The Department wishes to congratulate Dr. Soma Ganesan, who was recently awarded the 2020 Doctors of BC Silver Medal of Service Award! This award recognizes physicians who have made outstanding contributions to medicine and/or the improvement of British Columbians’ welfare.
A long-serving Clinical Professor in the UBC Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Ganesan has been a pillar and champion of Canadian Cross-Cultural Psychiatry for over three decades. He was highly influential in transforming mental health for immigrants and refugees in BC, developing a cross-cultural psychiatry program in Vancouver thirty years ago, when very few culturally-relevant mental health services were available for our increasingly diverse populations. Also appointed to the Canadian Task Force on Mental Health of Refugees and Immigrants by the Government of Canada, he contributed to an impactful report that resulted in the redefinition of family class of immigrants under Canadian immigration law, and ultimately led to improved services for immigrants and refugees with mental illness. Later, with funding from the Ministry of Health, he conducted an in-depth review of mental health needs for immigrants in BC, which resulted in a report titled “Culture and Health 2000.”
His tireless advocacy continues to this day, reaching many platforms and creating positive impact in the lives of immigrants and refugees needing mental health support. Dr. Ganesan has been actively engaged with MOSAIC BC, a non-profit offering a range of services for immigrant families, and has co-founded VAST, a non-profit group dedicated to refugees and immigrants traumatized by political violence and torture. He has received numerous other awards recognizing not only his professional achievements, but also his many humanitarian and service contributions.
Congratulations again on this well-deserved recognition, Dr. Ganesan!