McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Hamilton physician wins teaching award

Published: July 2, 2008
Alan Taniguchi
Dr. Alan Taniguchi, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine

Dr. Alan Taniguchi is known to colleagues and students in McMaster health sciences as a leader and visionary in palliative care whose dedication is enhancing education and ultimately improving patient services.

For his significant initiatives, the palliative care consultant has been selected as the 2008 winner of the John C. Sibley Award. The award is presented annually to a part-time faculty member in the Faculty of Health Sciences who has contributed in an outstanding manner to the education of health professionals.

Taniguchi, an assistant clinical professor in McMaster’s department of family medicine, heads a wide range of programs: He is education director in the division of palliative care and program director of the palliative medicine fellowship program, and previously of the care of the elderly residency program.

Taniguchi previously had a family practice in Stoney Creek.

It was a physician, a role model, who gave a lecture on palliative care, which influenced his interest in palliative care.

"It’s a field of practice that allows me to be the physician I want to be - it’s holistic in approach — it’s a blend of biomedical science, the social and the spiritual. It is this combination that makes it an interesting and rewarding field."

Outside of McMaster, he is both the medical director and an attending physician at Shalom Village Nursing Home and he is a consultant physician on a palliative care team at Hamilton Health Sciences, which includes an advanced practice nurse and a social worker.

Taniguchi’s commitment in the department of family medicine dates back 18 years. He is the longest serving member of the family medicine undergraduate committee.

Susan Denburg, associate vice-president, academic for the faculty and chair of the Sibley Award selection committee, said the committee was impressed with his leadership and time commitment to enhancing teaching in the care of the elderly and palliative care programs.

His colleagues know him as a "dedicated, important and committed player in the MD program curriculum" as well as a visionary on inter-professionalism. They also praised his stewardship of an innovative five-day palliative program.

"Through his active involvement he seems to inspire colleagues and students to excel," Denburg said.

Dr. David Price, chair of the department of family medicine, calls Taniguchi an outstanding educator and irreplaceable as an ambassador for McMaster and the faculty.

Dr. Denise Marshall, associate professor and director of the division of palliative care, praised Taniguchi’s ability to see opportunities, innovations, new ways of thinking and formulating strategies that are both evidence-based and grounded, but at the same time, novel and fresh.

Former student Dr. Samantha P. Winemaker said he has shaped the physician she is today. "I am proud to be his colleague and lucky to have him as my mentor. He is a genius clinician and champion educator, I am forever in awe of him."

"I feel very honoured to be selected as this year's recipient of the Sibley Award," said Taniguchi. "Having the opportunity to teach and to work with others on interesting scholarly projects is itself wonderful, but to be recognized in the process is simply amazing. There are many individuals who stand along with me in receiving this award."

The award, which includes a citation and a $500 bookstore certificate, will be presented to Taniguchi at a future meeting of the department of family medicine.

In addition to Dr. Taniguchi, nominees for the 2008 John C. Sibley Award were Colleen Van Berkel, assistant clinical professor in the school of nursing; Dr. Lori Whitehead, associate clinical professor of medicine in the department of respirology; and Dr. Rob Whyte, assistant clinical professor in the department of anesthesia. All of the nominees were hailed for there ongoing commitment to teaching excellence.

Previous John C. Sibley Award winners are: Surianarayanan Ram Mohan, Viola Freeman, Greg Peachey, Pat Mandy, Linda Hilts, Joanna Santa Barbara, Harold Stolberg, Denise Marshall, Moyez Ladhani, Stephen Bates, Clive Davis, Fran Scott, Helen Kirkpatrick, Nancy Pollock and Karen Raymer.

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