dr. Morad Hameed.
  • Participation in Accreditation Canada’s new Trauma Distinction Program and the Regional Trauma Program’s receipt of the Trauma Distinction Award in 2016 — the first program in Canada to do so. Accreditation in the same year of the systems in Northern Health, Island Health, Interior Health and Fraser Health, thanks to the work undertaken by Heather Wong and Nasira Lakha.
  • Collaboration with Dr. David Evans to enhance the provincial trauma system on an ongoing basis.
  • Last but not least, working with new recruits Drs. Naisan Garraway and Emilie Joos.

The future of surgery

Looking to the future, Dr. Simons says “initiatives such as the new hybrid OR and the VGH OR Renewal Project will take patient care to the next level. They will allow trauma surgeons to improve survival rates and other patient outcomes.”

The future of surgery, he adds, is in good hands, referring to his VGH colleagues both in and out of the operating room, and trauma Fellows now in leadership positions around the world. They’re also at the centre of his best memories as he prepares for retirement.

His parting piece of advice to the next generation of surgeons: “Follow your passions and don’t take no for an answer!”

Dr. Simons retires next month. Please wish him well on his next phase of life before April 30, 2017.

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One comment

  1. Lois Budd says:

    Congratulations Richard on a well-deserved award. You have contributed much and asked for little and you have the respect of all of us who worked with you. I myself am grateful for your collaborative approach and for working with me as a partner in patient care. I wish you all the very best in your retirement! Lois

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