Celebrating Dr. Neil Shear's contributions to dermatology and his pending retirement

Oct 1, 2020
Dr. Scott Walsh

Dr. ShearDr. Neil Shear From a young civil engineer subsequently training in internal medicine, pharmacology and dermatology, Dr. Neil Shear's career encapsulates the meaning of being an academic dermatologist. Throughout his impressive career, Neil has had a hand in every interesting aspect of cutting-edge medical dermatology, patient advocacy and physician training and has helped to shape the careers of hundreds of academic dermatologists locally, nationally and internationally.    

During his 16 years as division director, through recruitment and mentoring, he rebuilt the University of Toronto's Division of Dermatology, which went from a skeletal complement to a burgeoning collection of dedicated full-time academic dermatologists. Complex medical dermatology, epidemiology and surgical dermatology have flourished in Toronto under his leadership. He has personally mentored more than one hundred residents and fellows in careers spanning research, community and academic dermatology, and has helped to guide the careers of more than one in ten dermatologists in Canada. 

Dr. Shear has been a tireless advocate for patients with complex medical dermatological conditions from Stevens Johnson Syndrome/Toxic epidermal necrolysis, autoimmune blistering diseases, severe psoriasis and atopic dermatitis to cutaneous lymphomas. He helped to establish the first multi-disciplinary cutaneous lymphoma clinic, and has been a leader in the application of novel therapies to complex medical dermatology. He was recognized for these contributions by the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance, the premier patient advocacy organization in Canada, and was awarded Dermatologist of the Year. 

He is a recognized leader in dermatology with Industry and a rapid adapter of novel therapies and has brought these to our field. He developed a complex medical dermatology fellowship to train both Canadian and international fellows for careers in academic medical dermatology. He has been a world-renowned expert in severe drug-induced dermatoses including toxic epidermal necrolysis and his publication record with students, residents and fellows has been extensive. During his tenure, he has transformed dermatology at the University of Toronto into one of the premier teaching centres for complex dermatological diseases in North America. 

Dr. Shear has shaped dermatology into the strong subspecialty that it is today at the University of Toronto and has been able to keep a healthy presence of an otherwise heavily out-patient branch of internal medicine focused within the hospitals. We all thank him immensely for his leadership and contributions over these years. 

Dr. Neil Shear will be retiring at the end of 2020. In honour of Dr. Shear's commitment and service to the University of Toronto, he has been appointed Professor Emeritus.