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Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, former Medical Director at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, is the recipient of the 2021 UHN Global Impact Award.
Dr. Gospodarowicz, who held the leadership post at the cancer centre for more than 15 years until 2020, was cited for the award by the selection committee because of "her academic and clinical accomplishments resulting in improved cancer outcomes for patients around the world."
Awarded since 2004, the UHN Global Impact Award annually recognizes the incredible contributions of TeamUHN members who have changed health and healthcare both here and internationally.
"Dr. Gospodarowicz's mission to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life for cancer patients internationally is synonymous with the global mission of UHN," three physicians from the Princess Margaret, Drs. Fei-Fei Liu, Keith Stewart and Amit Oza, wrote in a letter to the selection committee. "Her extraordinary achievements, dedication and leadership are widely known and respected around the world."
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Dr. Gospodarowicz practiced radiation oncology focusing on clinical research in lymphoma and urological cancers. She stepped back from her clinical work last year to focus on global cancer, an area she has worked in for decades.
Earlier this year, she was named co-chair of a new "The Lancet Commission on cancer and health systems," a group of 33 commissioners working under the umbrella of the prestigious medical journal to examine and make recommendations to improve global cancer care and health systems.
"An internationally recognized … figure in radiation oncology and global health, Dr. Gospodarowicz has dedicated her 35-plus-year career to improving cancer outcomes for patients around the world," wrote Dr. Liu, Chief of the Radiation Medicine Program, Dr. Stewart, Medical Director at the Princess Margaret and VP Cancer at UHN, and Dr. Oza, Head of the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology. "Her academic and clinical expertise in the treatment of lymphomas and genitourinary cancers combined with her unwavering commitment to advancing equitable access for cancer care, have made her an unparalleled leader in the international cancer community, and an exemplar in conquering cancer on the global stage."
Dr. Gospodarowicz's interest in cancer staging and prognosis led to her work with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) during the 1990s and serve as its president from 2012 to 2014.
"Dr. Gospodarowicz's sustained service in the international medical community over the past three decades has firmly established her as one of the world's leading scientists and authorities in the fields of radiation oncology, cancer control and healthcare," her nominators wrote.
She is also described as "an outstanding academician, whose extraordinary research productivity reflects the achievements of an innovative and visionary trailblazer in international cancer control." She has published 265 peer-reviewed publications, 97 book chapters on a broad array of scholarly pursuits, and her work on testicular carcinoma and testicular diffuse large B-cell lymphomas transformed global management of these cancers.
"Her leadership on the world stage of cancer control translates to a continuing legacy of training the next generation of scientists and leaders in the medical community," the nominating trio wrote. "An experienced, wise and much-esteemed mentor, Dr. Gospodarowicz has guided and inspired countless researchers, physicians and medical professionals across every stage of their career development."
The names, photos and citations of the Global Impact Award recipients are posted in UHN hospital lobbies. Previous winners are:
2004 Fredrick Banting, Vera Peters, Harold Johns
2005 William Bigelow, Ernest McCulloch, Jim Till
2006 William Gallie
2007 Joel Cooper, Griff Pearson
2008 Charles Hollenberg, Bernard Langer
2009 Mary Agnes Snively
2010 Robert Jackson
2011 Charles Tator
2012 Dimitri Oreopoulos
2013 Victor Ling
2014 Alan Hudson
2015 Jenny Heathcote
2016 Karel ter Brugge
2017 Jack Cunningham, Gordon Whitmore
2018 Louis Siminovitch
2019 Diana Schatz, E. Douglas Wigle
2020 Gary Levy, Ian Tannock