Alumna of the Year

Dr. Lisa Barrett (B.Sc.(Hons.)'98, MD'05, PhD'09) holds a bachelor of science in biology, a doctor of medicine and a doctor of philosophy in medicine from Memorial. She completed an internal medicine residency at Dalhousie from 2005 - 2009 and an adult infectious disease fellowship at the University of Toronto from 2009 - 2011. Her post-doctoral and clinician scientist training took place at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she was the immunologic lead on several early phase clinical trials.

After enrolling at Memorial, Dr. Barrett quickly excelled in her undergraduate studies and started on her path to become a community leader, serving as president of the Undergraduate Biology Student Society and subsequently president of the Medical Students' Society. Her undergraduate work in immunology exposed her to research, but when she enrolled in the MD program, she became passionate about continuing scientific work. Given there was no option to study both at the time, she helped create and then became the first student enrolled in the joint MD-PdD program at Memorial. She published three first author and five middle author peer-reviewed manuscripts from her PhD research, all of which have had considerable impact in the field of chronic viral infection. 

Dr. Barrett has left a legacy of selflessness.

Her clinical and research work has resulted in several recognitions and awards, most notably Science Champion, The Discovery Centre (2021), Doctors Nova Scotia Physician Health Promotion Award, Doctors Nova Scotia (2020), Dr. John Savage Memorial Award for Faculty Leadership in Global Health, Dalhousie University (2020), Dr. John Savage Memorial Award for Faculty Leadership in Global Health, Dalhousie University (2020), Department of Medicine Research Excellence Award, Dalhousie (2019) and Merit Award, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (2014). Time and time again, she works to improve the health of individuals living with chronic viral infections (HIV and HCV), vulnerable populations including the elderly, persons who use drugs, incarcerated and underhoused individuals and those with other chronic conditions that threaten wellness. 

During the pandemic, she was a trusted and reliable media spokesperson for the science behind public health policies put in place to limit the pandemic. Working at ground level, she envisioned and developed the frequent community-based pop-up rapid COVID testing centres in and around Halifax by recruiting volunteers from the community and training them to swab for the virus. Her advocacy for testing asymptomatic persons is credited with helping Nova Scotia maintain lower COVID-19 infection levels through multiple waves. She is also leading large studies of vaccine responsiveness in long-term care home residents and treatments for hospitalized individuals. 

She maintains strong ties to Memorial and her home province through collaboration with researchers on immunology, public health and advocacy efforts. She has started discussions on her Hepatitis C elimination strategy in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as supported the COVID-19 response. She has frequently reached out to public health officers and government officials, offering to share resources and collaborate on solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. 

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