May 31, 2021

Department of Medicine Highlights: 2020-2021

About Us, Clinical Immunology & Allergy, Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, Department of Medicine: Insulin 100, Division of Dermatology, Education, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Faculty, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, General Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Hematology, Infectious Diseases, Medical Oncology, Nephrology, Neurology, Occupational Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Quality & Innovation, Research, Respirology, Rheumatology, Palliative Medicine
Annual Day collage

Each year the Department of Medicine's Annual Day is a special event in celebration of faculty members and learners who have made immense contributions to the generation and translation of new knowledge, and demonstrated innovation in scholarship, research, teaching or clinical care. 

Under the current conditions we can't come together as we usually would for Annual Day, but I hope you will join us in celebrating our department’s immeasurable impact as clinicians, researchers, teachers, educators and quality innovators. 

Here are a few of the many highlights...

Science Table 

Science Advisory Table

Nine Department of Medicine faculty members are members of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory table including: Peter Juni, Scientific Director; Allison McGeer; Andrew Morris; Laveena Munshi; Fahad Razak; Paula Rochon; Michael Schull; Arthur Slutsky; and Nathan Stall. Their leadership, professional expertise and advocacy on behalf of Ontarians demonstrates our commitment to improving the health and health care outcomes of individuals and populations of which we serve.

Justin Trudeau tweet 

Dr. Fauci and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledge the Herculean efforts of our faculty members, trainees and allied health professionals in responding to the global health crisis

"To every day risk your lives—to save the lives of others— is not simply a testimony to your courage, selflessness and resiliency, but to my mind: you are true heroes." — Dr. Anthony Fauci.

We could not agree more. Thank you to Billy Silverstein for arranging this event and keynote speakers.


More than 1,000 people join the Department of Medicine for the inaugural lecture in Black health, honouring Miriam Rossi

More than 1,000 join us—‘in person’ and in posterity—for the Department of Medicine’s inaugural lecture in Black health, Racism and Obesity Bias in Medicine, Similarities and Challenges, presented by Sean Wharton.


A global pandemic unites a global community

Shelly Dev speaks with ten allied health professionals, from nine different hospitals, in five different countries, in the fall of 2020 to hear about their experiences and how we’ve all been irrevocably changed by the pandemic. One thing is clear: A global pandemic unites a global community.

Medical Post 

Department of Medicine shows it has “sway”

Nearly 1/3 of The Medical Post's 2021 Power List: Canadian Doctors who have 'sway' are Department of Medicine clinicians. Samir Sinha, David Juurlink, Irfan Dhalla, Isaac Bogoch, Kamran Khan, Sacha Bhatia, Andreas Laupacis and David Naylor tirelessly demonstrate their clinical expertise and advocacy, in the midst of a global pandemic.


Leading the celebrations of a century of health innovation

The Department of Medicine is extremely proud to be a driving force behind the discovery of insulin and a century of world-class diabetes clinical care, education and research. Thanks to the leadership of Dan Drucker, Gary Lewis, and Jackie James, two major and outrageously successful events—the April 14th, 100 Years of Insulin: Celebrating its impact on our lives Public Celebration and April 15/16th, Insulin 100 Scientific Symposium—bring together more than 8,000 patients, scientists, educators and researchers from more than 75 countries across the globe.

Dan Drucker 

Daniel Drucker is the recipient of the Canada Gairdner International Award…

For his research revolutionizing treatments for type 2 diabetes, obesity and intestinal disorders. Dan’s illustrious career and contributions to medicine are celebrated by Justin Trudeau and Dan's seven-year-old grandson who had the opportunity to watch Zaidie Dan receive his award via Zoom.


For the first time in the Department of Medicine's 100+ year history…

All six 2022-2023 Chief Medical Residents will be women. We congratulate our bright, talented, visionary and inspiring trailblazers, Dr. Celine Allen, Dr. Emily Bartsch, Dr. Emily Hughes, Dr. Danielle Meschino, Dr. Nikita-Kiran Singh and Dr. Grace Wang. These six trailblazing women discuss how it feels to be the first all women cohort, what they hope to achieve, and who their role models are. This is their story.

MSK podcast 

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation launches podcast

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited MSK and sport and exercise medicine training opportunities for medical learners. As a way to fill the gap, the MSK Matters podcast covers high yield MSK topics, providing clinical pearls for medical students and residents.

