​​​​Image of Dr. John Cairns and Dr. John Floras
Dr. John Floras, (R), and Dr. John Cairns, President, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, at the ceremony honouring Dr. Floras for earning election to the prestigious fellowship. (Photo: UHN)

Congratulations to Dr. John Floras, Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Cardiology Research Director for the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital, for his election to the prestigious Fellowship from the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Recognized by his peers nationally and internationally for his contributions to the promotion of health sciences, Dr. Floras is among several Peter Munk Cardiac Centre cardiologists to hold this designation.​

"I was delighted to learn that I had been honoured by my academic peers in this way," said Dr. Floras, upon hearing about receiving the award. "At the same time, I recognize that Fellowship of the Canadian Academy of Sciences comes with responsibilities, not the least of which is to demonstrate a strong and sustained commitment to advance academic health sciences locally, nationally or internationally."

Election to Fellowship in the Academy is considered one of the highest honours for individuals in the Canadian health sciences community and carries with it a responsibility to serve the Academy and the future well-being of the health sciences.

An Election Committee seeks evidence of national and international peer recognition for the nominee's contributions to the health sciences --- including of leadership or creativity, distinctive competence, innovation, and future commitment and capacity. This review places considerable emphasis on established, internationally-recognized, high-impact leadership that has meaningfully advanced academic health sciences.

"This award is based upon a much broader range of accomplishments," explains Dr. Floras, when comparing this award to those he has received in the past. "I wish to assure my colleagues that I consider this a mid-career award and an incentive to persevere in my commitment to often challenging patient-focused research."

Recruited to the Division of Cardiology at Toronto General Hospital in 1985, Dr. Floras has pursued patient-oriented research into circulatory and cardiac control mechanisms in health and disease, with particular emphasis on hypertension, heart failure, renal failure, heart-lung interactions and sleep-related breathing disorders in men and woman.

"An important insight arose from my very first paper, published in 1978," recalls Dr. Floras. The paper, which documented the remarkable increases in blood pressure and heart rate that occurred on transition from sleep to wakefulness, taught Dr. Floras a simple but important lesson:

"Cardiologists must not rely solely and superficially upon their assessment of the patient as she or he appears in a clinic visit, or during an imaging or other test," explains Dr. Floras. "They must consider the dynamic nature of their heart and circulatory function and what healthy or abnormal processes they manifest across the fourth dimension of time."

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Floras established the first human cardiovascular laboratory in Canada.  From 1995 to 1998, while Mount Sinai Hospital Cardiology Division Head, he integrated this program with a cardiac catheterization and a sleep laboratory both dedicated exclusively to human cardiovascular investigation.

"My independent course of research has yielded findings that authorities across the range of health sciences consider important, enduring, and with future potential," explains Dr. Floras. "My pro bono contributions to the development of research scholarship and capacity within Canada have added similarly value."

Dr. Floras' findings have appeared in over 200 original publications that collectively have been cited over 10,000 times. In 2010, Dr. Floras received the Prize and delivered the Distinguished Lectureship in Cardiovascular Sciences of the CIHR's Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health. Serving as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Banting Research Foundation since 2009, Dr. Floras oversees the distribution of grants to Canada's most promising young medical researchers. In 2013, he was recognized by the Hellenic Cardiological Society for a lifetime of service to the Science of Medicine.

"Many of my research journeys have started with simple questions from patients and colleagues for which there was no answer in standard texts or journal articles," says Dr. Floras. "Recognition by my peers of a commitment, over several decades, to augment research capacity and productivity within the University of Toronto and nationally is an honour."

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) works in partnership with the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering to form the three Member Academies of the Council of Canadian Academies.  The academy recognizes the full breadth of academic health science ranging from fundamental science to social science and population health. Fellows elected to the Academy will be well recognized by their peers nationally and internationally for their contributions to the promotion of health science. They will have demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and a commitment to advance academic health science.​

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