​​​Drs. Allan Okrainec, Terry Irwin, and James Rutka
(L to R) Drs. Allan Okrainec, Head, Division of General Surgery, UHN, Terry Irwin, President of the Travelling Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland (TSS), and James Rutka, Chair, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, prior to the start of Wednesday’s joint academic meeting at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Pictured in the background is Lord Moynihan, TSS founder. (Photo: UHN)​

Members of the Travelling Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland (TSS) spent Wednesday at UHN as part of the group's first visit to Canada in its near-century of existence.

The Society, which traces its roots back to the 1920s, is a group of surgeons who annually travel to hospitals and surgical department around the world for academic and clinical meetings and to encourage educational and surgical exchanges. The UHN visit was part of a Toronto tour that also included stops at Mount Sinai, St. Michael's and Sunnybrook hospitals earlier this week.

Seven active members of the Society are Professors of Surgery, which underscores the emphasis on academic content in the meetings. The Society offers two travelling fellowships each year.

"Thanks very much for hosting us, we really appreciate it," Dr. Terry Irwin, TSS President and a surgeon who specializes in colorectal surgery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, told the meeting at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. "This is the first time we've been to Canada but we've visited 30 countries throughout the world, mostly, because of the initial history of the Society, those have been in Europe."

The day's agenda included presentations on a wide variety of topics, from Surgery vs. Radiation Therapy in Prostate Cancer to Understanding Quality Issues in Your Surgical Department. The visit was capped by a tour of the Ex Vivo Organ Preservation Laboratory at Toronto General Hospital.

"It really is a great honour and privilege to welcome all of you here," said Dr. Allan Okrainec, Head, Division of General Surgery, UHN. "We're so happy that Toronto is your first stop in Canada."

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