Gastroenterology & Hepatology: Welcome

Dr. Laura TargownikDr. Laura Targownik Greetings!

On behalf of all of the faculty, residents, advanced fellows and support staff, I would like to welcome you to our online home for the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the University of Toronto, Department of Medicine.

Currently, we have 51 full-time faculty members, who provide clinical care at five affiliated teaching hospital (University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital, Sunnybrook Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital and Women’s College Hospital). Our faculty are focused on delivering high-quality clinical care for persons living with gastrointestinal and liver disease. They are also are focused on preventing gastrointestinal health across the community through accurate diagnosis, screening for common conditions, and providing advice of management on proper nutrition and control of gastrointestinal symptoms. Within our division, we have established speciality programs focused on inflammatory bowel disease, advanced endoscopy, gastrointestinal motility, viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver disease, nutrition and liver transplant.

Our GI Residency Training Program is the largest in Canada, with 14 fourth- and fifth-year postgraduate trainees. Under the guidance of our program director, Dr. Samir Grover, and our assistant training director, Dr. Talia Zenlea, our residents have an unparalleled opportunity for exposure to all of the core aspects of GI training including general gastroenterology and hepatology, inpatient and outpatient gastroenterology and hepatology clinics and endoscopic procedures (gastroscopy, colonoscopy, ERCP, EUS, cholangioscopy, liver biopsy). Residents will also have the opportunity for more intensive clinical exposure in areas of most interest to them. In addition, our residents receive regular didactive and interactive teaching from our faculty. Residents who are interested in developing research skills will have the ability to collaborate with faculty on basic scientific, translational and clinical research. Following residency, candidates who wish to pursue further specialty training will be highly competitive for clinical and research fellowships at the University of Toronto and beyond. Residents in our program who are interested in careers in academic medicine will also have access to unique funding opportunities for further training through the Department of Medicine’s Elliot Phillipson Clinician-Scientist and Clinician-Educator Programs.

Our division has been well funded over the past five years with increasing peer-reviewed funding on an annual basis. Our division is among the top in Canada in terms of funding, publications and citations, and our impact relative to subject area compares well to other universities in North America and the world. Our research spans from basic science, translational research, clinical epidemiology and health services research. Research Chairs have been created at different institutions: the Jenny Heathcote & Frances Family Chair in Liver Disease (University Health Network); the McCain Chair in Therapeutic Endoscopy (St. Michael’s Hospital); R. Phelan Chair in Translational Liver Research (UHN) and the Lilly and Terry Horner Chair in Auto-Immune Liver Disease (UHN). In addition, Dr. Ken Croitoru was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair for his ground-breaking work in better understanding the events which trigger the development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in susceptible individuals. Many of our researchers also have joint appointments at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Institute of Medical Sciences, the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, the Department of Nutritional Sciences, the Department of Immunology and the Department of Physiology. These cross appointments allow our faculty members to supervise master’s and PhD students

Several of our clinician teachers have won teaching awards and we have clinician educators who pursued advance training in education. All support the Faculty of Medicine’s undergraduate and/or postgraduate education programs. In 2020, we are especially proud of Dr. Peter Rossos, who was awarded the Department of Medicine Award for Quality and Innovation.

This past year, we established the E. Jan Irvine Fund for Research and Education in Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Dr. Irvine was an internationally recognized and respected member of the University of Toronto Division of Gastroenterology and St. Michael’s hospital from 2003 until her too-early passing in 2016. She is most well known for developing the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire, which remains to this data the pre-eminent and most widely recognized instrument for assessing patient well-being in studies of inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Irvine was a mentor and inspiration to countless members of our current faculty and alumni around the globe, and we hope to honor her memory by being able to support the next generation of leaders in Gastroenterology and Hepatology.  We hope you will consider making a donation to support this worthy initiative.

Thanks again for your interest in the goings-on in our Division. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact us

Laura Targownik, MD, MSHS, FRCPC

Departmental Division Director, Gastroenterology & Hepatology