Department of Medicine

2018's Thank Yous and Transitions

Jun 26, 2018
Dr. Gillian Hawker

At Annual Day last week, we gave our heartfelt thanks to our outgoing DDDs, PDs, PICs and celebrating our newly minted Professors Emeriti in the Department of Medicine. For those of you who were unable to join us, here they are in brief:

Paul Dorian (Cardiology), Gordon Sussman (Clinical Immunology & Allergy), Johane Allard (Gastroenterology) and Linn Holness (Occupational Medicine) are stepping down from their role as DDDs. They have all made invaluable contributions to the department, their divisions and their fields, and for that we thank them.

2018 Professors EmeritiAlso stepping down as Program Directors are Margaret Thompson (Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology), Maria Cino (Gastroenterology) and James Downar (Palliative Medicine). And, of course, Tom Parker stepped down this year as Physician-in-Chief of St. Michael’s Hospital to take on the role of Vice-President, Programs and Chief Medical Officer at St. Mike’s. Dr. Parker has been a champion of the Department of Medicine, and a great member of the DoM leadership team.

We’re celebrating a number of newly minted Professors Emeriti who have been appointed to this most distinguished academic rank: George Fantus (Endocrinology & Metabolism), Ronald Feld (Medical Oncology), Linn Holness (Occupational Medicine), Leticia Rao (Endocrinology & Metabolism) and Andrew Simor (Infectious Diseases). Thank you all so much for your incredible contributions.

We would also like to formally recognize the incredible contributions of several full-time faculty members who are either retiring or leaving us for other opportunities. Their colleagues have kindly provided the following commentaries to honour their careers:

Dr. Douglas Cameron:

At a time when careers and programs in medicine were being built on the fame of high-risk procedures, clinical trials, massive research programs and success with CIHR grants, Dr. Doug Cameron built his with what his colleagues describe as a soft and kind leadership that was perhaps atypical, but no less meaningful or impactful.

Dr. Cameron started his career at Toronto General Hospital in the 1970s as a fellow, and by the late-1980s became Director of the Electrophysiology (EP) Department where services for the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of heart rhythm disorders are provided.

As he retires, Dr. Cameron has been celebrated for his impressive cardiology career and EP program, and for his legacy of compassion. His career is highlighted by the occasions he stayed late with patients who weren’t his to ease the anxiety of a family receiving EP care, for the enthusiasm with which he cared for the homeless and the biggest hospital donors alike, for turning down a $5-million grant to instead fund an EP fellowship in perpetuity and for ensuring his replacement has the best opportunities for success.

As he retires, Dr. Cameron has been celebrated for a career built on kindness, and for showing his colleagues the impact it has.

Dr. Kumar Nanthakumar, Director, Heart Rhythm Disorders, University Health Network

Dr. George Fantus:

Dr. George Fantus (centre) with colleagues at Mt. Sinai HospitalGeorge Fantus arrived in Canada on a small and unsteady boat called the Goya (which translates to The Stork from Hungarian), which crossed the Atlantic to land in Halifax. Only 11 months old, Fantus and his parents escaped Soviet rule in Eastern Europe with “nothing but the clothes they wore.” Later, with the help of his parents’ hard work and economic sacrifices, he attended university and medical school in pursuit of an academic career in medicine.

After medical school and residency training at McGill University, Dr. Fantus trained in the Diabetes Branch at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He then spent a clinical endocrinology year in Toronto with teachers such as Bernie Zinman, the late Charles Hollenberg and Gerry Burrow, George Steiner, Aubie Angel and others, before returning to Montreal and McGill to join the Faculty as a clinician-scientist.

In 1991, Dr. Zinman, Head of the Division of Endocrinology, Eliot Phillipson, Physician-in-Chief at Mount Sinai and Charles Hollenberg, Director of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre successfully recruited Dr. Fantus from Montreal to Toronto where he joined the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital/UHN. For 27 years, Dr. Fantus had many research collaborations, including longstanding collaborations with Adria Giacca in Physiology and Cathy Whiteside in Nephrology.

Dr. Fantus’s research program investigated the regulation of insulin signaling and the complications of diabetes, such as diabetic kidney disease. He served on national and international grants panels and editorial boards of scientific journals as well as having been Chair of the Clinical and Scientific Section and National Board member of the Canadian Diabetes Association. In 1993, he received the Young Scientist Award of the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Dr. Fantus served as Director, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine (2001-2008) and as Associate Dean, Research for the Faculty of Medicine (2007-2015). George Fantus is retiring from Mount Sinai/UHN and U of T to return to Montreal as Professor of Medicine and Division Head of Endocrinology at McGill.

