Neurosurgeon garners provincial honour

October 14, 2022

Photo of a doctor, Dr. Keith Aronyk, in a lab coat standing in an operating room

For his decades of dedication, compassion and surgical excellence, Dr. Keith Aronyk has been recognized with the Dr. Peter B.R. Allen Lifetime Achievement in Health Award. Photo Supplied.

Dr. Keith Aronyk awarded lifetime achievement in health award

Story by Marni Kuhlmann

EDMONTON — Neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Aronyk is the first recipient of the Government of Alberta's new Dr. Peter B.R. Allen Lifetime Achievement in Health Award.

As well as his pioneering work as Alberta's first specialty-trained pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Aronyk is the former zone clinical department head of Neurosciences at the University of Alberta Hospital and the former chief of Pediatric Surgery at the Stollery Children's Hospital.

The award, which takes its name from the distinguished Alberta neurosurgeon Dr. Allen, is intended to honour healthcare workers who've had a lasting impact on improving the lives of Albertans over a career of more than 20 years.

Dr. Aronyk is being recognized for his dedication and passionate vision which advanced neurological care for Albertans. He proved instrumental in recruiting top talent to the University of Alberta Hospital and Stollery Children's Hospital — and helped the University Hospital Foundation raise millions of dollars for leading-edge technology — to fund the Brain Centre of Excellence. His efforts have led to improved treatments for conditions including brain injuries and tumors, stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

"Dr. Aronyk is extraordinary. He has impacted countless lives through his dedication to patients and families at the University of Alberta Hospital and Stollery Children's Hospital," says Cathy Osborne, senior operating officer of University of Alberta Hospital.

"His incredible talent, passion and leadership has helped to not only ensure the best possible care for our neurosurgical patients but also advance innovation, which will impact generations to come."

Christine Westerlund, senior operating officer of Stollery Children's Hospital, adds: "Dr. Aronyk is best-known for his compassion and connection with patients and families. He created a special bond with many Stollery families, who keep in touch with Dr. Aronyk long after they've left the hospital. His kindness and dedication to teaching and mentoring is an inspiration to all of us."

Neurosurgeons Dr. B. Matt Wheatley, former zone clinical department head of Neurosciences, and Dr. Greg Bowden, nominated Dr. Aronyk for the award — citing how they were both moved by his dedication to the profession, his colleagues, his patients and their families.

"As a mentor for me, Dr. Keith Aronyk embodies the grace, respect and humility of our profession. His commitment to patient care is unrivaled in today's health-care system," says Dr. Wheatley. "His bond with his patients is lifelong, both in their eyes and in his. He has been there for his patients, regardless of the circumstance or the time of day."

"Dr. Aronyk's outstanding contributions, extraordinary efforts and dedication to his patients has been unsurpassable," says Dr. Bowden.

"Patients consider him to be a trusted hero and fellow colleagues provide stories of leadership, inclusion and selflessness. His compassion and generosity extend beyond hospital walls. He spends time recycling old and discarded medical equipment and donates it to surgeons in countries including Ukraine, Jamaica and Cameroon."

Dr. Aronyk graduated from the U of A Faculty of Medicine in 1977. He was inspired by the late Dr. Peter Allen to specialize in neurosurgery, and excelled in adult and pediatric care. He's currently a clinical professor at the U of A Department of Surgery and continues to perform Gamma Knife procedures at the University of Alberta Hospital.


Read more about the Dr. Peter B. R. Allen Lifetime Achievement in Health Award, launched by the Government of Alberta in 2020, to recognize the contributions Albertans have made to improve the healthcare system and patient outcomes.