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Dr. Kwame McKenzie


Dr. Kwame McKenzie is the CEO of Wellesley Institute, a Professor of Psychiatry at University of Toronto and Director of Health Equity at the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health. He is a policy advisor, clinician and academic with over 200 papers and 5 books.  Dr McKenzie is an international expert on health equity and the social determinants of health.  He works across a broad spectrum to improve population health and health services.  Dr McKenzie is a Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Chair of the Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee for Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot and Special Advisor to the Ministers responsible for the Basic Income Pilot. He also sits on Advisory committees for the Ministry of Education (Ontario), Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (Ontario) and the Anti-Racism Directorate in the Cabinet Office (Ontario). Dr McKenzie co-Chairs the Population Health Leadership Table for Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and the Health Equity Advisory Committee for Health Quality Ontario.

A Southampton University Medical School graduate, Dr McKenzie trained as a specialist at the Maudsley Hospital, Institute of Psychiatry, London and Harvard University. His early clinical and academic work focussed on developing community informed innovative strategies to increase access and quality of services.  This led to advisory roles to the UK Government and election to the Executive of the Royal College of Psychiatrists UK.  His more recent work has investigated the social determinants of health and how they can be used to decrease illness and improve wellbeing.

In addition to his academic, policy and clinical work, Dr McKenzie is a past BBC Radio presenter and columnist for the Guardian and Times-online.  Dr McKenzie holds an African Canadian Achievement Award for Science, the Dominican of Distinction Award, is a former Harkness Fellow is Health Policy and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, (UK).

Dr. McKenzie mentor residents, researchers, community members and young people of African and Caribbean origin who want to become doctors.  His work has been recognized by Harry Jerome award.

Dr. Sharon Straus

Sharon E. Straus is a geriatrician and clinical epidemiologist who trained at the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford.  She is the Director of the Knowledge Translation Program and Interim Physician-in-Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital; Director, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Toronto; Vice Chair, and Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto.  She holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation and Quality of Care and has authored more than 400 publications and 3 textbooks in evidence-based medicine, knowledge translation and mentorship. She is in the top 1% of highly cited clinical researchers as per Web of Science. She holds more than $57 million in peer reviewed research grants as a principal investigator.  She has received national awards for mentorship, research and education.

Dr. Umberin Najeeb

Umberin was practicing as a Staff Internist at a teaching hospital in Pakistan until twelve years ago, when a 14 hour flight to Toronto changed her life. After a series of exams; she entered the Internal Medicine program at the University of Toronto as a PGY2 in 2007 and completed her Internal Medicine residency in two years. She received her FRCPC in spring 2009 and joined the Department of Medicine at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre [SHSC] in July of the same year. She completed her Education Scholars Program in 2012 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine and a Clinician Educator at the University of Toronto. She is the Faculty Lead for the PGY4 Internal Medicine Program and Faculty Lead for International Medical Graduates [IMG] Mentorship Program at U of Toronto.

She is combining her interests in medical education with the challenges and issues surrounding IMGs education and training. She has focused her academic work on addressing these issues in a scholarly manner to facilitate the transition and integration of IMGs (and other Internationally Educated Health Professionals) into their training and working environments. She has received several educational grants and has presented her work both nationally and internationally. She has designed multiple curricular innovations including an orientation day and a research based longitudinal-collaborative mentorship program for Internal Medicine IMG trainees.

Within her role asthe Faculty Lead for the PGY4 Internal Medicine program; she influences the educational process in many ways: program development, curriculum design, and implementation, as well as mentorship and career counselling for residents. She conceptualized and developed an innovative structure and curriculum that train PGY4s to be competent General Internists. The sustained success of this program and the continued appreciation of her work by the trainees is a testament to her passion for resident advocacy and mentorship.

She has won numerous teaching and mentorship awards, both on undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including the 2012 Top 10 Teachers of U of Toronto, 2013 Sunnybrook Young Teacher Award, 2014 Peters Boyd Academy Clerkship Faculty Teaching Award, the 2014 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Dept. of Medicine William J. Sibbald Faculty Mentoring Award [nominated by IMG residents], 2016-2017 Peter’s Boyd Academy Faculty Award of Merit, and the 2017 University of Toronto Sarita Verma Award for Advocacy and Mentorship in Postgraduate Medicine. She was also nominated for 2017 Professional Association of Residents of Ontario [PARO] Lois H. Ross Resident Advocate Award[nominated by PGY4 trainees].

In between her family, clinical and educational responsibilities, she tries to make some time for reading, which is one of her few guilty pleasures. She also likes to cook and bake, especially the latter, as it is a great stress reliever.

Dr. Kashif Pirzada

Dr. Kashif Pirzada is a Toronto-based Emergency Physician and Investigating Coroner for the Province of Ontario. He also holds academic appointments at the University of Toronto and McMaster University, and is particularly interested in new technologies and innovations in the medical field.