Celebrating Women in Medicine

Mar 8, 2021

Over the past six years, the Department of Medicine has contributed to the development of an action plan to increase gender equity and advance the professional success of women in academic medicine with a particular focus in addressing the chronic lack of women in leadership roles in healthcare.

At the inaugural Women in Academic Medicine Summit held in 2017, Dr. Gillian Hawker, Sir John and Lady Eaton Professor and Chair of Medicine, noted, “This is just the beginning of a conversation about valuing all members of the medical profession.” 


The Department of Medicine would also like to acknowledge the following 25 women who have demonstrated great leadership in research, quality and innovation, scholarship and teaching in 2020.



Dr. Lisa Richardson: 
Vice-Chair, Culture & Inclusion

Dr. Lisa Richardson












Dr. Richardson is a clinician-educator in the University of Toronto's Division of General Internal Medicine and practices at the University Health Network. Her academic background is diverse and includes a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University with Majors in English Literature and Biology, a Medical Degree from the University of Calgary followed by residency training in General Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in the field of Science and Technology Studies.   


Supported by the Indigenous Medical Education Investigator Award, she is a Centre Researcher at the Wilson Centre with a scholarly focus on integrating critical, Indigenous and other perspectives from the social sciences and humanities into medical education. She is the Strategic Advisor in Indigenous Health for the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and for Women’s College Hospital. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and co-leads the portfolio of Person-Centered Care Education. Formerly, she was a site program director for the Core Internal Medicine Residency Program and was also its first Wellness Lead.  
Currently, Lisa chairs several provincial and national committees to advance medical education and is an active member of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. Her work as an advocate and educator has been recognized through numerous local, national and international awards.



Division Directors

Dr. Susanna Mak:
Cardiology Division Director

Dr. Susanna Mak





Dr. Susanna Mak is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology. She is the Director of the Anna Prosserman Heart Function Clinic and also the Director of the Harold & Esther Mecklinger and the Posluns Family Cardiac Catheterization Research Laboratory at Mount Sinai Hospital. In this facility, Dr. Mak performs her studies of cardiovascular physiology, as well as specialized investigations for advanced heart failure patients. As a clinical cardiologist, she is a heart failure specialist at the Anna Prosserman Heart Function Clinic, which is the longest serving Heart Failure Clinic in Toronto. Dr. Mak received her PhD from the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto and is an expert in the assessment of hemodynamics and heart chamber function in humans. Dr. Mak’s research interests include the contrasts between the cardiovascular physiology of men and women, the pathophysiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension and heart failure, and the quality of care for patients with acute and chronic heart failure.

Dr. Mak has recently launched a clinical research program to precisely phenotype the cardiovascular physiologic contributions to dyspnea. Known as the BREATH (Breathlessness Revealed using Exercise to Assess The Hemodynamic response) program, Dr. Mak has received funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Ontario Research Fund. The program aims to provide state of the art diagnostics for syndromes of breathlessness related to aging, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and pulmonary hypertension.

Dr. Jacqueline James
Endocrinology & Metabolism
ivision Director

Dr. Jacqueline James









Dr. Jacqueline James completed her MD in internal medicine, subspecialty training in endocrinology and metabolism, and Master’s of Education at the University of Toronto. She is a clinician-educator and professor in the Department of Medicine and has been a proud member of the community of clinical teachers and educators at the University of Toronto since joining the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 1995. 
Dr. James has made excellent and sustained contributions to the Faculty of Medicine through a variety of educational leadership roles throughout her career and she has provided outstanding academic service in support of the MD program, postgraduate, continuing professional development and interprofessional education.  She was the recipient of University of Toronto Colin R. Woolf Award for Excellence in Course Coordination in 2005, for her work with the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, the Department of Medicine Teacher of the Year Award in 2014 in recognition of her contributions to the Department’s educational mission, and the Faculty of Medicine  W. T. Aikins Award for Course or Program Development and Coordination in 2017 in recognition of outstanding contributions to the MD Program.

Dr. James was director of the Faculty of Medicine Wightman-Berris Academy from 2006 to 2017, and has been  Vice-President, Education, Sinai Health System since 2011. As past chair of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, Care and Education Committee, she led the development and funding of educational and research programs for health professionals throughout the Toronto region. She is passionate about bringing individuals across all health professional disciplines, clinical and academic sites with a common goal of improving healthcare delivery through providing outstanding educational and research experiences for the next generation of  clinicians and investigators.  

