Nov 8, 2021

DFCM faculty take on new roles in faculty development, leadership and at hospital sites

About DFCM, Education, Faculty, Faculty Development
Dr. Navsheer Gill, Dr. Thea Weisdorf, Dr. Viola Antao, Dr. Sheldon Cheskes, Dr. Erin Bearss, Dr. Donatus Mutasingwa

The University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) is pleased to share the appointments of six faculty members to leadership positions at DFCM and our hospital sites.

Within DFCM’s Faculty Development Program, now within the Education portfolio, Dr. Navsheer Gill has been appointed the new Faculty Wellness Lead, and Dr. Thea Weisdorf the new Awards, Grants and Funds Lead. Meanwhile, within the Family Doctor Leadership portfolio, Dr. Viola Antao has been appointed as Mentorship Lead, and Dr. Sheldon Cheskes as Faculty Appointments and Junior Promotions Lead. 

At DFCM hospital sites, Dr. Erin Bearss has been appointed Sinai Health Family Physician-in-Chief, and Dr. Donatus Mutasingwa has been appointed Academic Chief of the Markham Family Medicine Teaching Unit.

Please join us in congratulating these DFCM faculty members on their appointments.

Faculty Development

Dr. Navsheer Gill

Dr. Navsheer Gill, Faculty Wellness Lead

Dr. Navsheer Gill completed her medical residency at U of T in 2013. Since then, she has been a family physician and faculty member of the Academic Family Health Team at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario. Dr. Gill also works part-time as a General Practise Psychotherapist at the Medical Clinic for Person-Centred Psychotherapy in Toronto and is currently completing her Master of Science in Community Health (MScCH) Health Practitioner Teacher Education (HPTE) degree at DFCM. 

Dr. Gill has held the positions of Southlake’s Quality Improvement (QI) Lead and DFCM’s QI Faculty Development Lead since 2019. She also has notable experience in wellness initiatives, having implemented Balint wellness groups at Southlake in 2017 and represented DFCM as a member of the Faculty Wellness Working Group at U of T’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine since 2019.

In her new role as Faculty Wellness Lead, Dr. Gill will work in collaboration with Faculty Development Program Director Dr. Allyson Merbaum to foster the development and implementation of a wellness strategy for DFCM faculty, advance wellness initiatives and support scholarly activities that design, study and promote best practices in wellness initiatives.

Dr. Thea Weisdorf

Dr. Thea Weisdorf, Awards, Grants and Funds Lead

Dr. Thea Weisdorf has been a family physician and faculty member at Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital since 1996. Since 2016, Dr. Weisdorf has also served as the Faculty Development Lead at the hospital. 

Dr. Weisdorf is intricately familiar with the coordination of award nominations for large faculty and aims to ensure that worthy faculty members are recognized for their accomplishments. Her work has led to many members successfully receiving awards and she has also received her own awards in clinical teaching, mentorship, faculty development and continuing education. 
Dr. Weisdorf’s clinical interests lie in primary care of youth and adults who identify as transgender and gender diverse, as well as their families. Her greatest joy is her family: her husband, Allan, daughters Lauren and Leah, and chocolate lab, Henry. 

In her new role as Awards, Grants and Funds (AGF) Lead, Dr. Weisdorf will play a major part in DFCM’s commitment to recognizing excellence in education, research, quality and improvement, global health and leadership at the local, institutional, national and international levels. Dr. Weisdorf will be responsible for the leadership, coordination, evaluation and advancement of all aspects related to AGF initiatives, including identification and selection of nominees for internal and external awards and grants. 

Family Doctor Leadership

Dr. Viola Antao

Dr. Viola Antao, Mentorship Lead

Dr. Viola Antao received her medical degree at the University of Toronto in 1999. She completed her Family Medicine residency training at St. Michael's Hospital in 2001, and a Women's Health Fellowship at Women's College Hospital in 2002. She is an Associate Professor and Mentorship Lead at DFCM, U of T. 

Dr. Antao practices Family Medicine in the Women's College Family Practice Health Centre. She participates in teaching clerks, residents, elective students and fellows. She is a member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada's Working Group on Faculty Development. Her research interests are in inter-professional education, education scholarship, leadership and faculty development.

