Chair's Welcome

This is an excerpt from the 2016-2017 annual report.

Welcome to the University of Toronto`s Department of Radiation Oncology (UTDRO) Annual Report for 2016-2017.

This has been a milestone year for our Department. We went through an extensive self-reflection as we prepared for our Five-Year External Review. I am deeply grateful to our entire faculty, trainees and staff for their important contributions to the review process. The international review panel applauded UTDRO on its output, impact and commitment. The reviewers described our department as one of the top academic cancer programs in the world, “reaching the prowess and reputation of the top North American Departments of Radiation Oncology, including MD Anderson Cancer Centre and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre.

This year, we also reached the culmination of our strategic plan The Transformative Agenda: Roadmap to 2017. Since the launch of this plan, we have made significant progress in the areas of education, research and knowledge translation, systems influence and operational excellence. It is now time for us to regroup and refresh our strategy to reflect the rapid pace of innovation within radiation medicine and the changing landscape of the healthcare environment.

Several highlights illustrating the achievements of our UTDRO faculty include the successful capturing of half of the 2016 AbbVie-CARO Uro-Oncologic Radiation Awards; David Jaffray was presented with an AAPM Fellowship; Laura Dawson became a Fellow of ASTRO; Marianne Koritzinsky received the Michael Fry Award from the Radiation Research Society, Brian O’Sullivan was the recipient of the 2017 O. Harold Warwick Prize from the Canadian Cancer Society; culminating with our previous Chair, Mary Gospodarowicz being appointed a University Professor, the highest honour the  University of Toronto bestows upon its faculty, and the first ever for a Radiation Oncologist.
In addition, several of our faculty members assumed leadership positions across different domains, exerting our systems influence at multiple levels. Anthony Brade and Rob Dinniwell assumed the Head positions of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Carlo Fidani (Credit Valley), and London Regional Cancer Centers, respectively. Barbara-Ann Millar became the Chair of the Radiation Oncology Speciality Committee at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Rob Bristow departed UTDRO to become the Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre at the University of Manchester; one of the most prestigious cancer leadership roles in the world.
We have also had many reasons to celebrate our faculty’s successes in the realm of education. Lisa Di Prospero and Kieng Tan were recognized by the University of Toronto for their contributions to continuing education. Meredith Giuliani received the Canadian Medical Association Award for Young Leaders. Within our Department, Marianne Koritzinsky assumed the new role of Director of Research, while Ewa Szumacher and Barbara-Ann-Millar became UTDRO’s new Faculty Development and Continuous Education and Professional Development Directors. 

Some of my proudest moments over the last year have been at our continuing education and knowledge translation events. At RTi3, 140 radiation therapists came together from across the country to share their knowledge through 59 oral presentations, 28 posters and 1,350 tweets. Target Insight brought together 140 delegates from Canada and the United States for a day of interdisciplinary learning centred on the theme of Personalized Medicine. Our annual radiobiology course welcomed trainees from our own program as well as the BC Cancer Agency, Dalhousie, Queen’s and McMaster Universities; attesting to the value of this important course across the country. 

As we celebrate the year that has passed, we must also reflect on our responsibilities for the years ahead. The Canadian Cancer Society predicts that one in two Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime. Our Department is a leader in Radiation Medicine, and we must continue to provide academic training to the next generation of Radiation Medicine leaders to enable the excellence in both research and education. 

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to our Vice Chairs, Michael Milosevic, Rebecca Wong and Shun Wong, for their counsel, assistance and support of our many initiatives. In addition, my thanks to our Executive Committee for their hard work across our multiple programs. Lastly, I would like to thank our faculty members, trainees and staff for helping to elevate UTDRO into one of the top programs in the world! 

Dr. Fei-Fei Liu, MD, FRCPC
Chair and Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology

Image Credit: horst herget


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