Her goal as division director will be to continue to nurture and support the already highly successful diabetes and metabolic research programs across the university, while building on existing strengths in endocrinology and endocrine oncology to grow research endeavours in these areas. She will also aim to strengthen the quality of person-centred care through innovation and collaboration across all affiliated university sites.

Her general endocrinology practice is based at Mount Sinai Hospital and she has a special interest in caring for people with Type 1 diabetes transitioning to adult care. 

Dr. Laura Targownik:
Gastroenterology & Hepatology Division Director

Dr. Laura Targownik







Dr. Laura Targownik graduated from the University of Manitoba Medical School in 1997 and completed her residency training in Internal Medicine in 2000. She then went to University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) to complete a 3-year fellowship in Digestive Diseases while also obtaining a Master’s of Science (Health Services) from the UCLA School of Public Health.

Since 2003, Dr. Targownik has been a full-time faculty member at the University of Manitoba in the Section of Gastroenterology where she currently holds the rank of Associate Professor. She is also an Associate of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and is the Associate Director of the IBD Research and Clinical Centre. Prior to joining the Department of Medicine as Division Director for Gastroenterology & Hepatology, she was the Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology at University of Manitoba.

Dr. Targownik is a nationally recognized researcher in IBD and has held funding from Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, the American College of Gastroenterology and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She is currently an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Gastroenterology and has served on the Examiner’s Board on the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for Gastroenterology.

Dr. Targownik is a member of numerous research consortia, including the Canadian IBD Research Consortium, the Canadian Gastrointestinal Epidemiology Consortium and the Canadian IBD Transitions in Care Network. She is also the chair for Equity and Diversity for the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology where she is spearheading several initiatives with the aim of improving the representation of women in positions of leadership and influence in gastroenterology. She has authored or co-authored over 120 articles in peer-reviewed publications. Her current focus of research is in using secondarily collected data sources to evaluate the costs and benefits of medications used in IBD.

Dr. Moira Kapral:
General Internal Medicine
Division Director

Dr. Moira Kapral
Dr. Moira Kapral is a professor in the Department of Medicine and holds the Mr. Mak Pak Chiu and Mrs. Mak-Soo Lai Hing Chair in General Internal Medicine. She is a staff physician in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University Health Network (UHN)/Mount Sinai Hospital. She served as internal medicine clerkship coordinator (1998-2004) and site director for the Internal Medicine Postgraduate Program (2005-2008) at the Toronto General Hospital. She has received prestigious University of Toronto awards including the Mary Hollington Award for Teaching, the Aikens Award for Teaching and the Wightman-Berris Academy Award for Teaching. She also received numerous UHN awards including the Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching, the J.G. Scott Teacher of the Year Award, the W.H. Anderson Award for Individual Teaching Excellence, and the Young Attending Teacher Award.
Her research focus is on stroke health services research and she is a senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Toronto General Research Institute. She has held almost $14 million in grant funding as well as national career awards from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (2006-2011) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (2011-2016). Dr. Kapral was the co-principal investigator of the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network/Ontario Stroke Registry.

Dr. Barbara Liu:
Geriatric Medicine Division Director

Dr. Barbara Liu

Dr. Barbara Liu is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is also the Executive Director of the Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto (RGP) and leads a network of 23 hospitals in the delivery of specialized geriatric services. In Ontario she has been leading the implementation of senior friendly hospital/senior friendly care  framework in collaboration with decision makers, hospitals and front-line providers.  Through her clinical work and administrative leadership, she is deeply committed to the care of older people and the vision of “Better health outcome for frail seniors”.





Dr. Monika Krzyzanowska:
Medical Oncology Division Director

Dr. Monika Krzyzanowska




Dr. Krzyzanowska is a medical oncologist and health services researcher at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and a Professor of Medicine at U of T. Her research focuses on the interplay between the science and practice of healthcare quality as it relates to the delivery of cancer care. By combining patient-level studies with population-based research, she is able to look at quality issues from different but complementary perspectives, which have impact at both the micro (institution) as well as macro (population) level and close the loop between quality measurement and improvement.
Dr. Krzyzanowska has held a number of leadership roles related to quality at Cancer Care Ontario, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto and with the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She is an Associate Editor at the Journal of Oncology Practice and the Chair of the 2018 ASCO Quality Care Symposium. Dr. Krzyzanowska obtained her medical degree and clinical training at the University of Toronto then completed a research fellowship at the Centre for Outcomes and Policy Research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 

At the 2018 Annual Day, Dr. Krzyzanowska was promoted to Professor and received the Department of Medicine Award in Quality and Innovation.

