2021 DFCM Award of Excellence Winners

Congratulations to all our 2021 Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) Award of Excellence winners! At this year's virtual Celebration Event, we will recognize and honour your contributions to your patients, communities and our department.

These awards relate to the period June 2020 – June 2021.

Congratulations to all our 2021 Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) Award of Excellence winners! At this year's virtual Celebration Event, we will recognize and honour your contributions to your patients, communities and our department.

These awards relate to the period June 2020 – June 2021.

  • For 2021 Program Award winners, please click here.
  • For 2021 external award winners, please click here.

Academic Family Physician of the Year

Dr. Sidney Feldman | North York General Hospital
Dr. Sid Feldman is a community family physician with a full-spectrum family practice affiliated with the North York Family Health Team/NYGH. At Baycrest Health Sciences, he serves as Executive Medical Director Residential Program and Chief, Department of Family and Community Medicine. He is the inaugural Head of a new DFCM Division of Care of the Elderly. He is Chair of the Members’ Interest Group in Care of the Elderly at the CFPC.

Excellence in Leadership

Dr. Erin Bearss | Mount Sinai Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. Erin Bearss exemplifies excellence in leadership. Always ready to help, she excels in leadership positions, while maintaining a busy Sinai Family Health Team practice; a clinical schedule in our Emergency Department; and teaching at a high level. However, she truly stood out during the pandemic by (among other things) opening and directing operations of our COVID testing centre and a university-based vaccination clinic. And all with a smile and an infectiously positive “can do” attitude!

Dr. David Eisen | North York General Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
Dr. David Eisen, Chief of Family Medicine at North York General Hospital, is an exemplary academic leader, highly worthy of this auspicious award.  He has demonstrated extraordinary impact within our hospital, community and within the university department since he began in this role in 2014, but this has gained further significance with the challenging circumstances of the pandemic over the past year.  

Excellence in New Leadership

Dr. Dara Maker | Women's College Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. Maker's leadership style, it is one of compassion, commitment, collaboration and vision. She possesses a unique and invaluable ability to see situations from multiple perspectives, to truly listen and hear diverse voices and balance multiple needs in a fair and validating manner. Dr. Maker has not only risen to the occasion during COVID-19 but shone as a dedicated and visionary leader, guiding us in family practice calmly through the storm. 

Dr. Kyle Vojdani | Toronto East General Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
Dr. Kyle Vojdani may not be wearing a cape, but to his community he has emerged as a true superhero. He doesn’t simply ask “how can I help?”, he answers the question by being available almost all day every day, by listening, by leading by example and by enabling others to do their best work. He is an exceptional administrator, a creative thinker and an outstanding leader.  

Louise Nasmith Award

Dr. Nikki Bozinoff | CAMH
Dr. Nikki Bozinoff is the Program Director for the Enhanced Skills in Addiction Medicine Program, the Course Director for the CAMH Simulation-based learning for methadone and buprenorphine prescribing skills, and the co-developer of a case-based CPD workshop on office-based prescribing of buprenorphine. Dr. Bozinoff is a passionate educator, advocate, clinician and researcher whose work focuses on increasing uptake of evidence-based care for persons with opioid use disorder in primary care. 

Philip Ellison Excellence in Continuing Professional Development Award

Dr. Rahul Jain | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Rahul Jain demonstrates sustained excellence as an educator in harmonizing constantly evolving cardiovascular clinical practice guidelines and implementing and disseminating through continuing professional development initiatives. As co-chair of the Canadian Cardiovascular Harmonized National Endeavour (C-CHANGE) and CHEP+ (C-CHANGE Education Program) Conference in collaboration with Dr. Sheldon Tobe (Nephrology), he provides primary care perspective with a goal of continuous improvement in adherence of evidence-based best practices to improve health outcomes. 

Excellence in Faculty Development

Faculty Renewal Central Team: Dr. Thea Weisdorf, Dr. Eleanor Colledge, Dr. Michael Roberts, Dr. Michelle Homer, Dr. Rob Gabor, Dr. Ali Appleton, Dr. Andrew Sparrow, Dr. Batya Grundland, Dr. Carey Fan, Dr. Carrie Schram, Dr. Deborah Kopansky-Giles, Dr. Donna Vlahos, Dr. Eva Knifed, Dr. Fok-Han Leung, Dr. Giovanna Sirianni, Dr. Jeff Golisky, Dr. Jessie Jean Weaver, Dr. Maria Ivankovic, Dr. Meeta Patel, Dr. Milena Markovski, Dr. Natascha Crispino, Dr. Nina Yashpal, Dr. Peter Tzakas, Dr. Priya Sood, Dr. Rahul Jain, Dr. Risa Bordman, Dr. Susan Goldstein, Dr. Stephnie Milone, Ms. Danielle Dudycha, Dr. Viola Antao, Dr. Stu Murdoch  | Central DFCM

This collaborative team contributed significantly to the preparation of DFCM Faculty for Accreditation 2020 through a high-impact Faculty Development initiative. This involved the development and comprehensive dissemination of four modules to support central, community and rural DFCM Faculty. The module topics (Hidden Curriculum, Wellness and Resilience, Competency, and Assessment) were selected based on multi-level needs assessments, were run centrally with wide reaching virtual attendance, and were designed to be tailored by sites to meet their specific faculty development needs. 

