• Dr Bonnie Henry - YWCA Women of Distinction Awards 2020 - Icon Award

2020 Women of Distinction Awards presented by Scotiabank – Announcing the Icon Award

The YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards presented by Scotiabank is thrilled to announce BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, MD MPH FRCPC, as the recipient of the 2020 Icon Award. Selected internally by the YWCA, the Icon Award recognizes an extraordinary woman for her achievements throughout her lifetime.

As a leader, role model and mentor, the Icon Award recipient has made a significant and sustained difference over the span of her lifetime in the community on a local, provincial and/or national level. She demonstrates a track record of excellence and is an inspiration to others in her field. She encapsulates the spirit of women’s equality and her actions exemplify resilience, passion, determination, honour, loyalty, kindness, grace and generosity. Dr. Henry is the third recipient of the Icon Award after May Brown and the Right Honourable Kim Campbell.  

Dr. Henry has become a household name across Canada. As BC's top public health officer, the first woman to hold this post, Dr. Henry has been leading the province's COVID-19 response. She has been praised for her calm and informative approach in mitigating the transmission of the virus and her "Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe" message has guided citizens of BC to work together in the face of the pandemic.  

That Dr. Henry has become one of the most effective public health officials in the world should come as no surprise. Dr. Henry is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine. She is the past chair of Immunize Canada and a member of the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the National Infection Control Guidelines Steering Committee. In her career, Dr. Henry has been actively involved in a wide variety of large-scale public health crises both in Canada and internationally. These challenges include supporting the WHO/UNICEF polio eradication program in Pakistan in 2000; working with the WHO to control the Ebola outbreak in Uganda in 2001; leading the operational response to the SARS outbreak in Toronto in 2003; and responding to pandemic H1N1 influenza in 2009. She is the author of “Soap and Water and Common Sense,” a guide to staying healthy in a microbe filled world.  

Dr. Henry is also tackling one of the biggest and deadliest public health challenges facing British Columbians: the opioid overdose crisis. Under her supervision, BC is taking the lead on new approaches to prevention, treatment and harm reduction services: addressing underlying causes of drug use, promoting supervised consumption and encouraging drug checking of unregulated, highly toxic drug supplies.  

To celebrate Dr. Henry’s many achievements, she will sit down in conversation with Lesly Tayles, Senior Vice President, BC & Yukon Region at Scotiabank. This exclusive interview will cover Dr. Henry’s prestigious career achievements as well as touch on Dr. Henry’s experiences from leading British Columbia through this remarkable time.

Speaking on the award, Dr. Henry says: 

It is an honour to be the recipient of this unusual year’s Icon Award. I am humbled to be included amongst the previous recipients; women who have overcome adversity, challenged convention, and shown unwavering passion, commitment and leadership. I am committed to continuing to do my best to have a positive impact. Thank you to the YWCA for this award.

The Women of Distinction Awards is the YWCA’s premier fundraising event and Scotiabank has now supported as the presenting sponsor for 10 years. The event honours extraordinary women leaders and workplaces, while raising much-needed funds for YWCA programs and services that improve the lives of thousands of people each year across Metro Vancouver.  

YWCA Metro Vancouver CEO Deb Bryant says:  

COVID-19 has greatly impacted the YWCA's Hotel and Health + Fitness Centre - two social enterprises that are critical to funding our programs and services in the community.  

By attending the virtual gala, people will be donating towards YWCA programs and services that improve the lives of thousands of people each year across Metro Vancouver, so for that we say a huge thank you.

Join us for an inspiring evening on September 23rd to pay tribute to the 2020 nominees, 73 outstanding women and five workplaces. We will also announce and celebrate this year’s Awards recipients at the virtual gathering. Tickets are on sale now with a $29 add-on for the exclusive interview with Dr. Henry. 

Banner photo: Dr. Bonnie Henry. Photo courtesy of the Province of B.C.


Who else?? What a wonderful role mode. And then there is the Bonnie Bee as well!

Thank goodness for women like you who care deeply and are a beacon of light fir health in Canada

What a wonderful women. I trust what she says and listen as well. Thank you for all you do we appreciate your hard work :)

I have turned to Dr Henry to hear what she has to say and admire how she communicates her information.. I live in Sask. and still go to her to get the best information in a calm and helpful way. We are lucky in Canada to have this wonderful woman working for all of us. Thank you . She makes me smile.

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