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Saluting impact and influence

By Alisa Kim  •  December 6, 2018

Dr. Marc JeschkeDr. Don Redelmeier

Two Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) scientists were named Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. Marc Jeschke, a senior scientist in Biological Sciences, and Dr. Don Redelmeier, director of Evaluative Clinical Sciences, were inducted to the prestigious organization, one of the highest honours within Canada’s health sciences community.

Jeschke was recognized for his international leadership and achievements in burn care research and treatment. He holds influential roles within national and international groups including Shock Society, Surgical Infection Society, American Burn Association and Canadian Burn Association. Through these positions Jeschke has developed protocols and strategic priorities to improve burn care.

His scholarship spans molecular biology, preclinical work and clinical trials. He has shown that the immune system plays a critical role in the hypermetabolism caused by burns. He is also collaborating with researchers at the University of Toronto to develop a skin printer, a hand-held device that can deposit wound-healing tissue directly onto burns. His work has led to changes in the standard of care for people with burns and other complex wounds. For example, his research demonstrating that the ideal glucose range for people with severe burns is 130 to 140 milligrams per decilitre, has changed therapeutic glucose targets for burn units globally.

Jeschke is a professor in the departments of immunology and surgery, and the Institute of Medical Science, at U of T, and director of the Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook. Through this latter role he recognized the need to create burn care networks. In 2014, he spearheaded the Canadian Burn Symposium to bring together like-minded people to address the challenges facing burn care specialists, and recommend best practices. The symposia have resulted in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for the Canadian Burn Network, a platform that enables the creation and exchange of knowledge in this area.

Redelmeier is also a professor of medicine at U of T and holds the Canada Research Chair in Medical Decision Sciences. As an internist at Sunnybrook, he helps people recover from serious injuries due to car crashes. As a researcher, he aims to reduce traffic-related deaths by studying how errors in reasoning lead to major trauma.

His research was the first to show that talking on a cell phone while driving quadruples a driver’s risk of having a car crash, compared to not using a cell phone. The study, published in 1997 in the New England Journal of Medicine, was instrumental in creating regulations around cell phone use while driving throughout Canada.

His other studies have focused on caring for people with life-threatening trauma, assessing individuals’ fitness to drive and the risk of suicide after a concussion. In its welcome message to the 2018 Fellows, the Academy stated that Redelmeier’s “body of work has improved traffic laws, and enhanced public education, medical care and health policy.”

The aim of the Academy is to provide assessments on issues relevant to the health of Canadians. It provides objective, evidence-based analyses of health challenges that inform health policy, practice and investment.