Collage of employees celebrating life long learning

For many years now, Sinai Health has offered scholarships and bursaries to our learners and employees, as well as two awards created to support our people’s children as they pursue higher education. As a way of sharing our commitment to learning and education, these awards highlight the incredible people at Sinai Health and help prepare the next generation of learners for success.

“Every year, I am incredibly inspired by the quality of applicants to our scholarships and bursaries, and this year was no different. It’s an honour for me to get to know these outstanding individuals, and to see the ways that Sinai Health encourages their growth and education,” says Dr. Jaqueline James, Sinai Health’s Vice President of Education.

Susan Brown, Executive Vice President, People & Culture and Chief Human Resources Officer adds, “These awards are an excellent example of our value of Discovery in action. We are proud to assist in the continued education of our physicians, employees, and learners.”

Here are this year’s recipients:

Donald E. Low Bursary – Dr. Keven Barker

The Donald E. Low Bursary Fund was established to allow an individual who was studying or practicing in the field of microbiology to either travel to the Department of Microbiology at Mount Sinai Hospital or another Microbiology laboratory to expand their knowledge in the field either by learning a new laboratory technique, management tool, or other relevant skill related to microbiology. This year’s recipient is clinical microbiologist Dr. Kevin Barker, who is entering his 3rd and final year of training in our Clinical Post-Doctoral Microbiology training program. He plans to use the funds from the bursary to spend time at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) to acquire the knowledge and skills related to Next generation sequencing (NGS) – a potential game-changer for clinical laboratory workflow. Ultimately, the aim is to bring this newly acquired knowledge and skill set back to our lab to improve lab quality and costs, while benefiting patient care.

The Valerie Fine Bursary – Katelyn Portelli, RN

This bursary honours a recipient who has demonstrated outstanding humanity in their work, and was established to honour of the late Mrs. Valerie Fine for her contributions to raising the level of patient care at Mount Sinai Hospital through her position as Chair of the Patient Care Quality Committee. This year’s recipient is Katelyn Portelli, who has worked tirelessly to develop guidelines for nurses around palliative and end of life care and bereavement for our smallest patients and their families. As Chair of the Bereavement committee, she provides excellent patient care, supports other nurses in this difficult role and conducts research into best practices. Katelyn is currently pursuing a nurse practitioner designation.

Rose Torno Bursary – Krista Schleicher

The Rose Torno Bursary honours the Founder President of the Hospital Auxiliary, and was created to encourage an interest in research or in health-sciences education. Krista Schleicher, part of the University of Toronto Molecular Genetics program, is working on her PhD studying molecular genetics, with an interest in head and neck cancer. Her excellent work as a graduate student in the Schramek Lab in the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute is just one part of why she received this bursary – the committee also noted her community volunteer work, including her passion for SciHigh, an LTRI initiative where volunteer researchers travel to Toronto schools and clubs, free of charge, to share their enthusiasm and love of science.

Bernard Ghert Award of Resident Excellence – Dr. Aislynn Torfason

This award recognizes the demonstrated excellence in patient care and teaching particularly in interpersonal relationships with patients and families, and is awarded to a recipient who is considered a role model by other housestaff in this regard. The 2019 recipient, Dr. Aislynn Torfason, is in year three of her psychiatric residency at Mount Sinai Hospital and a member of the geriatric psychiatry liaison service. She is known for her excellent therapeutic relationships, especially with marginalized patients and families, and acts with humility, teaching from a stance of compassion. Aislynn is a champion and advocate for all patients in our hospital.

Diamond Jubilee Scholarships- Vippy Chau and Adnan Moinuddin

The Sinai Health System Diamond Jubilee Scholarship was created in recognition of Mount Sinai Hospital’s 75th Anniversary, and is awarded to support higher education pursuits for the children of Sinai Health’s employees and medical and dental staff.

Vippy Chau was selected to receive this scholarship thanks to her community involvement including work with her school’s leadership development conference and being a dedicated life guard as well as her education achievements. She is heading to Western University in the fall of 2019, where she’ll be attending Ivey Business School. Vippy was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by her mom, Belinda Au Dong, who works in purchasing at Bridgepoint.

Adnan Moinuddin’s list of accomplishments and volunteer work is long – He’s president of the Newcomers Council at his school in Mississauga, volunteered at Credit Valley Hospital, and even helped in the organization of the Churchill Valley Resident Association Kitefest. Adnan’s family came to celebrate this award with him, including his mom Asfia Sultana, who is a research associate in microbiology. Adnan will be attending McMaster University next year, and hopes to pursue a career in medicine.