Speaking notes for Dr Myron Haluk
Chair, Section of Emergency Medicine
Ontario Medical Association
On the occasion of the 2010 OMA Section of Emergency Medicine Award Presentation
OMA Section of Emergency Medicine on the occasion of the presentation of the Career Service Award to
Colonel Carl Michael Walker
Our second recipient of the 2010 Career Service Award is Colonel Carl Walker.


Tonight, emotions are divided. We pay tribute to Colonel Carl Michael Walker’s outstanding contribution to emergency medicine over the course of his career. And, along with his family, friends and colleagues – here in Canada and around the world – we mourn his recent passing. On behalf of the OMA, I’d like to extend our condolences to you, Christina, to Jennifer, Tiffany and Paul, and to Carl’s entire family. All the ER doctors and nurses who worked with him knew, and truly appreciated, that he never missed an opportunity to brag about you – and his face lit up with a big smile when he did. Carl was passionate about you, his family and his work. Along with you, we miss him deeply. I’m happy to say that before he passed away, Carl learned that he was to receive this award. He was totally surprised and very honoured – and – like those who had the good fortune to know and work with Carl, typically humble.
I’d like to tell you a little about Colonel Carl Walker and why the Nominating Committee unanimously chose him for this year’s award.

Carl Walker had a unique vision of life, drawn from his experience as a military officer and emergency physician. For him, the world is not “as it is”, but as we create it. He was a dreamer who strove to make his dreams come true. Throughout his career, he was recognized for his professionalism, leadership skills, humanity and hard work, qualities he consistently demonstrated from his studies and internship, through his military career and in Ontario hospital emergency departments.
In 2003, he wrote to Carl to congratulate him on a recent commendation, one of many he had received.
said the citation was “an example of what can happen when someone pursues goals and directs the course of a worthy cause. Setting worthwhile goals and following the path to achieve them has defined Carl’s professional, family and community life.
The son of a military family, Carl was born on the RCFA air base in Cold Lake, Alberta. He and his family moved back and forth between the Cold Lake and Cold Lake bases.
and his family moved back and forth between Canada and the U.S., completing high school in North Bay, Ontario, in 1978. He graduated from the University of Guelph in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering. While at Guelph, he received several engineering scholarships, including the prestigious National Science and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Engineering Scholarship.
He went on to earn a Master of Applied Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto in 1984. His early interest in medicine led to a master’s thesis in the field of medical ultrasound at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. After completing his engineering training, he was hired as a defense scientist at what is now Defense Research and Development Canada in Toronto (formerly the Defense and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine).
In 1985, Carl joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. In 1986, he joined the army under the Medical Officer Training program.After completing his medical studies in 1990, he was promoted to Captain. His first posting was to Germany. His first assignment was as Regimental Medical Officer with the 8th Canadian Hussars. While in Germany, he completed a year of unaccredited surgical residency at the Canadian Forces (CF) hospital.
at the CF hospital in Lahr.
In 1994, Carl was promoted to Major and posted to CFB Bagotville, Quebec, as Wing Surgeon. In 1995, he undertook postdoctoral training in aerospace medicine in Pensacola, Florida, where he was Senior Resident. There, he was recognized as “eager to learn, always there to help” – a description that all who knew Carl would recognize as a constant, throughout his career. Carl’s research has had a positive impact on the Canadian armed forces and those of other countries. During his residency, he presented research papers at the Aerospace Medicine Association meeting in Chicago.

