A large crowd came to honour Dr. Kwadwo Ohene Asante on Monday afternoon at the world-renowned centre named after him on McIntosh Avenue in Maple Ridge when he received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal.
Asante said he was "very honoured" to receive the jubilee medal from MP Randy Kamp, but he was quick to point out that the Asante Centre's success wasn't only because of him.
"It takes a lot of people for the work to be done," he said during the medal presentation and open house at the Asante Centre.
Ed Higham, a board member of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Society for B.C., the governing body of the Asante Centre, thanked Asante for bringing his expertise to the centre when it opened in the year 2000.
Higham pointed out the centre has done more than 450 assessments with the help of Asante's expertise.
As the medical director, Asante has helped "set the standards for making diagnoses of FASD," he said at the open house.
"We appreciate your dedication and we know it demanded a great deal from you personally," he added.
Asante spent 20 years working in the Yukon and northern British Columbia, from 1970 to 1990, and this is where he first started identifying children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. At that time, the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant were becoming more known, and children with FASD were being identified.
Asante realized that if pregnant women knew the serious effects alcohol could have on the children they were carrying, it could prevent them from drinking and from children getting FASD.
It has taken a long time and much work to educate people, Asante said, but "gradually the message has been getting across."
Currently, there is less alcohol being consumed during pregnancies, Asante said, but other drugs, like crystal meth and cocaine, are problems as well.
Children who have FASD are associated with a lot of expenditure in society, Asante said.