Modelled on the coins used by the Canadian military to recognize special achievements, the College Coin is designed to honour some of the unsung heroes in family medicine – the family physicians we admire for their ongoing commitment to family medicine and dedication to good work.

College Coins are peer-nominated and can be submitted at any point throughout the year.

If you are a BCCFP member and would like to nominate a BC family physician for the College Coin, simply send an email to providing the name of the nominee and a few sentences describing why you think they deserve to be recognized. Nominees must be BCCFP members.

Nomination qualifications are based on the wide-ranging values that family physicians bring to practice, teaching, mentorship and health care improvement, including:

  • Being a trusted advisor and friend to practice colleagues
  • Leading activities outside of clinical practice that support family medicine
  • Serving as a role model for residents and medical students
  • Providing leadership in CPD
  • Being a strong advocate for evidence-based care
  • Working with the practice team to create a Patient’s Medical Home
  • Demonstrating service and dedication to patients during a long career in family medicine
  • Covering call while a colleague is away for a family emergency or other unexpected reason

Read about all of our recipients to date.

2021 recipients

Dr. Stephanie Aung

Dr. Stephanie Aung’s nominator says “She is a tireless advocate and caring physician for her patients. She goes well past the extra mile for them ensuring that they are well monitored and cared for. A significant component of her practice has been providing care for trans patients who have gone without a caring longitudinal provider and have had numerous challenges navigating the system. She has become an anchor they rely on in their journey of transition and a mentor to other physicians learning how to care for these amazing people.

She is also an invaluable resource within our office providing consultations and procedures for contraception, cervical cancer screening and women’s health.

On top of all that, she has served as the co-chair for the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice since 2016, as the division has boldly jumped in to establishing Primary Care Networks. There she has continued to advocate for women’s health and mental health supports for patients and longitudinal family physicians. She inspires me to be a better provider for my patients every day.”

Dr. Bonnie Bagdan

Dr. Bagdan's nominator says: "Dr. Bagdan is a respected physician leader within the Comox Valley. She has been serving our community first as a Director with the local Division of Family Practice, and subsequently as Co-chair. She has maintained her tireless involvement as the new PCN lead during the operational rollout within the Valley. She has, throughout it all, maintained a busy family practice."

Dr. Ashley Bakker

Dr. Bakker’s nominator says, “Dr. Bakker is not only a rural family physician, but she sits on a number of committees and, just as importantly, she is a mother of two children, with a third on the way. Despite family responsibilities, she is able to work in a full-time family practice, including inpatient and residential care, emergency medicine, occasional surgical assisting, and prenatal care. She also does outreach medicine to the Ktunaxa Nation. She is involved with teaching medical students and residents as part of the UBC Clinical Faculty. She exudes passion for medicine to her patients, students and the community.”

Dr. Julie Baxter

Dr. Baxter's nominators say: "We would like to humbly nominate a member of the Sechelt Medical Clinic and local Sunshine Coast family doctor, Julie Baxter, MD, for being a trusted advisor and friend to ourselves and her other practice colleagues at the Sechelt Hospital. While simultaneously being an engaged mother/wife/friend, she skillfully conducted a concussion quality improvement project through our Sechelt Hospital Emergency Department, provides full-spectrum family medicine (including maternity care) and has been the lead physician in a continuing medical education problem-based learning group. She does it all with empathy, humor and cheer. She is, simply, amazing. We are proud to know her."

Dr. Colleen Black

Dr. Black’s nominator says, “In my years of practice I have met many doctors, but very few that inspire me. Dr. Black is one of those unique individuals that you simply cannot help but be inspired by. She is one of the best physicians that I have ever met. Encompassing all the facets of what a true physician is: caring, knowledgeable, passionate, a leader, outstanding work ethic, professionalism, confidence and humility. I have learned a tremendous amount of knowledge and skills from this special woman.”

Dr. Gillaume Coetzee

Dr. Coetzee’s nominator says, “Dr. Coetzee is treasured by the community for treating each patient with the utmost in kindness and dignity, and with a special interest in caring for the most vulnerable individuals impacted by poverty and homeless in and around Prince Rupert. He is a tireless advocate for health equity and equality for all Indigenous Coastal Nations… As an exemplary and community focused teacher, Dr. Coetzee is a Clinical Instructor with the University of British Columbia, supporting medical students…Dr. Coetzee’s inspiring leadership during the time of COVID-19 has supported the region through the difficulty of some of the highest rates of local transmission in the province.”

