Dr. Andrew Boozary, Dr. Gelareh Zadeh and Dr. Mamatha Bhat
Season Five of the Canadian Podcast Award-winning series Behind the Breakthrough features an all-star lineup of UHN scientists and their pioneering medical research, including, (L to R), Dr. Andrew Boozary, Dr. Gelareh Zadeh and Dr. Mamatha Bhat. (Photos: UHN)

Behind the Breakthrough, the first hospital-produced podcast to win at the Canadian Podcast Awards (CPA), kicks off its fifth season on Tuesday, Oct. 10 with social medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Boozary, founding Director of UHN's Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine.

Dr. Boozary is dedicated to improving health outcomes for marginalized populations, which in turn creates a more equitable and efficient health care system. In the episode, Dr. Boozary speaks to how UHN is tackling one of the biggest challenges to health for those who are marginalized – homelessness.

To support one of his primary innovations – "prescribing" housing – Dr. Boozary has been a driving force behind the creation of an ambitious first for a hospital in Canada – the construction of a supportive housing site in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood. And, Dr. Boozary makes the wider case that hospitals in Canada must expand their mission and lead innovations in a collaborative way to address the root causes of health problems.

The timing of Dr. Boozary's episode is especially appropriate because Oct. 10 is World Homeless Day, which is dedicated to educating the public about the needs of people who experience homelessness and highlighting the work of those who generate solutions to this burgeoning issue.

"Behind the Breakthrough reflects the breadth of scientific research that exists at UHN through the eyes of the people who make it happen," says Dr. Brad Wouters, UHN Executive Vice President of Science and Research. "Each episode is a glimpse behind the scenes with the individuals who are tackling some of the world's greatest health problems."

Season Five of Behind the Breakthrough features an all-star lineup of interviews, including Dr. Gelareh Zadeh of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and UHN's Krembil Brain Institute, speaking to her pioneering research that is advancing new treatments for some of the most complex brain tumours and cancers, and, Dr. Mamatha Bhat, a scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, who is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence in her research to improve the survival outcomes of liver transplant patients.


Winner for "Outstanding Science Series" at the 2022 CPA, Behind the Breakthrough is known for in-depth interviews that make medical discovery accessible to everyone, and, reinforces the notion that to advance health care Canada needs to support research innovation. Another signature of the podcast is the compelling back story of each scientist's personal journey to becoming a success.

"We know UHN's biggest asset is its people, who are united in their desire to improve the lives of our patients, and, who collaborate on ways to come up with new treatments and cures," says Kyla Kumar, UHN Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy. "We also know there is great power in the story of our people and their motivations for why they do what they do.

"These stories about members of TeamUHN are an amazing way to engage the public with what we do every day at UHN."

For example, Dr. Cristina Nostro, a researcher at UHN's McEwen Stem Cell Institute, left her native Italy in her early 20s to work on a complex and challenging PhD at Manchester University in the United Kingdom – while at the same time learning a new language, English.

Dr. Hance Clarke, a scientist at UHN's Krembil Research Institute, reveals his come-to-science moment at age 18 was witnessing first-hand the transformative power of health care. His father suffered an industrial workplace accident and was given a 50/50 chance to live. Thirteen months later, his Dad walked out of hospital, inspiring young Hance to pursue a career in medicine.

And, there is the inspiring journey of Ukrainian-born Dr. Tatyana Mollayeva, a researcher at UHN's KITE Research Institute, who at age 16 left home to study the sciences and then earn her medical degree in Moscow. In the early 1990s, she fled the collapsing Soviet Union to Turkmenistan, where she met her husband.

After stints in Wyoming and then back to Turkmenistan, Dr. Mollayeva and her family were accepted in 2003 to come to Canada under the Independent Immigrant Program. Years later, in her acceptance speech upon receiving a prestigious Canada Research Chair, Dr. Mollayeva paid homage to all immigrants who take the risk of leaving their homeland to seek new opportunity.

"As an immigrant, this award is not just for me," she said. "It is for all immigrants who have a passion and take the often-frightening step of changing their professional identity."

Starting Oct. 10, listen every Tuesday for a new Behind the Breakthrough episode featuring the pioneering work and compelling life journeys of UHN scientists: Behind the Breakthrough

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