YORK PROFESSORS AWARDED ROYAL SOCIETY OF CANADA MEDALS FOR 'EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENT'
TORONTO, August 29, 1997 -- Three York University professors have been awarded top honours by the Royal Society of Canada.
Psychology professor Dr. Norman S. Endler received the Innis-Gerin Medal for his "distinguished and sustained" contribution to the social sciences. Dr. David M. Regan, also from the Department of Psychology, has been awarded the Sir John William Dawson Medal for "important and sustained contribution in at least two different domains." And Dr. Georgina Feldberg, Director of York's Centre for Health Studies, won the Jason A. Hannah Medal for "an important Canadian publication in the history of medicine."
The Royal Society of Canada is the senior national organization of distinguished Canadian scientists and scholars. This year, after a lengthy nomination and selection process, the Society named 12 medallists and award winners, chosen for extraordinary achievements in the social sciences, humanities, and pure and applied sciences.
The psychology department at York did particularly well in this year's selection process. "Normally, there are only two Royal Society Medals available to psychologists. It is truly remarkable that both medals should come to the same department in the same year," said Sandra Pyke, Chair of the Department of Psychology.
Endler received his award for his research into personality and social psychology, and particularly his work in the area of stress, anxiety and coping. During a distinguished career looking at factors that contribute to our stress and anxiety, he has found that we cope with stress in three ways: by reacting emotionally; by being task-oriented copers; or by avoiding the situation. Endler has recently been researching how we cope with illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. The Royal Society's citation for Endler said that his work "has contributed to a better understanding of human nature." Earlier this year, Endler was awarded the Donald O. Hebb Award, the highest honour of the Canadian Psychological Association.
Regan's award-winning research focuses on visual and auditory perception, and the human brain. His extensive work has covered topics such as depth vision, motion, colour and speech perception, vision in aviation and driving, and eye movements. He is also an international leader in the field of brain electrophysiology -- recording electrical signals from the human brain to see how various parts of the brain function.
"He has long been noted for the prolific generation of original ideas and technical innovation in human biology, psychology, medicine, and public safety," Regan's citation from the Royal Society reads. Throughout his 40-year career, Regan has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Prentice Medal, the highest honour of the American Academy of Optometry.
Feldberg is a social scientist whose medal from the Royal Society recognizes her book, Disease and Class: Tuberculosis and the Shaping of Modern North American Society (published in 1995). Her historical look at how middle-class values influenced tuberculosis treatment is particularly relevant in light of the recent resurgence of drug-resistant strains of TB in the wake of AIDS.
In her book, Feldberg writes that American physicians in the 1930s viewed TB, the conditions that fostered it, and the kind of people who got it as a direct threat to their own middle-class values, institutions and prosperity. As a result, the American medical establishment did not use the vaccine widely used in Canada and Europe, but rather treated TB with long-term medications and urged prevention through improved hygiene. Feldberg's book examines how the interplay of disease, class and the practice of medicine can have unexpected consequences for the health of nations.
Endler, Regan and Feldberg's outstanding achievements will be formally recognized by the Royal Society of Canada in an awards banquet on November 21, 1997.
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