St. Mary’s Honours Multi-talented Physician with 2017 Lackner Award for Medical Excellence

November 15th, 2017

Photo of Dr. Pace
November 7, 2017 (Kitchener)
– Dr. Ronald Pace is a surgeon, visionary, comedian, artist and champion of St. Mary’s General Hospital.

A general surgeon at St. Mary’s since 1994, Dr. Pace has worn many hats on and off the job. He can now add recipient of the 2017 Lackner Award for Medical Excellence to that list. The prestigious award is given annually to an exceptional St. Mary’s physician.

Dr. Pace will be honoured at St. Mary’s Annual Community Update, November 16 at St. Mary’s General Hospital. The theme is Improving the Patient Journey: Innovative Approaches to Patient Care. Click here to read more about the event and to register.

Dr. Pace was nominated for the Lackner Award by 44 St. Mary’s physicians and staff from many departments who call him “an astute surgeon who has taken his gift and helped thousands of patients.” His areas of interest include liver, bile duct, pancreas and gall bladder.

“Dr. Pace shares his passion for surgery with everyone he encounters and brings laughter wherever he goes,” say his nominators.

St. Mary’s President Don Shilton says Dr. Pace is admired for his skills and compassion by both his colleagues and patients. “He exemplifies all the qualities the Lackner Award celebrates.”

In the late 1990s, when provincial hospital restructuring threatened St. Mary’s, Dr. Pace fought against it and bought Save Our Hospital t-shirts for his fellow campaigners.

Staff say Dr. Pace is known to appear for a patient consultations moments after being paged and for making himself available to hear his patients concerns even when not on call. In 2012 when the hospital introduced a program to enhance recovery for bowel surgery patients, he was the first to challenge his colleagues to embrace this patient-centred approach

Co-workers say his stand-up comedy act makes them laugh so hard their sides hurt. They also admire his artwork, especially his depiction of the gastrointestinal system, made from wine bottle corks. A talented woodworker, he has built furniture, bowls and even a cradle for his first grand-child.

After performing hundreds of cancer surgeries in his career, Dr. Pace was himself diagnosed with cancer and retired in 2017. He has continued to give back to his community, inspiring colleagues at St. Mary’s and Grand River Hospital to join ‘Team Pace’, a fundraising effort for the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre.

The Lackner Award is presented annually to a St. Mary’s physician who demonstrates excellence in patient care, innovation, compassion and a commitment to the mission and values of St. Mary’s General Hospital and the St. Joseph Health System.



Bianca Moldovan
Communications Specialist
226-339-9147 (mobile)