Alumni Awards



Lorne B. Warneke, ’63 BSc(HonsCert), ’67 MD

Lorne Warneke is not only a psychiatrist, but also a clinician, teacher and advocate for the rights of LGBTQ individuals. His life has been devoted to promoting the well-being of others. In 1984, he convinced Alberta Health to pay for gender reassignment surgeries. He was one of many who lobbied the provincial government to change Alberta human rights legislation to include sexual orientation as a protected area. In 1996, Warneke opened a gender clinic in the outpatient department of psychiatry at the Grey Nuns Hospital. He has promoted the teaching of human sexuality, including gender issues and identity, to medical undergraduates in the psychiatric residency program at the U of A, and as part of the Human Sexuality Course at Grant MacEwan University. In 2010, he successfully lobbied to have Alberta Motor Vehicles legislation changed to give transgendered individuals the right to change the gender marker on their driver’s licences. In 2015, he was part of a group that lobbied to have the regulations changed to allow transgender people to change the gender marker on their birth certificates without the need to have surgery beforehand. Warneke is also recognized internationally for his work on the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder and has published papers in this area. He has fought tirelessly against the stigma associated with mental illness and is a champion for gender rights. 

William Patton, ’86 BMedSc, ’88 MD

When William Patton looks at the word “doctor,” he sees its Latin root: docére, which means to teach. Patton works and teaches at the University of Alberta Hospital on the Acute Care Emergency Surgery Service and is an associate clinical professor of surgery. He also has experience saving lives in war zones, having enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 2000, and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He completed a tour of the Golan Heights with UN peacekeeping forces in 2004, then deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 as the officer commanding the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar. In his time there, his NATO combat hospital was the busiest trauma centre in the world and had the highest survival rate ever recorded for victims of war. Despite teaching and running a busy civilian practice, Patton is an active reservist, who has provided aid in Haiti, in southern Alberta during the 2013 floods and in Canada’s High Arctic. He received the John McRae Memorial Medal from the Canadian Medical Association in 2016 for exemplary service.  

 Nicole Cardinal, ’12 MD

Nicole Cardinal goes beyond her clinical role as a doctor at the Saddle Lake Health and Wellness Centre to improve the physical and emotional health of her community. Cardinal buys and delivers fresh food to community members through her Health Food Box program. She also presents on health and prevention, and at community diabetes conferences. She accomplishes all this while working as a visiting doctor in rural Alberta communities. Cardinal further contributes to Indigenous health by working with Alberta Health Services through its Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network. One of Cardinal’s newest ideas could offer medical students a rare opportunity to experience rural living conditions while learning how to provide health care to Indigenous peoples. She is working to create an elective for first- and second-year medical students that would have them work at the Saddle Lake health clinic for month-long intensives. The initiative would not only help the community and students, but would also align with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for improved medical education in Canada.        

David D. Otto, ’86 BMedSc, ’88 MD

David Otto grew up playing hockey in Edmonton during the 1980s, and, like many kids, he imagined playing for the Edmonton Oilers. It was his gift in the operating room, however, that landed him in the National Hockey League. He was a member of the Golden Bears hockey team from 1983-88, which won conference championships in 1984 and 1985 and a national championship in 1986. Otto also took home a bronze medal while representing Canada at the 1987 World University Games in Czechoslovakia. He is ranked in the top 20 in Golden Bears program history in games played, assists and points. Otto is one of the most renowned orthopedic surgeons in Canada, a position that landed him a spot as part of the Edmonton Oilers medical team. He is also surgical director at the University of Alberta Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic and associate clinical professor in the Division of Orthopedic Surgery.