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Gold-Headed Cane Award 2021 Recipients

Recognizing Professionalism & Leadership

The College’s Gold-Headed Cane Award recognizes an outstanding Nova Scotia physician who exemplifies professionalism in service to patients, the profession, and the community. It is awarded as part of a co-sponsored Gold-Headed Cane ceremony in partnership with the Humanities in Medicine Program at Dalhousie University Medical School.

The College is pleased to announce Dr. Volodko BakowskyDr. Lisa BarrettDr. Heather Scott, and Dr. Deborah Straub as the recipients of its 2021 Gold-Headed Cane Award.

Read more about the recipients in our 2021 Annual Report.

About the Gold-Headed Cane

The Gold-Headed Cane Award recalls the 18th-century practice of presenting a gold-headed cane to the preeminent physician in English society of the day. The association of the cane with physicians and the art of healing is rooted solidly in ancient medicine.  

Dr. Merv Shaw designed and crafted the cane given to award recipients. He incorporated the Assyrian symbol of healing – the pine cone – and the hand holding it, to create a distinctive head for the cane. Also being a talented woodworker, Dr. Shaw carved a shaft from native Nova Scotia maple, coiling the wooden snake around it. The snake recalls the Rod of Asclepius, long recognized as the symbol of medicine and healing.