J.H. MacDermot Writing Awards

The British Columbia Medical Journal welcomes submissions from student authors, and awards writing prizes for the best BC med student submissions accepted for print and online publication.

J.H. MacDermot Prize for Excellence in Medical Journalism: Best article or essay
BC medical students are encouraged to submit full-length scientific articles and essay pieces. Each year the BCMJ awards a prize of $1000 for the best article or essay written by a medical student in the province of British Columbia.

J.H. MacDermot Prize for Excellence in Blog Writing: Best blog post
The BCMJ blog features news about local health care innovations, fundraising events, and other timely health care topics. To encourage BC medical students to take their first foray into medical writing, the BCMJ awards an additional writing prize of $250 twice per year to the writer of the best 200- to 400-word blog post accepted for online publication in the preceding 6 months. E-mail blog submissions to journal@doctorsofbc.ca.

By presenting these prizes, the journal hopes to encourage BC medical students to experience the challenges and rewards of medical publishing, to enrich the content of the journal, and to inspire the next generation of authors.

View the J.H. MacDermot Writing Awards terms of reference.

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Dr J.H. MacDermot

Dr John H. MacDermot

The J.H. MacDermot Writing Awards honor John Henry MacDermot (1883–1969), who became the editor of the Vancouver Medical Association Bulletin in 1932. Dr MacDermot, who would spend 34 years as editor, oversaw the transition from the Bulletin to the BC Medical Journal in 1959, and stayed with the journal for 9 more years, until 1968. Dr MacDermot also served as BCMA president in 1926.

Dr MacDermot was born in Kingston, Jamaica, completed high school in Kingston, and enrolled in medical school at McGill University in 1901. He graduated from McGill in 1905 and was licensed to practice in British Columbia in 1906.

After practising for short periods around BC, Dr MacDermot settled in Vancouver in 1909 and ran his private practice until his retirement in 1958.

During the First World War Dr MacDermot held the rank of Captain in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and saw service in Canada (1915–1919).

As a keen student of the history of medicine in BC, Dr MacDermot conducted exhaustive research on numerous aspects of the subject in preparation for a book called History of Medicine in BC. Unfortunately, Dr MacDermot passed away before completing the book and his work was never published.

In addition to his lengthy tenure as editor of the VMA Bulletin and the BC Medical Journal, Dr MacDermot served the medical community in several other capacities. He was president of the VMA in 1916, and president of the BCMA in 1926. He was a senior or honorary life member of several medical organizations including the CMA, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the VMA, who honored him with the title of Prince of Good Fellows and Osler Lecturer.