Inspired and Inspiring – Dr. James Orbinski

posted April 4th, 2016 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

I serve on the board of Dignitas International with Dr. James Orbinski who was honoured this year by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada who recently selected their 2016 national award winners for Canadian physicians who go beyond the accepted norms of routine practice in their provision of health care or emergency medical services. This year Dr. Orbinski received the Royal College Teasdale-Corti Humanitarian Award.


What follows is his “official biography” taken from the web site of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

James Orbinski,  MD, OC, OONT, MCFP

James Orbinski, MD, OC, OONT, MCFP

Dr. James Orbinski is an internationally recognized humanitarian practitioner and advocate, and a leading scholar in global health.

After extensive field experience with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) — including as mission head during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide — he was elected MSF’s international president from 1998 to 2001. In 1999, he launched the organization’s Access to Essential Medicines Campaign and that same year accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of MSF. From 2001-2004, he co-chaired MSF’s Neglected Diseases Working Group that created and launched the successful Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. In 2004, he co-founded Dignitas International.

Dr. Orbinski was a founding board member of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Canadian Doctors for Medicare. He was a founding member of the editorial boards of Open Medicine and Conflict and Health. He is the author of the award-winning book, An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarianism in the 21st Century, and the subject of the acclaimed documentary, Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma.

Dr. Orbinski is currently a professor in the School of International Policy and Governance at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the CIGI Chair in Global Health Governance at the university’s Balsillie School of International Affairs. He is also a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

He earned his medical degree from McMaster University in 1990 and held a Medical Research Council of Canada fellowship to study pediatric HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. That experience fueled his efforts to help establish the Canadian chapter of MSF. In 1998, he earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto.


While his credentials, experience, contributions and accomplishments speak for themselves, it is by watching a short youtube about him that you will get a sense of the man and the reason for his receiving this honour!! I do hope you make the time to watch it!!






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