Dr. Donald Boudreau presented the 2024 AFMC-Gold Humanism Award

The Gold Foundation and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) are pleased to announce the recipient of the 2024 AFMC-Gold Humanism Award: Donald Boudreau, BSc, MD, FRCPC, an innovative researcher and physician-educator who has devoted his entire professional career to exemplifying humanism in healthcare. He will receive his award at the International Congress on Academic Medicine in Vancouver on April 13. He will also be presenting the AFMC-Gold Humanism Lecture, which will be titled “A Three-Tiered Curricular Edifice.” One of the lecture’s objectives will be to introduce the relevance of practical wisdom in health professions education.

Dr. Donald Boudreau

Dr. Boudreau has spent over 30 years teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels of medical education. He is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE) in the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at McGill University. Dr. Boudreau has previously served as Associate Dean of Medical Education & Student Affairs and Interim Director of the IHSE.

Through his example, Dr. Boudreau is teaching the next generation of medical leaders that being a compassionate doctor is not just a concept to aspire to. It is a critical need to be met. A guidepost for practicing good medicine.

“Since 2009, Dr. Boudreau has been connected with the Gold Foundation through his work to advance humanism in medicine. He has led the field towards new understandings about what it means to be a humanistic physician and has helped shape medical education at McGill and beyond,” said Dr. Kathleen Reeves, President and CEO of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. “We are thrilled to join with AFMC to honor Dr. Boudreau’s contributions.”

The AFMC-Gold Humanism Award and Lecture was jointly created to emphasize, reinforce and enhance the importance of humanistic qualities among medical school students and faculty. The nominations are open to physicians, nurses, and other members of the healthcare team who practice in Canada or practitioners and researchers in health professions education.

“We are delighted to honour Dr. Don Boudreau, a compassionate and inspiring physician and educator, with the AFMC Gold Humanism Award and Lecture. Dr. Boudreau’s career-long dedication to fostering humanism in medicine perfectly aligns with the ideals celebrated by this award.”

Dr. Boudreau’s scholarship and leadership have given testimony to his commitment to advancing humanistic principles in medicine. He infused the concept of Physicianship – the dual role of the physician as a professional and a healer – in McGill University’s undergraduate medical education curriculum. Dr. Boudreau’s work in this field has gained international recognition, and he is widely respected as an educator who integrates humanism, caring, and compassion into medical curricula.

For Dr. Boudreau, receiving the 2024 AFMC-Gold Humanism Award is a great honor.

“I am bursting with gratitude. As I say to my colleagues, it has opened up a potpourri of feelings, including excitement, ‘the imposter within’, pride, humility, and indebtedness,” he said. “It is an unsurpassed privilege to be able to top off a career by being the recipient of an award dedicated to humanism in medicine.”

Throughout his clinical career in Pulmonary Medicine, Dr. Boudreau has actively explored the humanities in medicine. He has been a committed champion of humanism in healthcare and has received numerous prior honors from the Gold Foundation. From 2009-2012, he was awarded a Gold Professorship in Humanism in Medicine. In 2011, Dr. Boudreau was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. And from 2016-2018, he was the co-recipient of Gold Foundation grant, pursuing work entitled “Professional Identity Formation in Medicine – How does Humanistic Healthcare Education with a Focus on Patient Centeredness Help to Shape that Identity?”

Dr. Boudreau’s own personal and professional identity were shaped by his many friends, colleagues, and collaborators.

Dr. Boudreau (left) is pictured at the Institute of Health Sciences Education alongside Dr. Richard Cruess, former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gold Foundation for Humanistic Healthcare, Canada.

“I endorse the view of the early Confucians in their philosophy regarding the nature of personhood: ‘There can be no ‘me’ in isolation, to be considered abstractly. I am the totality of roles I live in relation to specific others.’ They certainly got that right,” he explained.

Having recently retired from clinical work, Dr. Boudreau now devotes his time to promoting humanism in medicine through scholarship, leadership, and collaborations abroad. He has been an Adjunct Professor at The University of Notre Dame Australia, a consultant on curricular reform at Tsinghua University in Beijing and the United Arab Emirates University, and an educational consultant on an international expert panel at the University of Bergen in Norway.

Dr. Boudreau has authored or co-authored approximately 70 peer-reviewed articles or book chapters about undergraduate medical education. He focuses his research on professionalism, professional identity formation, and the humanities in medicine. Dr. Boudreau is the senior author of Physicianship and the Rebirth of Medical Education, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. His current research interests revolve around clinical wisdom, which is also known as phronesis.

In the award nomination materials for Dr. Boudreau, Lesley K. Fellows, MD, CM, DPhil, Vice-Principal of Health Affairs and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, stated, “Dr. Boudreau works with students, faculty and staff to understand the threats to the humanistic learning and working environments we strive for. He brings both his theoretical understanding of the issues and the pragmatic wisdom of a senior clinician and administrator to this important role…Dr. Boudreau’s career is truly exceptional. As a physician, leader, educator and scholar, he has not only promoted humanism but role-modelled how it must guide us in our work.”

In agreement on Dr. Boudreau’s influence, Abraham Fuks, MD, CM, a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pathology and Oncology at McGill University and the past Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, cited Dr. Boudreau as an “innovative leader in curriculum reform,” an avid researcher, a model teacher and clinician, and a humanist at his core.

Learn more about the AFMC-Gold Award and Lecture, the Gold Foundationand AFMC.

Irene Zampetoulas, MPA

Communications Associate

Supports the Foundation's marketing and communications initiatives, including writing stories, updating social media, crafting our messages, and more.