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Three alumni named to the Order of Ontario

A psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to improving child and youth mental health, a world-leading anesthesia researcher, and a Queen’s University professor whose research on lakes and rivers has demonstrated the harmful effects of climate change are the three alumni among the 26 new appointments to the Order of Ontario. 

The Order of Ontario is the province’s highest honour and celebrates exceptional leaders whose impact and legacy have played an important role in building a stronger province, country and world.

The three alumni being recognized are: 

Dr. Michael Cheng, Meds’96
Dr. Cheng is a child psychiatrist who has advanced child and youth mental health through his work at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and as an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. He also co-founded eMentalHealth.ca, a mental-health website for families and professionals, and co-developed a guide for frontline police officers to better understand and support child/youth mental health.

Dr. Beverley Orser, Meds’81
A physician and scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Dr. Orser is one of the world’s leading researchers in anesthesiology. Her ground-breaking work is focused on optimizing anesthesia, improving access to safe care in rural communities and mitigating post-operative delirium and cognitive decline. Dr. Orser worked with the International Anesthesia Research Society and other international organizations to research and advance understanding of how anesthetic drugs alter brain function.

John Smol, PhD’82 
Dr. Smol is a Queen’s biology professor and is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on long-term changes to lakes and rivers. Over his career, he has shown how paleolimnology, the study of lake deposits, allows researchers to trace humanity’s impact on the environment over time and has led to increased protection of inland waters. Recently, Dr. Smol was honoured by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden with the Vega Medal, sometimes referred to as equivalent to a Nobel Prize in geography, for his prolific contributions to paleolimnology. 

"I am delighted and honoured to be named an Order of Ontario recipient and yet it always feels odd to get recognition for something you love doing – namely teaching, writing, and doing research and public outreach," Dr. Smol told the Queen’s Gazette. "Working with such a wonderful group of dedicated students and colleagues makes what I do feel more like a hobby than a job. I came to Ontario (and Kingston) as a graduate student, and never left. I feel very privileged to be able to work on lakes and other environmental issues in such a beautiful city, in such a beautiful province, and in such a beautiful country."

The recipients were honoured at a ceremony in Toronto on Nov. 27.

A total of 849 people have been appointed to the Order of Ontario since it was established in 1986.