Media Release | Jan. 6, 2012

UBC adjunct professor and alumnus appointed to the Order of Canada

A UBC adjunct professor who invented a surgical technology that is used globally and an alumnus who helped to establish one of Canada’s first food banks have been named to the Order of Canada.

The two UBC community members are among 66 new Order of Canada appointees who will accept their award at a ceremony later this year. The Order of Canada is one of our nation’s highest civilian honours, and recognizes a lifetime of achievement and contribution to society.

James (Jim) A. McEwen, adjunct professor in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Applied Science, was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to biomedical engineering, notably as an inventor and entrepreneur.

McEwen, a pioneer of the Canadian biomedical engineering industry, has over 220 patents and patent applications for medical devices. He invented the automatic surgical tourniquet system that has become standard in operating rooms worldwide. Automatic tourniquets protect patients from injury by improving safety, precision and speed in an estimated 18,000 surgical procedures performed around the world daily.

He is president of the Vancouver’s Western Clinical Engineering Ltd., and is a founder and director of MDDC Medical Device Development Centre, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates collaboration among companies, hospitals and universities to develop and evaluate new medical technologies. His has received a variety of major awards, including honorary degrees from UBC and SFU.

David Northcott, an alumnus who received his Bachelors of Science degree from UBC in 1976, is being honoured for his commitment to fighting poverty and hunger in Canada.

Northcott is executive director of Winnipeg Harvest, one of Canada’s first food banks, which he helped build starting in 1985. He is also one of the founders of the national food bank structure and serves on the Food Banks Canada council. Northcott represented Canada as an NGO member of the delegation at the UN’s Second World Food Summit in 2002.

He is President of the Manitoba Association of Food Banks and a board member on the Vanier Institute of the Family, Youth Employment Services. Prior to joining Winnipeg Harvest, David was a community development worker for Winnipeg’s Inner City.

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