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2021 Award Winners

Blum Award

The 2021 recipient of the Blum Award is Dr. Gwen Clarke. 

Dr. Gwen Clarke is a Transfusion Medicine physician with Canadian Blood Services and a Clinical Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Alberta. Dr. Clarke is the medical lead for the Canadian Blood Services Rare Donor Program and provides medical consultation and oversight to the donor testing, reference testing and prenatal testing laboratories at CBS. Currently Gwen is serving as the Secretary General on the board of the ISBT and is a member of the ISBT Rare Donor Working Party and Immunohematology Working Party. Gwen also works part time as a hematopathologist with Vancouver Island Health Authority in Victoria BC. She serves as a consultant to the Laboratory Accreditation committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, and volunteers as a Residency Program Accreditation surveyor for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 

Dr. Clarke has been a member of the CSTM and the CSTM Board of Directors for many years, serving as Vice-President, President and Past President from May 2012 to 2018. She currently chairs the Specialist in Transfusion Science Program Subcommittee as well as serving as a member of the Canadian Obstetrical and Pediatric Transfusion Network (COPTN).

Dr. Clarke has made significant contributions to the CSTM in many ways over the years. Just to highlight a few, under her leadership the CSTM became an ISBT member and through that partnership, CSTM members gained access to ISBT resources through the portal on the CSTM website.  She led the way for CSTM members to have access to the Transfusion Evidence Library and having the four top abstracts from the annual conference published in Transfusion Medicine Reviews.  She worked alongside Dr. Sadek in the selection and review of CSTM’s first Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) statements, co-led the Perinatal Testing Survey project for the COPTN, and was an integral force in the development of the new prenatal testing CWC statements that were just released. 

We have, for many years, counted on Dr. Clarke’s generously accepting to present excellent lectures at our annual conferences and education days on topics for which she maintains a strong interest and expertise, such as perinatal transfusion medicine and immunohematology.  Dr. Clarke was instrumental in the successful bid to host the 2018 ISBT Congress in Toronto and was a driving force behind, and co-chaired, the CSTM Standing Conference Scientific Planning Committee for the first two years after its inception.  Dr. Clarke is currently one of the key players working on the development of the exciting new Specialist in Transfusion Science program for technologists looking for advanced Transfusion Medicine training and certification in Canada.

On behalf of the CSTM Board and members, thank you so much for numerous outstanding contributions to our transfusion community and congratulations to Dr. Clarke! 

Ortho Award

This year, the Ortho Award is awarded to Dr. Katerina Pavenski. 

CSTM is pleased to announce the CSTM 2021 Ortho Award presentation by Dr. Katerina Pavenski will be held by webinar on
 October 29, 2021, from 12 to 1pm EST. Information

Dr Pavenski is the Head of the Division of Transfusion Medicine at Unity Health and Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She is an outstanding transfusion physician and most deserving of the award because of her major commitment and contributions to the CSTM and the transfusion medicine community nationally and internationally.
Dr. Pavenski has been an active member of the CSTM since 2007 and served as Central Director from 2010-2012. She has taken on significant roles as a member of the CSTM scientific committees for the 2011, 2016, 2019 and 2021 annual conferences and played a major role in the successful bid to host the 2018 ISBT Congress in Toronto.  Under her watch as Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, the ISBT meeting in Toronto was a huge success.

Dr. Pavenski has served on Ontario Blood Advisory Committee for the past 12 years (including as Vice-Chair and Chair) and as an Ontario representative on the National Advisory Committee for Blood and Blood Products for the past 10 years. Through this committee, she has contributed to the development of numerous policies, statements, plans and toolkits to guide Ontario and Canadian transfusion practices, including the national blood shortage contingency plan as well as leading statement development on fibrinogen replacement and appropriate testing for weak D variants.  She co-led the recent provincial initiative to develop a provincial massive hemorrhage protocol and continues on dissemination work which will impact on transfusion services across Ontario and beyond.  She is also one of the founding faculty members of the University of Toronto Transfusion Camp and continues to actively participate in seminars.

Katerina sits on the Clinical Transfusion Working Party of the ISBT and is the current Chair of the Topics Committee of the ICTMG, an international transfusion guideline development group. As a member of the ICTMG since 2021, she has actively participated on the development, implementation and evaluation of guidelines for transfusion therapies, including platelet transfusion, fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia and transfusion of hemoglobinopathy patients. She also contributed to the development of the International Consensus Conference Patient Blood Management Guidelines published in JAMA 2018. 
Her clinical and research expertise spans transfusion medicine, patient blood management, therapeutic apheresis and thrombotic microangiopathies; her 70+ peer reviewed publications reflect these varied interests. She has made significant contributions to advancing management of TTP through participation in clinical trials of novel therapies. Together with her St. Michael’s nephrology collaborators, she has implemented the first North American program using immunoadsorption columns for ABO incompatible kidney transplantation. She has participated in high impact clinical trials in the area, including the study on caplacizumab versus placebo in patients with acquired TTP published in the NEJM 2019. She is a member of the Canadian Apheresis Group and American Society for Apheresis. Finally, she has contributed to the international terminology consensus group for TTP to be published soon in Blood. 

The CSTM extends our congratulations and our gratitude to Dr. Pavenski for her numerous contributions to the transfusion community in terms of committee work, guidelines, clinical trials and clinical practice that have been incredibly impactful and well deserving of the Ortho Award. 

Buchanan Award

This year, the Buchanan Award recipient, selected by conference Scientific Committee, is Claire McWilliam.

The CSTM is pleased to announce the CSTM 2021 Buchanan Award presentation, “Grappling with Gerbich” by Claire McWilliamwill be held by webinar on December 2, from 12 to 1pm EST. Information

If there is one word to describe Claire, it is "enthusiasm". Claire has been a Transfusion Medicine Technologist for over 42 years and has delighted her coworkers with her enthusiasm and zeal for the complexities we all know as Blood Banking. Claire has trained many people both during student rotation and job orientation. She brings out the best in her students by challenging and supporting them through the routine, and not so routine, aspects of Transfusion Medicine. Many fledgling technologists have looked at her in amazement when, discovering an antibody at 4 p.m., she is heard to exclaim "Oh, this is so exciting!  I wonder what it is?"

Claire is always ready to take on another challenge and go the “extra mile” for her patients and provides a shining example of dedication that her students strive to emulate. Claire and her colleague, Nicole Caldwell, explored their creative side when they entered and won the first BloodTechNet competition. The amount of work involved in bringing the concept to prototype was phenomenal. 

One of the most significant traits Claire possesses is the ability to make each training session new and fresh for her students. Claire is always willing to spend the extra time to make sure that the student truly understands the theory and the practical applications of the techniques she teaches.   Her most recent project was creating a scavenger hunt as part of competency assessment at the completion of training.

Claire's vast knowledge of serological testing was an asset not only to The Moncton Hospital where she worked, but to other facilities in New Brunswick who often send difficult cases to her for consultation. Claire is committed to continuous learning in both technical and educational fields and since she retired from the hospital, took on the instruction of transfusion medicine students for the inaugural medical laboratory technologist class of Oulton College in Moncton NB. 

She never loses her patience and is quick to laugh along with her co-workers. Claire’s “April Fool’s” pranks are legend. Through her dedication and skill as both a teacher and a technologist, she has contributed to the care and well being of many patients in the Maritimes.

On behalf of the CSTM and the CSTM 2021 Local Organizing Committee, congratulations Claire!