He repaired the world: the loss of a medical giant

Leave a comment

 

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.

 

N

More:

Second annual presentation of D’Arcy McGee Citizenship Medals

Leave a comment

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.

The ‘leading Jew in Canada’ born 148 years ago today

Leave a comment

Sir Mortimer B. Davis

Sir Mortimer B. Davis

Mortimer Barnett Davis was born into a family of Jewish immigrants in Montreal on February 6, 1866. His father had settled there around 1861 and had soon made his mark as one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the metropolis.

Mortimer Barnett grew up in affluent surroundings. His bar mitzvah in 1879 was held at the Spanish and Portuguese congregation. After studying at the High School of Montreal, around 1880 he followed his elder brothers into the family firm.

His family name has touched the lives of millions of North Americans as the “Tobacco King” made his mark and his fortune. Also, he impacted hundreds of thousands of Montrealers in the last half century. The old Davis Y on Kellert Ave in Cote Saint-Luc, the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research are three major examples of Sir Mortimer’s enduring and powerful family name.

Read more

Man arrested in Côte St-Luc standoff has dementia: lawyer

Leave a comment

BY CHARLIE FIDELMAN, GAZETTE HEALTH REPORTER AUGUST 2, 2013

That a collection of 180 long guns, bayonets and other weapons were left in the hands of an elderly man whose mental abilities have been declining for some time is alarming, a Montreal expert in aging said Thursday.

Côte St-Luc resident Isidore Havis, 71, who held police at bay for 20 hours before being taken into custody by police Wednesday morning, has been suffering from dementia, his lawyer Jeffrey Boro told The Gazette. “It has got a lot worse recently.”

Police discovered a large collection of firearms registered to the Guelph Ave. home only once the siege had ended.

Described by neighbours as hostile and confrontational, Havis had barricaded himself inside the house after Hydro-Québec workers tried to carry out work on his property.

“It is an unfortunate situation that escalated out of control with terrible consequences, both for (his) family and the police,” Boro said.

The standoff in Côte St-Luc ended after Havis was shot with two rubber bullets; one police officer suffered minor injuries.

However, Havis’s mental decline was already evident as far back as 2008, during an arrest of his son at the house on child pornography-related charges. The elder Havis attempted to interfere with his son’s arrest. Court records show that police described the elder Havis as acting “disoriented” at the time.

Three years ago, a 90-year-old Australian woman with advanced vascular dementia beat her husband, 98, to death in their apartment with a desk lamp, flowerpot and a walking stick.

But extreme acts of violence are rare in people with dementia, said McGill University professor and neurologist Howard Chertow.

Less serious aggressive behaviour is more common, and it’s usually directed against people closest to them, their caregivers. More often, the elderly sufferers of dementia are themselves victims of abuse, emotional or financial, and are easy prey for fraud and telemarketing scams, Chertow said

The aging population is especially prone to a number of neurological conditions such as dementia, and the condition is not simply a matter of memory loss. Dementia can produce psychiatric symptoms, usually depression and apathy, but also paranoia and violence — and these symptoms are made worse by memory loss, said Chertow, who is also director of the aging research axis at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital.

“Someone previously calm and polite can become aggressive, agitated and anxious,” Chertow said. “They can’t find something in the home became they can’t remember where they put it. They become paranoid that they’re being robbed, they fear the neighbours and barricade themselves at home.”

There may also be changes in perception, he added. “One patient saw a stranger when she looked in the mirror and became frightened of the stranger in her home.”

The science of violent behaviour is not clearly understood, but research suggests that the frontal lobes of the brain which are responsible for social control are deteriorating. Inappropriate behaviour may suggest the early stages of dementia, Chertow said.

Doctors and family members of those affected by dementia must consider a series of issues, Chertow said, for example, can the person live alone, drive a car, cook a meal or handle money?

“Clearly someone with cognitive impairment should not have any access to weapons,” he said. “These are basic safety issues.”

Incidents of dementia sufferers burning down their homes after trying to cook, wandering off and dying in snowbanks, or having driving or firearm accidents — “all that reflect that somehow the system didn’t work.”

Nona Moscovitz, responsible for mental health and addiction services at CSSS Cavendish community health agency, said that people are reticent to discuss any type of violence including family, conjugal or elder abuse.

“They may feel there are risks involved and they’re protecting a family member because if it’s brought out, steps might be taken to remove the individual,” Moscovitz said. “It’s a tough topic. And violence can be unpredictable.”

cfidelman@montrealgazette.com

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette