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NEW STAFF

Heather Baltzer
Heather Baltzer

The Hand Program and the Division of Plastic Surgery at Toronto Western Hospital are pleased to welcome Heather Baltzer to the University of Toronto Plastic Surgery family. Heather’s clinical interests are in hand, wrist and peripheral nerve surgery.

Heather grew up in Nova Scotia before moving to Ontario for her training. She completed her Master of Science in Medical Biophysics, medical school and her Plastic Surgery residency at the University of Toronto. Heather then spent a year at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for her Hand, Wrist and Microsurgery fellowship.

To date, she has received a number awards and honours. Heather’s research from her year at Mayo Clinic was recently presented as one of the top 3 papers at the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. She received the Group for Advancement of Microsurgery, Canada, Fellowship Award. During her residency, she received a Novartis Oncology Young Canadian Investigator Award and the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons resident research award for three consecutive years.

Heather’s research interests focus on health services research with an emphasis on health economics and quality improvement in hand surgery. Her research evaluates the economic burden of hand and wrist trauma and conditions and how change in models of delivery of care can impact this for patients. Dr. Baltzer currently holds an appointment as a Research Collaborator at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, completing outcomes research in hand surgery. She is also a member of the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative.

Outside of academics, Heather enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking and sampling new restaurants, and traveling. She is a very active person and her passion is long distance running.

Stefan Hofer, Chief Division of Plastic Surgery,
University Health Network


Karen Cross
Karen Cross

The Department of Surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital is pleased to welcome Karen Cross as a Surgeon-Scientist in the Division of Plastic Surgery.

Karen is from St. John’s, Newfoundland, and completed her BSc (Biochemistry) and Medical Degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. During her postgraduate training in the University of Toronto’s Plastic Surgery training program, she was the first resident among this Division’s Surgeon Scientist trainees to complete a PhD in the Institute of Medical Science.

Her research interests focus on the development of novel optical technologies to assess tissue physiology and viability. Her initial work was applied in the area of burn wound depth and included the development of a Multispectral Imaging camera to assess these wounds. She has since transitioned the technology to study complex wounds, particularly focusing on lower extremity tissue viability as it relates to diabetic foot ulcers and ischemic limbs. To facilitate her research, she is cross-appointed to Ryerson University and is a member of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Science and Technology (iBEST), a joint venture between Ryerson University and St. Michael’s Hospital. Her laboratory is located on the 7th floor of the Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital, the hub of iBEST, and is adjacent to the Institutions’ innovation incubator, the Biomedical Zone.

Her clinical practice involves the reconstruction of complex wounds secondary to trauma and cancer. Her practice is expansive, caring for patients with everything from craniofacial trauma to breast and skin cancer. Dovetailing with her research activities, she has a special interest in scar, skin sloughing conditions (Epidermolysis Bullosa), delayed wound healing, pressure ulceration, and lower extremity wounds.

To date, she has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and grants. These include the Wound Healing Society Young Investigator Award, the Hugh Thompson Humanitarian Award, and Leo Mahoney Teaching Award. She has recently been appointed to the Diabetic Foot Canada Scientific Committee and actively involved in the Canadian Association of Wound Care.

In her free time, Karen is an active SUP’er (Stand Up Paddle board) and Surfer. She is class one SUP river certified, teaches SUP to kids and adults, is a SUP Yoga demonstrator for SUPGirlz, and loves the long board for surfing. She has paddled in 2 continents and many countries. If you want to find her outside of work….just look for a body of water.

Ori Rotstein, Surgeon-in-Chief
St. Michael’s Hospital


family photo
Kristen Davidge with
her husband Neil
and daughter Emma

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Kristen Davidge to the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children. Kristen has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Surgeon-Scientist-track in the SickKids Research Institute and will develop her practice in the area of obstetrical brachial plexus palsy, peripheral nerve, upper extremity and microsurgery.

Kristen is a graduate of the University of Toronto training program and completed a very successful residency culminating in winning the Shafie S. Fazel Outstanding Resident Surgeon and Investigator Award. Kristen graduated from the Surgeon Scientist Program successfully obtaining her Master of Science degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto Department of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation. Following her residency, she undertook fellowship training at the University of Washington, St. Louis, under the supervision of former Toronto alumna, Dr. Susan MacKinnon. She then completed a fellowship in Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children. Kristen has an interest in developing outcome measures for pediatric upper extremity surgery and the application of nerve transfer techniques in quadriplegia.

