Med Gala expands awards to honour Prince Albert healthcare professionals

Drs. Tilak and Lalita Malhotra will be recognized with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare at the Med Gala on Saturday, April 27. The evening will also see two new awards presented for the first time. -- Submitted photo.

The Boreal Healthcare Foundation will honour a pair of familiar faces while also recognizing healthcare providers in two new award categories when they meet for the Med Gala on Saturday.

Dr. Lalita Malhotra, and her late husband Dr. Tilak Malhotra, will be recognized with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare, an honour carried over from the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s Doctor’s Gala. The foundation will also honour Tammy Gillis with the Nursing Excellence Award, and Parkland Ambulance the Collaborative Care Award. Both awards will be handed out for the first time on Saturday.

Boreal Healthcare Foundation CEO Cody Barnett said the gala has always honoured doctors, but the foundation wanted to do something for the rest of Prince Albert’s healthcare professionals and partners.

“Our healthcare system is really complex and there are a lot of people who contribute to the great level of care that’s provided,” Barnett explained. “We wanted to be able to recognize more staff. That’s not to say the doctors themselves don’t do a great job, but they’d be the first ones to tell you they don’t do it alone.”

The Malhotra’s moved to Prince Albert in the 1970s and quickly became pillars in the medical community. An obstetrician gynecologist, Lalita became known for her work delivering babies in northern communities. Those efforts were recognized in 2022 when the Victoria Hospital’s new neo-natal intensive care unit was named in her honour.

Tilak was Prince Albert’s first Paediatrician, and the first Saskatchewan Paediatrician asked to participate on the Canadian Paediatrics Society national board. He passed away in July 2017.

“The two of them worked tirelessly for decades at the hospital and in the community,” Barnett said. “As a couple, they’ve also made some incredible donations to various projects in the City and have really made Prince Albert their home just through their work and then through their philanthropy.”

Gillis serves as the nursing unit manager in the Victoria Hospital’s emergency department. Barnett described her as an incredible nurse and manager whose leadership was instrumental during the pandemic. He also credited Gillis for the teaching she does, and her efforts to train the next generation of nurses.

“She’s absolutely a delight working in one of the busiest ERs in the province,” Barnett said. “(She’s) one of those incredible healthcare professionals that we couldn’t picture our healthcare system working without her.”

Parkland Ambulance celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and Barnett said the foundation was impressed with the amount of work they do in the community. He said Parkland paramedics are well known for responding when someone needs emergency medical care, but he also emphasized the role they play in non-emergency situations.

“They bring patients into the hospital or transport patients for special need services between our hospital and different facilities. They are incredible partners to work with. Their staff do a lot of community service and education outside their really impressive workload as emergency responders,” Barnett said.

Funds raised from Saturday’s Gala will be put in the foundation’s general fund. Barnett said most of the money from that fund is going towards the new Victoria Hospital project.

The 2024 Med Gala will be held at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre. Last year’s gala raised $118,130.