Message from the Director

Welcome to the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute

At this time last year, I commented how exciting SREMI’s first five years had been and how the next five years would be even more exciting. Little did I imagine just how “exciting” 2020 would be. As 2020 draws to a close, we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic which has caused more than one million deaths and turned the lives of everyone on our planet upside down. While it is easy to get caught up in the negativity of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the incredible year SREMI has had, thank everyone for the amazing work they have done, and express my deepest gratitude for everything that went right.

SREMI’s most important accomplishment of 2020 was that in spite of adversity, we thrived. Our staff remained engaged, busy and productive. In an environment which saw other research programs placed on hold, and some shutting down completely, SREMI scientists and educators had their busiest year ever with many accomplishments, including a record number of peer reviewed publications, and several SREMI scientists nominated for and winning local, national and international awards. This success is testament to their drive, the supportive environment provided by the SREMI team, and the importance of the work we are doing.

There are several key accomplishments that I would like to highlight here: 

  • Dr. Shelley McLeod completed her PhD thesis evaluating Ontario’s new eCTAS program. Shelley has also played an important role on the BMJ Rapid Recommendations group analyzing and synthesizing new evidence related to COVID-19. This information becomes the basis for WHO recommendations which are adopted around the world. 
  • At North York General Hospital, Dr. Rohit Mohindra has made great progress developing his program of emergency medicine research, with 5 papers published and several new projects initiated. 
  • As planned, Dr. Thom Ringer completed his CCFP(EM) residency and joined SREMI as a Clinician Educator. Thom will take responsibility for our GERI-EM fellowship program and help grow other aspects of our Geri-EM program.
  • Dr. Anton Helmen and EM Cases continue with the incredible success of the podcast. Early in the pandemic, Anton published a series of 8 podcasts within just a few weeks which were widely downloaded and received rave reviews.
  • Dr. Don Melady and Dr. Jacques Lee both received promotion to Associate Professor, and Don was appointed as Chair of the Clinical Practice Committee at the International Federation of Emergency Medicine.

It has been a terrific year for SREMI, and I would like to thank our IAB members for their continued enthusiastic support and commitment to SREMI, and our IAB Chair Dr. Chris Carpenter for his leadership and engagement. I would also like to thank the Sinai Health and North York General Hospital leadership teams and foundations for their hard work and ongoing commitment to making SREMI a world leader in emergency medicine. 

I am very grateful to Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman for their generous support and ongoing engagement with the SREMI team. Their commitment to a shared vision of academic excellence and leadership in emergency medicine is both unique and remarkable. Together we are improving the way ED patients are cared for today, and in the future.

Dr. Bjug Borgundvaag PhD MD CCFP(EM)
Director, Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute