Announcing the 2020 Department of Medicine Award Winners

Jun 10, 2020

Annual Day is the Department of Medicine's opportunity to recognize its outstanding faculty for the tremendous local and global impacts they make on health and healthcare. This is our opportunity to acknowledge faculty members and trainees who have generated and translated new knowledge, and demonstrated innovation in scholarship, research, teaching or clinical care.

The Department of Medicine will be celebrating these remarkable individuals at Annual Day on Wednesday, June 17.

At the 2020 Annual Day Awards Ceremony, the Department of Medicine is celebrating the following award winners:

Eaton Scholar Researcher of the Year (Basic Science)

Dr. Mansoor HusainMansoor Husain

Dr. Mansoor Husain is a Cardiologist at UHN, Director of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, and Professor of Medicine. He was the gold medallist in Medicine at University of Alberta, completed rotating internship, Internal Medicine, Chief Medical and Cardiology residencies at St. Michael’s and Toronto General, and then the Joint Program in Nuclear Medicine at Harvard, while completing a 4-year postdoctoral research fellowship in the Program of Excellence in Cardiovascular Biology at MIT.

Mansoor has held CIHR Clinician Scientist- and HSF Career Investigator Awards, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award, and uninterrupted peer-reviewed operating grants over his entire career. He was previously recognized by our Department with the Clinical Research Society- and Allen Bruce Robertson- Young Investigator Awards. Mansoor’s research aims to identify therapeutic targets involved in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease. His truly bench-to-clinical trials approach has improved our understanding of the cardiovascular mechanisms of GLP-1 and related diabetes drugs.

Research of the Year (Clinical)

Dr. Paula RochonPaula Rochon

Dr. Paula Rochon is a geriatrician and vice-president of research at Women’s College Hospital. She is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and was appointed the inaugural RTOERO Chair in Geriatric Medicine at U of T.

Dr. Rochon’s research focuses on understanding the unique needs of older adults, particularly older women, and promotes their health and wellness. She has contributed to our understanding of aging and its impact both on individual patients and the healthcare system. These contributions include highlighting the need to consider sex, gender and age in research so that results are more relevant to older women and men and tailoring prescribing strategies to reduce adverse drug events.

Dr. Rochon has a strong record of federal funding and has published more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She has received several research distinctions, including being elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Department of Medicine Teacher of the Year

Dr. David Tang-WaiDavid Tang-Wai

Dr. David Tang-Wai is an associate professor in Neurology and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is the co-director of University Health Network Memory Clinic and was most recently the program director of the Adult Neurology Residency Program at U of T. He is also an active member of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance.

Dr. Tang-Wai has received multiple teaching awards and nominations from undergraduate and postgraduate trainees. His research interests include the progressive aphasias, the atypical presentations of Alzheimer’s disease – especially posterior cortical atrophy, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and the autoimmune encephalitis.

Robert Hyland Award for Excellence in Mentorship

Dr. Srikala SridharSrikala Sridhar

“Dr. Sridhar exemplifies the essence of an excellent mentor. She is always available and approachable to discuss clinical cases and research ideas. Her insight and expertise in her field is a tremendous asset, and she is always willing to share her expertise, locally and beyond.” - Di Maria Jiang

“I am overwhelmed by how impactful Dr. Sridhar has been in helping me navigate my path to a faculty position. She is a very strong role model of a successful clinician and researcher, and I honestly believe it is in Dr. Sridhar’s nature to be a generous and supportive mentor.” - Long Nguyen

“Dr. Sridhar has always made herself available to me and other mentees and has provided candid, pragmatic and sincere advise. I feel that she is extremely deserving of this prestigious award.” - Abhijat Kitchlu

Department of Medicine Award in Quality & Innovation

Dr. Peter RossosPeter Rossos

Dr. Peter Rossos’s contributions have been recognized nationally and internationally for innovation and leadership. His focus is on collaboration, research, training and mentorship to advance access, quality and safety of care through information technologies.

As a practicing academic physician, Dr. Rossos’s work addresses difficult challenges related to complex clinical care. Initiating UHN Telehealth in 2003, he pioneered interprovincial telehealth, portable telehealth workstations, complex telehomecare and innovative approaches to clinical case conferences and educational rounds.

