BMJ Group Honours Dr. Evan Wood with a Doctor of the Year Award for Insite Evaluation

Vancouver, March 11, 2010 — One of the world’s leading providers of trusted medical information and services, BMJ Group, today recognized Dr. Evan Wood, a lead researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), for his groundbreaking research in HIV, public health, illicit drug policy and addiction.
BMJ Group, publisher of the BMJ (British Medical Journal), named Dr. Wood as the recipient of its first annual Junior Doctor of the Year honour, which is provided to a physician who is early in their career and has done the most to improve the world we live in or to inspire others.

“I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the people I work with at the BC-CfE, St. Paul’s Hospital and UBC,” said Dr. Wood. “BMJ Group recognizes the important role that research and science can play in shaping society’s response to the illicit drug problem and related concerns. I am humbled by this recognition and would like to thank the colleagues I am honored to work with, the fantastic team of graduate students I am fortunate to supervise, and the participants in our research, who give willingly of their time and experiences.”

Dr. Wood is co-director of the BC-CfE’s Urban Health Research Initiative (UHRI), and early in his career established himself as a leading international authority on evidence-based approaches to address HIV among drug-addicted populations.  Dr. Wood obtained his PhD in epidemiology studying the HIV epidemic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and authored more than 200 publications before the age of 30, including groundbreaking articles in leading medical journals such as BMJ, the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

After completing medical school, Dr. Wood helped establish the UHRI based on peer-reviewed funding obtained from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the US National Institutes of Health. In addition, he has received the Peter Lougheed Award as Canada’s top-ranked new investigator by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

While Dr. Wood has made key contributions to HIV treatment guidelines, his research into HIV prevention strategies for injection drug users has received international recognition.  Dr. Wood is one of the founding principal investigators of Vancouver’s Insite, North America’s only supervised injecting facility. His scientific and peer-reviewed evaluations of Insite have demonstrated that the program reduces overdose deaths, lowers HIV transmission rates, and increases uptake into addiction treatment.  He now serves on the editorial boards of a host of infectious disease and addiction journals and is the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Drug Policy.

“Dr. Wood’s passion for medicine and public health is evident in all the work that he does and the challenges that he takes on,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, Director, BC-CfE.  “He has tackled controversial subjects such as drug addiction with scientific rigour, and has often taken unpopular but scientifically sound positions on hot-button issues.”

“It is ironic that he is being singled out for recognition by one of the world’s foremost medical associations for life-saving work, but the results and recommendations stemming from his scientific evaluations work have been rejected by Stephen Harper’s federal government.”

The BMJ Group selected Dr. Wood for this inaugural award from among more than 100 nominations from Britain and countries as far afield as Sudan, Iraq, Australia and Brazil.

“Dr. Wood has made an exceptional contribution to improving healthcare by using the scientific results of his peer-reviewed research to elevate addiction, drug policy and diseases such as HIV to public health issues rather than criminal justice issues,” said Dr. Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief of the BMJ.

The University of British Columbia is dedicated to undertaking groundbreaking research of importance to Canada and the global community.

“Dr. Wood’s work in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and on facilities such as Insite illustrates the benefits of pursuing innovative and evidence-based approaches to improving treatment for addiction and diseases such as HIV and AIDS,” said John Hepburn, UBC Vice-President Research & International. “UBC is proud to support dedicated and respected researchers such as Dr. Wood who advance knowledge and challenge conventional thinking in these areas.”

The Junior Doctor of the Year award was sponsored by ID Medical, a leading supplier of doctors and nurses to the British National Health Service and the private sector.

About the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS:
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility. The BC-CfE is based at St Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care, and a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. Located in Vancouver, Canada, the BC-CfE is dedicated to improving the health of British Columbians with HIV through the development, monitoring and dissemination of comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related diseases.

About The Urban Health Research Initiative:
The Urban Health Research Initiative (UHRI), established in 2007, is a program of the BC-CfE. UHRI’s mission is to improve the health of individuals and communities through research to inform policy. UHRI research programs are based on a network of studies that have been developed to help identify and understand the many factors that affect the health of urban populations, with a focus on substance use, infectious diseases, the urban environment and homelessness.

About UBC:
The University of British Columbia is one of Canada's largest and most prestigious public research and teaching institutions. UBC is consistently ranked among the world’s 40 best universities, one of only two Canadian universities in this category. UBC consistently attracts more than $450 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.
It is ranked within the top 10 North American universities in terms of the number of U.S. life sciences patents and the quality of activity generated from those patents, including spin-off company creation.

About BMJ Group
BMJ Group is one of the world's leading providers of trusted medical information for healthcare professionals and patients. BMJ Group publishes BMJ (British Medical Journal) and over 30 specialist journals. It also publishes several specialist titles under its Affinity brand, which offer publishing services to professional medical organisations.

The BMJ Evidence Centre publishes Clinical Evidence, Best Health (formerly Best Treatments), Evidence Updates and commissioned evidence reviews.  It also provides point of care and reference tools to health care professionals.

Through BMJ Learning, the Group delivers continuing professional development online modules and exam revision materials, as well as events and workshops for the healthcare profession.

BMJ Group is owned by The British Medical Association. It is editorially independent and the articles and content it publishes do not necessarily reflect BMA policy.