On January 31, 2019, Dr. Juhn Wada, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences was inducted into the Hall of Honor at Vancouver General Hospital. This initiative began last year headed by Dr. Eric Yoshida and his organizing committee to recognize and honor exceptional leadership, clinical and academic service that has profoundly benefitted the residents of British Columbia and brought great distinction to VGH and UBC. Dr. Brenda Kosaka, Neuropsychiatry, was the nominator.
Dr. Wada was born in Tokyo in 1924 and studied medicine at the Hokkaido Imperial University in Sapporo. An outstanding student, Dr. Wada graduated in medicine in 1946 and became a Dr. of Medical Science in 1951. He established a brain surgical unit in 1950 that later evolved into the Department of Neurosurgery. He was an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at Hokkaido, after which he studied in at the University of Minnesota in the Montréal Neurological Institute before settling at UBC in 1956. He became a Canadian citizen in 1961.
From 1966 to 1994, Dr. Wada was an associate of the Medical Research Council of Canada.
The Wada test remains the gold standard for establishing cerebral dominance and is conducted worldwide prior to epilepsy surgery. Dr. Wada established the first Seizure Investigation Unit in 1979 and the Epilepsy Surgical program at UBC Hospital, which served patients across Western Canada. He was an attending neurologist at VGH and UBC and served as a director of the EEG department at UBC Hospital from 1969 to 1994. He was the director the Seizure Investigation Unit from 1980 to 1994.
Dr. Wada was the founding president of the Canadian League Against Epilepsy from 1977 to 1979, the president of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society in 1985 and the president of the American Epilepsy Society in 1989. Among his numerous awards, Dr. Wada has received the Herbert Jasper award, the William G Lennox award, and the lifetime achievement award from the International League Against Epilepsy and International Bureau for Epilepsy. Dr. Wada was awarded the Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and, in 2012, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal. He also received the Order of Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star from the Emperor and Empress of Japan in 1995. Dr. Wada has published 11 books and 323 papers on human brain asymmetry, the neurobiology of epilepsy and kindling. He continues to write and publish to this day