Dr. Sarah Culkin

Dr. Sarah Culkin’s nominator says, “Dr. Culkin has become a leader in the Abbotsford community and provides exemplary care for her patients. In a short space of time, her achievements and dedication to medicine in Abbotsford are nothing short of incredible. She has a full family practice clinic, is the lead for Maplewood house long term care, lead of the Salvation Army Clinic for the homeless, and advocates tirelessly for her patients; including meetings at city hall for much-needed community resources.”

Dr. Sylvia Ducceschi

Dr. Sylvia Duccheschi’s nominator says, “Dr. Ducceschi has been a caring and nurturing family doctor; I consistently hear from her patients the mutual respect, good humour, and love in their patient-doctor relationships… Sylvia was instrumental in the early years of the first Sexual Assault Team at Women’s Hospital. … She has been training medical students in our office weekly for many years, helping to inspire a new generation of family doctors… I feel that Sylvia Ducceschi exemplifies the values of quiet, consistent caring, knowledge, and energy we all look for to carry our family medicine discipline forward into the uncertainties of the future.”

Dr. Michael Dumont

“I would like to nominate Dr. Dumont for his tireless enthusiasm to promote and create, (alongside others) a sustainable culturally safe Indigenous Health network. I have admired his patience and his optimism despite obstacles along the way.”

Dr. Jessie Flear

Dr. Jessie Flear’s nominator says, “Whether it be providing primary care to vulnerable patients in the Mobile Health Unit or by navigating the system to get a hospital inpatient a managed alcohol prescription, Dr. Flear has a patient-centred approach that exemplifies the best of family medicine. Her important clinical work, kindness and equanimity in her non-clinical life, and her commitment to longitudinal family practice are something for new-to-practice family doctors to aspire to. If her first five years of practice have been any indication, the future of family practice looks bright.”

Dr. Carmen Goojha

Dr. Goojha's nominator says: "We recently had an issue here on the coast with end-of-life care kits being discontinued and causing major issues in terms of providing the medications to effectively care for these patients on the Sunshine Coast. She worked with local palliative resource nurses, hospital pharmacy to rapidly create standard order/Rx sets in order to continue to provide this care to patients in this complex holiday season."

Dr. Janine Hardial

Dr. Hardial’s nominator says, “Dr. Hardial is a community building, and community changing family physician. She is an exemplary clinician, advocate, teacher, and leader. She has been a source of strength and inspiration in her role as Medical Director at Sheway Maternity Services, as well as the leader of our maternity call group at BC Women’s Hospital (BCWH)… Those who work with Janine are instilled with her strength and her heart, and we are all better for it. It would have been difficult to continue practising the way I have without her support, and many more feel the same way I do.”

Dr. Jim Ketch

Dr. Jim Ketch’s nominator says, “Dr. Ketch serves a very marginalized population of patients in our community.  He takes care of women who are experiencing drug addiction while pregnant. He tries to steer them towards harm reduction and advocates where he can to keep their children with them.

He has taught residents and medical students for years and, given his Indigenous background, he provided them a unique perspective of needs and difficulties in the community.”

Dr. Sasha Langille-Rowe

Dr. Langille Rowe’s nominator says, “Dr. Langille-Rowe advocates endlessly for her patients and community. Her passion for addiction medicine is evident in the work she has done in developing Terrace’s first Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) Clinic… Dr. Langille-Rowe is a clinical instructor and faculty member for the UBC Rural Northwest Family Practice Program based in Terrace and a preceptor for the UBC Longitudinal Clerkship Program…. Dr. Langille-Rowe embodies the qualities of an excellent, full-service, rural family physician. She is dedicated to her patients, medical community, and community at large.”