He was a clinical leader in one of the largest CPOE initiatives, UHN medication management (MOE/MAR) 2004-2006 and served as Clinical Co-Lead for ConnectingGTA between 2010 and 2016, a regional electronic health record for seven million people and cornerstone in the Ontario digital health strategy. Peter was an invited expert speaker on eHealth and Telemedicine in the Canadian House of Commons and was appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to the Board of Directors of eHealth Ontario in January 2016.

Michael Gordon Award for Humanism in Medicine

Dr. Sivakumar GulasingamSivakumar Gulasingam

Dr. Sivakumar Gulasingam is a staff physiatrist attached to the Toronto Rehab Brain & Spinal Cord and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Programs. He is a Clinician Teacher and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto. His clinical expertise includes SCI rehabilitation, para-sports and spasticity.

He is the Examination Lead for the Division of PM&R and the National PM&R Resident Review Course, International Rehabilitation Chair for Canadian Association of PM&R and CAPM&R national representative to ISPRM. He is also a National Para-Athletics Classification Trainer, Head of Classification of Wheel-Dance Canada and an international Paralympics official with the World Para-Athletics and World Para-Dance.

During his 20-year medical career, his passion to help the underprivileged has led him to work with the civil war and Asian Tsunami victims, and disabled war veterans in Sri Lanka. He is continuing this passion through his work with people with physical disabilities in Canada.

Michael Gordon Award for Humanism in Medicine

Dr. Liesly LeeLiesly Lee

Dr. Liesly Lee is a consultant neurologist in the Department of Medicine at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

He completed his training in Neurology at the University of Toronto in 1997 and completed one year of Fellowship training in Multiple Sclerosis.

Academically, he has been actively involved in the Neurology teaching program in both the undergraduate and graduate levels at the university for the past two decades. He has been the director of the Sunnybrook MS Clinic since 2000.

His interests include clinical phenomenology in neurology, advancing treatments in Multiple Sclerosis and developing neurology care in the developing world, especially in Africa. His mentors have included Drs. John Wherrett and Trevor Gray, who have been role models for dedicated and astute patient care and the art of practicing neurology in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.

William Goldie Award in Education

Esther Bui

Dr. Esther BuiDr. Esther Bui is the director of the University of Toronto’s Epilepsy Fellowship, co-director of the Women’s Neurology Fellowship and co-director of Education, Krembil Brain Institute. She is a member of the Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology (CSCN) and served on the executive board of the CSCN from 2012 to 2017. She is currently serving on the executive committee of the Canadian League Against Epilepsy. Her clinical interest lies in advancing the care of epilepsy, particularly focused on gender issues and pregnancy. In education, her interest is on real-time teaching assessment tools and EEG learning using game theory.

William Goldie Award in Teaching

David Frost

Dr. David FrostDr. David Frost is an Associate Professor and clinician-teacher in the Department of Medicine. He has been the Clinical Teaching Unit Director at Toronto Western since 2012 and GIM Site Director since 2014. His clinical work is mainly on the GIM Clinical Teaching Units, where he is an accomplished clinical teacher, as well as an innovative GIM clinic embedded in the Toronto Western Family Health Team. His academic work includes point-of-care ultrasound, predicting hospital admission, and most recently founding and running the HoPingKong Workshop in Complex Medicine, a CME event on diagnostic reasoning, managing uncertainty and rare conditions.  

William Goldie Award in Research

Harindra Wijeysundera

Dr. Harindra WijeysunderaDr. Harindra Wijeysundera is as an interventional cardiologist and clinician scientist at the Schulich Heart Center at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. He is the director of research for the Division of Cardiology, a senior scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute and an adjunct senior scientist at ICES. His clinical practice is focused on transcatheter aortic valve implantation and coronary chronic total occlusions. His research program focuses on health technology assessments in cardiovascular disease using decision analytic models, which are populated and validated using real-world administrative data for both clinical outcomes and health care costs.

William Goldie Award in Quality & Innovation

Geetha Mukerji

Dr. Geetha MukerjiA Clinician in QI, Dr. Geetha Mukerji has promoted high-value care through stewardship initiatives that have been scaled across various institutions, developed and evaluated multiple innovative ambulatory care models, and improved the quality of delivery of care for patients with diabetes, particularly among vulnerable populations in pregnancy and young adults with type 1 diabetes. She has also co-led the development of an ambulatory balanced scorecard of quality indicators for diabetes care. More recently, she is the co-evaluation lead of Women College Hospital’s Virtual Strategy and spearheaded the efforts to obtain Level 1 recognition of WCH as a Choosing Wisely Canada Hospital Site.