Dr. Antao completed the NEAL Program in 2015. She is the recipient of the Education Innovation Award, Faculty of Medicine, Women's College Hospital and the Jamie Meuser Award for Excellence in Leadership and Professional Development, Department of Family and Community Medicine.

In her new role, Dr. Antao will work in collaboration with Vice-Chairs, Hospital Site Chiefs, Hospital Site Faculty Development Leads and U of T’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine to develop mentorship best practices and strategies. Dr. Antao will also build and develop structures to support mentorship initiatives and activities across DFCM.

Dr. Sheldon Cheskes

Dr. Sheldon Cheskes, Faculty Appointments and Junior Promotions Lead

Dr. Sheldon Cheskes is a Full Professor at DFCM, U of T. Dr. Cheskes has dedicated his academic career to the advancement of resuscitation science, with a particular focus on improving survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. He is a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital, an affiliate scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute, and the Medical Director for the Regions of Halton and Peel with the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine. 

He is one of the principal investigators for the Canadian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (CanROC) and is a recognized international authority in the area of CPR quality and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest resuscitation. Dr. Cheskes has published over 120 manuscripts in high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation, CMAJ and Resuscitation and won numerous national and international research excellence awards as a result of his accomplishments and scientific contributions.

In his new role, Dr. Cheskes will serve as the Chair of the Department Appointments Committee (DAC), an advisory committee to DFCM’s Chair at U of T for all matters concerning faculty appointments and junior promotion (promotion from lecturer to assistant professor). Dr. Cheskes will be responsible for facilitating faculty members’ awareness of the DFCM Academic appointment process and ensuring that meetings and discussions are carried out in accordance with the policies and guidelines of U of T and the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

DFCM site leadership

Dr. Erin Bearss

Dr. Erin Bearss, Sinai Health Family Physician-in-Chief

Dr. Erin Bearss is an Assistant Professor at DFCM, U of T, and the Family Physician-in-Chief in the Ray D. Wolfe Department of Family Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She has practiced comprehensive family medicine including emergency medicine for almost two decades at Mount Sinai Hospital. 

Dr. Bearss earned her medical degree at McMaster University. She completed her Family Medicine residency training at Mount Sinai Hospital and completed an Emergency Medicine Fellowship at the University of Toronto.

A physician at the Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team, Dr. Bearss was the Associate Chief of Family Medicine responsible for Academic and Special Programs, where she provided outstanding academic leadership in the role of Family Medicine Residency Program Director for 12 years, from 2008-2020. She is the recipient of multiple awards for teaching excellence, educational achievement, leadership, resident wellness and, most recently, outstanding contributions to healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Donatus Mutasingwa

Dr. Donatus Mutasingwa, Academic Chief of the Markham Family Medicine Teaching Unit

Dr. Donatus Mutasingwa has been an Assistant Professor at DFCM, U of T, since 2016. Since that time, he has also been the research director for the Markham Family Medicine Teaching Unit (FMTU) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of University of Toronto Practice-Based Network (UTOPIAN). He has an active clinical practice at the Markham FMTU, a partnership between Markham Stouffville Hospital, Health for All and U of T’s DFCM.

Dr. Mutasingwa received his medical degree from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and was certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 2010. In addition to completing a combined Family Medicine and Public Health and Preventative Medicine residency at the University of Toronto, Dr. Mutasingwa also holds a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Calgary and a Masters of Philosophy in Health Promotion from the University of Bergen in Norway. 

He was the Lead Physician at the Health for All Family Health Team (HFAFHT) from 2018 to 2021, where he played an important role in expanding interprofessional services to non-rostered patients.   
Dr. Mutasingwa brings a wealth of experience from his work in epidemiology with Health Canada, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch in Calgary and his involvement in research, both at the FMTU and as a supervisor for numerous family medicine residents and medical students. His research interests include optimizing primary care for patients with multiple chronic comorbidities and building primary care systems in developing countries. 

Dr. Mutasingwa will lead the FMTU to ensure an excellent training environment for family medicine residents as well as providing support for FMTU faculty development and career growth. He is looking forward to building and expanding the primary care research program and supporting other scholarly activities in global health and quality improvement.