Sustained Excellence in Teaching

Dr. David Esho | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. David Esho is a truly talented clinician-teacher that has impacted learners at all levels from the 1st year medical student, postgraduate residency and the 3rd year fellowship level. At our site, he is mostly called “Esho” affectionately. He is known for his polite and kind nature -yet fierce in his clinical acumen. He is a medical gentle giant.   

Dr. Esho’s students have professed him as “incredible”, “humble”, “exemplary” and “reflective”.  Many of his former students have now become his colleagues and credit Dr. Esho in shaping and building their careers. His teaching scores are stellar and he has had numerous teaching nominations and awards in the last 10 years.  Dr. Esho is a true example of sustained teaching in excellence.  

Dr. Deepti Pasricha | Markham Stouffville Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
Dr. Pasricha has been a faculty member at the DFCM since 2010 but has been involved in teaching elective medical students, as well as family medicine residents since 1995. Since the inception of the Markham Family Medicine Teaching Unit, Dr. Pasricha has been a respected teacher and community supervisor for the resident clinics, and an integral part of the residents’ geriatric rotation.  

Ms. Suzanne Singh | Mount Sinai Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site, HPE
Suzanne Singh has been a dedicated and valuable member of the Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team for fifteen years. As the team pharmacist, she has played a vital role in the education of countless family medicine residents and medical students. Suzanne is an outstanding pharmacist who makes a valuable daily contribution to the entire team and has played a critical role in advancing the FHT’s academic mandate. 

Dr. Mary Thomas | Toronto East General Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
For almost 20 years Dr. Thomas has remained enthusiastic about helping learners become capable, confident physicians. Medical students and residents appreciate that she is not only clinically skilled and highly knowledgeable, but has the capacity to translate that knowledge into effective teaching. Learners say that they’ve “never had a supervisor that was so interested in their learning” and her ability to foster a supportive educational environment and demonstrate respectful patient-centered care increased their interest in Family Medicine.  

Excellence in Teaching (early career)

Dr. Alena Hung | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. Alena Hung is a dedicated clinician and highly skilled educator. Her excellence in teaching is widely recognized by learners and faculty alike, and we are very pleased to see her passion and contributions to primary care education being recognized. Dr. Hung’s interprofessional work on improving Goals of Care communication through simulation is particularly worthy of recognition for its beneficial impact to learners, faculty and ultimately patients and their families. 

Dr. Akshaan Kaul | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre – Community Affiliated Site
Dr. Akshaan Kaul is an excellent teacher and an ideal candidate for this award.  He is involved in teaching residents and medical students in family medicine and palliative care, he is the Behavioural Science Coordinator at our site, and he is the ICE/Clinical Skills Lead Tutor and Site Coordinator for pre-clerkship students at our site.

 Here are just a few comments from learners: “Excellent role model, goes out of [his] way to be personally and professionally supportive.”, “Outstanding preceptor”, “Exceptionally knowledgeable”, “Outstanding mentor, consistently supportive while allowing for autonomy”.

Excellence in Course/Program Development

Dr. Carrie Bernard | Mount Sinai Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
Dr. Carrie Bernard and her team brought together teachers, learners, ethicists, and scholars to develop a novel integrated ethics curriculum for Family Medicine residents at the University of Toronto. They received a large grant from PSI to support this work. The curriculum is scholarly, thought-provoking, and addresses an unmet need in the postgraduate curriculum. It is an excellent example of what is possible when like-minded individuals engage in education scholarship with a shared vision. 

Dr. Michelle Yee | Mount Sinai Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. Michelle Yee has completely revamped the postgraduate emergency medicine rotation at Mount Sinai Hospital. Since taking over the position as Postgraduate EM Coordinator, she has created a brand new website (mshemerg.com) to help organize and orient learners, re-designed the orientation and teaching sessions, improved learner satisfaction by creating a self-scheduling protocol, and even centralized the evaluation process. Her work has improved on what already made Mount Sinai Emergency Department a leading teaching hospital. 

Excellence in Development and Use of Innovative Instructional Methods

Dr. Sarah Foohey | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
When COVID caused the closure of Simulation labs in Spring of 2020, Dr. Foohey developed the "Virtual Resus Room" to ensure learners would not lose the valuable learning associated with simulation. Learners are able to interact within a virtual environment while communicating with facilitators. Dr. Foohey's free open access virtual sim platform has been adopted by programs across Canada, the United States and an increasing number across the world. 