William Goldie Award in Quality & Innovation

Samir Sinha

Dr. Samir SinhaDr. Samir Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also the Director of Health Policy Research at Ryerson University’s National Institute on Ageing. 

A Rhodes Scholar, Samir is a highly regarded clinician and international expert in the care of older adults. He has consulted and advised governments and health care organizations around the world and is the Architect of the Government of Ontario’s Seniors Strategy. 

 
Academy of Master Clinicians  
Michelle Hladunewich

Michelle Hladunewich 

Nephrology

At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Michelle Hladunewich has developed a clinical and research program in women’s health and rare glomerular diseases, garnering a national and international reputation. She is an accomplished educator and has taught extensively locally, nationally and internationally. However, her most important priority will always be patient care. Dr. Hladunewich is a recognized expert in the diagnosis and management of kidney disease in pregnancy as well as glomerulonephritis. 

Over the years, Dr. Hladunewich build the largest Pregnancy and Kidney Disease (PreKid) clinic in Canada as well as globally. Within this multidisciplinary clinic shared with Maternal Fetal Medicine, she manages over 100 very high-risk pregnancies annually and consults across the globe. A similar model of multidisciplinary care has now been applied to patients with severe forms of glomerulonephritis. In recognition of her staunch patient advocacy and very dedicated patient care, she was recently awarded both the Human Touch Award by Cancer Care Ontario and the 2019 CPSO Council Award. She is presently the Physician in Chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and is the Ontario Renal Network Medical Lead for Glomerulonephritis and Specialty Clinics.

Dr. Liesly Lee

Liesly Lee 

Neurology

Dr. Liesly Lee is a consultant neurologist in the Department of Medicine at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

He completed his training in Neurology at the University of Toronto in 1997 and completed one year of Fellowship training in Multiple Sclerosis.

Academically, he has been actively involved in the Neurology teaching program in both the undergraduate and graduate levels at the university for the past two decades. He has been the director of the Sunnybrook MS Clinic since 2000.

His interests include clinical phenomenology in neurology, advancing treatments in Multiple Sclerosis and developing neurology care in the developing world, especially in Africa. His mentors have included Drs. John Wherrett and Trevor Gray, who have been role models for dedicated and astute patient care and the art of practicing neurology in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.

Ophyr Mourad

Ophyr Mourad

General Internal Medicine

Dr. Ophyr Mourad is a full time Clinician Teacher in the Division of General Internal Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital. He holds a Master’s Degree from the Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Mourad has held a number of leadership and educational positions which have included University of Toronto GIM Program Director, Divisional Director for the Division of GIM at St. Michael’s Hospital, Ward Chief and Educational and Ambulatory Director.

He has a clinical interest in diagnostic challenges and is passionate about teaching and mentorship. He has received a number of teaching awards including the PARO award in 2004 and 2015, the Department of Medicine W.T. Aikins Teaching Award in 2007, the St. Michael’s Hospital Robert H. Hyland Teacher of the Year Award, the 2015 University of Toronto Department of Medicine Mentorship Award and the 2016 St. Michael’s Hospital Michael Ward Mentorship Award.

Dr. Maria Zorzitto

Maria Zorzitto

Geriatric Medicine

Over the past 40 years, Dr. Maria Zorzitto has been involved in clinical geriatrics, teaching and research in all settings of geriatric services in academic and community care. In the community she was the Medical Director of the West End Regional Geriatric Program at West Park Hospital. At St. Michael’s Hospital, she has worked with a multidisciplinary team to establish the Geriatric Emergency Management Program, the Geriatric Trauma Service and the Acute Care of the Elderly Unit. 

Throughout her career, she has taught and mentored numerous undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has challenged many of them who have been inspired and have taken up academic careers in geriatrics, particularly in Toronto. Some would say that “she demonstrates a passion for clinical medicine especially in the care of the frail elderly with complex multi-morbidities where often there is diagnostic uncertainty and accepting the challenge of dealing with the uncertainty.” Others would express that she encouraged learners in a “heartfelt approach to patient care in a holistic way not only for the patients but for the caregivers.”