Nov. 22, 2022

Abhay Lodha honoured as Immigrant of Distinction in STEM

2022 Immigrant of Distinction recipients include several with ties to UCalgary
Abhay Lodha
Abhay Lodha Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

A trailblazing research leader with a legacy of discoveries improving outcomes for babies born pre-term has been named the 2022 Immigrant of Distinction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Dr. Abhay Lodha, MD, leads research teams that have identified how premature babies' developing brains benefit from caffeine therapy and that delayed umbilical cord clamping can improve a range of health outcomes for preemies.

Lodha was born in India, where he completed medical school and his residency, before further training in Australia, and eventually arriving in Canada in 2000. He started at the University of Calgary in 2005.

“I was surprised by this honour to be honest. STEM is a diverse, broad category and there are so many worthy Calgarians innovating in the field. Receiving this means a lot to me and my family,” Lodha says. “The honour is a tribute to the newborn babies and families who make the decision to participate in the research and improve lives.

“I also work every day with incredibly innovative researchers at UCalgary and beyond,” he adds. “I am deeply thankful for their commitment to research excellence and collaboration. This recognition belongs to them, too.”

Abhay Lodha

Pictured in 2018, Abhay Lodha led a study that shows the earlier the dose of caffeine to premature babies born under 29 weeks, the better. Avril Strachan’s baby, Anna, was given caffeine to help her breathe and boost lung function.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

“I want to congratulate Dr. Abhay Lodha, MD. It is such a privilege to work with outstanding colleagues like Dr. Lodha,” says Dr. Malinda Smith, UCalgary vice-provost (equity, diversity and inclusion).

“Dr. Lodha's research advances a more equitable and inclusive STEM and research ecosystem. It is also an exemplary instance of the many ways in which the University of Calgary is a magnet for top talent from the world over who fuel our institutional excellence and drive research innovation in health equity and for the betterment of our society and world."

Lodha is immersed in STEM leadership and research internationally, serving as scientific chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, for a district covering Alberta, B.C. and several western U.S. states. He is also director of the Canadian Neonatal Foundation.

Lodha is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, and a fellow in paediatrics at institutions in India, U.S. and the United Kingdom. He was named a member of the American Pediatrics Society in 2022, a prestigious honour among child health leaders internationally. He also chaired the Douglas K. Richardson Lifetime Research Award Committee of the Society of Pediatric Research for three years.

I am excited by and focused on the potential for future discoveries in the field of STEM. There is still much work to be done, especially when it comes to improving health outcomes of babies born in sometimes-challenging circumstances.

Other 2022 Immigrant of Distinction Award recipients with ties to UCalgary include:

  • Dr. Evelyn Jain (Lifetime Achievement Award) – BSc'84, MD'87, physician and clinical assistant professor at the CSM
  • Bhanvi Sachdeva (Youth Achievement) – Third-year UCalgary student in neuroscience and gender studies
  • Elena Mitevska (Youth Achievement) – Second-year UCalgary student in undergraduate medical education
  • Action Dignity Society (Organizational Diversity): Dr. Francis Boakye, PhD'09 executive director of the organization and a sessional instructor with the Faculty of Social Work

The 25th annual Immigrants of Distinction awards ceremony was hosted by Immigrant Services Calgary on Nov. 3, 2022. Full list of award recipients.

Abhay Lodha is a neonatologist and professor in the departments of Paediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) and a member of the CSM’s Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

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