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Catharine Whiteside

Executive Director, CIHR SPOR Network in Diabetes and its Related Complications
Emerita Professor
Former Dean of Medicine
University of Toronto


Years Active in the IMS: 1980-84 (PhD); 1993 – 2016 (Faculty)

My journey started in the IMS as a PhD graduate student supervised by Dr. Mel Silverman. Following a grueling residency in internal medicine and nephrology, entering full time research training in the IMS opened a whole new career path for me as a clinician-scientist. In fact, this experience shaped the rest of my professional life at the University of Toronto.

After establishing my own research lab, I was invited to become the Graduate Coordinator in the IMS, a position I held from 1993 to 1999. During this time the IMS rapidly expanded both student enrolment and faculty appointments and I had the pleasure of getting to know many of the future leaders in academic medicine across Canada. My knowledge of the breadth and depth of health and biomedical science conducted in the IMS grew exponentially as I met yearly with the students and chaired most of the internal PhD thesis defenses. Subsequently, this understanding of graduate studies and the value of inter-disciplinary research acquired as the IMS Graduate Coordinator was extremely valuable during my tenure as Associate Dean Graduate and Interfaculty Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. As Dean of Medicine from 2005 to 2014, I was responsible for recruiting the Directors of IMS during this period and, in all honesty, held this position to be one of the most important in our Faculty.

The IMS has created an environment of innovation in teaching and learning achieved by no other graduate unit in Canada, particularly for health professionals. My greatest pleasure over the years has been watching the growth and development of the careers of IMS graduates many of whom I still interact with today.  We have all benefited immensely from our IMS experience – thanks to all!