Canada’s top health researchers recognized for their life-changing work

News Release

CIHR announces the winners of its Gold Leaf Prizes for excellence in health research

April 24, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Canada is home to some of the finest minds working in health research today – researchers who are creating new scientific knowledge, strengthening the health care system and improving the health of Canadians and others around the world.

Today, CIHR is pleased to announce the names of the four outstanding researchers who are the recipients of the inaugural CIHR Gold Leaf Prizes, which recognize excellence in health research and its translation into benefits for Canadians.

Dr. John Dick is the recipient of the CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Discovery, in recognition of his pioneering work as the first scientist to identify cancer stem cells. A professor at the University of Toronto, Dr. Dick’s research holds the promise for improved treatments and quality of life for cancer patients.

The CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Impact goes to the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, in acknowledgement of the organization’s 25 years of providing care and treatment for those living with HIV, educating health professionals, and promoting evidence-based policy to protect people from the virus.

Dr. Gregory Steinberg is the recipient of the CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Outstanding Achievements by an Early Career Investigator. A professor at McMaster University, Dr. Steinberg’s work on understanding, at the molecular level, how obesity causes type 2 diabetes and the role that nutrition and exercise play in maintaining good health, shows enormous promise for the more than 10 million Canadians who have diabetes or are at high risk of developing the disease.

Finally, the CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement goes to Dr. Charlotte Loppie, for her continued dedication to bringing Indigenous peoples into research projects that touch their lives, with the goal of empowering communities, building research-capacity and tackling the health disparities faced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Dr. Loppie is a professor at the University of Victoria.

The winners will receive their medals at a recognition ceremony to be held later this year.


“I offer my sincere congratulations to the four recipients of the CIHR Gold Leaf Prizes. From cancer and HIV/AIDS to diabetes and the health disparities facing our Indigenous peoples, your research tackles some of the most pressing health challenges facing Canada. By providing the evidence to inform government policy, your research is contributing to improved health and well-being for all Canadians. Thank you for your important work.”
Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

“Canadians should be proud of the health researchers currently at work in their country who are conducting research that has the power to change lives. The four winners of the CIHR Gold Leaf Prizes are shining examples of the dedication, hard work and excellence which characterize our research community. Thank you for your work, and congratulations on these well-deserved awards.”
Roderick McInnes, CM, MD, PhD, FRSC
Acting President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Quick Facts

  • The CIHR Gold Leaf Prizes honour and celebrate Canadian discoveries as well as our best and brightest health researchers who are making a difference in the lives of Canadians.

  • Each CIHR Gold Leaf Prize has a value of $100,000.

  • These prizes cover achievements across all pillars of health research and will be awarded every two years.

  • Prize winners were selected on the recommendation of a Gold Ribbon Panel comprised of individuals with a broad array of expertise across all of CIHR’s health research theme areas.

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Andrew MacKendrick
Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.  

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