Dr. Rulan Parekh: 
Nephrology Division Director

Dr. Rulan Parekh










Dr. Rulan Parekh is Associate Chief, Clinical Research and Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children and University Health Network, and Professor of Paediatrics and Medicine in the Departments of Paediatrics, Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management Evaluation at the University of Toronto. 

Dr. Parekh is a clinician scientist, nephrologist and an international leader in clinical epidemiology and translational research in kidney disease. Her body of work has revealed novel genetic risk factors leading to kidney disease, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality for children and adults with kidney disease.

At the University of Michigan, Dr. Parekh was uniquely trained in pediatrics and internal medicine with subspecialty training in both pediatric and adult nephrology as well as research training, completing her Master’s in Biostatistics and Study Design. She subsequently went on to post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University and joined the faculty in 2000. She successfully competed for a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Career Development Research Award, and the American Society of Nephrology Carl W. Gottschalk Award for young investigators, establishing research programs in the genetics and cardiovascular complications of kidney disease.

In 2008, she returned to Canada and accepted a faculty position at the University of Toronto and a scientist position with the SickKids Research Institute. Since 2000, Dr. Parekh has maintained a record of sustained NIH and CIHR funding. She has significant productivity with more than 160 published manuscripts, over 4,000 citations and a stellar track record of training and mentoring 80 students and post-doctoral trainees. She has received several awards including the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland Award, Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Research Award, and was elected into academic honour societies such as the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Pediatric Academic Society and the American Pediatric Society. More recently, Dr. Parekh was named Canada Research Chair in Chronic Kidney Disease by CIHR.

Dr. Camilla Zimmermann:
Palliative Medicine Division Director

Dr. Camilla Zimmermann






Dr. Camilla Zimmermann is Professor of Medicine and holds the Rose Family Chair in Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care at the University of Toronto. She is also Head of the Division of Palliative Care at the University Health Network, a staff palliative care physician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Institute.

Dr. Zimmermann completed her training in General Internal Medicine at McGill and at Women’s College Hospital, and passed her American Board exams in both Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She also completed a Master’s degree in Public Health (Social Science and Health) and a PhD (Institute of Medical Sciences) at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Zimmermann is internationally known for her research on palliative and supportive care, particularly in the area of early integration of palliative care for patients with cancer. She has published extensively, including in the Lancet, JAMA and Journal of Clinical Oncology, is co-editor of the textbook Supportive Oncology, and received the William E. Rawls prize from the Canadian Cancer Society for excellence in cancer research. Her research program on early palliative care in patients with solid tumours and leukemia is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

Dr. Heather McDonald-Blumer:
Rheumatology Division Director

Dr. Heather McDonald-Blumer









Dr. Heather McDonald-Blumer completed her internal medicine and rheumatology training at the University of Toronto. Following initial community rheumatology practice she transitioned to a full-time academic appointment in the Department of Medicine in 2004.

For the past 12 years, Dr. McDonald-Blumer has been a member of the Division of Rheumatology at Mount Sinai Hospital/University Health Network. Her clinical interests include osteoporosis and inflammatory joint disease. She is the associate director of the Osteoporosis Program at University Health Network, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee and chair of the Guidelines Committee for Osteoporosis Canada.

She has been an active member of the rheumatology community locally and nationally, having served as the University of Toronto program director for rheumatology as well as chair of the Specialty Committee in Rheumatology and chair of the Examination Board for rheumatology for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Her work has advanced rheumatology training across the country through curricular innovations. In recognition of these contributions, Dr. McDonald-Blumer was awarded the Royal College Program Director of the Year Award as well as the inaugural Canadian Rheumatology Association Teacher/Educator of the Year Award.

From 2009-2016, Dr. McDonald-Blumer was the program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program in the Department of Medicine. She has been awarded the William Goldie Travel Prize and Award for medical education and the Teacher of the Year Award to recognize the impact of her work and leadership within the internal medicine program. Complementing her local role, she was the vice-chair of the Canadian Association of Internal Medicine Program Directors during 2015-2016, a group working to share best educational practices in internal medicine training and work with the Royal College to define the internal medicine standards for the incoming competency-based curriculum.


 2020 Award Recipients


Dr. Michelle Hladunewich: 2020
Master Clinician

Michelle Hladunewich




At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Michelle Hladunewich has developed a clinical and research program in women’s health and rare glomerular diseases, garnering a national and international reputation. She is an accomplished educator and has taught extensively locally, nationally and internationally. However, her most important priority will always be patient care. Dr. Hladunewich is a recognized expert in the diagnosis and management of kidney disease in pregnancy as well as glomerulonephritis.

