Many of you will recall that our last major Strategic Plan was performed in 2004, and was entitled “Breaking through the Boundaries”.  It is now time for us to embark on a new strategic planning effort this academic year.  To this end, you will recall that in September, we surveyed members of the Department to determine what the most important issues are for us over the next 5 years.  I am pleased to report that we had almost 150 respondents to the survey from across all of our institutions.  Respondents selected our areas of greatest need to be post-graduate medical education, undergraduate medical education, best surgical practices/quality, surgical innovation and simulation, and faculty development.  Faculty mentoring and the potential of a competitive pension plan were also considered to be important issues to address.  When asked what the single most important issue is facing the Department of Surgery, the following responses received multiple hits:  Jobs for graduating residents; integration of academic activities across all institutions; support of surgical research; surgical innovation; international surgery; recruitments, retentions, and retirements; and fundraising or advancement. 
These survey responses have helped us focus our attention on 5 major themes going forward:  1)  Education; 2) Faculty Development; 3) Best Practices/Quality; 4) Research; and 5) Integration.  Cutting across all themes will be advancement, innovation, and our social responsibility as surgeons.
The timing of our Strategic Planning initiative is perfect, as we can harmonize our efforts with the recently developed and publicized Faculty of Medicine strategic plan (
I am pleased to inform you that we have retained Helena Axler as our Strategic Plan facilitator.  Helena helped us with our 2004 Strategic Plan, and knows the Department well.  We have also formed a Steering Committee for the new Strategic Plan, and we held our first planning committee this month.  The names of the Steering Committee members are found below.
I look forward to working with all of you on our new Strategic Plan.  This plan will provide the blueprint of our future in the Department over the next 5 years.
James T. Rutka, MD, PhD, FRCSC

Strategic Planning Steering Committee Members:
James T Rutka, Chair, Department of Surgery
Ori Rotstein, Associate Chair, Surgeon-in-Chief, St Michael’s
Ben Alman, Vice Chair Research, Division Chair Orthopedics
David Latter, Vice Chair Education, Division Head Cardiac Surgery, St Michael’s
Robin Richards,Vice Chair Clinical, Surgeon-in-Chief, Sunnybrook
Robin McLeod, Vice Chair Quality, Head Surgical Clinical Epidemiology, Mt Sinai
Avery Nathens, Chair, Departmental Appointments Committee, General Surgery, St Michael’s
Andras Kapus, Associate Chair Research, Scientist, St Michael’s
Bryce Taylor, Professor, General Surgery
Dimitri Anastakis, Interim Vice Dean CEPD UofT, Chair Division PRS
Carol Swallow, Division Head, Surgeon-Scientist, Mt Sinai
Cindi Morshead, Scientist, Division Chair, Anatomy
George Christakis, Director Undergraduate Medical Education, Cardiac Surgery, Sunnybrook
Norman Hill, Vice President, Medical and Academic Affairs, General Surgery, Trillium
Ron Levine, Director Postgraduate Education, Division PRS, St Joseph’s
Paul Karanicolas, General Surgery, Sunnybrook
Darina Landa, Department of Surgery Senior Development Officer
Lakho Sandhu, Department of Surgery Resident Representative


University Rounds

Presentations by the George Armstrong-Peters and Lister Prize Winners

Friday November 4, 2011
Auditorium, Mount Sinai Hospital, 18th Floor
7:30 – 8:30 am

2011 George Armstrong-Peters Prize Recipient, Dr. Michael Taylor

2011 Lister Prize Recipient, Dr. Tom Waddell


Future University Rounds

Dec. 2, 2011, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
18th Floor, Mt. Sinai Hospital Auditorium
Clinical Epidemiology
Dr. Justin Dimick
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy
University of Michigan

1. In Memoriam

2. Newsworthy Items

3. Honours and Awards

4. High-Impact Papers Published


In Memoriam

Leith Garrett Douglas

We are saddened to announce Dr. Leith Garrett’s passing on September 15, 2011 at the age of 80.