Kristen is married to Neil and has a beautiful 2 year old daughter, Emma. Welcome Kristen!

Christopher R. Forrest, Chair, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Toronto

family photo
Bobby Yanagawa with his
wife Vanessa, and
daughter Penelope

The Department of Surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital is pleased to welcome Bobby Yanagawa as a Surgeon- Investigator in the Division of Cardiac Surgery.

Bobby is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto Residency program in Cardiac Surgery. He has a PhD in Cardiovascular Pathology and has completed post-doctoral fellowships at the University Wales College of Medicine (Cardiff, UK) and National Cardiovascular Center (Osaka, Japan). To complete his clinical training, Bobby undertook an advanced fellowship in valvular surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital, NYC.

Bobby has been recognized for his academic achievements. He is a co-author on more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, 14 reviews, 12 book chapters, with more projects under way. He will contribute to the translational and clinical research underway at St Michael’s Hospital. Clinically, he will focus on minimally-invasive surgery including off-pump surgical revascularization, hybrid surgical revascularization (combined minimallyinvasive CABG and percutaneous coronary revascularization), hemisternotomy aortic valve surgery and mitral valve surgery through a minithoracotomy.

Bobby has returned to Toronto with his wife Vanessa, daughter Penelope and another baby on the way.

David Latter, Hospital Head, Cardiac Surgery,
St. Michael’s Hospital


family photo

Sebastian Tomescu with his wife Jelena

The Department of Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is pleased to welcome Sebastian Tomescu as a Surgeon- Investigator in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Sebastian is a recent Orthopaedic Surgery graduate from the University of Toronto, and was part of the first cohort of residents to complete the Competency Based Curriculum program in Orthopaedics. His clinical interests lie in reconstructive lower extremity reconstruction and deformity correction.

Sebastian grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo. He received this undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo and went on to complete his medical degree at Queen’s University in Kingston. He then became one of the three inaugural members of the Competency Based Curriculum residency program in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Toronto.

Since then he has completed a fellowship in Arthroplasty with Dr. John Cameron at the Holland Orthopaedic and Arthritic Centre and continues to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Toronto, focusing his Master’s research on clinical biomechanics and investigating strategies to prevent knee injuries. His ongoing work has won several peer-reviewed and industry-backed grants and his research plans focus on improving total knee replacement outcomes, understanding patellofemoral instability, and developing wearable technologies to support rehabilitation.

Sebastian was recently married and enjoys spending time with his wife, Jelena, and their dog, George. In his spare time, Sebastian is an avid tech-blog reader and enjoys fly-fishing and skiing.

Hans Kreder, Hospital Head,
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery,
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre


Sarah Ward completed her Orthopaedic residency at the University of Toronto, where she received the Lawson Family Award in her final year of training. She then went on to complete two fellowships at St. Michael’s Hospital, incorporating training in hip and knee arthroplasty, sports, trauma and upper extremity reconstruction. Sarah joined the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital in July 2015, where she works closely with Dr. Jim Waddell, gradually taking over his arthroplasty practice.

family photo
Sarah Ward with her
husband Mark and
dog Sophie

Sarah’s research focus will be in the area of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. She looks forward to being involved in medical student and resident training and to working with multidisciplinary teams to promote quality improvement and patient safety initiatives both within and beyond the Division of Orthopaedics.

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys running, spending time with her husband Mark and dog Sophie, and cooking, particularly with chocolate.

Timothy R. Daniels, Head,
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery,
St. Michael’s Hospital


Augusto Zani
Augusto Zani

After completing his Paediatric Surgical training in Italy, Augusto Zani moved to United Kingdom for a 3-year full-time dedicated research post, leading to a PhD at University College London to refine his academic training. Following this period, he was offered advanced clinical training in the UK working in world famous teaching institutions like Great Ormond Street Hospital and King’s College Hospital, London, where he focused on neonatal and pediatric surgery. During those years, he maintained a high academic interest, which also led to his initial appointment as honorary Assistant Professor in Paediatric Surgery at Sapienza University of Rome. He was promoted in 2014 to Associate Professor in Paediatric Surgery by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research.

Last year, Dr. Zani moved to Toronto to work at The Hospital for Sick Children and continue his previous collaboration with myself on stem cell therapy for necrotizing enterocolitis.

Agostino Pierro, Hospital Head,
Division of General Surgery
Hospital for Sick Children




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