UHN MOURNS PASSING OF ROBERT BUCKMAN
Some of you will have heard of
Rob Buckman’s death on the
radio. It is a very sad day for
many people including his wife,
Dr. Pat Shaw, the many patients
who valued his support and
encouragement, and for all of us
in the UHN family who counted
on Rob to lift our spirits and
give us his unique perspective
on illness, treatment and living.
There are many things I’ll remember about Rob but
the most vivid images I have of him are his enthusiastic
support of many of the Princess Margaret Hospital
Foundation’s events. Whether it was Rob standing
in front of PMH and cheering on the walkers in the
Weekend to End Breast Cancer, or his dogged determination
to finish each day of the cycling event, we knew
that Rob Buckman would be there to lift people’s spirits
and tell them that, if he could finish, then so could they.
Above all, he was a tireless advocate for patients and
unrelenting in his skillful efforts to help clinicians communicate
more effectively. He was indeed a great teacher,
and so many of us have a ‘Rob story’ we will always
remember with a smile.
I know that there will be lots written and said about Rob
Buckman in the coming days. He was a valued member
of PMH and the UHN family and, on behalf of the
many people who enjoyed his humour and his zest for
living, I would like to extend my condolences to Pat, his
friends and his family.
(reprinted with permission from UHN NEWS)
LEITH GARRETT DOUGLAS
It is with great sadness that
I write to inform you of the
passing of Leith Douglas on
September 15, 2011. Dr.
Douglas was a long-standing
member of our Division and
contributed to the training of a
generation of plastic surgeons.
Leith earned his medical degree
from Dalhousie University in
1962. He was a graduate of the University of Toronto
Plastic Surgery Residency Program and completed additional
fellowship training in Sweden, Austria and England.
He became a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada in 1967. He practiced in Toronto at
The Wellesley and St. Michael’s Hospitals and finished his
career at the Toronto Western Hospital in 2011. He will
also be remembered for his work as plastic surgeon to the
Toronto Maple Leafs for 36 years.
Leigh Douglas was passionate about plastic surgery. He
was an exceptional role model to many young trainees.
He was a committed alumnus and a strong supporter of
our work in the Division and we will all miss his presence
at Division events. On a personal note, I will miss
his sense of humour, witty comments and his clear love
for plastic surgery and life in general.
We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Lorna,
his daughter Ellen, son-in-law Peter Woodward and
his three beloved grandchildren Julian, Caroline and
Liam of Cobourg, Ontario. Donations may be made
in Leith’s memory to The Salvation Army, 25 Centre
Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M2M 2L4 or to the Palliative
Care Unit at the Northumberland Hills Hospital, 1000
DePalma Drive, Cobourg, Ontario, K9A-5W6.
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
ABHIJIT (AB) GUHA
It is with great sadness that I
inform you that Abhijit (Ab)
Guha passed away peacefully
in the early morning hours on
November 8th, 2011. For the
past 3 years, Ab has been courageously
fighting his diagnosis
of acute lymphocytic leukemia
(ALL). He was 54 years old.
Ab graduated with a degree in Medicine from the
University of Toronto in 1982. He then entered the neurosurgery
residency training program at the University of
Toronto. In 1985, he received a Masters degree from the
Institute of Medical Sciences under the tutelage of Charles
Tator. He completed his neurosurgical residency training
in 1989, and passed his Royal College specialty examination
in neurosurgery that same year. Ab then traveled to
Boston with his family to work as post-doctoral fellow
with Charles Stiles at Harvard where he began his career
long interest in neuro-oncology research. After his research
fellowship at Harvard, Ab returned to the University of
Toronto in 1993 to begin his faculty appointment as
an Assistant Professor, and to conduct research in signal
transduction mechanisms under the supervision of Tony
Pawson at the Lunenfeld Research Institute.
Ab was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997, and to
Full Professor in 2001. In 2000, he was appointed as the
co-director of the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour
Research Centre (BTRC). In 2002, he was installed as the
inaugural Alan and Susan Hudson chairholder in Neuro-
Oncology at the University Health Network. He has served
on numerous editorial boards, grants panels, and boards of
private philanthropic foundations. His research focused on
the molecular biology of human brain tumours, in particular,
human astrocytoma. His lab has been well funded over
many years by numerous peer-reviewed granting agencies.
He published his work in top tier neuro-oncology journals.
He was the President of the Society of Neuro-Oncology
from 2005 - 2007, the largest neuro-oncology organization
in the world.
Born in Kolkata, India, Ab devoted himself in recent
years to the establishment of a Neuroscience Institute in
Kolkata where he frequently traveled to teach, operate
on patients with neurosurgical diseases, and educate the
faculty there about research.
Ab was married to Soma, and had two children,
Daipayan (Deep) a medical student at the University
of Toronto, and Tia, an undergraduate student at the
University of Toronto. The Department of Surgery
extends its most sincere condolences to the entire Guha
family at this time.
