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Our Department's Global Footprint

In a stirring annual report on the status of the Department of Surgery, Richard Reznick surveyed the remarkable accomplishments of the faculty, residents and staff despite tightening fiscal constraints and the imminent political and pandemic plagues.

The Department of Surgery�s Global Footprint
The Department of Surgery's Global Footprint

Ori Rotstein introduced St. Michael's Hospital's new CEO Robert Howard who reported progress on communication among our affiliated hospitals as "the LHINs are sorting out, though the boundaries are not intuitive, and largely unknown to patients". He drew attention to the advantages of the Ontario choice to retain hospital boards, preserving institutional memory, tacit knowledge and fundraising opportunities, in contrast to regionalization moves in other provinces. He predicted that the monthly TAHSN (Toronto Academic Health Science Network) meetings will make the LHIN system more effective. Robert Howard succeeds the able Jeff Lozon who has finished his term at St. Michael's. He brings to his new position years of experience as a clinician, researcher and educator in cardiology. He has served as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice- President, Programs and Education at St. Michael's.

Richard thanked the excellent, largely unsung work of Robin Richards and his promotions committee, who reviewed and promoted to Full Professor Christopher Caldarone (Cardiac Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children), Gail Darling (Thoracic Surgery, University Health Network), Peter Dirks (Neurosurgery, HSC), Andras Kapus (Research, St. Michael's Hospital), Peter Kim (General Surgery, HSC), Ronald Levine (Plastic Surgery, St. Joseph's Health Centre), James Mahoney (Plastic Surgery, SMH), Sydney Radomski (Urology, UHN), Carol Swallow (General Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital), and Douglas Wooster (Vascular Surgery, UHN). Gideon Cohen (Cardiac Surgery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre), Marc De Perrot (Thoracic Surgery, UHN), Annie Fecteau (General Surgery, HSC), Ted Gerstle (General Surgery, HSC), Raja Rampersaud (Orthopaedic Surgery, UHN), Paul Wales (General Surgery, HSC), and Frances Wright (General Surgery, Sunnybrook) were promoted to Associate Professor. (see Spring 2009 Awards)

Vice chair Ben Alman reported that there are 33 surgical residents in the Surgeon-Scientist program, of whom 84% have external support. The remainder are supported by the generous contributions of surgical alumni. The Surgeon- Scientist program will celebrate its 25th anniversary on May 6, 2010. Its global impact and the translation of its research into significant changes in patient care include targeted chemotherapy for colon cancer, perfidex preservation solution for lung transplantation, passive motion to ensure flexibility following healing of fractures through joint surfaces, warm cardioplegia, and stem cell treatment in a wide variety of applications. Allan Okrainec presented his internet teaching of minimal access surgery throughout the world. (see Winter 2009 article about Allan Okrainec)

Expansion of Telesimulation Program to teach Minimal Access Surgery
Expansion of Telesimulation Program to teach Minimal Access Surgery

Richard Reznick highlighted four important new programs developed during the past year.

  1. The collaborative bariatric surgical program which will serve 900 patients per year in six hospitals. (see Spring 2009 Chair's Column).
  2. The restructure of the training of surgeons to competency-based curricula. The first version of the new program has been introduced in orthopaedic surgery. The program is based on 21 modules in which knowledge and skill is the constant rather than time. $1.7 million has been granted by the province to develop and evaluate the program.
  3. The spine program (see Winter 2008 article).
  4. The checklist program (see Winter 2009 article).
    "I cannot recall a clinical care innovation in the past 30 years that has shown results of the magnitude demonstrated by the surgical checklist. This is a change ready right now for adoption by every hospital that performs surgery." Donald Berwick, IHI.

The meeting closed with a moving presentation by surgical oncology fellow Kurt Weiss, an orthopaedic oncologist (see related story in this issue "Learning About Sarcoma"). There are 209 fellows from 59 countries in the department this year.


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