Over the years, Dr. Hladunewich built the largest Pregnancy and Kidney Disease (PreKid) clinic in both Canada and the world. Within this multidisciplinary clinic shared with Maternal Fetal Medicine, she manages over 100 very high-risk pregnancies annually and consults across the globe. A similar model of multidisciplinary care has now been applied to patients with severe forms of glomerulonephritis. In recognition of her staunch patient advocacy and very dedicated patient care, she was recently awarded both the Human Touch Award by Cancer Care Ontario and the 2019 CPSO Council Award. She is presently the Physician in Chief at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and is the Ontario Renal Network Medical Lead for Glomerulonephritis and Specialty Clinics.

Dr. Maria Zorzitto: 2020 
Master Clinician

Dr. Maria Zorzitto


Over the past 40 years, Dr. Maria Zorzitto has been involved in clinical geriatrics, teaching and research in all settings of geriatric services in academic and community care. In the community she was the Medical Director of the West End Regional Geriatric Program at West Park Hospital. At St. Michael’s Hospital, she has worked with a multidisciplinary team to establish the Geriatric Emergency Management Program, the Geriatric Trauma Service and the Acute Care of the Elderly Unit.

Throughout her career, she has taught and mentored numerous undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has challenged many of them who have been inspired and have taken up academic careers in geriatrics, particularly in Toronto. Some would say that “she demonstrates a passion for clinical medicine especially in the care of the frail elderly with complex multi-morbidities where often there is diagnostic uncertainty, and accepting the challenge of dealing with the uncertainty.” Others would express that she encouraged learners in a “heartfelt approach to patient care in a holistic way not only for the patients but for the caregivers.”

Dr. Paula Rochon: Eaton Scholar Researcher of the Year (Clinical)

Dr. Paula Rochon



Dr. Paula Rochon is a geriatrician and vice-president of research at Women’s College Hospital. She is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and was appointed the inaugural RTOERO Chair in Geriatric Medicine at U of T.

Dr. Rochon’s research focuses on understanding the unique needs of older adults, particularly older women, and promotes their health and wellness. She has contributed to our understanding of aging and its impact both on individual patients and the healthcare system. These contributions include highlighting the need to consider sex, gender and age in research so that results are more relevant to older women and men, and tailoring prescribing strategies to reduce adverse drug events.

Dr. Rochon has a strong record of federal funding and has published more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals. She has received several research distinctions, including being elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.


Dr. Srikala Sridhar: Robert Hyland Award for Excellence in Mentorship

Dr. Srikala Sridhar

“Dr. Sridhar exemplifies the essence of an excellent mentor. She is always available and approachable to discuss clinical cases and research ideas. Her insight and expertise in her field is a tremendous asset, and she is always willing to share her expertise, locally and beyond.” - Di Maria Jiang

“I am overwhelmed by how impactful Dr. Sridhar has been in helping me navigate my path to a faculty position. She is a very strong role model of a successful clinician and researcher, and I honestly believe it is in Dr. Sridhar’s nature to be a generous and supportive mentor.” - Long Nguyen

“Dr. Sridhar has always made herself available to me and other mentees and has provided candid, pragmatic and sincere advice. I feel that she is extremely deserving of this prestigious award.” - Abhijat Kitchlu

Dr. Marie Faughnan: Honorary Award for Humanism in Medicine

Dr. Marie Faughnan




When Dr. Marie Faughnan first heard that that Dr. Robert Stewart, the husband of her colleague Dr. Margaret Herridge, needed a liver donor, her first thought was, “someone must do this.” It didn’t take long for Marie to decide that she could be that donor.

Robert and his family had been managing through Robert’s liver failure, deteriorating health and search for a living liver donor for months after Rob became sick following the side effects of the antibiotics prescribed for a snake bite he received in Southeast Asia. Marie had known Robert and Margaret for years, all of them working at St. Michael’s Hospital and Marie and Margaret colleagues in the Department of Medicine.

Marie, Margaret and Robert shared their story at the 2019 Annual Day when Margaret won the Clinical Researcher of the Year Award. It is the story of how a member of the Department’s selfless actions had tremendous outcomes for her colleagues. In recognition of this, the Department of Medicine has the privilege of presenting an Honorary Humanitarian Award to Dr. Marie Faughnan.

Dr. Esther Bui: William Goldie Award in Education

Dr. Esther Bui

Dr. Esther Bui is the director of the University of Toronto’s Epilepsy Fellowship, co-director of the Women’s Neurology Fellowship and co-director of Education, Krembil Brain Institute. She is a member of the Canadian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology (CSCN) and served on the executive board of the CSCN from 2012 to 2017. She is currently serving on the executive committee of the Canadian League Against Epilepsy. Her clinical interest lies in advancing the care of epilepsy, particularly focused on gender issues and pregnancy. In education, her interest is on real-time teaching assessment tools and EEG learning using game theory.




