Lawrence C. Loh, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCPC, received the Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award for young professionals.
The award recognizes a health worker or student, age 30 or younger, who has demonstrated potential in the health field by challenging traditional public health policy or practice in a creative and positive way.
Loh is Medical Health Officer at Fraser Health Authority of greater Vancouver, and is adjunct lecturer at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana Faculty of Public Health. Also a practicing urgent-care physician, he completed his training at the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and holds board certifications in family medicine and public health and preventive medicine in Canada, and preventive medicine in the United States.
His young public health and global health career combines social entrepreneurship, leadership, and research, targeting every level from the grassroots up by building relationships, networks, and international understanding. Among his many awards and honors are the Dr. Chandrakant P. Shah Award for Excellence in Field Research and University of Toronto Department of Family Medicine Global Health Award.
Loh is co-founder of The 53rd Week, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization that aims to improve the outcomes of short-term global health volunteer experiences through advocacy, innovation, and research. Together with local partners in La Romana, Dominican Republic, Loh and team are currently evaluating a pilot web-based collaborative model for visiting teams from abroad which aims to improve primary care and preventive services for Haitian workers.
This work has led Loh to publish and speak widely on the subject of short-term global health experiences and global health careers. His other research interests have led to peer-reviewed publications on developing-world medical faculty development, physician migration, public health physician training, and the history of public health medicine in Canada, alongside commentaries on obesity prevention as well as academic relationships.
Elected Regional Coordinator of the Americas for the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations in 2004-06, Loh continued to serve the organization as an alumnus, providing training and strengthening the organization’s alumni network. His contributions were recognized with an Honorary Life Membership from the federation’s General Assembly in 2011.
He was also a charter member of the World Medical Association (WMA) Junior Doctors Network, the world’s first international forum representing doctors-in-training and the representative global voice on young doctors’ issues. As inaugural deputy chair, Loh connected residents and interns in nearly two dozen countries, and represented their issues with the WMA at the 2012 World Health Organzation Executive Board meeting and 2013 World Health Assembly.
“Dr. Loh often aims to connect his peers at home with his colleagues from all over the world,” said Dr. Fran Scott, director of the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana Faculty of Public Health. “He fosters these relationships to challenge traditional public health and global health paradigms.”
Indeed, Loh’s nomination reflected his unique ability to develop and nurture myriad relationships. Beyond the numerous support letters from colleagues at Canada and U.S.-based academic institutions, associations, public health departments, and non-profit organizations, Loh’s nomination was also backed by a diverse, multidisciplinary array of professionals from Costa Rica, Peru, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Ghana, Sudan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and New Zealand—all colleagues and friends.
“Dr. Loh is one of the most promising young doctors of his generation,” said Tiago Villanueva Gutierrez Arruda Marques, a Portuguese physician and editorial registrar at the British Medical Journal. “It is very rare for an individual to achieve what Dr. Loh has achieved at his age, with his work and towering global influence spanning fields such as clinical medicine, public health, policy and academia.”