Dr. Trina Larsen-Soles

Dr. Larsen-Soles’ nominator says, “Dr. Larsen-Soles has served our community for over 30 years. In these years she has provided obstetrical care, emergency medicine, palliation, paediatrics and geriatrics and everything in between. She was a former president of Doctors of BC and has continued to be a physician and patient advocate for our community. She has been a community champion during COVID, providing updates to the entire community about numbers, safe practises, testing, and support. She has been essential in ensuring our clinic- doctors and staff, functions efficiently and effectively… Her care resonates with humanity, compassion and extensive knowledge tempered wth years experience.”

Dr. Sarah Lea

“Dr. Sarah Lea and Dr. Heather McEwen saw the gap in care here in Victoria in looking after pregnant women with addictions. Thanks to their hard work and vision, they are bringing Victoria into this millennium in the care of women with perinatal addictions. I’d seen in Vancouver the incredible benefit of appropriate support for these women and was saddened to see Victoria so far behind when I moved here. Thanks to these two hard working docs, we’re slowly starting to catch up. There’s still a lot to be done, but at least we’re heading in the right direction.”

Dr. Sarah Malleson

Dr. Malleson's nominator has this to say "I would like to nominate Dr Sarah Malleson for the College Coin for her advocacy to youth services, her passion at delivering health care to vulnerable populations, and her intrigue at educating her peers with the latest changes to practice. She works with me as a youth clinic physician and is very vocal about delivering high quality care to youth and young adults and is quick to engage others to support her cause given her intense drive to serve this population. She also provides PrEP and contraception option to this population and is working with government and organizations (namely ACCESS) to ensure that the Provincial Government's promise of free contraception to British Columbians is considered an essential priority within the provincial health-care budget. Finally, she is always learning and offering her knowledge to her peers, whether it be a discontinuation of Macrobid and appropriate substitution, the use of PrEP on demand - which is not widely used, or even to advise her peers of the new Nexplanon device for long-acting contraception.  She epitomizes a physician that goes above and beyond, and it is my pleasure to nominate her for this honour."

Dr. Molly Marin

Dr. Marin’s nominator says, “Dr. Marin is devoted to her patients and is one of the most hard working physicians. She is always going that extra mile and is very thorough. She is also dedicated to the community in so many other ways. She participates in the outreach communities, and has taken the lead on our long-term care initiatives. She has also taken the lead on recruitment and retention to the North Island area and is really enthusiastic and dedicated to this cause. Since she has been here, she has made a lot of long-lasting positive changes which will impact the community for years to come.”

Dr. Patrick McCaffery

Dr. McCaffery’s nominator says, “Dr. McCaffery is extremely thorough and really caring of his patients. He will go the extra mile for all his patients. He has covered for other physicians and all the patients have really enjoyed having him cover at our practice. He is busy taking over a retiring doctor’s practice and has been an awesome asset to our group clinic practice.”

Dr. Samantha McRae

Dr. McRae’s nominator says, “Dr McRae joined the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice and now sits as the co- chair. Her natural and humble leadership style has been welcome…Samantha actively volunteers in the community and currently is mentoring a young woman through the John Howard KidStart mentor program… Samantha sits on the Comox Valley Primary Care network committee… Over the years I have worked with many new colleagues all whom were a credit to the profession. Dr McRae stands out to me and many as truly exceptional.”

Dr. Akber Mithani

Dr. Mithani’s nominator says, “Dr. Mithani is one of the most compassionate physicians we know, with a deep-rooted desire not only to better the lives of his patients, but to improve the society around him in a way that is profound, sustainable, and done with a spirit of selfless humility. He is truly an exemplar teacher, advocate, mentor, and healer, who approaches his work with cultural humility and a passion that is infectious and invites those around him to elevate their own standards of care and leadership.”

Dr. Birinder Narang

Dr. Birinder Narang has been recently selected to participate as a national lecturer in one of Canada’s largest family medicine conferences during COVID-19.  He has provided clinical teaching to hundreds of medical residents and now in-practice physicians as well.

Dr. Danielle Pichie

Dr. Danielle Pichie’s nominator says, “Within a year Dr. Pichie had become the youngest physician to hold the position of Chief of Staff of Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton, BC…  After just six months in this position, Dr Pichie’s boundless enthusiasm and vision for healthcare had recruited more than enough physicians to the community to finally fully staff the hospital for the first time in decades. She was able to energize and excite other young physicians to join the practice through her passion and vision for change… I cannot imagine a young physician who has shown more initiative or promise in the first five years of practice than Dr. Danielle Pichie.”