His commander in the U.S. Department of the Navy said the research would lead to major changes in the way the U.S. Navy selects its crews, and to significant cost savings. The publication of this research is one of the many areas in which Carl’s work has had an international impact. While at Pensacola, Carl served as flight surgeon for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis in September 1996 and the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in February 1997. Carl also participated in the recovery of the Space Shuttle Columbia in July 1997, earning him a commendation from the European Commission.
In 1997, Carl was posted to 1 Canadian Air Division, Winnipeg, as Flight Surgeon in charge of aeromedical standards and clinical services. In 2000, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and became head of surgery at 1 Canadian Air Division. When Carl left Winnipeg, he received an Air Command Commendation for his work in producing two National Defence Documentation Index (NDDI) documents used throughout the Canadian Forces by air medics and search and rescue technicians. In 2004, Carl was deployed to Afghanistan as a Task Force Surgeon and Search and Rescue Team Commander.
In 2004, Carl was deployed to Afghanistan as a Task Force Surgeon and Commander of the Role 1 Canadian Field Hospital (ROTO 1) in Kabul, Afghanistan. That same year, he was promoted to Colonel and appointed Commander of the Canadian Forces Environmental Medicine Centre.
In addition to his military service in Afghanistan, NASA and the U.S. Navy, Carl has also worked with NATO and the Russian Ministry of Defence. His military commanders have often remarked on his effectiveness as an ambassador for the Canadian Forces and Canada, his ability to work effectively with international peers, and his success in complex, delicate and difficult situations. Carl ended his Air Force career in 2010 as Chief of Air Force Surgery, specializing in aerospace medicine.
In addition to having published several papers that changed medicine in many countries, Carl was a frequent and popular speaker who gave remarkable presentations. For example, his 2002 presentation, Joint Coalition Operation in the Search, Rescue and Aeromedical Evacuation of Survivors of a Terrorist Downed Aircraft in Remote Northwestern Canada, to a joint U.S.-Canadian military task force, was cited by senior Canadian and U.S. officers for its effectiveness. He has published articles on pre-hospital search and rescue protocols and procedures, CF flight surgeon guidelines for flight safety investigations and other flight line duties, and the flight surgeon’s role in Arctic fighter squadron deployments.
Carl began working as an emergency physician in 1997 – at Grace, Misericordia and Victoria Hospitals in Winnipeg, Montfort Hospital in Ottawa and Lakeridge Health in Oshawa. In 2009, Lakeridge Health presented Carl with its Special Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to the LHO Emergency Department and his community. His other honours include

From the Air Force Chief of Staff, National Defense:
-Air Command Commendation for outstanding professionalism and commitment to aerospace.
exceptional professionalism and commitment to the community
the aerospace medical community, including the development
documentation of medical standards that establish a
for search and rescue technicians,
search and rescue technicians, flight surgeons and aeromedical evacuation personnel.
evacuation personnel throughout the world.
international level (2003).

From the Russian Ministry of Defense:

Medal for strengthening comradeship and military cooperation.
of comradeship and military cooperation. The
pre-hospital protocols for Canadian search and rescue technicians
have been translated by the Russians and used
translated by the Russians and used as a model by their
their parachute rescue service (2003).

From the U.S. Navy:
-Garry Award for best research article
published in Aviation research (1999).
I wanted to read a few words clarifying Carl’s contribution to the provision of health care.
Carl’s contribution to the provision of health care.


Commodore H.W. Jung, Surgeon General, Commander of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group:
“It is with great pleasure that I write this posthumous letter of recognition in support of Dr. Walker’s nomination for the OMA Career Achievement Award. He was a respected professional, and I can think of no one more deserving of such an honor.
Throughout his career, Dr. Walker had a significant impact on the health of thousands of people, both military and civilian. Emergency medicine has always been his passion, and despite a very busy and successful military career, he has been able to commit to emergency medicine by practicing evenings, weekends and even on his well-deserved time off.
It’s impossible to describe the full extent of Dr. Walker’s impact on healthcare. However, his unique skills as an emergency physician and aerospace medicine specialist have been instrumental in many areas. These include, for example, the development of the Canadian Forces Search and Rescue Technician protocols in the early ’90s and, more recently this past year, the establishment of an advanced aeromedical evacuation capability within the Canadian Forces. These two achievements have had, and will continue to have, an impact on the lives of thousands of men and women, military and civilian, who find themselves sick or injured in the most remote and austere regions of Canada and the world. Dr. Walker’s influence extends far beyond the delivery of health care. His leadership and mentorship have helped shape the future of many caregivers and healthcare leaders in both our organizations. His contribution to society will live on far beyond all of us, and he will be sorely missed.


The Honourable Minister of National Defence, Mr. Peter Mackay, was unable to attend the OMA Annual General Meeting to present the award to Dr. Walker’s family. Minister Mackay wrote to tell us of Carl’s immense contribution to the emergency care of troops on operations as a Task Force surgeon in Afghanistan, and of the high esteem in which Carl was held by the medical and scientific communities in Canada and our NATO allies.
The OMA Section of Emergency Medicine is privileged to be among those who have formally recognized Colonel Carl Walker’s outstanding contributions to Ontario, Canada and the global community as a physician, military officer and citizen.
While we mourn Carl’s loss, we, and all who knew and worked with him, know that his legacy will live on among the many physicians, other clinicians and military personnel he worked with, led, trained and mentored – especially the legacy of his values of family, professionalism, compassion and always being “eager to learn and ready to help”.


The OMA EM Chapter is proud to present its Career Service Award posthumously to Colonel Carl Michael Walker :
Colonel Carl Michael Walker
Myron Haluk