Adapted from Dr. Fantus’ retirement speech

Dr. Marc B. Goldstein:

Dr. Marc GoldsteinAfter 47 years on staff, Dr. Marc Goldstein is retiring from the Division of Nephrology and St. Michael’s Hospital at the end of June 2018. Although officially retired as a full Professor from the University of Toronto, becoming Professor Emeritus in 2003, Dr. Goldstein continued to play an active role at St. Michael’s within the division, most recently after a brief hiatus as Director of the In-Center Hemodialysis Program.
Dr. Marc Goldstein

Over the years, Dr. Goldstein pioneered many innovations for renal and dialysis patients. He was the first to start a kidney care clinic to provide a multi-disciplinary team approach to patients with advanced kidney disease. This model has become the standard of care across Canada and internationally. He developed a similar model for patients with diabetes and diabetes complications. Dr. Goldstein helped design and utilize a dialysis machine for the delivery of continuous dialysis in the ICU. One of his most important clinical contributions was the idea of starting an in-center nocturnal dialysis program. This allowed for an immediate increase in hospital dialysis capacity of 25%, and improved the quality of life for patients.

Dr. Goldstein has 116 peer-reviewed publications and other invited publications, four books and many book chapters. He has presented all over the world. In 1995, he received the Kidney Foundation of Canada Medical award, in 2006 the St. Michael’s Squires Club Award and in 2017 he received the George de Veber Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

The most distinguishing characteristic of Dr. Goldstein is his desire to always strive to find a better way to provide care and improve the quality of life for patients on chronic hemodialysis. He is a passionate, driven physician who always puts his patients first. Dr. Goldstein has been made an honorary consultant in the Department of Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Zaltzman, Division Head, Nephrology, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto

Dr. Mitchell Halperin:

Dr. Mitchell HalperinDr. Mitchell Halperin, one of Canada's leading renal physiologists and an internationally recognized educator, is also retiring from the Division of Nephrology and St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Halperin was honored by St. Michael’s at a plaque-dedication ceremony on March 12, 2018 for contributions during 50 years of service that were seminal to the development of the hospital’s Division of Nephrology.

He was recruited to St. Michael's 50 years ago, before the Division of Nephrology even existed. Along with some of his earlier colleagues, Dr. Halperin helped establish the division, and ever since has been a key player there and at the University of Toronto.

After getting his medical degree at McGill University in 1962, Dr. Halperin completed a research fellowship at Boston University and a second fellowship in biochemistry at England’s University of Bristol. He joined St. Michael’s Hospital in 1968 “…because he was told he could focus on his passions, research and teaching”.

Over the years, he held many roles, including the head of the Division of Nephrology from 1998 to 2003. However it was the relentless pursuit of science and the understanding of renal physiology that set him apart, as is evidenced by the large volume of publications he co-authored, including 362 peer-reviewed papers, 343 abstracts, 59 book chapters and 11 textbooks. The list of awards that have been bestowed upon Dr. Halperin are too numerous to list in this brief synopsis of his career. Over a 50-year span, there have been more than 25 such noted accomplishments

Dr. Halperin will continue teaching acid/base and fluid and electrolyte issues to the nephrology trainees at St. Michael’s as an honorary consultant in the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Zaltzman, Division Head, Nephrology, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto

Dr. Robert M.A. Richardson

Dr. Robert M.A. RichardsonDr. Bob Richardson has been a pillar of nephrology education and clinical care at the University of Toronto and UHN for over 37 years. Dr. Richardson graduated from the University of Toronto medical school in 1972 and pursued postgraduate training in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. He was recruited to the Toronto General Hospital in 1981 after completing research training in renal physiology, locally with Drs. Halperin and Goldstein, and in Texas under the supervision of Drs. Kunau and Stein. Dr. Richardson intended to pursue renal physiology research on his return to Toronto, but developed an allergy to a substance in the laboratory related to his animal models. So, he decided instead to focus his career on medical education.
Drs. Bob Richardson and Christopher Chan

Dr. Richardson has had a stellar career as a Clinician Teacher, winning numerous teaching awards. These include the Aikins Award (Faculty of Medicine, 1995), Educational Excellence Award (City Wide – Division of Nephrology, 2002) and the Scott-Vellend Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence (UHN Department of Medicine, 2009). In 1997, Dr. Richardson was promoted to the rank of Professor of Medicine on the basis of sustained excellence in teaching.

Beyond his contributions to postgraduate medical education, Dr. Richardson is also a celebrated teacher in the undergraduate medical curriculum having coordinated and taught the Renal Physiology section of Metabolism and Nutrition curriculum for close to two decades. He estimates that he taught close to 6,000 medical students over the course of 40 years!

In addition to his passion and dedication to clinical education, Dr. Richardson has taken on numerous clinical leadership roles in nephrology, which have resulted in fundamental practice changes (such as the utility of a vascular access coordinator and the implementation of slow low efficiency hemodialysis in the acutely ill). The entire Division of Nephrology has often turned to him for clinical wisdom and judgement.

Dr. Christopher T. Chan, Director - Division of Nephrology, University Health Network, University of Toronto