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CV: Dr. Baiju Shah

June 1, 2011

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A scientist in the Schulich Heart Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute sits down to answer a few questions from Eleni Kanavas.

Bio basics:

A scientist in SRI's discipline of clinical epidemiology and the Schulich Heart Research Program. Cross-appointed to the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and University of Toronto, where he is an assistant professor of medicine, and health policy, management and evaluation. Received MD and PhD from U of T, the latter in clinical epidemiology and health care research.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a scientist?

In medical school I realized I was interested in endocrinology and thought that was a really interesting clinical area. I decided to do a diabetes research project in the first year of my internal medicine residency, and that lit up a light bulb that this was something I really enjoy.

How did you end up at Sunnybrook Research Institute?

It was one of those lucky flukes. For the diabetes research project, I got linked up with Dr. Janet Hux [at ICES], an excellent mentor and great supervisor who had a really interesting project I worked on, and from which we had interesting results. Everything lined up to get me interested in health services research, and this was the place to be able to do it.

Tell me about your current research.

I'm doing health services research in diabetes, focusing on quality and outcomes of care for patients at a provincial level. Within that area, I've worked in a number of themes. I've looked at health care for ethnic and immigrant populations, diabetes in pregnancy and long-term effects for women who had diabetes during pregnancy, and different models of delivering diabetes care.

Why is your research focus important?

The research that I'm doing generally can have a direct impact on patient care. We're looking directly at what's happening now: how we improve care and change how it is delivered, and how we optimize available resources to reach the patients who really need them. The type of research we're doing has a lot of traction for policy-makers and governments in terms of administering health care, and therefore it can really impact people very quickly.

How does it feel to be granted a CIHR New Investigator Award?

It's a great relief. It's stability in my personal funding for the next five years to make sure that I'm supported. Now I can focus on my research and getting operating grants to actually do the research.

What do you enjoy doing outside of the lab?

Spending time with my family and my two young kids. I like to keep my out-of-work time even more protected than my research time!

What's next?

My priority is to finish several studies that are ongoing. After that, I want to sit down and plan the next five years of my career. This CIHR award will enable me to find and focus on the areas where my work can make the greatest impact in improving care for people with diabetes.

Baiju Shah