Congratulations to Dr. Zane Cohen, Director of the Zane Cohen Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital on his appointment to the Order of Canada for his innovative surgical methods in the field of colorectal surgery and for his leadership in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.

With a medical career spanning more than four decades, Dr. Cohen is an internationally renowned surgeon, whose leading-edge techniques in the field of inflammatory bowel disease and inherited colorectal cancer were the first to be deployed in Canada.

He was the first surgeon to use novel surgical techniques for patients with ulcerative colitis, including the Kock pouch and the J-pouch. These techniques helped people resume normal lives, without the need for an external bag to collect waste.

Dr. Cohen developed Canada’s first colorectal surgery training program at the University of Toronto along with a fellowship training program. While Chair of U of T’s Division of General Surgery, he initiated a gender neutrality policy to recruit the best and brightest female surgeons. The proportion of female surgeons in Toronto’s academic teaching hospitals subsequently rose from 40 percent. Dr. Cohen served as Mount Sinai’s Surgeon-in-Chief from 1990 to 2006.

He also established one of the world’s largest research databases for patients with IBD and the largest hereditary gastrointestinal cancer program in Canada. A new emphasis on testing and screening, developed at Mount Sinai and adopted widely, has prevented many cases of fatal colon cancer.

The Order of Canada was developed by the Governor General of Canada is one of the nation’s highest honours and recognizes Canadians who have made extraordinary contributions to the country. This year’s appointees were announced on June 29, 2022.