Dr. Navid Pooyan

Dr. Pooyan’s nominator says, “Every day, I hear from Dr. Pooyan’s patients that he is very respectful towards their concerns and that he is going above and beyond for his patients to ensure their well being. I have had patients state that they’ve read all the positive reviews about Dr. Pooyan online. This inspired me to go read some of the reviews and it is clear to see how much the patients like him and respect him.”

Dr. Melodie Prem-Smith

Dr. Prem-Smith’s nominator says, “Dr. Melodie Prem-Smith is strongly guided by the Four Principles of Family Medicine.  She is a skilled clinician who is a great resource for our own community and to the Fraser Health district.  She has actively worked to improve our communities’ health with her work in the Division of Family Practice, in helping to develop our new Foundry program and our Urgent and Primary Care Centre.  With all that Melodie brings to our community, she also remains committed to the physician-patient relationship with all those in her practice. To my mind, she not only fulfills but exemplifies the qualities we value in a community family physician.”

Dr. Emma Preston

Dr. Emma Preston’s nominator says, “Although her education has taken her far afield, Dr. Preston has remained closely connected to the East Vancouver community and has become a very strong humanitarian advocate for the people living in the Downtown Eastside. She is an extremely well balanced human being, well grounded in her values, and an excellent role model for our profession. In my 21 years as a family doctor, I have worked with hundreds of physicians, but none has impressed me more than Dr. Emma Preston during their first five years of practice.”

Dr. Lloyd Purdy

Dr. Purdy’s nominator says, “Dr. Purdy was instrumental in the proposal and implementation of the new Urgent Primary Care Clinic at REACH. As the Medical Director of both the Medical Clinic and the UPCC, Lloyd is involved in numerous important committees. Those include the implementation of Covid guidelines, the Covid vaccination task force, the sanctuary health program, OAT program implementation, the Strathcona Park tent city team and others just to name a few. I have worked with numerous amazing physicians… but very few have made as a large an impact to both the organization and the community the way Lloyd has in a relative short period of time.”

Dr. Harwood Reimer

Dr. Reimer’s nominator shares: “Dr. Reimer has been in full service family practice in Duncan since 1991 with many years of obstetrics, emergency room and hospital inpatient work, teaching medical students and office administration. 

He has a Sports Medicine Degree and is lead team physician for the Cowichan Capitals Junior B Hockey team. 

He carries out his work with a high degree of integrity, commitment and pursuit of excellence.”

Dr. Baldev Sanghera

Dr. Sanghera’s nominator says, “Dr. Sanghera has been everything anyone would want in a family physician. He is an effective physician leader, a community leader who has brought about social change, a mentor to younger physicians, and, according to his patients, one the best physicians they could possibly have, in addition to countless other accomplishments. Dr. Sanghera does all of this, and more, with respect, integrity, and humility. He inspires all those around him to be a better person, to be healthier, and rise to the challenge to serve their community. I cannot think of another physician who better exemplifies all of what a family physician can be.”

Dr. Gretchen Snyman

“Dr. Snyman is an exceptional, well-balanced physician and colleague. She spends time with her patients, teaches them, empathises. She is a team player and a true leader. She is humble, strong, provides culturally and gender safe care to the most vulnerable and under-serviced people of our province. This level of care she shows is rarely shown by a physician in the first five years of their practice. Through her actions she energizes and mentors us as her colleagues, including the team around us. What a privilege do we have in Fort St. James to work alongside someone like Gretchen.”

Dr. Michele Thomasse

Dr. Michele Thomasse nominator says, “Dr. Thomasse has dedicated a lot of her practice time serving the urban outreach community dealing with those suffering from addiction, mental health issues and homelessness.

She does this with skill and respectful compassion and strongly advocates for her patients.

She has also taught residents for many years and dedicated many hours each day reviewing cases with her residents and cared deeply about their competency and knowledge.

Michelle is one of those quietly unsung heroes of family medicine.”

