Edward Cole
​Dr. Edward Cole is described as "an esteemed leader in transplantation" and "a force in academic medicine" in the citation for his appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada. (Photo: UHN)

Dr. Edward Cole, a pioneer in kidney transplantation and UHN's former Physician-in-Chief, is among the latest recipients of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honours.

Dr. Cole is among 83 new appointees announced on June 27 by Governor General Mary Simon.

"Edward Cole is dedicated to developing and delivering the highest quality of care to people living with kidney disease," states the citation accompanying the announcement. “An esteemed leader in transplantation, this University of Toronto professor was instrumental in establishing a kidney-paired donation program, a highly impactful process now practiced in clinical settings worldwide.

"A force in academic medicine, he is a former physician-in-chief at the University Health Network."

Dr. Cole was the first chair of what was then called the National Living Donor Kidney Exchange Program, and a driving force behind the creation of Canada's kidney-paired donation (KPD) program that is now practiced in clinical settings worldwide. KPD helps match transplant candidates with suitable living donors and gives people the chance to become a living kidney donor, ensuring that the person they wish to help receives a kidney even if they are not a direct match.

UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre was one of the three Canadian hospitals to perform the first KPD transplants. In 2023, the KPD program ​performed its 1,000th kidney transplant since being formed in 2009.

"I'm incredibly honoured to receive this award," says Dr. Cole.

"The KPD program is successful because of the contributions of many committed and talented individuals across Canada, including UHN's Physician-in-Chief Dr. Kathryn Tinckam, and a very successful partnership with Canadian Blood Services.

"I am also very fortunate to work in such a supportive environment as we have at UHN and the University of Toronto."

The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. More than 7,600 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order since its creation in 1967.

"The Order of Canada recognizes individuals who have made positive and lasting impacts on communities here in Canada or who have brought honour to our country abroad," the Governor General said in a news release.

"Congratulations to the new appointees and thank you to the nominators who cast a spotlight on their achievement, purpose and exceptional talent."

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