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Meet Dr. Aikta Verma, Sunnybrook's first female Chief of Emergency Services

Jan 31, 2019

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Sunnybrook is very pleased to welcome Dr. Aikta Verma to the role of Chief of Emergency Services as of February 1, 2019. Dr. Verma has been working as an emergency physician at Sunnybrook, where she has held several leadership positions with a focus on quality improvement for emergency patients, including Medical Director of Clinical Operations.

“I’m thrilled to take on this role and to be the first female Chief of Emergency Services at Sunnybrook,” says Dr. Verma. “Our Emergency Department (ED) sees the most acutely ill patients in the province, and we are exceptional at managing the challenges of the work. I look forward to leading this great team, and developing our part in Sunnybrook’s new Integrated Community Program.”

Dr. Verma grew up in Northern Ontario, and moved to Hamilton to complete an undergraduate degree in Biology and Psychology at McMaster University. She did her medical school training at the University of Ottawa, where her research focused on out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and dispatch-assisted CPR. She completed her residency training in the FRCP Emergency Medicine program at the University of Toronto, where she continued to work towards system-level changes to the health care system, studying on-line medical control of Code Stroke patients.

After residency, she completed a Master’s degree in Health Administration, during which she conducted groundbreaking research about push-alert notifications to ED physician smartphones.

“When I envision the future of Emergency Medicine, I definitely see that technology will continue to play a vital role. I also think we’ll be better at integrating care with community services, and that our approach will become increasingly patient-centred. We know that when patients feel empowered, their outcomes tend to be better.”

Dr. Verma is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, and has held several leadership roles with the Emergency Medicine residency training program, including Assistant Program Director.

Asked to reflect on some of the best advice she’s received during her career, Dr. Verma says, “Find mentorship and the support of your community. That has really been invaluable. I encourage others to look to the supportive people around you in all phases of your career.”

When she is not at work, Dr. Verma spends time with her husband, two-year-old son Oscar, and their two cats. She loves travelling anywhere warm, fine wines, British panel shows, and spa days.

She says that her motivation as an emergency physician and as a leader have parallels, “I love my work in the ED because I get to listen to patients, identify problems, and then work to make them better. The same is true on a broader scale in a leadership or research role– you see problems at a system-level and you want to make things better. That’s what I endeavor to do each day.”

Follow Dr. Verma on Twitter: @AiktaVerma