Stanley Read, MD ‘65. (Photo: ualberta.ca)

Stanley Read, MD ‘65. (Photo: ualberta.ca)

Hometown Bashaw doctor recognized with alumni award for AIDS work

Dr. Stanley Read, born and raised in Bashaw, is considered a global health leader

A hometown Bashaw doctor has been recognized for his work on preventing the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies, receiving a 2020 distinguished alumni award from the University of Alberta (U of A).

Graduating from the U of A in 1965, his hope was to create an AIDS-free generation and he has dedicated his career to that goal.

The U of A stated that Read brought compassionate care to the wider AIDS community, both as a research scientist and as a bedside doctor.

The university created a video to celebrate Read’s achievements.

In the video, Read says none of his family or anyone he knew had attended university.

“There was no doctor in the village, so there was no such thing as a medical role model,” he said.

Read says that a teacher when he was in about Grade 7 expressed the belief that Read had the potential to become anything he wanted to, “even become a doctor.”

So he did.

Read joined the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 1980, according to the U’ of A’s bio of Read.

That was after he completed a PhD in Montreal and postgraduate training in New York.

When Read was a young doctor, HIV was a new, relatively unknown virus.

Unusual infections were beginning to be seen in people and it was only recognized as HIV/AIDS later.

Read was starting to see cases in Toronto and with others, undertook the first study of natural history of HIV infection.

He saw his first HIV-infected child in 1987, which led him to become a pediatric HIV specialist.

Read served as a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children for many years (canfar.com).

He conducted maternal-to-infant HIV transmission prevention research. In 1988, he established the hospital’s HIV/AIDS family-centred care program and has served as its director since it began.

Read was the founding board member of Canada’s first AIDS hospice and has been the chair of the scientific advisory committee for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) for many years.

He treated adult patients in Toronto and had an impact on lives in Russia, the Ukraine and the Caribbean with his work on AIDS testing, prevention and treatment.

Internationally, he taught health care workers to provide compassionate care.

Considered a global health leader, Read’s work is credited with helping to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission rate in the Bahamas from 30 per cent in 1992 to close to zero by 2004.

He remains a consultant in Child and Adolescent Health to the Ministry of Health in the Bahamas, as well as, the Director of Clinical Research and Laboratory Services.

“If I had the authority, I would give Stan a knighthood,” said Elma Garraway, former permanent secretary of health for the Bahamas, at the end of the video.

He is currently a professor of pediatrics and pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

Read was born in Stettler and raised in Bashaw.

Lorraine Assheton-Smith (nee Schultz) isn’t sure if people in Bashaw would remember Read now, but she knew him as the boy who lived across the alley from her.

Assheton-Smith was raised in Bashaw and now lives in Edmonton.

Four months older than him, he was in the grade below her.

“I went on to become a pharmacist and he went on to become a doctor.”

She lost contact with him for many years, but has recently gotten back in touch.

Read now lives by Lake Eerie near Niagara Falls.

The U of A alumni awards recognize the professional achievements, community service and innovation of graduates around the globe.