On May 22, 2019, the venerable Dr. Phil Gold, the Douglas G. Cameron Professor of Medicine and Professor of Physiology and Oncology at McGill University, received an honorary doctorate from the University of British Columbia (UBC) during their convocation ceremony, recognizing his “extraordinary contributions as a physician, teacher, leader and humanitarian.”
“It’s always a great honour to be recognized by your colleagues,” says Dr. Gold of this latest recognition of his extraordinary career. “And it was an opportunity, in speaking to the medical graduates, to underscore the fact that although we live in an age of rapid change in Medicine, some things should remain the same. These include listening carefully to what the patient has to say, always providing comfort, and never removing hope. The doctor’s role is to manifest menschlichkeit, the humanity that encompasses altruism, compassion and commitment.”
Dr. Gold obtained his BSc in Honours Physiology in 1957 and his MDCM and an MSc degree in Physiology in 1961, all at McGill. From 1963 to 1965 he spent time in the laboratories of the McGill University Medical Clinic of The Montreal General Hospital (now the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute) obtaining a PhD. Dr. Gold’s co-discovery of the Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), along with the description of alpha-fetoprotein at about the same time, ushered in the modern era of human tumour marker research along with the broad ramifications that this work has had over the past five decades. He has served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at McGill and Physician-in-Chief at the Montreal General Hospital. He is presently the Executive Director of the Clinical Research Centre of the McGill University Health Centre.
Dr. Gold is a passionate educator, a trait highlighted by UBC in their citation. “He is also an inspirational teacher. It has been said that his love for teaching, combined with his passion for medicine and science, has drawn universal admiration from his students. He has been instrumental in establishing national programs aimed at inspiring the next generation of clinician-scientists, and he has raised extraordinary sums of money for the McGill medical community.”
In addition to this most recent honour, Dr. Gold has been elected to numerous prestigious organizations and has been the recipient of such outstanding awards as the Gairdner Foundation Annual International Award (1978), the Isaak Walton Killam Award in Medicine of the Canada Council (1985), the National Cancer Institute of Canada R.M. Taylor Medal (1992), the Heath Medal of the MD Anderson Hospital (1980), the Inaugural Ernest C. Manning Foundation Award (1982), the Johann-Georg-Zimmerman Prize for Cancer Research (1978), Medizinische Hochschule, Germany (1978), the Award of the Academy of International Dental Studies (1984), and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal (2002). In 2006, the Phil Gold Chair in Medicine was inaugurated at McGill University, and the first incumbent was selected in 2009. Dr. Gold was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2010. He received the Life Time Achievement Award from McGill University in October 2011 and the McGill University’s Gerald Bronfman Center Lifetime Achievement Award, Department of Oncology in November 2012. Dr. Gold is an Honorary Member of the Golden Key Chapter of McGill, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award in 2012 and the Prix du Québec, Prix Wilder-Penfield in November 2013. In 2017 he was selected to participate in the Einstein Legacy Project, an ambitious global initiative to inspire the next generation of brilliant minds and bring fresh thinking to the problems facing our planet. Dr. Gold has previously received honorary doctorates from McMaster University in 1986 and from Queen’s University in 2018.
Dr. Gold has also been elected to membership in the Royal Society of Canada, the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the Association of American Physicians (AAP), and Mastership in the American College of Physicians. His outstanding contributions to teaching have been recognized by an award as a Teacher of Distinction from the Faculty of Medicine. He has been honoured by his country, his province his city, and his university by appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada, an Officer of l’Ordre National du Québec, a member of the Academy of Great Montrealers; and a recipient of the Gold Medal of the McGill University Graduate Society, respectively.
Congratulations Dr. Gold!
June 7, 2019