We are excited to release this new series honouring outstanding individuals who have made huge contributions to our fight against the pandemic. Let’s recognize their deep commitment to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pillar of the Pandemic
by Miranda Caley

Family physician Jennifer Kwan launched a Twitter campaign to educate Ontarians about the pandemic and vaccinations and to combat the spread of misinformation. We're profiling her as a Pillars of the Pandemic honouree.

Pillar of the Pandemic
by Rachel Watts

Physicians Jennifer Wilson and Carlye Jensen are local leaders with deep personal and professional commitments to their town. We're profiling this duo as a Pillars of the Pandemic honouree.

Pillar of the Pandemic
by Rachel Watts

Sharon Straus is a geriatrician and physician-in-chief at St. Michael’s Hospital, among other leadership roles. We're profiling her as a Pillars of the Pandemic honouree.

Pillar of the Pandemic
by Maddi Dellplain

Shiran Isaacksz played a key role in organizing a massive effort to vaccinate as much of Toronto as possible. We're profiling him as a Pillars of the Pandemic honouree.

Pillar of the Pandemic
by Miranda Caley

Nathan Stall is a geriatrician and scientist who fought against the heartbreaking toll that the pandemic had on the elderly and those in long-term care. We're profiling him as a Pillars of the Pandemic honouree.

Pillar of the Pandemic
by Miranda Caley

Anna Banerji is a pediatrician, an infectious disease specialist and the founder of the Indigenous Health Conference. We're profiling her as a Pillars of the Pandemic honouree.

Pillar of the Pandemic
by Maddi Dellplain

Family and emergency physician Erin Bearss led the vaccine rollout in six Toronto long-term care homes. We're profiling her as a Pillars of the Pandemic honouree.

Health and health-care professionals across Ontario – front-line workers, community advocates, caregivers, volunteers, administrative leaders, and academic scholars and leaders – were nominated to be recognized for their contributions.

Though all nominees have made outstanding contributions, a selection committee invited to participate by Dean Steini Brown, comprised of a diverse group of individuals with lived experience and relevant expertise within the public health and health-care systems, reviewed the nominations and selected 13 distinguished individuals who will be profiled here. These pillars represent a number of exemplary individuals and their contributions over the past year.

The Pillars of the Pandemic

New profiles will be released in the coming weeks. Keep checking back to read about the 13 incredible honourees listed below.

Anna Banerji, a pediatric and public health specialist in Indigenous and refugee health, and a clinician and associate professor at DLSPH;

Erin Bearss, associate chief of family medicine at Sinai Health, who has led a team that delivered vaccines at long-term care and retirement homes;

Lloyd K. Douglas, planning lead for the COVID-19 Regional Response team for Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, as well as an incident commander;

Shiran Isaacksz, vice-president of Altum Health & UHN Connected Care, who led the organization’s mobile vaccine rollout;

Carlye Jensen and Jennifer Wilson, chief of the Uxbridge site of Markham-Stouffville Hospital and outgoing president of Uxbridge Health Centre, respectively, who ensured their community remained informed about COVID-19’s effects locally;

Jennifer Kwan, Burlington family physician, who is renowned for her social media campaign to educate Ontarians about COVID-19 and vaccinations;

Lawrence Loh, chief medical officer of health for Peel Region and a prominent advocate for measures preventing the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable populations;

Kate Mulligan, a U of T professor and member of the Toronto Board of Health, who kept the public informed in real time about the board’s COVID-19 discussions and debates;

Cheryl Prescod, executive director of Black Creek Community Health Centre, whose team worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in northwest Toronto;

Angela Robertson, executive director of Parkdale-Queen West Community Health Centre and co-lead of the Toronto region COVID-19 homelessness/shelter working group, a determined advocate for the homeless population;

Nathan Stall, a geriatrician for Sinai Health System, long-term care researcher and assistant scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table;

Sharon Straus, physician-in-chief and director of the Knowledge Translation Program for St. Michael’s Hospital and member of the Royal Society of Canada’s COVID-19 Task Force; and

Vaccine Hunters Canada, a volunteer organization that has worked tirelessly to connect thousands of Ontarians with opportunities to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations.

Nominees

  • Dr. Arnav Agarwal, South Asian Health Network; University of Toronto
  • Christina Agostino, University Health Network
  • Dr. Farhan M. Asrar, International Space University; University of Toronto
  • Rishi Bansal, Healthy Debate; McMaster University
  • Michelle Bharrat, Labor & Delivery nurse
  • Dr. Andrew Boozary, University Health Network; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Amanpreet Brar, General Surgery Resident, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Adalsteinn Brown, Dean, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Colleen Browne, Closing the Gap Healthcare Group
  • Michael Caesar, University Health Network
  • Canadian Muslim COVID Taskforce
  • Emily Carreiro, University Health Network
  • Dr. Ben Chan, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
  • Community Health Ambassadors in East Toronto
  • Madalina Cretu, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Luke Devine, Sinai Health
  • Linda Dresser, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto
  • Tamara Dus, University Health Network
  • East Toronto Family Practice Network
  • Dr. Ken J. Farion, CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario)
  • Pooja Gandhi, South Asian Health Network; University Health Network
  • Leanna Graham, University Health Network
  • Alexandra Green, RPN, The Village of Riverside Glen LTC; Homewood Health Centre, Traumatic Stress Injury & Concurrent Program
  • Mariana Grinblat, Retired, Occupational Hygiene Association of Ontario; University of Toronto
  • Dr. Laura Hawryluck, University Health Network; Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Jin Huh, University Health Network
  • Dr. Jennie Johnstone,Sinai Health
  • Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, Common Ground Collaborative Care
  • Dr. Fareen Karachiwalla, KFL&A Public Health; University of Toronto
  • Tina Kaur, COVID-Alert Risk Evaluation and Management (CARE) program; ICHA Population Medicine Team
  • Dr. Rana Khafagy, SickKids – The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Dr. Tara Kiran, St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team; Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Ian McDermott, University Health Network
  • Dr. Ramona Mahtani, Sinai Health
  • Antonina Maltsev, Science Table; University of Toronto
  • Dr. Seema Marwaha, Healthy Debate; St. Michael’s Hospital; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Tony Mazzulli, Sinai Health; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Jane Merkley, Sinai Health
  • Emily Musing, University Health Network; Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Mireille Norris, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Dominik Nowak, Union Health; Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Menaka Pai, Science Table; Department of Medicine, McMaster University
  • Dr. Barry Pakes, Sinai Health; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Thuy-Nga (Tia) Pham, Southeast Toronto Family Health Team; Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Donna Pilon, RN, University Health Network
  • Dr. Jeff Powis, Toronto East Health Network
  • Dr. Vanessa Redditt, Crossroads Clinic; Women’s College Hospital; Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Laura Rosella, Trillium Health Partners; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Lisa Salamon, Scarborough Health Network; Ontario Medical Association
  • Gobika Sithamparanathan (She/Her), HBSc, MScOT Candidate ‘21 Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto; South Asian Health Network
  • South Asian Health Network
  • Dr. Alison Thompson, Ontario COVID-19 Bioethics Table; Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto
  • Dr. Ross Upshur, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • Aimee Santoro and Nancy Vandenbergh, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Kristen Watt, RPh, Owner & Pharmacist, Kristen’s Pharmacy, Southampton, ON
  • Richard (Rick) Wray, SickKids – The Hospital for Sick Children