2015 Winner

Dr. Melissa Lem (BSc 2001 UC) (MD 2005 Ottawa)

Toronto-based family physician, health educator, and media personality Melissa Lem studied human biology at UC, then attended medical school in Ottawa. Upon graduation, she worked in emergency medicine, obstetrics, and acute care at Wrinch Memorial Hospital in northern British Columbia. Well-loved by patients and staff alike, she was named chief of staff during her second year of work there, and introduced educational rounds by First Nations elders to integrate traditional knowledge into the delivery of care to the local community.

Returning to Toronto, she established a health practice for U of T students and gained a faculty position in the Department of Family and Community Health at U of T. Responding to an ad for a “fun, fearless, female MD,” Lem became the resident medical expert on the CBC's former national lifestyle show, Steven and Chris, from 2011 to 2015. She can also sometimes be found playing a physician and other roles in films, including a principal role in Suicide Squad, which shot in Toronto in summer 2015.

A lifelong nature enthusiast, Lem’s writings on health and the environment have been featured by the CBC, Evergreen, and the David Suzuki Foundation. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and an advisor to EcoHealth Ontario.  She also volunteers as a house doctor for the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada.