Education  >  News & media

Announcing the 2022 Sunnybrook Excellence in Education Awards

May 26, 2022


The 2022 Sunnybrook Excellence in Education Awards honours nine champions of education.

The Excellence in Education Awards are designed to recognize the education achievements of Sunnybrook’s staff, physicians or volunteers, and their passion for teaching and learning.

“Our award recipients are examples of educators who are innovating, transforming and nurturing the future of health care, and their kindness, dedication, and humanity is a common thread throughout,” says Dr. Ari Zaretsky, Vice President of Education. “I am truly inspired by these recipients – and all of our faculty – who exemplify the best of Sunnybrook and affirm our standing as a world-renowned academic health sciences centre.”

Congratulations to all of the 2022 Sunnybrook Excellence in Education Award recipients:

The Allan Knight Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Award

Dr. Jay Moss

Dr. Jay Moss, psychiatrist, has been practicing, teaching, and inspiring at Sunnybrook for over 30 years. His legacy is clear through one nominator’s comment, “Everyone lucky enough to be taught by him comes away enriched and their own career path enhanced.”

Residents, fellows and staff within the Department of Psychiatry often refer to Dr. Moss as the gold standard of an outstanding clinician and educator. “He always goes the extra mile for his students and creates a culture of continuous learning, all while being friendly and approachable. When faced with a difficult patient care situation, I would ask myself ‘what would Dr. Moss do?”

In 2004, Dr. Moss created an innovative peer mentorship program for the Department of Psychiatry after observing that a number of junior faculty were lacking formal mentorship relationships. This group has continued to run successfully for more than 17 years. The demonstrable impact of the program led to the development of other peer monitoring groups in psychiatry in Canada and the US. It also helped to inspire the peer mentoring group model that is a part of UofT’s Department of Psychiatry faculty mentoring program.

Says one nominator, “I don’t think Dr. Moss truly knows the impact he has had on multiple generations of psychiatrists who have trained at Sunnybrook. He is an unforgettable teacher.”

Teaching Award

Dr. Yulia Lin

Dr. Yulia Lin is the Division Head for the Transfusion Medicine and Tissue Bank and has been teaching medical students, residents, and clinical fellows for the last 15 years.

One nominator says, “Dr. Lin is known as a pillar in the Transfusion Medicine community. As a new staff member and former trainee, Dr. Lin continues to provide guidance and mentoring for the early phase of my career. She has connected me with other experts who share similar research interests, assisted in the writing of grant proposals, and continually pushes me to be an excellent clinician."

Despite Dr. Lin’s busy practice as a transfusion physician, clinical hematologist and Division Head, she prioritizes teaching and educational activities. Since 2013, Dr. Lin has chaired and taught extensively in the UofT Transfusion Camp, a 5-day educational program for residents from a variety of disciplines. As Chair, she provides coordination and oversight of the entire program and its educational content. In 2015 she led the expansion of the Camp program to include at least 13 participating Canadian sites and one site in the UK.

Student Experience Award

Dr. Houman Khosravani

Dr. Houman Khosravani, neurologist, is described by nominators as kind, collegial, and an educator who establishes an inclusive environment in which residents feel noticed, valued, and ready to learn. He is routinely credited with making residents feel welcome and being accessible for any patient care questions, even if he is not personally scheduled for call.

Dr. Khosravani is looked to as a leader of the unit by the entire multidisciplinary team, and one neurology resident stated that “the qualities he possesses (openness, kindness, integrity) are qualities that I am now more deeply committed to embodying because of his example.”

Taking the time to advocate for and support the learning of his residents, while running a busy clinical service and many academic projects, is only part of Dr. Khosravani’s gift as an educator. He has also developed key resources for trainees including, a website that orients residents to the Stroke service and optimizes their workflow, and a podcast, Stroke FM, that delivers educational content in an engaging and accessible audio format.

Educating Sunnybrook Award

Dr. Sarah Torabi

Dr. Sarah Torabi is a palliative care physician and served as the Education Lead of the Sunnybrook Divison of Palliative Care from February 2015- January 2021, at which pointshe took over the role of Interim Division Lead for Palliative Care.

Nominators say, “Dr. Torabi is an engaging and enthusiastic teacher involved in education across the medical continuum at Sunnybrook. She inspires clinical curiosity in her students and encourages competency and patient ownership in a safe and supportive environment.”

Under Dr. Torabi’s leadership, in 2020 the Palliative Care Consult Team educational rotation was ranked by learners in the top five rotations throughout the hospital. In addition to attentive bedside teaching and didactic approaches, Dr. Torabi has created and implemented an innovative new simulation-based workshop that teaches advance care planning and promotes communication skills for serious illness conversations.

“Dr. Torabi takes joy in watching her learners succeed, and possesses a true gift for medical education. She identifies the specific needs and objectives of individual learners and tailors their learning experiences accordingly,” says one nominator.

Educating Beyond Sunnybrook Award

Dr. Susan Coish

About three years ago Dr. Susan Coish, palliative care physician, began dedicating her practice to the palliative care needs of patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a rare disease most health professionals have little to no experience with. On a daily basis, Dr. Coish provides education and mentorship to family physicians, community palliative care physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and community care coordinators to ensure they have the knowledge and confidence to give excellent care to patients with ALS.

One nominator comments, “Dr. Coish has made herself available to coach and mentor family physicians providing primary care to ALS patients. She is always there to consult and supports this community with her wealth of experience. The care of ALS patients is truly enhanced as a result of her involvement.”

Dr. Coish also is a resource for MAiD information for community teams and has been vital in facilitating organ donation for many ALS patients. This work came just a few years in advance of her scheduled retirement, when many people would be slowing down a bit. Dr. Coish, however, is giving her expertise and time to help others provide the best care they can. In the words of one nominator, “What did we do before she came into the team?”

Innovative Curriculum Award

Dr. Sara Mitchell

Dr. Sarah Mitchell is a neurologist and passionate innovator. She is Director of the Brain Medicine Fellowship Program (BMFP), a one-of-a-kind training program for advance training in Complex Brain Disorders (CBD).

Dr. Mitchell developed the ‘Brain Medicine’ approach, which dismantles the former siloed teaching model to foster integrated training across psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery, physiatry and geriatrics. The first fellow enrolled from July 2019-December 2020 and since then the BMFP has received national and international interest.

Says one of her nominators, “As a fellow with the BMFP, I benefited from the countless hours she spent developing a personalized training program to gain the skills needed to help complex patients who traditionally fall through the gaps in medical care. I was able to learn from and work alongside health-care professionals I never would have had the opportunity to without the Program.”

The pandemic led to additional innovations for the BMFP, including a successful pivot to a virtual training platform. Dr. Mitchell co-developed instructional videos to assess CBD patients remotely. This allowed vulnerable patients to receive care safely and this pioneering work earned award recognition and interest far beyond Sunnybrook.

Educational Research Award

Dr. Umberin Najeeb

Internal Medicine physician, Dr. Umberin Najeeb’s story can only be described as inspiring. She completed medical school in 1994 in Pakistan. After completing residency she worked as an academic internist and Assistant Professor in Peshawar. In 2004 she immigrated to Canada to pursue a medical career here. Dr. Najeeb re-started residency as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) in 2007 and was so clinically excellent that she finished her training in two years, rather than four, in 2009.

Upon completing her Canadian training, Dr. Najeeb focused her academic career on becoming a role model and mentor to future IMGs. She simultaneously sought to highlight to academia the challenges IMGs face integrating into Canadian health-care systems, but also the rewards these doctors can bring in diversifying the physician workforce. Her roles in educational leadership and in research have a focus on advocacy and equity, championing the voice of the learner at all levels.

The mentorship programs, curriculum, and interventions that Dr. Najeeb has facilitated have had overwhelmingly positive feedback. A former student says, “Dr. Najeeb’s passion and commitment to trainee education is unparalleled. She is devoted, caring and deeply committed to both her patients and her students. The unique perspective she brings while drawing attention to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion is invaluable.”

Patient and Family Education

The P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) Program

Image with Corey Freedman, Brandy Tanenbaum, Patricia Silva-Bagot, Julie Nardi

For over 30 years, the P.A.R.T.Y. Program has helped teens become more aware of potential traumatic injury risks and how to reduce them. The Program is delivered on-site at the hospital, with a blend of speakers and tours of the Trauma Centre. During the pandemic, the Program was re-imagined for online delivery with excellent results.

One of the most impactful parts of the P.A.R.T.Y. Program, as reported by participants, are the Injury Ambassadors. These are former Sunnybrook trauma patients living long-term with injury who volunteer to share their experience and knowledge with teens. These essential members of the P.A.R.T.Y. Program curriculum are Patients as Educators and enhance the delivery of the Program’s message exponentially. Their voices are amplified to over 50,000 teens in a typical (non-pandemic) year.

Says one nominator, “The Injury Ambassadors foster empathy and reflection in our students, through the telling of their first-hand experiences with trauma. That is a rare and valuable learning opportunity, that we are so grateful to offer students.”

The P.A.R.T.Y. Program team is: Corey Freedman, Julie Nardi, Patricia Silva Bagot and Brandy Tanenbaum. The P.A.R.T.Y.​ Program Injury Ambassadors are: Alex Abbott, Andrew Lawlor, Anthony Simas, William (Bill) Howe, Fernando Resende, Nancy Xia, Sarah Ginn, and Steve Lanys-Morris

Team-Based Interprofessional Teaching Award

Sunnybrook Canadian Simulation Centre

L to R: Susan DeSousa, Victoria May, Michelle Cleland, Agnes Ryzynski, and Dr. Fahad Alam. Not pictured: Roman Tymchal and Tarsila da Cruz.

The Sunnybrook Canadian Simulation Centre has a rich and renowned history of Interprofessional Education (IPE) team training, both for Sunnybrook teams as well as external organizations who have sought out their expertise.

The quantity and quality of the team training offerings make them a national practice leader, as identified by the simulation accreditation team at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Nominators say, “There is great emphasis on the safe learning environment, which is crucial in simulation-based learning. The enthusiasm, skill and commitment to their work is clearly apparent to all who interact with the simulation team.”

The Simulation Centre used their considerable experience and knowledge to develop multiple simulation training exercises to respond to the complexities of providing care during the pandemic, including Protected Code Blue, Emergency Codes called in the Mobile Health Unit, and Trauma Bay procedures.

The Sunnybrook Canadian Simulation Centre includes the following members: Dr. Fahad Alam, Michelle Cleland, Tarsila daCruz, Susan DeSousa, Victoria May, Agnes Ryzynski, Roman Tymchal.

Congratulations to all our nominees:

Patient & Family Education

  • Katherine Stead
  • St. John's Rehab Research Program

Educating Beyond Sunnybrook

  • Edsel Ing


  • Lisa Chodirker
  • Liad Salz
  • Stephanie Ladowski
  • Liz Williamson
  • Linda Ramjohn
  • Aileen Ho
  • Volunteers Resources Coordinators: Donna Alcock, Elif Dincer Ambelez, Erin DiLella, Michelle Lynch, Beth Singleton

Allan Knight Lifetime Achievement in Teaching

  • Patricia Scott

Student Experience

  • Jonathan Zipursky
  • Will Kingston
  • Angela Assal
  • Kaila Frostad
  • Jennifer Capell
  • Denorah Regis & Ellen Valleau

Educational Research

  • Jordan Chenkin
  • Merrylee McGuffin

Team-Based Interprofessional Teaching

  • STEADY Team (Janet Ellis, Melissa Korman, Rosalie Steinberg)

Innovative Curriculum

  • Stephanie Zhou