Being a medical doctor, Jennifer Tsang wasn’t sure how to react when she learned she was nominated for a business award earlier this fall.
She wondered if the email letting her know she was short-listed for a Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Award was even legitimate.
It was. Dr. Tsang, a Niagara Health intensivist, obesity specialist and researcher, was announced as the winner of the Healthcare Hero category at a ceremony held Friday, Nov. 18 in St. Catharines. The award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the physical or mental health of people in Niagara through their work and/or volunteerism in the healthcare sector.
“I’m humbled – a bit surprised,” Dr. Tsang says. “I’m not in the business world so when I got the email about the nomination, I wasn’t sure what to make of it.”
When her name was called Friday, Dr. Tsang, who was one of five finalists in the category, took the opportunity to highlight the important work happening at Niagara Health. As research lead for the hospital, she has been instrumental in fostering the growth of research here, and has been involved in a variety of studies, including one at the national level about COVID-19. That study gave local patients the chance to participate in clinical trials for medical treatment related to the virus.
Dr. Tsang’s academic work focuses on the engagement of community hospitals throughout Canada in clinical research. Her efforts are helping position Niagara Health as a national leader in research, which she spoke about in her acceptance speech.
“It’s important for the community to know the quality of care we provide this community and the research we do,” Dr. Tsang says. “Niagara Health has been supportive of research and there are more good things coming, and we can further improve healthcare in the region because of it. I wanted to use this platform to spread that message.”
Dr. Johan Viljoen, Niagara Health Chief of Staff and Executive Vice-President Medical, says the recognition of Dr. Tsang’s work is well-deserved. The award, he explains, underscores the perseverance of the internationally recognized researcher and highly accomplished critical care physician, who, throughout the pandemic, cared for patients while having multiple research studies published in mainstream medical journals.
“When her name was announced, it was like a family member won. I was so happy for her,” Dr. Viljoen says. “An award like this highlights the exceptional expertise of the people who work for Niagara Health. It highlights the research that’s happening in a large community hospital. This is not a hospital on University Avenue. Dr. Tsang has placed Niagara Health on the map in terms of research at a community hospital.”