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Dr. Philip Berger Named to Order of Canada

Longtime St. Michael’s physician, educator and public health advocate Dr. Philip B. Berger was named as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Longtime St. Michael’s physician, educator and public health advocate Dr. Philip B. Berger was named as an Officer of the Order of Canada last week, in recognition of his “longstanding efforts to bring the social determinants of health to the forefront of medical care and strong advocacy on behalf of vulnerable patients.”

Dr. Berger was chief of St. Michael’s Department of Family and Community Medicine from 1997-2013, and currently serves as vice-chair of St. Michael’s Research Ethics Board, chair of Inner City Health Associates and associate professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Over his four-decade career, Dr. Berger has been a thorn in the side of government bureaucracy, an inspiration for generations of doctors and a tireless advocate for those experiencing disadvantage. He pioneered HIV/AIDS care in Toronto and pushed to establish methadone clinics, needle exchange programs and health care for refugees and homeless populations. More recently, Dr. Berger, who’s also a member of the Canadian Medical Association Hall of Fame, co-founded the gun control advocacy group Doctors for Protection from Guns.

“For my family, friends and colleagues and for those with whom I have fought alongside during many political battles, I hope that the recognition provides a moment of satisfaction and respite from the pandemic,” Dr. Berger says. “We all need an occasional breather from the despair of COVID, and for that reason alone the award is worth it.”

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