James T. Rutka
The Department of Surgery at UHN lost a dear friend
and committed supporter when Jim McCutcheon
passed away suddenly on Monday morning. Jim was
a long-time trustee, donor, and creative thinker whose
focus at our hospital in the last 20 years was our department
members and their accomplishments.
In 1989, Jim established the James Wallace McCutcheon
Chair in Surgery which accompanied the position
of Surgeon-in-chief, and each year since that, hosted
two unique and special "McCutcheon dinners" which
became highlights of the spring and fall seasons, where
UHN surgeons would have the chance to meet and network
across specialties. His main intent at all times was
to support the young surgeons recruited to UHN, and
was intensely interested in their progress.
Jim will be missed, but his legacy of support and friendship
will live on. He leaves behind his wife Brenda and
sons Doug, Fred, Grant and Murray. Donations may be
made to the James Wallace McCutcheon Foundation,
100 Richmond St. West, Toronto M5H 3K6.
James Wallace McCutcheon Chair in Surgery
The New Executive Committee of the Department of Surgery
I am pleased to report to you that
Ori Rotstein has been appointed
to the position of Associate
Chair of the Department. He
has taken over from Bryce Taylor
who served the Department as
Associate Chair for 15 years.
Bryce performed his last surgical
procedure last month, and will
now be assisting UHN with its
international outreach program
I am also pleased to inform you
that Robin McLeod has been
appointed to the position of
Vice-Chair Quality and Best
Practices in the Department.
Robin has been leading the
Best Practices in General
Surgery (BPiGS) initiative at
the University of Toronto these
past 5 years, and will lead efforts
to encourage best practices across all Divisions in the
With the institution of the
Integrated Medical Education
(IME) initiative in the Faculty
of Medicine, it became clear
to me that a new chair for
the Department’s Appointments
Committee was needed, and so I
am pleased to report to you that
Avery Nathens has agreed to
take on this responsibility.
2011 Executive Committee of the Department of Surgery
RS McLaughlin Chair: James Rutka
Associate Chair: Ori Rotstein
Vice Chair Research: Ben Alman
Vice Chair Education: David Latter
Vice Chair Clinical: Robin Richards
Vice Chair Quality and Best Practices: Robin McLeod
Chair Departmental Appointments Committee:
Departmental Promotions Committee
One of the most important roles
of the Department of Surgery
is the Chair of the Promotions
Committee. Robin Richards
will be stepping down from this
position, having served in the
role of Chair of the Promotions
Committee for 10 years.
I would like to thank Robin for
his Herculean efforts as Chair of
this Committee all these years. I am pleased to report to
you that Sender Herschorn, Chair Division of Urology,
has agreed to be the new Chair of the Promotions
Committee for a 5-year term beginning July 1, 2011.
Sender has served on the Department’s Promotions
Committee and the Decanal Committee in the past,
and is ideally suited to lead the charge here. I remind
all faculty interested in pursuing promotions this year to
ensure that they use the WebCV program for submission
to the Department’s Promotion Committee.
The Stereotactic and Functional Fellowship at
the Toronto Western Hospital has been accredited
for the next five years by the Committee on
Accreditation of Subspecialty Training (CAST) of
the Society of Neurological Surgeons. The fellowship,
supervised by Division Chair Andres Lozano
and Mojgan Hodaie and Taufik Valiante, is the first
CAST-accredited stereotactic and functional fellowship
in Canada, and the third in North America.
This fellowship complements the CAST-accredited
spine and pediatric neurosurgery fellowships at the
University of Toronto.
Named the Inaugural
University of Toronto
Department of Surgery
Chair in Vascular
Surgery at Sunnybrook
Robert Maggisano has been
named the inaugural Chair
in Vascular Surgery at
Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre. The $3 million
endowment fund will allow
Robert Maggisano, a vascular
surgeon at Sunnybrook,
to enhance the development
and evaluation of less invasive
image-guided vascular interventions,
with a strong focus on education.
A priority of the Chair will be to disseminate new
knowledge to both students and practicing surgeons,”
says Robert Maggisano, Associate Professor, Department
of Surgery, University of Toronto. “My motto is make a
difference and make a difference now. By ensuring that
new knowledge is applied to patient care, we can make a
difference now in saving patients’ lives.” The clinical and
teaching strengths of the Sunnybrook Vascular Surgery
team has been boosted by the additions of Giuseppe
Papia and Andrew Dueck.
Another priority for Robert Maggisano is to build
bridges with industry to modify and develop new endovascular
products for the benefit of patients. The Chair
in Vascular Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre will ensure the organization is actively involved
in evaluating, critiquing and developing new endovascular
Please join me in congratulating Robert Maggisano on
becoming the inaugural Chair in Vascular Surgery at
James T. Rutka,
RS McLaughlin Chair,
Department of Surgery, University of Toronto