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Najma Ahmed

Najma Ahmed

Najma Ahmed (General Surgery) has accepted the position of Vice-Chair of Education in the Department of Surgery, U of T effective January 1st, 2017. Najma is a Trauma Surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital and the former Director of the Residency Program Committee in General Surgery. She follows David Latter in this position, who is currently the Director MD Admissions and Student Finances in Undergraduate Medical Education in the Faculty of Medicine. We welcome Najma in her new role and thank David for his many years of service to the Department of Surgery!


Fred Brenneman
Fred Brenneman

Fred Brenneman (General Surgery) has accepted the position of General Surgery Program Director for the University of Toronto. He will be succeeding Dr. Ahmed who stepped down from the role to become Vice-Chair Education for the Department of Surgery, U of T. He has officially taken over as of July 1, 2017. Congratulations Fred!


Andy Smith
Andy Smith

Andy Smith (General Surgery) has been appointed as the new President and CEO of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, effective July 1, 2017. He succeeds Barry McLellan who has held the position for the past 10 years. Congratulations Andy!


Kyle Wanzel
Kyle Wanzel

Kyle Wanzel has been appointed as Program Director for the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, U of T effective July 1, 2017. He will succeed Dr. Mitch Brown who has held the position for the past 10 years. Congratulations Kyle!


This year’s dinner in appreciation of Michael and Amira Dan’s generosity to the Division of Neurosurgery was held on May 4th, 2017. The Dan Fellows in Neurosurgery program is now in its fifth year and our 2016-17 Dan Fellows, Ibrahim Jalloh (SickKids) and Adetunji Adeniyi (Sunnybrook), were in attendance to share the positive impact the Fellowships have had on their careers and training. (Dan Fellow Shoichi Haimoto, St. Michael’s Hospital was absent due to a schedule conflict.) We are extremely grateful for the Dan Family’s continued dedication to neurosurgical education and the opportunities their support provides to our Fellows.

group photo

Michael & Amira Dan Fellows in Neurosurgery Dinner Back row: (L to R) Adetunji Adeniyi , Olukemi Oremakinde, Michael Dan, Marie Slegr, Andres Lozano. Front row: (L to R) Darina Landa, Amira Dan, Ibrahim Jalloh, Mari Rutka, James Rutka.

On May 18, 2017, Dr. Michael Dan presented a joint lecture between the Departments of Medicine and Surgery entitled “Impact of Colonization on the Health of Indigenous People in Canada” at the Banting Institute in Toronto. Dr. Dan has been an exceptional leader in philanthropy, most recently in the area of First Nations health care, for which he was recognized by appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2016.


Brett Beber
Brett Beber

I would like to thank Brett Beber (Michael Garron Hospital and Women’s College Hospital) for all his hard work in the role as Resident Wellness Director for the past 9 years. Brett stepped out of this position at the end of the past academic year and I am most grateful for all that he has done to contribute to the health and well-being of our residents. In addition, Brett has attended countless meetings of the Residency Program Committee and been a valuable member of the CaRMS selection process each year.

Karen Cross
Karen Cross

I would like to welcome Karen Cross (St. Michael’s Hospital) who has kindly agreed to take on the important role of Resident Wellness Director. Karen is well known to us all having graduated from the Surgeon-Scientist Training Program here at the University of Toronto in 2013 before taking a staff position at St. Michael’s Hospital. As many of you are aware, Karen is passionate about pursuing dreams and making things happen. She has done a remarkable job of marrying innovation, tech and clinical practice in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and is currently enrolled in the Creative-Destructive Labs at the Rotman School of Business. Thanks, Karen, for taking on this important role and we look forward to your input at the RPC.

Christopher Forrest,
Chair of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,
University of Toronto


Paediatric Urology is now recognized as an Area of Focused Competence (Diploma) discipline. This will allow the program to be recognized by the American Board of Urology and will allow US fellows to continue to come to Sick Kids Hospital for their training.