Leith was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  After earning his medical degree from Dalhousie University in 1962 he went on to study plastic surgery in Toronto, Sweden, Austria and England, receiving his fellowship in 1967. He practiced in Toronto at The Wellesley and St. Michael's Hospitals and finished his career in the operating room at the Toronto Western Hospital in 2011. Leith will also be remembered for his enthusiastic work as plastic surgeon to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 36 years.

Newsworthy Items
Department of Surgery Undergraduate Medical Education Retreat September 27th
On Tuesday September 27th, George Christakis, Director Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) organized a special retreat for faculty and medical students to review our current curriculum for teaching medical students in all years, with an emphasis on the Years 3-4 clerkship experience.  Faculty and medical students engaged in UME from across all institutions participated in the retreat.  The goals of the retreat were to identify strengths and challenges facing the Department of Surgery’s UME program at this time.  Some of the issues that arose in discussion included variability of didactic lectures during the 1 week “Crash Course”, less than optimal orientation of clinical clerks on surgical services in some institutions, incomplete standardization of the core curriculum for clerks, and variability of the clinical experience in the operating room, ward, and clinics.  These and other issues were discussed at significant length, and plans have been made to address these issues stepwise using both short term and long term strategies.
Please watch for continued notices from the Department of Surgery regarding our efforts to improve the UME curriculum and experience for medical students in the months ahead!

University Rounds
Presentations by the George Armstrong-Peters and Lister Prize Winners
Friday November 4, 2011
Auditorium, Mount Sinai Hospital
18th Floor
7:30 – 8:30 am
2011 George Armstrong-Peters Prize Recipient, Dr. Michael Taylor, Division of Neurosurgery, the Hospital for Sick Children
Michael began his faculty appointment in the Division of Neurosurgery in July 2004 having completed a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.  He was promoted to Associate Professor in July 2010.  He holds a CIHR Clinician-Scientist Phase II Award, and received the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Gold Medal Award in surgery in 2010.  A recipient of one of the prestigious Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 awards in 2008, Michael has distinguished himself both as an outstanding pediatric neurosurgeon and as a talented researcher who holds major grants from the CIHR, Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, NIH, and Genome Canada.  His research work is leading to new treatment paradigms for children with medulloblastoma and ependymoma.

2011 Lister Prize Recipient, Dr. Tom Waddell, Division Chair Thoracic Surgery, Toronto General Hospital

Tom received his MD from the University of Ottawa in 1987, where he received the Gold Medal in Surgery. He pursued basic laboratory training for 5 years as part of the Surgeon Scientist Program, completing his MSc with Dr. Alec Patterson in 1992 and his PhD with Greg Downey in 1995.  Having completed general surgery training in 1997, Tom undertook a thoracic surgery fellowship in 1998.  He was appointed as Assistant Professor in 2000, promoted to Associate Professor in 2004, and was recently promoted to Full Professor.  Tom has received numerous research awards including a CIHR New investigator Award, a CFI New Opportunities Fund Award, the George Armstrong Peters Prize in the Department of Surgery, a Wightman-Berris Individual Teaching Award, and was recognized with the R. Fraser Elliott Chair in Transplantation Research in 2005.  His funding comes from the CIHR, Heart and Stroke, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation, the PSI Foundation and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.  His laboratory focuses on alternative approaches to the chronic shortage of donor lungs, including xenotransplantation, and more recently, stem cell and regenerative medicine approaches to lung disease. 

Dr. Sidney Levitsky Delivers 2011 Bigelow Lecture
On Friday October 14th, Dr. Sidney Levitsky, Cheever Professor of Surgery at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, delivered this year’s Bigelow Lecture.  An accomplished cardiac surgeon with over 450 peer reviewed publications, Dr. Levitsky spoke on “Healthcare Inflation:  Evidence based medicine versus the Medical Industrial Complex”.  His lecture probed the relative efficacy of open cardiac surgery versus percutaneous catheter-based techniques in patients with coronary artery disease and cardiac valvular disease.  A spirited discussion ensued.  The attached photo, taken after the lecture, shows Dr. Levitsky with Drs. Caldarone, Rutka, and Fremes.
Left to right:  Drs. Rutka, Fremes, Levitsky, and Caldarone
Dr Mark Bernstein Honoured at Sony Centre Guangzhou Ballet Performance
On Tuesday October 18th, Dr. Mark Bernstein, Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery, Professor of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, was honoured at a gala event at the Sony Centre for his pioneering work in surgical neuro-oncology and awake craniotomy.  The event included a remarkable performance by the Guangzhou Ballet company of the 1940’s Chinese ballet entitled “Return on a Snowy Night”.  Proceeds from the event will support neurosurgical oncology clinical and research efforts at the Toronto Western Hospital.  Congratulations Mark!

