May 26, 2022

Celebrating DFCM's 2022 Senior Promotions: Full and Associate Professors

About DFCM, Faculty Development
Senior Promotions 2022 header image of faculty

Academic promotion is one of the important ways that we at the Department of Family & Community Medicine (DFCM) recognize the exceptional contributions and achievements of faculty members in our discipline, both within and beyond the University of Toronto.

For our 2022 senior promotion announcement, an unprecedented number of DFCM faculty – 13 members – have been recognized for their contributions to family medicine in clinical care, education and research, despite the ongoing challenges of the past year.

This would not have been possible without DFCM’s Senior Promotions Committee, including Dr. David White, the Committee Chair and DFCM’s Vice-Chair of Family Doctor Leadership, and Ms. Sarah Letovsky, our Academic Promotions Coordinator, supporting each of these worthy candidates throughout the process.

Join us in celebrating the following faculty members who have been recognized for the incredible work they do in being promoted to Full Professor or Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. The promotions take effect on July 1, 2022. The faculty members will be recognized at DFCM's annual Celebration Event on Sept. 20, 2022: Register to attend here.

Congratulations to all!

Read more about our senior promotions and the road to diversity in this month's Chair's Message by Dr. Danielle Martin, including quotes by Dr. White and Dr. Onye Nnorom, DFCM’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lead.

To read the Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s promotions announcement, which includes DFCM faculty, visit the website.


Dr. Danielle Martin, DFCM Chair

Dr. Danielle Martin

Dr. Danielle Martin is Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM), University of Toronto. Dr. Martin is grounded in her clinical primary care expertise. She is an active family physician whose clinical work has ranged from comprehensive family medicine in rural and remote communities to maternity care. She is a dedicated educator, mentor and role model to learners aspiring to enter medicine and health care leadership. 

Dr. Martin is a respected leader in Canadian medicine and well-recognized media spokesperson, regularly named on lists such as Medical Post’s Power List. Her 2014 presentation to a United States Senate Subcommittee about the Canadian health care system has been viewed by over 30 million people across the globe. 

Dr. Martin spent eight years as a senior hospital executive, most recently as Executive Vice President and Lead Medical Executive at Women’s College Hospital (WCH), where she was also medical lead of the hospital’s COVID-19 pandemic response. At WCH, she led the establishment of Women’s Virtual, Canada’s first virtual hospital. The recipient of many awards and accolades, in 2019 Dr. Martin became the youngest physician ever to receive the F.N.G. Starr Award, the highest honour available to Canadian Medical Association members.

Dr. Pauline Pariser

Dr. Pauline Pariser

Dr. Pauline Pariser is a family physician whose scholarly work has focused on systems-level integration of primary care providers. Consistent with this academic goal, her research has been inspired by a deep commitment to improving health service delivery and advancing clinical and social care for patients living with multi-morbid conditions. 

A founder of the Taddle Creek Family Health Team and of SCOPE (Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience), Dr. Pariser has galvanized innovative models of team-based care. She has been recognized for her clinical, teaching and leadership skills with a range of awards, but the best reward has been the decade-long sustainment of programs she fostered that have built capacity within primary care. SCOPE has grown from the initial cohort of 30 family physicians to over 1500 registered providers in Toronto and beyond to southern and northern Ontario. It has served as a prototype for primary care integration, nationally and internationally. She has contributed to securing over $22,000,000 in funding for this program and over $4,000,000 in research grants to measure the impact of SCOPE and other team-based interventions.

Dr. Pariser has been Primary Care Lead in Mid-West Toronto for Health Links, the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Networks (TCLHIN) sub-region, and currently serves as Chair for the Mid-West Toronto Ontario Health Team. She is clinical lead for hospital-based programs that support residents in long-term care and advance co-managed care for people living with diabetes. Respecting the wisdom of patients, caregivers, and colleagues from a range of disciplines has taught her the power of servant leadership, and she believes that a patient-centric and provider-enhanced approach is transformative in building resilient partnerships.

Dr. Brian Schwartz

Dr. Brian Schwartz

Dr. Brian Schwartz is Vice-President at Public Health Ontario (PHO). In this role, he provides leadership for PHO’s science and public health functions, including environmental and occupational health, health promotion, chronic disease and injury prevention. Previously, Dr. Schwartz served as Vice-President of Science and Health Protection, and Chief of Communicable Diseases, Emergency Preparedness and Response. Prior to entering public health, Dr. Schwartz practiced family medicine and emergency medicine in community settings. He was a staff emergency physician and Director of the Division of Prehospital Care at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre from 1996 to 2009, where he established what is now known as the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine. 

