Message from the Division Director - Dr. Gary Lewis Mentoring Endocrinology Trainees.
In recent years the majority of our endocrinology specialty trainees have elected to pursue further training in research or education, with the intention of applying for a position in an academic endocrinology division. Since U of T is the largest and most academic division of endocrinology in Canada, Toronto is a very desirable city in which to live and since a number of our trainees have family and cultural connections in Toronto, it is not surprising that the majority of the trainees are seeking academic positions at one of the U of T hospital divisions of Endocrinology.
One of the most common questions I am asked when mentoring trainees is the following – ‘What jobs will be available in the U of T Division of Endocrinology when I complete my training?’ That commonly asked question could more clearly be rephrased as – ‘what aspect of academic endocrinology is going to be most needed and how should I direct my training to fill an anticipated need of the U of T Division of Endocrinology?’ My standard answer to the question is as follows:
I cannot predict more than 12 to 18 months ahead precisely how many endocrinology positions will open up at the respective U of T hospital endocrine divisions and what the primary recruitment needs of those divisions will be.
There will always be a need for recruitment to replace those retiring and in order to rejuvenate and replenish the division.
There is a need to hire faculty of all academic job descriptions– ie clinician teachers, educators, investigators, administrators and scientists in order to build a well-balanced, highly functional academic endocrinology division.
We are fortunate in Endocrinology not to be constrained by a limited number of tenure-track positions funded by hard university dollars. To a certain extent this allows ‘opportunistic’ recruitment, although our preferred method of recruitment remains the well-planned, advertised and competitive method in order to attract the top candidate to fill an identified need within each hospital division.
Do what you love doing and what feels right for you, and don’t design your academic career primarily around what you perceive to be job opportunities, since trends change with time. In-vogue areas go in and out of fashion and are subject to unpredictable forces beyond your control.
Having provided the above common-sense but non-specific response, which rarely fully satisfies the mentee, I do attempt to provide some more specific guidance regarding the current and anticipated high need areas within our division, although there is no guarantee that these needs will still dominate our recruiting priorities 5 years from now. The following are some current and near-future recruitment needs within the U of T division but the list is by no means comprehensive.
Clinicians and researchers in thyroidology and endocrine oncology
The burgeoning areas of quality improvement, health policy and knowledge translation, particularly in diabetes.
Overall, however, we value excellence, whatever the job description. Therefore the individual, who comes highly recommended by their supervisor and referees, has invested in the best training for that job description and shows great promise will always be sought after by academic programs. In other words, I tell the trainees, ‘whatever you do, do really well and show us that you are the best candidate for that job’, be it teaching, research or other creative professional activities. We will move boulders to create a job opportunity for the truly outstanding individual.
Other Divisional News
Division of Endocrinology & Banting & Best Global Diabetes Outreach Program – Dr. Julia Lowe
The Division of Endocrinology &Banting & Best Diabetes Centre are well postitioned to assist low and middle income countries who are facing the burden of the diabetes epidemic. The quality of the universal Canadian healthcare & health education systems commands international respect. A pilot program sponsored by CIDA and the Canadian College of General Surgeons has delivered training to Guyanese health professionals who are now training local healthcare professionals to deliver evidence-based, cost effective diabetes management and footcare; reducing amputations due to diabetic foot ulcers by more than half. Plans including expanding this program to include preconception care for women with diabetes, screening for diabetes in pregnancy and smoking cessation, were discussed at the first meeting of the BBGDOP steering group held in February.
Members of the Division of Endocrinology & Banting & Best Global Diabetes Outreachgroup (Drs Alison Buchan, Julia Lowe, Brian Ostrow & Gary Sibbald) would welcome anyone interested in joining them and any ideas on how to leverage additional funds and partnerships to expand this pilot both in Guyana & other areas such as China, Bangladesh, the Caribbean & Sub-Saharan Africa, where we have established local contacts.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration has shifted into top gear with the first endocrine fellows starting in Addis Ababa this month. We are collaborating with other academic centres in the UK and USA to provide teaching support for the two local faculty. Julia Lowe hopes to make our first teaching visit in the fall.
Bernie Zinman – recipient of the Order of Canada, 2012
Larry Leiter - elected as President of the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2011 for a two year term. Dr. Leiter is the first person to have been Chair of the C&SS of CDA and President of CSEM
Robert Silver - 2012 Aikins Award for Individual teaching, Small Group.