Dr. Sharon Domb and Ms. Eden Manly | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
The Virtual Zoom Clinics conceived and developed by Dr. Domb and Ms. Manly demonstrate excellence in the development and use of innovative instructional methods in our uncertain world. This innovative method of clinical teaching has been central to ensuring our learners continued to receive the high quality, efficacious teaching we strive towards as a Department, while also marking a game changing contribution to the clinical teaching methods required as we establish a “new normal” in primary care provision and education.

Excellence in Creative Professional Activity

Dr. Giovanna Sirianni, Dr. Irene Ying, Dr. Dori Seccareccia, Ms. Jakie Skiiner and Ms. Laura Takahashi | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Drs. Sirianni, Ying & Seccareccia and team have created and studied 3 seasons of the About Empathy podcasts which function as a platform for sharing stories by patients, caregivers and providers. Intended for healthcare learners, the creators serve as hosts and explore guests’ stories of hope, struggle, love and grief. By modelling the language, questions and strategies that foster compassion and humanism, learners are coached to incorporate greater levels of empathy into clinical encounters. 

Education Scholarship Excellence Award

Senior Clinician Educator Scholar

Dr. Melissa Nutik | Mount Sinai Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. Melissa Nutik has made an outstanding contribution to education scholarship at DFCM. As a leader, consultant, mentor and colleague she has promoted and supported scholarly initiatives in our department and significantly advanced education scholarship capacity amongst DFCM faculty. Her own scholarship on generalism is making an impact on medical education locally, nationally and internationally. 

Dr. Judith Peranson | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Judith Peranson is a family physician and a thoughtful, diligent and passionate clinician educator and scholar with a focus on interprofessional education, team and faculty development, and program evaluation. She is an expert collaborator who uses mentorship, regular check-ins, discussion, and supportive advice to help others reach their goals in health professions education. Her outstanding academic and administrative contributions to the department and beyond also underpin her excellent work as a senior clinician educator scholar.  

New Education Scientist Scholar

Dr. Betty Onyura | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
As an Education Scientist, Dr. Betty Onyura has made a significant impact on the quality and scope of evaluation within the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the broader health professions education community. Her contribution to education scholarship at DFCM, and her service and dedication to high-quality evaluation science are invaluable and deserving of the recognition this award offers. 

Senior Education Scientist Scholar

Dr. Cynthia Whitehead | Women's College Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. Cynthia Whitehead’s exceptional body of work spans the scholarship of teaching, integration, application, and discovery. She has played a prominent role in scholarly capacity building in the discipline of Family Medicine locally, nationally, and internationally. Her research program interrogates the fundamental assumptions of education using history as a tool. Her work reflects the idea that education has the power to be transformative, with the potential to shape our students, our teachers, our patients and our society for the better. 

Excellence in Research - Senior Investigator

Dr. Michelle Greiver | North York General Hospital
Michelle Greiver is the Cheesbrough Chair in Family and Community Medicine at North York General Hospital and a community-based family doctor with an incomparable passion for integrating evidence-based medicine into clinical practice. She co-founded the largest Practice-Based Research Network in Canada, UTOPIAN, and the national CPCSSN disease management system. She is a renowned mentor for colleagues and junior faculty and pushes forward a culture of curiosity through leadership positions in national and international organizations. 

Excellence in Social Responsibility

Dr. Sabrina Akhtar | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Dr. Sabrina Akhtar's amazing work with the frail, elderly, homebound population is a core example of her commitment to social responsibility. Beyond that, she additionally commits herself to the Northern Rural Initiative program, for which she travels to Red Lake several weeks per year to provide locum relief work. Further, she manages a full-time outpatient clinic, delivers babies, and is a wonderful mother to three young daughters and a dedicated wife, friend and colleague. 

Dr. Emilie Lam | Markham Stouffville Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
Dr. Emilie Lam’s ground-breaking work as the chair of the Primary Care Association of the Eastern York Region North Durham Ontario Health Team, and as a leader in both palliative care and primary care in Markham, has led to innovative community-based programs which have served the needs of the Markham Stouffville care community and beyond. 

Ms. Melissa Murray | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre – Community Affiliated Site
Ms. Melissa Murray is an excellent role model for social responsibility and accountability for her clients and for the larger community served by SJHC. Some highlights of her initiatives include the development of community sessions like Grocery Store Tours for patients and spearheading and running a new Diabetes Clinic at our site to ensure that those who needed to be seen in person during the pandemic were accommodated. Melissa often focuses on those with complex psychosocial needs and severe mental illness and addictions. One staff shared, "I have personally witnessed some incredible transformations with patients that I have referred to Melissa. She is a true advocate for patients' wellbeing and goes far beyond what I would expect a health care provider to do in order to access the best care for patients."