For the past 25 years, Dr. Schwartz has led and supported the development of evidence-based health emergency preparedness and response.  After educating and working with emergency medical services (EMS), other first responders and hospitals, he was appointed Vice-Chair of Ontario’s SARS Scientific Advisory Committee in 2003, and later served as Scientific Advisor to the Emergency Management Branch of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). He also chaired the MOHLTC’s Scientific Response Team during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, served on the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan Task Group and currently co-Chairs the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

Dr. Schwartz has published extensively on public health emergency management, pandemic preparedness and health system response to emergencies, and has received awards from the National Association of EMS Physicians, Ontario College of Family Physicians, Government of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association. 

Dr. Bill Sullivan

Dr. William Sullivan

Dr. William (Bill) F. Sullivan is a family physician with a PhD in philosophy, specifically bioethics. He is a member of the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, Unity Health Toronto. His clinical and academic focus is on integrating ethics and primary care of people who are vulnerable in healthcare systems, especially adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). With colleagues at St. Mike’s and Surrey Place, he offers a service consulting to other family physicians regarding their patients with IDD and complex needs.

Dr. Sullivan’s doctoral thesis, published by University of Toronto Press, studied how collaborative research on a complex ethical and clinical question, such as euthanasia, can be advanced by integrating contributions – not only of experts from different relevant fields, but also of researchers with distinct skills that are needed for comprehensive investigations. Using this method, he organized teams of international researchers to develop consensus ethical and clinical guidelines for primary care of various vulnerable groups in healthcare systems.

As founding director of the Developmental Disabilities Primary Care Program of Surrey Place, Dr. Sullivan led work on the Primary Care of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: Canadian Consensus Guidelines (Canadian Family Physician 2006, 2011, 2018) and various point-of-care tools and other resources to implement those guidelines. Dr. Sullivan has served as Chair of the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s Committee on Ethics. He has contributed to developing resources for teaching ethics in family medicine. He has also helped to develop and teach a part of the new undergraduate medical curriculum at the University of Toronto, including the “Complexity and Chronicity” module (year 2, week 69).

Associate Professor

Dr. Ahmed Al-Awamer

Dr. Ahmed Al-Awamer

Dr. Ahmed Al-Awamer is the Director of Postgraduate Medical Education at University Health Network, as well as a family physician and Royal College-certified palliative physician at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. After nearly eight years of community family practice in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Al-Awamer moved to a new academic position at Princess Margret Cancer Center to pursue his passion for teaching and caring for patients with life-threatening illnesses. In his academic career, he co-founded the Palliative Medicine Clinical Fellowship Program at the University of Toronto and the Bridging Program for New International Fellows. Graduates of the fellowship program become leaders and academic physicians leading the field of palliative care in Canada and globally. He has won multiple awards from U of T and UHN for his innovative educational programs.

Currently, he leads UHN Postgraduate Medical Education, which welcomes nearly 1,500 residents and 750 clinical fellows each year from around the world. In addition, he was the Education Site Lead at Princess Margret Cancer Center’s Palliative Care Division and the previous Head of the Curriculum Subcommittee at the Royal College Palliative Medicine Residency Program and Palliative Care Enhanced Skills Program.

In addition to his interest in medical education, Dr. Al-Awamer is interested in providing palliative care for adolescents and young adults (AYA), end-of-life Islamic ethics and global palliative care promotion. Dr. Al-Awamer co-founded the AYA integrated psychosocial and palliative care clinic at Princess Margret Cancer Center, which is dedicated to providing age-appropriate supportive and palliative care for young adults with cancer and aims to raise awareness about AYA cancer patients' needs through education and medical research. The clinic attracts many medical learners and researchers from different medical disciplines interested in learning about the needs of young adults with advanced cancer.

Dr. Al-Awamer enjoys nothing more than teaching and mentoring medical learners. The annual graduation ceremony is one of the happiest times of the year for him.

Dr. Lisa Del Giudice

Dr. Lisa Del Giudice

Dr. Lisa Del Giudice is a comprehensive family physician in the Sunnybrook Academic Family Health Team. She has had a career-long interest in cancer that began over 30 years ago and currently holds a leadership role as the Primary Care Lead for the Toronto Regional Cancer Program.