Dr. Tracey Thorne

Dr. Tracey Thorne’s nominator says, “Dr. Thorne has been a tireless leader working to bring many projects and initiatives to our rural community. Our island was struggling with a mental health crisis with many suicides. Dr. Thorne was instrumental in creating a position for a Mental Health and Substance Use Nurse and a social worker – both of whom are embedded in our community. Those projects were a tremendous success and continue to improve lives of many patients living here… Recently, she has been a community leader during the COVID-19 pandemic and has focused her attention on rural needs during a pandemic.”

Dr. Shaun Van Zyl

Dr. Van Zyl’s nominator says, “When I think of Dr. Van Zyl, I think of how he has shaped medical care in our community. Under his leadership, Kimberley became the first community in the province that really modelled the concept of a primary care network in the province… Dr. Van Zyl was instrumental in helping to establish a onestop-service for the Kimberley patients… Dr. Van Zyl is also a preceptor for UBC medical students. He is a wonderful teacher and medical students speak highly of Dr. Van Zyl and their experience at the clinic… He is also a loving husband, and father to his three sons… He is somebody that the whole community of Kimberley looks up to and trusts.”

Dr. Elizabeth Watters

Dr. Watters founded the Fairview Medical clinic in Penticton.  Her nominator says, “She has tirelessly served as the clinic medical director until early 2021 – sacrificing her time, energy, and finances to grow the clinic.

As a result of her efforts, thousands of patients in the South Okanagan now receive primary care and a place they can call their medical home. When she welcomed me into the practice, she guided, mentored and supported me, never turning a request away.

In addition to her leadership at our practice and her full time, full-service family practice, Dr. Watters served as the Head of Family Practice at Penticton Regional Hospital, provided consultative Palliative Care services, organized social events for various groups and taught residents through the UBC Residency Program.

In our community, she has served on many committees and boards, including the OSNS Child and Youth Development Center.

Anyone who works alongside Dr. Watters knows that she is a joy-filled, positive, and encouraging  physician and leader.”

Dr. Monika Wojtera

Dr. Monika Wojtera’s nominator says “Dr. Monika Wojtera has served as the Program Lead Resident for the UBC Family Practice Residency Program for the past year, and she is about to start an additional year of training in Emergency Medicine.

Her leadership during a time of unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty has been calm, collaborative, effective, and humbling.

She is a committed advocate for the residents in our program and has represented their concerns capably at different levels of governance and with stakeholder organizations. She identifies priorities, works methodically to address them, and has worked effectively to advance resident concerns and issues within the parameters of uncontrollable pandemic constraints and restrictions.

Our program has been extremely lucky to have her in the role of Lead Resident.

She is natural leader and her composure under pressure will stand her in good stead in her Emergency Medicine training."

Dr. Alexander Yang

Dr. Yang’s nominator says, “Dr. Yang set his heels in to advocating for marginalized patients and embraced many of the most challenging clinical cases in primary care in Surrey. He has, for more than two years now, worked extremely hard to make things better for his clinic team and for the ostracized forgotten people of my city. He has bridged the challenging UPCC development mandates with the will of the Division… Alex has been a critical part of making the best out of a complex situation and keeping the focus on longitudinal family practice and patient care.”

Dr. Reena Yu

Dr. Yu's nominator says: "In my two years of medical school thus far, and going through different family practice rotations, I have not met a more enthusiastic and dedicated physician as Dr. Yu. She allowed me to enhance my clinical skills and taught me new material, despite COVID and all the challenges that it brought. Dr. Yu is one of a kind and truly cares about the student that she is teaching. Not only is her teaching fantastic, but all the patients that come see her have positive interactions with her. She does not rush any consult and truly cares for her patients. I cannot think of a more deserving candidate for this award."

Dr. Iram Yunus

Dr. Yunus’ nominator says, “Dr. Yunus keeps pushing forward even though it’s very hard. She’s doing her best to learn as much as she can about practice and leadership. She really cares about doing a good job and is trying her best to live up to her image of awesome family doctors. She works super hard, including in hospital and in clinic, and helps out at her Division. She reaches out for help regularly, which is very promising and part of a growth mindset, boding well for her community.”