June 27, 2019 - Congratulations to Dr. David Spence, BA’65, MD’70, who has been appointed to the Order of Canada along with 83 outstanding individuals from across the country.
One of Canada’s highest honours, it recognizes trailblazers who have enriched the lives of others and made a difference to the country.
Dr. Spence is a professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a Scientist at Robarts Research Institute. He is best known for pioneering the use of ultrasound technology for predicting cardiovascular risk, identifying new causes of atherosclerosis, measuring effects of therapy, and treating arteries to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
“This means a great deal to me,” he said. “For many years I have been more recognized internationally than in Canada; it is very gratifying to be so honoured by my own country.”
His career spanning work in atherosclerosis and stroke prevention has been ground-breaking, touching the lives of many patients. He is quick to point out that none of this has been done in isolation, and credits the work of a dedicated team for this recognition.
“I felt very happy that the work done with my colleagues at SPARC and at the Robarts Research Institute over the past 25 years has been recognized. Much of our work on atherosclerosis, with Dr. Dan Hackam and others, is based on measurements of carotid plaque burden made by our two outstanding and dedicated ultrasound technologists, Maria DiCicco RVT and Janine DesRoches,” he said.
Dicicco and DesRosches have measured carotid plaque more than 50,000 times in over 14,000 patients. Collaborators Aaron Fenster, PhD, and Grace Parraga, PhD, both Robarts scientists have worked with Spence to develop these 3D ultrasound techniques.
With a full career of accomplishments already under his belt, Dr. Spence continues to look for new ways to improve the lives of patients.
Next, Dr. Spence is working with collaborators to further in investigate how changing the intestinal microbiome effects atherosclerosis and is looking at the effects of treating arteries instead of treating risk factors on prevention of dementia.
Since its creation in 1967 more than 7,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order.