Her ultimate vision is to reduce the morbidity and mortality of cancer by improving care across the cancer continuum, from screening and symptom presentation to survivorship and end of life care.  She strives to achieve this goal through research, development of models of care as well as extensive knowledge dissemination efforts. 

Dr. Del Giudice’s research accomplishments have helped describe and identify gaps in cancer care in addition to addressing these gaps through innovative approaches. Some of her efforts to improve outcomes have focused on earlier identification of cancer, when treatments are more effective, including increasing cancer screening rates, improving symptom recognition in primary care and reducing wait times for specialist consultation and treatment.

She has also aimed to improve care – especially at the transitions between primary care and the cancer centre – through the development and testing of models of diagnostic, survivorship and palliative care.

Providing content expertise to provincial and national health care organizations and research and quality improvement teams, as well as engaging the public and health care providers through a multifaceted knowledge dissemination approach, have further demonstrated her passion to improve care across the cancer journey.

Dr. Milena Forte

Dr. Milena Forte

Dr. Milena Forte is a family physician at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she has practiced for over twenty years.​ At DFCM, University of Toronto, Dr Forte has served as the inaugural Maternity Care Lead since 2015, and the Postgraduate Lead for the Office of Education Scholarship since 2016.

Two of Dr. Forte's passions include family medicine maternity care and medical education. She has taught hundreds of residents and medical students in our department and served as a mentor to many. Dr. Forte has made significant contributions to the literature in maternal newborn care and maternity care education. She has also presented and published her work on entrustment in the health professions and the impact of COVID-19 on resident training nationally and internationally.

Dr. Forte continues to find the most joy and meaning in her work though the informal exchange of ideas and spirited conversations with colleagues, learners and friends. 

Dr. Charlie Guiang

Dr. Charlie Guiang

Dedicated to the success of learners, Dr. Charlie Guiang has made a learner-centric career as a mentor to many students who are now experts in their chosen fields and have made impacts in multiple areas of family medicine. With a thoughtful and reflective approach to teaching, he has encouraged and guided learners to create scholarly works that have found homes as posters and lectures in national and international conferences, as well as in high-impact journals, such as Academic Medicine, Journal of Adolescent Medicine, and Canadian Family Physician. These efforts have garnered him multiple teaching and education awards, including the Sarita Verma Award for Advocacy and Mentorship and various awards in Postgraduate Medicine.

Dr. Guiang is a family physician and previous site postgraduate program director, providing care at St. Michael’s, Unity Health Toronto, with special interests in HIV primary care and prevention, STI care and 2SLGBTQ+ care – clinical interests that provide the basis of teaching and education at national and international conferences that have positively impacted the spectrum of medical learner audiences. Inspired by the patients he cares for, he also wrote a narrative that was recognized with the distinguished Mimi Divinsky Award for History and Narrative in Family Medicine.

At the University of Toronto, as the Director of Postgraduate Learner Affairs within the recently established Office of Learner Affairs (previously known as the Postgraduate Wellness Office), Dr. Guiang provides leadership to a team that provides support, resources and advocacy to over 3600 residents and clinical fellows within Temerty Medicine. With a focus on learner wellness, he is dedicated to support learners to achieve success.

Dr. Shelley McLeod

Dr. Shelley McLeod

Dr. Shelley McLeod is a clinical epidemiologist and the Research Director of the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute (SREMI) at Sinai Health, and an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She has over 19 years of experience working in emergency medicine research with expertise in clinical research methodology and biostatistics and has published more than 100 papers in a varied array of emergency medicine topics. Her main academic interests include emergency department triage and flow, evidence synthesis including network meta-analysis, trial design and program evaluation. In the last 5 years, she collaborated with researchers from across Canada to secure 35 grants totalling more than $15 million in peer-reviewed funding.

In recognition of her contributions to emergency medicine research, Dr. McLeod has been awarded a number of national and international awards, including the 2021 Best Paper Award from the International Conference of Emergency Medicine, 2021 Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Special Merit Award in recognition of outstanding contributions and dedicated service to emergency medicine in Canada, 2021 DFCM Award for Research Mentorship, and the 2021 Division of Emergency Medicine Award of Excellence for Excellence in Research/Quality Improvement in Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Allyson Merbaum

Dr. Allyson Merbaum

Dr. Allyson Merbaum joined DFCM at the University of Toronto in 2002 having completed her family medicine residency with the department. In 2021, she was appointed DFCM’s Faculty Development Program Director. She has held numerous leadership roles, including North York General Hospital (NYGH) Professional Development Lead from 2013 to 2014, and NYGH Postgraduate Site Director from 2014 to 2021.