Andrew Advani - "Endothelial-podocyte crosstalk in diabetic nephropathy". Diabetes Innovation Award for $325,000 in a new competition from Novo Nordisk
Anna Sawka - “Canadian Thyroid Research Network (CTRN)” has been approved for one-time-only funding of $50,000 over a period of up to two years, effective January 1, 2012, from the Department of Medicine Strategic Planning Innovation Fund.
CIHR Operating Grant results from Sept 2011 Competition
DRUCKER, Daniel J
Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto)
Gipr and the control of glucose homeostasis Details...
GILBERT, Richard E
St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto)
The Role of Sirtuin1 in Diabetic Nephropathy: Experimental and Clinical Studies Details...
JAMAL, Abida Sophina
Women's College Hospital (Toronto)
Nitrates and Bone Turnover (NABT): trial to select the best nitrate preparation. Details...
LEWIS, Gary F
University Health Network (Toronto)
Regulation of intestinal and hepatic lipoprotein particle secretion in humans Details...
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Operating Grants
Adeli, Khosrow (Hospital for Sick Children) Mechanisms of Hepatic VLDL Overproduction and Steatosis in Insulin Resistant States
3 Years, Renewal (Pending), $98,337
Gilbert, Richard(St. Michael's Hospital) Cell Free Progenitor Derived Therapy for Cardio-Renal Disease
2 Years, New Annual (Pending), $71,045
Lewis, Gary (University of Toronto) Determining the regulatory mechanisms of apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III) production in humans
2 Years, New Annual (Pending), $69,108
May 5–9, 2012 15th International Congress of Endocrinology held jointly with the 14th European Congress of Endocrinology, Florence, Italy
May 11th, 2012 23rd BBDC Annual Scientific Day, The Old Mill Inn, 21 Old Mill road, Toronto
Englishman Andrew Advani is delighted to be a Clinician Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital having failed in his bid for his true dream job, playing centre forward for hometown soccer team, Newcastle United. Andrew’s path to Toronto was not a direct one. Having racked up over 30,000 miles during his postgraduate training, Andrew is a firm advocate of the AMI (airmile index) to replace impact factor as a metric of research productivity.
Andrew graduated in medicine from Edinburgh University in 1996. As a student he paid his way working part-time in a newsagent on the historic Royal Mile. During his obstetrics attachment, Andrew would remark that he delivered babies during the week and newspapers at the weekend. After a decade in Scotland’s capital and having developed a firm appreciation for single malt, Andrew moved back to Newcastle to undertake his PhD studies. This gave him his first taste of diabetes research and, having a sweet tooth, he has followed that path since. Once back in his endocrinology training in 2003 Andrew’s next step along the academic path was to undertake his BTA (been to Australia, been to America, been to Canada etc.). Andrew cites the turning point in his career being when he met Richard Gilbert (now a Full Professor and Clinician Scientist at St. Mike’s) in a hotel bar in Munich at the 2004 EASD meeting. Four short months later, Andrew had bundled his young family in a plane and set off for his first post-doc stint in Richard’s lab, then in Melbourne, Australia. After another year back in England, Andrew re-joined Richard, who had since relocated to Toronto, for post-doctoral fellowship number two in 2006. His longsuffering and overwhelmingly tolerant family survived one last temporary sojourn back to England in 2007 to pack up their lives before all finally settling here in Toronto in April 2008. Andrew describes this as the pinball stage of his scientific training.
Andrew’s lab has a specific interest in the development of novel therapies for diabetes complications, especially diabetic nephropathy. He currently holds operating grants from CDA and CIHR as well as the newly created Novo Nordisk Diabetes Innovation Award, the 2009 CDA Clinician Scientist Award and the 2012 BBDC Dennis Scholar Award. Clinically, he maintains a focus on diabetes care especially in the young adult population.
A glance at Andrew’s CV will reveal that he often co-publishes with his wife, Suzanne. Contrary to common misperceptions, their eyes did not meet over a 20µl Gilson pipette. In fact, their eyes met over a 20-sided dice during a game of Dungeons and Dragons with their brothers, when Andrew and Suzanne were aged 9. Childhood sweethearts, Andrew and Suzanne began dating when they were 16, their relationship surviving the miles separating their respective universities and laying the foundation for their future absolute disregard for geography. They have two children, Matthew aged 10 and Katie aged 8. Andrew loves working at University of Toronto and St Michael’s Hospital. He is grateful to all the division members that have made this possible. He does, however, plan on retiring when Katie’s first movie, directed by Matthew, hits the big time.
Publications of Primary appointees. January 1st 2012 to March 31st 2012