He repaired the world: the loss of a medical giant

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To those who knew Dr. Mark A. Wainberg, he was an unassuming and genteel character with a sweet yet dry sense of humour. On the one hand, he would hobnob with royalty and world-renowned business and political leaders. On the other hand, when he spoke with you on the streets of Cote Saint-Luc or in the halls of the Jewish General Hospital, he made you feel that you were just as important as those other machers (big shots). And to him, you were.

Dr. Wainberg was at once a man of the people, a man of great faith, a real mentch. It was almost hard to fathom that this same man was responsible for saving the lives of millions of people. In the field of medical sciences he was the equivalent of a rock star.

His work changed the world for millions in Africa, for gays, for women. His activism moved multinationals, and countries. He was a force to be reckoned with.

 

Presentation of the 2016 D'Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal - David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

Presentation of the 2016 D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal – David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

Dr. Wainberg was born in Park Extension and made Cote Saint-Luc his home for more than 30 years. He was head of AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital and director of the McGill University Aids Centre. He served as president of the International AIDS Society and presided over worldwide symposiums.

As an extraordinary individual whose accomplishments encircle the globe, and as someone whom I had befriended for nearly 30 years, I was delighted to be the impetus in nominating Dr. Wainberg for a local award just last year – the D’Arcy McGee citizenship medals from the Quebec National Assembly, presented by MNA David Birnbaum.
“I am very grateful that my research career in the field of HIV/AIDS has helped countless people around the world to live improved lives despite being infected by a dreaded virus,” Dr. Wainberg said at the ceremony in his humble office, where I was honoured to be his sole invitee.
Also last year, I asked my fellow city councillors to award Dr. Wainberg with a special recognition for his humanitarian gesture in donating a Torah scroll in Jerusalem in memory of a young woman, Shira Banki, following her brutal slaying at the 2015 Tel Aviv Pride Parade.

Wainberg 2016 Torah donation

“Your work in the area of AIDS researcher is well-known around the world. Your donation of a restored Torah to the Ethiopian community of Jerusalem is a wonderful act. We are proud of you as a distinguished Côte Saint-Luc resident,” Acting Mayor Dida Berku said at the February 2016 presentation to Dr. Wainberg.

 

Wainberg Council Feb 2016

Cote Saint-Luc Council presents a special recognition award to Dr. Mark Wainberg (Feb. 8, 2016)

When I first ran for city council, I reached out to Dr. Wainberg who was then the president of the TBDJ Congregation on Bailey. His support of my campaign and his warm friendship were unequivocal. He asked for nothing in return, satisfied in helping to build his community, one leader at a time.

Having known Dr. Wainberg for so many years I can attest to his profound sense of healing the world. He was a compassionate and benevolent academic and community leader, well deserving of many honours including the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec and France’s Legion d’honneur.

Glenn J. Nashen and Dr. Mark Wainberg (Oct. 2009)

Dr. Wainberg’s contributions began here, at home, and spread around the globe. The biblical responsibility of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, was a calling Dr. Wainberg took to heart and to which he dedicated his life’s work.

His work will go on. His name will be remembered. May his memory be a blessing.

 

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Second annual presentation of D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medals

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The second annual presentation of the D’Arcy McGee citizenship medals took place last Monday evening at the Cote Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre. This ceremony is the brainchild of D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum who also serves as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Higher Education.

Three winners of this National Assembly medal were recognized for having touched and enriched the lives of riding residents through their community engagement and beyond. The selections were made by a blue-ribbon jury composed of three former D’Arcy McGee MNAs, Justice Herbert Marx, Lawrence S. Bergman and Robert Libman.

David Birnbaum, MNA for D'Arcy McGee

David Birnbaum, MNA for D’Arcy McGee

“I’m privileged to serve a riding population that consistently distinguishes itself by its community involvement, compassion and leadership,” said Mr. Birnbaum. “We are all beneficiaries of this dedication, and I look forward to this formal opportunity to show our recognition to three such individuals.”

This years medal winners are Dr. Mark A. Wainberg, Ian M. Solloway, and Liselotte Ivry.

Presentation of the 2016 D'Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal - David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

Presentation of the 2016 D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal – David Birnbaum, Dr. Mark Wainberg, Glenn J. Nashen

I was very proud to have nominated Dr. Mark Wainberg, an extraordinary individual whose accomplishments encircle the globe. Dr. Wainberg has been a world leader in advancing treatment for, and awareness of AIDS and HIV. His research and collaboration have helped save millions of lives around the world.
Dr. Wainberg was born in Park Extension and has made Cote Saint-Luc his home for more than 30 years. He is currently head of AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital and director of the McGill University Aids Centre. As president of the International AIDS Society, he organized and presided over the watershed 13th International Congress on AIDS in Durban, South Africa in 2000. The courage and determination inherent in the choice of South Africa for the Congress is emblematic of Dr. Wainberg’s character and his contributions. The congress drew unprecedented international attention to the scandalous lack of access to anti-HIV drugs in developing countries.
Dr. Wainberg is also an active member of his synagogue and his community.
“I am delighted to be the recipient of a 2016 D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medal and to share this distinction with two very worthy co-recipients,” said Dr. Wainberg last week at a private medal presentation in his research office owing to the fact that Dr. Wainberg’s duties required him to travel to Kenya this week.
“I am very grateful that my research career in the field of HIV/AIDS has helped countless people around the world to live improved lives despite being infected by a dreaded virus,” Dr. Wainberg added.
Last year the city of CSL awarded Dr. Wainberg with special recognition for his humanitarian gesture in donating a Torah scroll in Jerusalem in memory of a young woman, Shira Banki, following her brutal slaying at the 2015 Tel Aviv Pride Parade.
The ceremony and reception made for a lovely event. Kudos to David’s trusty staff including Elisabeth Prass, Chris Savard and Fran Guttman.
An impressive gathering of family members, friends and community leaders came together including former MNAs, mayors and councillors, a cabinet minister, Anthony Housefather MP along with Mrs. Sheila Goldbloom, wife of the former MNA for D’Arcy McGee, the late Dr. Victor Goldbloom. A talented group of young performers with the Ecole secondaire St-Luc Orchestra entertained the attendees. The refreshments were thoughtfully organized by a caterer that donates one sandwich to the homeless or less fortunate for each one purchased for the event.
Birnbaum Couillard 2016-03

The evening ended with a beautiful message from Premier Philippe Couillard appearing alongside MNA Birnbaum.

 

Congratulations to all the winners.
Read more in Mike Cohen’s blog.