Dr. Merbaum is a family doctor at NYGH, where she is an active teacher, having taught extensively at pre-clerkship, clerkship and postgraduate levels. Her focus on ongoing education extends to medical education research, with scholarly interests including continuity of care in family medicine residency, teaching exceptional learners and resident wellness. She continues to mentor residents in their academic work as the resident research lead at NYGH.  Dr. Merbaum has recently completed the Clinician Teacher Certificate at DFCM. Dr. Merbaum is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Tim Rutledge Education Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching and Education at NYGH in 2021.

Dr. Aaron Orkin

Dr. Aaron Orkin

Dr. Aaron Orkin is a family physician, emergency physician, and public health and preventive medicine physician. He is Ontario's first fellowship-trained clinical public health specialist. Dr. Orkin completed graduate studies in history and philosophy of medicine at the University of Oxford, and doctoral studies in clinical epidemiology at the University of Toronto. He is a clinician scientist and research lead in St. Joseph's Health Centre Department of Emergency Medicine at Unity Health, and the founding director of Inner City Health Associates' Population Health Service. 

Dr. Orkin's medical career began in northern Ontario, where he developed a commitment to partnering with underserved and marginalized populations to address health inequities. Over the last decade, his work has focused on urban homelessness and people who use drugs, and he has contributed to local programs, national policy and international guidelines concerning homelessness and opioid overdose. Dr. Orkin's academic goal is to create systems and practitioners that can integrate clinical practice and population health to care for individuals and communities simultaneously.

Dr. Barry Pakes

Dr. Barry Pakes

Dr. Barry Pakes is a public health physician, as well as a global health educator, researcher and ethicist, and he practices clinically in urgent care and emergency medicine. He has been an active faculty member at the University of Toronto’s DFCM and the Clinical Public Health Division at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH). Dr. Pakes is also the York Region Medical Officer of Health, the top doctor position for the region, appointed by York Regional Council and approved by the Ministry of Health in November 2021.

Dr. Pakes’ educational roles at the University of Toronto include Program Director of the Public Health and Preventative Medicine Residency Program at the DLSPH, and Global Health Lead, Medical Education, at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. He is also chair of the Continuing Professional Development Committee for Public Health Physicians of Canada. Previously, Dr. Pakes has held senior level public health positions at the Regional Municipalities of Halton and Peel, and the Middlesex-London Health Unit. He also served as Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Government of Nunavut.

Dr. Pakes is a graduate of McGill University, and he received his MD from the University of Toronto, and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. He completed specialty training and became a fellow in public health and preventive medicine in 2007. In 2014, he completed his PhD in Public Health Ethics from the University of Toronto. Dr. Pakes also has Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. His research and practice interests include ethical analysis in public health practice, public health education, public health halacha, vaccine hesitancy, and public health systems. Dr. Pakes looks forward to bridging the gaps in education, research and practice between primary care and public health.

Dr. Catherine Varner

Dr. Catherine Varner

Dr. Catherine Varner is an emergency physician at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is the Deputy Director and a clinician scientist at the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute (SREMI) and a Clinician Investigator at DFCM, University of Toronto. Her two areas of research are pregnancy and concussion.

Dr. Varner is a leader in understanding the role of emergency departments (EDs) in maternal health in Canada. Her clinical experience caring for pregnant patients and observing their utilization of the ED for pregnancy and post-pregnancy care informs her ongoing research. The end results are translated to health policy makers and the lay public, as evidenced by the media mentions of her work and her co-chairing Ontario Health’s Quality Standards on Early Pregnancy Complications and Loss.

Through her head injury research, Dr. Varner has also become a leader in conducting pragmatic trials in the ED setting. Conducting large prospective trials in the ED is unlike any other field of medicine, and Dr. Varner has created novel methods of patient recruitment and follow-up now widely utilized in acute care settings. The results of her trials in concussion challenge the “rest is best” treatment dogma and have informed the most recent Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation Guidelines.

Since completing a Certificate in Health Impact Journalism at U of T's Dalla Lana School of Public Health in 2020, she has contributed articles to media outlets such as CMAJ News, Healthy Debate, and The Conversation. She is also a deputy editor for Healthy Debate.