Honours and Awards
Dr. Andrew Howard, paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at The Hospital for Sick Children has received a CIHR Grant for his project entitled “Pedestrian Countdown Timers:  Effect on Pedestrian Injury Rates.  A controlled cohort study using spatial analysis in the city of Toronto”.   (co-investigators – Dr. Ronald Norman Buliung, Ms. Linda Rothman, Dr. Andrew Roger Willan, Dr. Colin MacArthur).  01/10/2011-30/09/2013

Greg Hawryluk, resident in the Division of Neurosurgery, was selected to represent Canada at the 2012 American College of Surgeons Trauma Research competition.

Victor Lo, a Master’s student working in Dr. Cari Whyne’s laboratory received the 2011 CORS (Canadian Orthopaedic Research Society) Founders' medal.  His work on photodynamic therapy and spinal metastases will be presented in Ottawa June 8-10, 2012 at the Canadian Orthopaedic Association annual meeting.    

High Impact Papers Hot Off the Press
Bazerbachi F, Selzner M, Boehnert MU, Marquez MA, Norgate A, McGilvray ID, Schiff J, Cattral MS.  Thymoglobulin Versus Basiliximab Induction Therapy for Simultaneous Kidney-Pancreas Transplantation:  Impact on Rejection, Graft Function, and Long-Term Outcome.  Transplantation. 2011 Oct 13 (Epub ahead of print)
Borschel GH, Kawamura DH, Kasukurthi R, Hunter DA, Zuker RM, Woo AS.  The motor nerve to the masseter muscle: An anatomic and histomorphometric study to facilitate its use in facial reanimation.  J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2011 Oct 10. (Epub ahead of print)
Hickey EJ, Nosikova Y, Zhang H, Caldarone CA, Benson L, Redington A, Van Arsdell GS.  Very low-birth-weight infants with congenital cardiac lesions: Is there merit in delaying intervention to permit growth and maturation?  J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg.  2011 Oct 22 (Epub ahead of print)
Ibrahim GM, Weidauer S, Vatter H, Raabe A, Macdonald RL.  Attributing Hypodensities on CT to Angiographic Vasospasm is Not Sensitive and Unreliable.  Stroke.  2011 Oct 13. (Epub ahead of print)
Kuzyk PR, Shah S, Zdero R, Olsen M, Waddell JP, Schemitsch EH.  A Biomechanical Comparison of Static Versus Dynamic Lag Screw Modes for Cephalomedullary Nails Used to Fix Unstable Peritrochanteric Fractures.  J Trauma, 2011 Sep 15.  (Epub)
Riad S, Biau D, Holt GE, Werier J, Turcotte RE, Ferguson PC, Griffin AM, Dickie CI, Chung PW, Catton CN, O’sullivan B, Wunder JS.  The clinical and functional outcome for patients with radiation-induced soft tissue sarcoma.  Cancer.  2011 Oct 11.  Doi:10.1002/cncr.26543.  (Epub ahead of print)
Rowland JR, Lee JJ, Salewski RP, Eftekharpour E, van der Kooy D, Fehlings MG. Generation of neural stem cells from embryonic stem cells using the default mechanism: in vitro and in vivo characterization. Stem Cells and Development. 2011 Jul 5; doi: 10.1089/scd.2011.2014.Online ahead of print.
Zhong T, McCarthy C, Min S, Zhang J, Beber B, Pusic AL, Hofer SOP.  Patient satisfaction and health-related quality of life following autologous tissue breast reconstruction: A prospective analysis of early postoperative outcomes.  Cancer, October 24, 2011 (On-line)
Have a new high impact paper in press or published?  Let us know at
For further information on divisional events, please go to the Surgery Bulletin Board