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Physician Emeritus Awards

The Interlake-Eastern RHA’s Physician Emeritus Award is awarded to those physicians who are either retired or have reduced their practice in preparation for retirement and have provided exemplary service and expertise to their communities.
The nomination can be submitted by either physician colleagues or by the community. Nominations should have three signatures and a paragraph about why the physician should be granted the award.
Have a physician in mind? Nominations should consider the following:

  1. Length of service (commitment to the community)
  2. Scope of service
  3. Recognition of exemplary skill by colleagues
  4. Recognition by the community
  5. Demonstration of the Interlake-Eastern RHA values in their practice (always with compassion, success in collaboration, accountability in everything we do, acting with integrity, and respectful of each other)
    Nominations are to be forwarded to Debbie Gregoire at [email protected] by February 9, 2024.
    The regional Medical Advisory Committee will consider nominations based on the criteria listed above and will make the final decision.
    The award will be presented at the Annual Spring Physician Dinner in April.

Nominations are closed for 2024. They will reopen in January 2025.

The regional Medical Advisory Committee will consider nominations based on the criteria listed above and will make the final decision.

The award is presented annually at the Spring Physician Dinner in April.

2024 Winners

Two longtime physicians earned a moment in the spotlight to recognize their commitment to health care throughout their careers.
Dr. Eric Stearns and Dr. Greg Pinniger each received a Physician Emeritus Award at Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority’s annual spring physician dinner on April 23 at the Selkirk Golf and Country Club.

Dr. Eric Stearns

Dr. Eric Stearns

Dr. Stearns graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 1978 and finished his residency in obstetrics and gynecology five years later. He began practising at the Manitoba Clinic, while also working for the Northern Medical Unit and travelling to northern communities including Churchill, Rankin Inlet, Arviat, Coral Harbour, Baker Lake and Repulse Bay.

Over time, he shifted his focus to offer care in Hodgson and Fisher River. At the same time, he spent
more than 25 years in Selkirk performing surgery and providing clinical care. He also ran a private
practice in Selkirk for two years. Today, Dr. Stearns continues to do surgical assisting in Selkirk.
He also serves as a physician advisor for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba (CPSM) and is a past-president for CPSM. In addition, he chaired the perinatal maternal health standards committee at the CPSM for many years and worked as a consultant on the Manitoba Physician Achievement Review program. He continues to work with CPSM’s quality improvement program.
Adding to his varied experience, Dr. Stearns was a department head at Seven Oaks General Hospital and served on multiple committees through Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, as well as holding the position of assistant professor in University of Manitoba’s department of obstetrics and gynecology.

With a global reach, Dr. Stearns taught the ALARM International Program in Guyana, Ethiopia and
Tanzania. This program aims to reduce maternal and newborn mortality around the world. In Guyana,
Dr. Stearns also reviewed the national obstetrical program for the government.

As he prepares to wrap up a career that spans more than four decades, Dr. Stearns said receiving the Physician Emeritus Award is the top honour.

Dr. Stearns expects that 2024 will be his final year of practice. Looking back, there’s much that he’s
enjoyed over the decades.
“You can’t beat delivering babies, and I also love to teach,” he said. “And to go out with this award is
awesome. It’s the highlight of my career. It really tops it off. This is amazing to me.”

Dr. Greg Pinniger

Dr. Pinniger in glasses, arms crossed and a blue collared shirt with black suit jacket.
Dr. Greg Pinniger

Dr. Greg Pinniger also enjoys the variety he has experienced through his career in rural general practice.
Since 1992, Dr. Pinniger has served as a physician in Manitoba with four years in Killarney and 26 years
at Stonewall Medical Clinic, along with work in the surgical intensive care unit at Health Sciences Centre.
Outside of Manitoba, he did locums in Prince Edward Island and Alberta.
As a general practitioner, Dr. Pinniger said he enjoys “knowing a little bit about a lot of things.” He also appreciates that the duration of his career has allowed him continuity of care with his patients. By
working alongside other dedicated and enthusiastic doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and
administrators, Dr. Pinniger feels gratitude for individuals who comprise the care teams that health-care requires.
At the same time, Dr. Pinniger has enjoyed serving on Interlake-Eastern RHA’s medical advisory
committee over the years.
Looking ahead, he hopes other new physicians might pursue a similar path in rural general practice.
“I hope that rural and family medicine can one day recapture the attention of new medical graduates
and entice them into a rewarding, challenging career — one where they can grow professionally and
personally and one where they can feel truly needed by those that they serve,” said Dr. Pinniger, adding that coming to Stonewall was the highlight of his career.

As for being chosen as a recipient of the Physician Emeritus Award, Dr. Pinniger said it’s an honour —
and a surprise.
“I’m just one of many people in the health-care system who try to do their best,” he said. “I appreciate
the recognition given to me by my colleagues. It is touching and humbling.”

2023 Winners

2023 Winners

On April 25, Dr. Habtu Demsas and Dr. Richard Roland Lindenschmidt were presented with the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority’s Physician Emeritus Award for exemplary service and expertise to their community. This award is the first in the Interlake-Eastern RHA and was presented to the doctors in front of 45 colleagues and their spouses at the Spring Physician Dinner on April 25 — the first dinner held since 2019.

Dr. Habtu Demsas

Male doctor with sunglasses outside with checked sweater over dress shirt and red tie.

Dr. Demsas has practised for almost 45 years. Originally from Eritrea, he is fluent in multiple languages and has a special interest in orthopedics. Nominated by physician colleagues, Dr. Demsas has served the community in Selkirk for 35 years and was instrumental in starting the cancer outreach program 30 years ago. In 2009 he was awarded the Jack Armstrong Humanitarian award by Doctors Manitoba for outstanding contributions in the service of humanity.

“I thank my colleagues at Selkirk Medical Centre, the hospital and the personal care homes for thinking of me. This is really huge for me, my family and my wife too as they have supported me throughout my work,” says Dr. Demsas. “Working in this area has been wonderful. I have been able to teach students, residents, all while serving the community and living and working rurally but close to the city centre.”

Dr. Demsas plans to retire in October 2023.

Dr. Richard R. Lindenschmidt

Male doctor with dark sunglasses, blue tie and blue shirt with black sweater.
Dr. Richard R. Lindenschmidt

Dr. Lindenschmidt has been practising in the community for more than 40 years. His colleagues who nominated him pointed out how dependable he is and his exemplary bedside manner and commitment to his patients.

“I feel really honoured that my colleagues thought of me. I think that was really thoughtful of them to nominate me for this award,” says Dr. Lindenschmidt. “The best part of serving Selkirk and surrounding areas has been that I’ve been able to help people and their families, and also getting to know people in the community has been definitely a benefit to living and working here.”

Dr. Lindenschmidt retired last October.

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