Surgery has busy year as team members take on new roles

The Department of Surgery had a busy 2008 with the addition of several new people and some familiar faces taking on new positions.

In Dentistry, sincere thanks are extended to Dr. Stéphane Schwartz who stepped down from her role as Director of the Division of Dentistry this spring, but continues her role as clinician. “Dr. Stéphane Schwartz has demonstrated more than 30 years of leadership in pediatric dentistry. She has been unwavering in her dedication to her patients and set the standard through her outstanding teaching and research abilities,” says Dr. Jean-Pierre Farmer, MCH Surgeon-in-chief. “Dr. Schwartz has worked tirelessly to ensure generations of healthy smiles. She has performed pioneering work with children who suffer from cleft palate, dental trauma, cerebral palsy, osteogenis imperfecta and facial deformities, to name a few. Her success stems from her ability to collaborate with specialists from different fields to find solutions and provide patients who have complex problems the best care possible. This has led her to carry out important collaborative efforts with the Shriners Hospital and to publish papers and give lectures around the world.”
Dr. Schwartz has also played a vital role in the community by collaborating with dental hygienists to educate parents about preventing early childhood caries; she is currently advocating for the fluoridation of water in Montréal to further reduce tooth decay in children. As proof of her outstanding abilities, Dr. Schwartz was recently awarded the MCH Award of Excellence, the Life Time Achievement Award from the MCH Council of Physicians Dentist and Pharmacists, and the 2008 Prix Hommage de l’Ordre des dentistes du Québec, which recognized Dr. Schwartz’s exceptional contribution to the development of the profession and the improvement in the quality of dental care offered to Quebecers.

Dr. Duy Dat Vu is the new division head of Dentistry. He was selected by a search committee, which received numerous applications from both inside and outside the MUHC. For many years, Dr. Vu has been the Assistant Division Head and had been Dr. Stéphane Schwartz’s right hand. He is in charge of dental fellows and the training program and is an examiner on the Canadian Royal College of Dentistry. He graduated from the School of Dentistry at l’Université de Montreal and did his pediatric fellowship at the MCH.

“Dr. Vu has a definitive vision for the future development of the division,” says Dr. Farmer. “One of his plans is to organize patient flow according to various sub-specialties.” The division receives 14-thousand patients per year and handles very complex syndromatic patients in collaboration with other divisions of surgery.

Did you hear?
Dr. Melvin Schloss just stepped down as head of the Division of Otolaryngology after holding the position for 32 years. ORL is the busiest surgical division in terms of cases at the MCH. Dr. Schloss has also been the long-time head of ENT at McGill University. He has always been interested in Continuing Education and has been the Associate Dean of CME at McGill. In addition, along with Dr. Hy Goldman, he is the founder of the Mini-Med School at the MCH.

“Dr. Schloss has made a significant contribution to the division taking it to new heights,” says Dr. Farmer. “I am pleased he will continue as a valuable contributor and mentor especially at a time when we have to rethink our work processes as we prepare to move to our new hospital on the Glen. Dr. Schloss’ progressive thinking is exemplified by his recent decision to move minor ENT surgeries to the Verdun General Hospital thus freeing up OR time at the MCH for tertiary and quaternary ENT cases and helping reduce wait times for outpatient surgery.” 

Dr. Sam Daniel is the newly appointed Director of the Division of Otolaryngology. Dr. Daniel is a McGill-trained physician and otolaryngologist. He completed his fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He joined the staff of the MCH in 2003. “Sam is an inspirational teacher. He has already received the Best Surgical Teacher Award twice,” says Dr. Farmer. “His energy and drive are boundless.” In his short career, Dr. Daniel has achieved international recognition for innovative care particularly with the use of Botox and for his avant-garde research model of ototoxicity in the chinchilla; he is exploring reasons why chemotherapy treatment can lead to deafness in some children. Through his research, he is trying to understand how ototoxicity works, and the future looks bright for determining ways of preventing such deafness.

“His talent and energy and knowledge of McGill will allow him to contribute significantly to the division’s redeployment on the Glen,” says Dr. Farmer. “Dr. Daniel was chosen by a search committee and was selected for his energy, organizational ability and overall academic profile.”

Changing of the guard in Pediatric General Surgery
Many thanks go to Dr. Jean-Martin Laberge who recently stepped down as Director of the Division of Pediatric General Surgery after serving more than two terms. Dr. Laberge trained at the Université Laval and did his surgical training at McGill University before starting his fellowship at the MCH over 20 years ago.

“Jean-Martin is an internationally respected pediatric surgeon and president elect of the Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons,” says Dr. Farmer. “He has been a great ambassador for the MCH on numerous government committees such as la Table des chefs and la Table sectoral méres enfants.” Dr. Laberge, a full professor at McGill University, will continue to work at the MCH ensuring a seamless transition with the new division director Dr. Sherif Emil (see Dr. Emil’s appointment notice in the Oct. 30 edition of Chez nous).

Dr. Laberge will also help the division prepare for the transition to the Glen as he is a key player on the Surgical User Group that is revising the MCH functional plan for the new hospital. Dr. Laberge is also a proud grandfather of one and soon to be two grandchildren, with whom he plans to spend time.

Two new recruits
Dr. Mirko Gilardino joins the Surgery Department as Director of the Craniofacial Surgery Program. Dr. Gilardino did his training in plastic surgery at McGill University with a fellowship in cranio-maxillo facial surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.

Prior to this fellowship, he did research in bone remodeling. “Mirko is an energetic and talented surgeon eminently qualified to lead the newly formed multidisciplinary Craniofacial Surgery team,” says Dr. Farmer. “He will head the group which will interface with many other specialties including neurosurgery, ENT, dentistry and orthodontics, respirology, nursing, speech and language therapy, OT and social work to name a few,” says Dr. Farmer. “All of the ingredients to create a Craniofacial Surgery team existed at the MCH, but he will pull the players together, and coordinate care for a group of patients with complex syndromes.  With this coordinated approach, the number of surgical interventions patients must endure will decrease and their ultimate quality of life should improve.”

Another new MCH recruit is Dr. Broula Jamal, an orthodontist who joined the Division of Dentistry, as well as the Craniofacial Surgery Program to provide specialized care for patients with complex facial abnormalities.

She received her degree from l’Université de Montréal and then worked in the northern regions of Quebec as a dentist before returning to school at the University of Western Ontario to become an orthodontist. Following this, she had special training at New York University with Dr. Barry Grayson to learn distraction technologies applicable to cranial facial syndromes. “Broula is a very dynamic and well-trained professional who cares for children and academic surgery,” says Dr. Farmer. “We are very fortunate to recruit her. She is an exceptional addition to the orthodontics team and the craniofacial program.”

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