Significant progress has been made in stroke treatment research at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Dr. Michael Hill has played a major role in several groundbreaking studies.

The researcher, clinician and a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada volunteer was presented with the organization’s Award of Merit, the highest honour for a volunteer, at a ceremony in Winnipeg earlier this month.

Dr. Hill says he jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Heart and Stroke is our place where we sit and have opportunities to work,” explained Dr. Hill. “They represent the public so it's a natural thing for us to be part of that process.”

Dr. Andrew Demchuk has worked alongside Dr. Hill for the better part of two decades. Dr. Demchuk says Dr. Hill is the most dedicated stroke neurologist he's encountered. “The time that he puts into things, 24/7/365, and that's really clinical work research, education and some administration.”

Dr. Hill says, much like his peers, his motivation lies solely in improving the lives of stroke patients.

“As a whole program, our group, and even across Canada, is very close knit,” explained Dr. Hill. “Everybody's trying to move the bar forward to reduce the disability and the burden of the condition.”

While Dr. Hill is quick to acknowledge the contributions of others, Dr. Demchuk says Dr. Hill is worthy of all recognition he receives. “He's very compassionate with patients, he cares dearly and he works both very hard and very fast.”

Canadian Olympic speed skater Denny Morrison has been under Dr. Hill’s care since suffering a stroke in April. With Dr. Hill’s assistance, Morrison returned to the track for competition only months after his setback. Dr. Hill and Morrison will appear together to discuss the speed skater’s experience during the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Ski for Heart event at Lake Louise in January.

For all he does to make life better for people affected by stroke, Dr. Michael Hill is this week’s Inspiring Albertan.

With files from CTV's Darrel Janz