Heather Ross 

Cardiologist appointed Member of the Order of Canada

Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head at the University Health Network and Sinai Health is named a Member of the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian cardiac care as a clinician, translational research and leader in the field of heart failure.  


Partnering with the University of West Indies to provide training and state of the art care

We celebrate the successes of a partnership between the University of Toronto and the University of the West Indies to train over 20 cardiologists since 2003. These women and men enrich the division and return to the Caribbean to provide the population with state of the art cardiac care. The program is indebted to the pioneering leadership of Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, and we estimate the over 80% of the cardiologists in the English-speaking Caribbean were trained at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Harindra Wijeysundera

Appointing Sunnybrook Division Head and Chief of Schulich Heart Program

The division of cardiology welcomes new leadership at Sunnybrook Hospital with the appointment of Dr. Harindra Wijeysundera as the Division Head and Chief of the Schulich Heart Program. Dr. Wijeysundera was also the recipient of a Canada Research Chair in Structural Heart Disease Policy and Outcomes. 

Professor Antonio Strafella (photo by Johnny Guatto) 

Appointment of the Krembil-Rossy Chair in Molecular Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease,

On the advice of the senior leadership of the University Health Network and the University of Toronto, and with the approval of the Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions, U of T, Antonio Strafella is appointed the Krembil-Rossy Chair in Molecular Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease.

Collage of research chairs 

We congratulate three new Canada Research Chairs…

Gillian Booth for, Policy solutions for diabetes prevention & management; Herbert Gaisano, for Diseases of Endocrine & Exocrine Pancreas; Harindra Wijeysundera, for Structural Heart Disease Policy & Outcomes.


The PARO Residency Program Excellence Award goes to…

The division of geriatric medicine for consistently providing an exceptionally positive and rewarding experience to residents, while producing physicians who are expertly trained to deal with the challenges in their upcoming careers.


The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need for a culture of caring and inclusion in academic medicine...

And under the leadership of Lisa Richardson, we assembled an incredible team of faculty members to lead this work: Eric Cohen, Faculty Lead, Later Career Transition; Umberin Najeeb, Faculty Lead, Equity; Mireille Norris, Faculty Lead, Black and Indigenous Resident Application and Mentorship; Catherine Yu, Faculty Lead, Mentorship, and; Simron Singh, Faculty Lead, Wellness.

On April 21, 2021 the Department of Medicine hosted the conversation: Culture & Inclusion in the DoM: Supporting faculty wellness during the COVID-19 third wave.

Presenters included: Simron Singh, Lisa Richardson, Isaac Bogoch, Jerome Leis, and Roger McIntyre. 


COVID-19 research runs the gamut

Department of Medicine researchers were incredibly swift in transitioning their research efforts toward the countless new challenges presented by COVID-19. These efforts ran the gamut from novel methods to monitor outbreaks, the classification of new risk factors from long COVID, to the efficient delivery of care in hospital settings. 


Rapid response COVID-19 research grants 

As the shutdown was announced, the Department of Medicine identifies funds to create a COVID-19 Research grant. Forty applications are submitted, with five receiving funding. DoM faculty are also successful in receiving rapid response COVID-19 research grants issued by the University of Toronto, CIHR, and private industry.  

Dr. Sara Mitchell 

A customized integrative approach to treating brain disorders is piloted

Dr. Sara Mitchell leads virtual care efforts in neurology during COVID and pioneers a new program to treat brain disorders that span neurology, psychiatry, geriatrics, neurosurgery and more. Integrated into the Brain Medicine Fellowship, the pilot program is an innovative and collaborative approach to looking at how to treat a brain disorder.

Protected Code Stroke 

Protected Code Stroke is developed and adopted by international organizations

Dr. Houman Khosravani invents the "Protected Code Stroke" during COVID-19 crisis, which transforms stroke practice globally and becomes adopted by major international stroke organizations. 


The Division of Emergency Medicine thanks faculty and learners

The division of emergency medicine evaluates and treats thousands of patients across our hospital sites. While hundreds were admitted, the vast majority are treated and discharged home with follow-up via virtual COVID care clinics. The incredible team rises to the challenges of providing timely patient care throughout this pandemic while dressed in full PPE! The physical and emotional toll of looking after severely ill COVID-positive patients are felt by all – yet they remain strong and continue to consistently deliver high quality of care. Special thanks to Dr. Dawn Lim for her incredible photo documentation of the Emergency Department experiences.