Dr. John Cairns, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, has been selected to receive the Order of British Columbia. The Order of British Columbia recognizes those who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in their field, benefiting the people of BC or elsewhere. The Order is the highest form of recognition the Province can extend to its citizens, and is only bestowed on the most outstanding British Columbians.
As one of Canada’s most distinguished health researchers, Dr. Cairns has made outstanding contributions to the medical and academic communities in BC and in Canada. His research focuses on improving the lives of people with heart disease by studying the causes and prevention of heart attacks, as well as the optimal management of patients who have experienced heart attacks. He proved through a multi-centre clinical trial that aspirin can reduce by more than half the incidence of heart attacks and death among patients with unstable angina. This finding revolutionized treatment of these at-risk patients, shifting the focus toward limiting the growth of clots in coronary arteries.
As Dean of Medicine at UBC from 1996 to 2003, he led substantial expansion of facilities, including the UBC Life Sciences Centre and the Diamond Centre at the Vancouver General Hospital. By 2002, the UBC Faculty of Medicine was in second place among its Canadian counterparts in total research funding. Dr. Cairns also led efforts to double the enrolment of medical students and residents. BC is now educating its own physicians to provide more doctors for the people of BC, rather than depending on other provinces to provide physicians. Much-needed opportunities for rural health training are also being provided.
Dr. Cairns is dedicated to educating, training and mentoring the next generation of physicians in BC. He continues to teach undergraduate medical students, postgraduate trainees and practicing cardiologists. He has served on many national health bodies, and is President of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the most prestigious organization for health sciences academics in Canada.