Quality Improvement Award of Excellence

Dr. Donna Spaner | Toronto Grace Hospital – Community Affiliated Site
The PEACH team an initiative of Inner-City Health Associates had been providing Palliative Care services to the homeless and marginally housed since 2014. QI is now an embedded part of the program with Donna Spaner as the QI team lead. Initiatives include improving EMR documentation, ameliorating clinical processes, easy accessibility of goals of care conversations in the EMR and automatic annually collated data through the development of an outcome of service form.  

Staff Excellence in Collaboration Award

Mr. Farzin Bahadori & Mr. Gregory Stevens | Toronto East Health Network – Community Affiliated Site
Through leadership, passion for their work, and ongoing commitment to building partnerships, Mr. Gregory Stevens and Mr. Farzin Bahadori exemplify the tremendous impact that phenomenal staff can have on creating and sustaining collaborative initiatives.  Their work has supported, and continues to support family physicians in the delivery of strong primary care in the East York community and across the Toronto region.  

Mr. Brian Da Silva | Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) – Central DFCM
Brian Dasilva is deserving of recognition for his collaborative approach to work. The contribution to excellence that Brian offers through thoughtful guidance and sharing of information technology expertise is collaboration defined and impactful beyond the respective projects to a positive impact on the climate within which our program teams work.  

Dr. Holly Knowles, Ms. Sarah Nestico, Ms. Lorna McDougall and Mr. Daniel Bois | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
Our collaborative, inter-professional Vaccination Committee reinvented the traditional delivery of flu vaccines for a post-pandemic era. Mindful of social distancing restrictions the team provided timely and safe access to flu vaccines for underserved patient populations including families with children under five, and seniors. The team used public health principles to maximize the patients seen, and continuous quality improvement to optimize efficiency. Thousands of vaccines were provided and feedback from all involved was astoundingly positive.  

Staff Excellence in Leadership Values

Ms. Elicia Bryant | Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) – Central DFCM
Elicia is one of the most skilled, knowledgeable, resourceful and accomplished administrators we have the pleasure of working with at the DFCM. Her sustained and successful leadership, collaboration and innovation in the highly complex Postgrad Admissions portfolio over her time with us is extremely deserving of the highest accolades including this award. She has an innate professionalism and unique ability to motivate excellence and confidence in her colleagues and collaborate both locally and nationally. 

Staff Excellence

Ms. Ancy Jacob | Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) – Central DFCM
Ancy Jacob is an exemplar administrator. She is consistently committed to collaboration and to producing work of the highest quality.  She demonstrates a genuine dedication to cultivating an inclusive, respectful and responsive culture at DFCM, while supporting program faculty and learners. 

Ms. Stacey McKeown | Scarborough Health Network
Stacey McKeown is an indispensable part of our team at Scarborough Health Network Family Medicine Program, as Program Assistant for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate programs. She is a strong resource for residents and preceptors at our site, as well as to her Program Assistant peers. She is a tireless supporter of all resident issues, and has helped to give a voice to Resident Wellness issues centrally for Accreditation 2020, as well as troubleshooting our Elentra system. 

Ms. Melissa Wynter | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Melissa Wynter is being recognized for her contributions to our Department over the past, most challenging, year. She has been an essential part of the Department’s successful transition to virtual care and, played a particularly invaluable role in the DFCM’s Drive Thru Flu Shot Clinics in October 2020. This successful clinic could not have been realized without Melissa’s logistical support. We are delighted to see Melissa’s skills, passion and enthusiasm being recognized. 

Staff New Employee Award

Ms. Amy Noise | Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) – Central DFCM
As the Communications Strategist, Ms. Noise became a key member of DFCM during a difficult time. Her expertise in communication strategy has helped the department navigate through Accreditation, External Review, and multiple reports and ceremonies. She has set the stage for this department's success through these trying times.

Ms. Nassim Vahidi-Williams | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital – Fully Affiliated Site
As co-Chair of the St. Michael’s FHT SDOH, Nassim brings a unique and powerful expertise to her role.  She has deep experience with community engagement and with equity-focused work in primary care.  She draws on her own lived and work experiences and academic training to forge a novel and transformative space within our team as well as the deep engagement of community members and patients. Her work has already had a powerful impact on how our communities of practice see our team, and how we understand our relationship with those communities. 

Staff Quality Improvement Award

Ms. Holly Downey | Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) – Central DFCM
Ms. Holly Downey is the new Academic Appointments Administrator in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Ms. Downey is not only committed to excellence in her administrative role, but has also demonstrated herself to be a leader in the DFCM in staff wellness and support. Ms. Downey is the frontline for faculty appointments in the DFCM, and does so with a strong commitment to support our Sites, Programs, Faculty members, and the department at large.