Dr. Geetha Mukerji: William Goldie Award in Quality & Innovation

Dr. Geetha Mukerji

A Clinician in QI, Dr. Geetha Mukerji has promoted high-value care through stewardship initiatives that have been scaled across various institutions, developed and evaluated multiple innovative ambulatory care models, and improved the quality of delivery of care for patients with diabetes, particularly among vulnerable populations in pregnancy and young adults with type 1 diabetes. She has also co-led the development of an ambulatory balanced scorecard of quality indicators for diabetes care. More recently, she is the co-evaluation lead of Women College Hospital’s Virtual Strategy and spearheaded the efforts to obtain Level 1 recognition of WCH as a Choosing Wisely Canada Hospital Site.





2020 Department of Medicine Senior Promotions: Full Professor

Dr. Catharine Craven

Dr. Catharine Craven

Dr. Catharine Craven is a leader of international repute in the field of SCI, particularly as it relates to the detection, prevention, and management of sub-lesional osteoporosis. She is a strong teacher and mentor who has contributed significantly at local, university, provincial, and international levels. Dr. Craven’s research, mentorship, and teaching is recognized by her receipt of several notable awards, including the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Award of Merit and the inaugural Mentor of the Year Award from the University of Toronto’s Department of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 



Dr. Laura Hawryluck

Dr. Laura Hawryluck

Dr. Hawryluck’s work explores new territory in the ethics and medico-legal aspects of end of life care in the ICU. She has done pioneering work in establishing standards of care for triage, allocation of scarce resources and end of life decision making in challenging ICU settings in the developing world. Dr. Hawryluck is currently appointed as the Critical Care Response Team Leader and Chair of the Toronto Western Hospital Acute Resuscitation Committee.




Dr. Lianne Singer

Dr. Lianne Singer

Dr. Lianne Singer has demonstrated an impressive body of research in the area of Lung Transplantation, which has had tremendous impact. Her research has advanced safe and equitable practice in the provision of lung transplantation to individuals with advanced lung disease. Dr. Singer is currently a member of the Guidelines Committee of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the International and Inter-Society Coordinating Committee of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, and five local transplant program committees. 




 2020 Department of Medicine Senior Promotions: Associate Professor

Dr. Susanna Cheng

Dr. Susanna Cheng

Dr. Susanna Cheng has made significant contributions to undergraduate and postgraduate educational curricula in Medical Oncology and has been recognized through the receipt of several prestigious teaching awards, including the Sunnybrook Department of Medicine Ambulatory Teaching Award, the Medical Oncology training program Outstanding Teacher Award, and the University Division of Medical Oncology Education Award.



Dr. Lorraine Kalia

Dr. Lorraine Kalia

Dr. Lorraine Kalia is a neurologist and neuroscientist whose translational program of research in Parkinson’s disease seeks to understand how dysfunction of molecular pathways causes neurodegeneration in order to advance biomarker and drug discovery. In addition to her research, Dr. Kalia has been recognized by students for her outstanding teaching and mentorship, with special emphasis on the important role she has played in reaching career goals.



Dr. Heather MacNeill

Dr. Healther MacNeill

Dr. Heather MacNeill has made major contributions to clinical and classroom-based teaching and interprofessional education. Dr. MacNeill’s excellence in teaching has been recognized through high teaching effectiveness scores and several prestigious awards including the MD Program Teaching Excellence Award, the Excellence in Community Based Teaching Award, and the Fred Fallis Award of Excellence in Distance Education Award.



Dr. Andrea Page

Dr. Andrea Page

Dr. Andrea Page is a highly regarded teacher and educator and has been an inspirational mentor to many learners over the years. She has introduced and evaluated a number of educational innovations, some of which have been recognized with awards, in addition to working to change the local learning environment and culture. Dr. Page has received several prestigious teaching awards.



Dr. Thirumagal Yogaparan

Dr. Thirumagal Yogaparan

Dr. Thirumagal Yogaparan has made substantial contributions to teaching at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and faculty levels in Geriatric Medicine. In 2013, she co-led the revamping of the Arts & Science of Clinical Medicine II geriatrics curriculum and was appointed the Undergraduate Geriatrics/Care of the Elderly theme lead in 2015. Since 2014, she has been the Site Director for Geriatric Medicine residents at Baycrest.