More accolades for B.C.’s provincial health officer.

Dr. Bonnie Henry is the recipient of the 2020 Icon Award, part of the YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards. 

Selected internally by the YWCA, it recognizes an extraordinary woman for her achievements throughout her lifetime.

“As a leader, role model and mentor, the Icon Award recipient has made a significant and sustained difference over the span of her lifetime in the community on a local, provincial and/or national level,” YWCA said. 

“She demonstrates a track record of excellence and is an inspiration to others in her field. She encapsulates the spirit of women’s equality and her actions exemplify resilience, passion, determination, honour, loyalty, kindness, grace and generosity.”

Dr. Henry is the third recipient of the Icon Award after May Brown and the Right Honourable Kim Campbell.  

As B.C.’s top doctor, the first woman to hold this post, Dr. Henry has been leading the province’s COVID-19 response. 

According to the YWCA, she has been praised for her calm and informative approach in mitigating the transmission of the virus and her “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe” message has guided citizens of B.C. to work together in the face of the pandemic.  

Dr. Henry is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine. 

She is the past chair of Immunize Canada and a member of the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the National Infection Control Guidelines Steering Committee. 

In her career, Dr. Henry has been actively involved in a wide variety of large-scale public health crises both in Canada and internationally. 

These challenges include:

  •  supporting the WHO/UNICEF polio eradication program in Pakistan in 2000; 
  • working with the WHO to control the Ebola outbreak in Uganda in 2001; 
  • leading the operational response to the SARS outbreak in Toronto in 2003; 
  • and responding to pandemic H1N1 influenza in 2009. She is the author of “Soap and Water and Common Sense,” a guide to staying healthy in a microbe filled world.  

Dr. Henry is also tackling the opioid overdose crisis. 

“Under her supervision, BC is taking the lead on new approaches to prevention, treatment and harm reduction services: addressing underlying causes of drug use, promoting supervised consumption and encouraging drug checking of unregulated, highly toxic drug supplies,” the YWCA said.  

Speaking on the award, Dr. Henry says: “It is an honour to be the recipient of this unusual year’s Icon Award. I am humbled to be included amongst the previous recipients; women who have overcome adversity, challenged convention, and shown unwavering passion, commitment and leadership. I am committed to continuing to do my best to have a positive impact. Thank you to the YWCA for this award.”

The Women of Distinction Awards is the YWCA’s premier fundraising event and Scotiabank has been the sponsor for 10 years. 

The event honours extraordinary women leaders and workplaces, while raising funds for YWCA programs and services designed to improve the lives of thousands of people each year across Metro Vancouver.