Vaibhav Gupta (PGY3, GenSurg) launched the inaugural Esophageal Cancer Survivors’ Night at TGH on April 25, 2017 with funds received through the RBC 150 Program. The funding was to be used to “show the impact young people can have on their communities.” It was a great success and in addition to an online support group which is already active. They are hoping to have in-person support groups every 3 months. If this continues to be successful, it will expand to other hospitals in Toronto and the GTA.

Rutka and Cleary

James Rutka with Sean Cleary

Sean Cleary (General Surgery, UHN) accepted the position of Associate Professor of Surgery at Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN, effective April 1, 2017. Sean was a faculty member in the Department of Surgery at UofT since 2007. He was also a Research Associate at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital. He received his MD from the University of Western Ontario and did his General Surgery Residency training at U. of T., followed by a fellowship in Pancreatic and Heptobiliary Surgical Oncology and Transplantation at the Toronto General Hospital. He has a Master’s of Science in Cancer Genetics and completed an MHSc in Public Health and Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences. Congratulations Sean! And we wish you all the best at Mayo Clinic!

James Rutka



May 3, 1930 – March 26, 2017

Ronald Baird
Ronald Baird

Born, raised and educated in Toronto, Ron was Gold Medalist in the Medical Class of 1954 at the University of Toronto. Invited to join the Gallie Course by Dr. Robert Janes, he completed his Fellowship in General Surgery in 1959, and in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery in 1964. He won the Roscoe Graham Award in 1960, the Lister Award in Surgery in 1964 and the Medal in Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1969.

His mentors were Drs. Gordon Murray, Bill Mustard and Bill Bigelow.

Baird and Bigelow

Ronald Baird with his mentor Bill Bigelow

In 1960 Ron was appointed to the cardiovascular surgical staff at the Toronto General Hospital. In 1964, he moved to the Toronto Western Hospital, where he was Head of CVS from 1972 – 1977. When Dr. Bigelow retired in 1977, Ron moved back to the Toronto General Hospital as Head of CVS and Chairman of CVS at the University of Toronto from 1977 – 1987 {when he was succeeded by Dr. Tirone David}. He retired from independent surgical practice in 1994, but continued as an assistant and mentor to residents and fellows until 2002.

Academically, Ron progressed rapidly from Assistant Professor in 1964 to Associate Professor in 1968 and full Professor in 1973.

He was well-known as an innovative vascular surgeon, and a pioneer in the early days of adult cardiac surgery in the evolution of coronary artery, valve replacement, pacemaker and heart transplant surgery.

He was an exceptional teacher of the craft of surgery, and greatly admired and respected as a mentor to generations of residents and international fellows from many different countries.

Ron was an author of many peer-reviewed articles both in vascular and cardiac surgery, numerous abstracts, book chapters and editorials.

He was an invited speaker at many international CV meetings, travelling widely and always enhancing the reputation of the quality of cardiovascular surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto.

In his quiet way, Ron Baird was a remarkable leader. He served on the Council of the Society of University Surgeons {SUS}, the Board of Governors of the American College of Surgeons {ACS}, the Council for CVS with the American Heart Association {AHA}, President of the North American Chapter of the International Society for Vascular Surgery, President of the Canadian Society of Thoracic & CVS, and was one of only four CV surgeons to be elected President of the Canadian Cardiology Society {CCS} in over 50 years… He was active in virtually all of the top societies in cardiology, cardiothoracic and vascular surgery.

Ron Baird was a renaissance man, keenly interested in nature, science, history and international travel. He had a wide circle of friends outside of medicine, and greatly enjoyed bridge and bonvivant companionship at the Toronto York Club.

He was devoted to his family. His wife, Fern, was his greatest champion and supporter. They took great pride in their children: Ron Jr. {unhappily deceased from cancer recently}, Catherine and Fraser and respective spouses and grandchildren. There were many happy family times at their farm close to Toronto and their Bahamian retreat in Hope Town.

Ron Baird lived life fully and well. He leaves a rich legacy, and will be missed by all.

Hugh Scully, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, FCCS,
Professor of Surgery and Health Policy,
University of Toronto, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, UHN Toronto General Hospital

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