Message from the Executive Liaison Committee

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
Executive Liaison Committee

The global pandemic continues to be the story of 2021 and has challenged all of us personally and professionally. Under Dr. Bjug Borgundvaag’s leadership, SREMI continues to face the challenges spectacularly well. Just a few examples follow. Our Research Director, Dr. Shelley McLeod was selected to join an eminent team of international experts working under the auspices of the WHO and the BMJ to conduct a living systematic review and network meta-analysis for the management of COVID-19, and she received a prestigious award at the annual IFEM meeting for her presentation of the ongoing work. Dr. Catherine Varner published a series of articles on evolving issues in health care during the pandemic and was the first physician to receive CAEP’s Medical Journalism Award. Dr. Jacques Lee launched a project at both SREMI sites on social isolation and loneliness in the elderly and was featured in several national news stories. 

Virtual care exploded during COVID, with little evidence to guide public policy supporting and regulating practice. The usual government approach to policy evaluation is a confidential report from a private, for-profit consulting firm with little or no scientific expertise. In contrast, Bjug and Shelley led a rigorous scientific approach to the evaluation of eCTAS with publication of all results. They did so without government funding support. In recognition of the success of that effort, SREMI was awarded a contract from Ontario Health to lead a provincial evaluation of Ontario’s 14 virtual urgent care pilot programs and make recommendations to guide future policy. Shelley is leading the evaluation. Bjug and many others took on leadership roles in the COVID response locally, regionally, provincially and nationally.

SREMI enjoyed impressive growth over the last year, and one especially exciting appointment was of our first clinician-scientist at our North York site, Dr. Rohit Mohindra. In another reflection of the growing size, productivity and complexity of SREMI, as well as her own leadership talents, Catherine was appointed as Deputy Director of SREMI.

SREMI has been very productive in all areas, in the report you will see details on grants, publications, presentations and awards. In the realm of education, EM Cases is a global phenomenon. Our fellowship programs are growing, and our graduates are assuming important leadership positions upon completion of their training. SREMI’s success is also reflected in the growing size and diversity of supporters, including over $2.5M in new donations this year. In recognition of the impact of Dr. Don Melady’s work globally, Sinai Health has committed to funding an endowed Chair at SREMI in Geriatric Emergency Medicine in Don’s name. This Chair will be part of a series of “Sinai 100” Chairs being created as part of the centenary celebration planned to mark Mount Sinai’s 100th anniversary in 2023. It’s a wonderful tribute to Don and will ensure the program will continue to thrive as a major part of SREMI’s work.

The IAB has been a key part of SREMI’s success. We thank you for your support, and hope you are as proud as we are of what SREMI has become and will become. We look forward to seeing you all in one way or another at this year’s meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Howard Ovens MD, FCFP (EM)        Kevin Katz MD, CM, MSc, FRCPC
Mount Sinai Hospital                         North York General Hospital