Jun 23, 2023

Honouring Impact — 2023 Dean’s Alumni Awards

Alumni, Faculty & Staff
DAA 2023 recipients

Temerty Medicine alumni from across the clinical, fundamental science and rehab sectors work tirelessly to meet the needs of their communities. This year, we’re proud to recognize four individuals whose achievements and contributions to the advancement of health and health care stand out as truly extraordinary.

Honourees include a career innovator in physiotherapy, a lung transplant pioneer, a health advocate for vulnerable South Asian populations, and a world expert in psychoneurosurgery to treat brain diseases. Together, they’ve had an enormous impact on countless lives — those they’ve interacted with personally and many more who’ve benefited indirectly from their work — and each is considered remarkable in their respective field.

“We couldn’t be prouder to honour this year’s award recipients,” says Trevor Young, dean of the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and the University of Toronto’s vice-provost, relations with health care institutions. “They each embody the values of excellence, commitment and compassion that define our alumni community.”

These are the recipients of the 2023 Dean's Alumni Awards:

Elizabeth Inness

Lifetime Achievement Award

Elizabeth Inness (MSc ’08 RSI, PhD ’15 RSI)

Elizabeth Inness has spent her 34-year career pursuing and achieving excellence in physiotherapy and neurorehabilitation. Her advocacy for patients, connection to clinical care and keen interest in clinical-research partnerships have advanced physiotherapy practice across Canada and around the globe. Among the many innovative developments she’s led or co-developed are the Community Balance & Mobility Scale, which has been adopted worldwide; the Mobility Innovations Centre at Toronto Rehab-University Health Network (UHN), which has set the standard for knowledge translation into practice; the Canadian Stroke Community-based Exercise Recommendations Update 2020; and the Toronto Rehab Telerehab Toolkit, developed during the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen international uptake. Her contributions have been recognized through numerous awards, most recently the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Medal of Distinction.

Shaf Keshavjee

Impact Award

Shaf Keshavjee (MD ’85, MSc ’89 IMS, PGME ’93 Thoracic Surgery)

Chief of innovation at University Health Network (UHN) and Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, Shaf Keshavjee’s pioneering work in thoracic surgery and lung transplantation has saved countless patients’ lives around the world. He developed the Toronto Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP) system, which has revolutionized global lung transplantation, allowing surgeons to assess and repair donor lungs prior to transplant. At UHN, EVLP use in clinical transplant practice has doubled the number of lung transplants performed. In addition to  Keshavjee’s  outstanding impact as a scientist and surgeon, he has also mentored countless surgeons, graduate students and junior faculty in U of T’s Department of Surgery and Institute of Medical Science. He has been appointed an officer of the Order of Canada and is a member of the Order of Ontario.

Anju Anand

Humanitarian Award

Anju Anand (MD ’03, PGME ’05 Internal Medicine, PGME ’08 Respirology)

Recognizing the need for culturally-appropriate public health messaging early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Anju Anand co-founded the South Asian COVID Task Force (SACTF). Her advocacy directly led to the establishment of a testing centre and vaccination site serving vulnerable populations in the Toronto area. She also co-founded the This is Our Shot (TiOS) COVID-19 vaccination campaign, which gained support from a nationwide volunteer coalition of 500+ health care professionals and influencers. As a cystic fibrosis specialist, Anand has worked diligently to improve the patient experience through the development and use of digital communication tools and channels. Her accomplishments are an example of leadership and volunteerism at their best.

Nir Lipsman

Emerging Leader Award

Nir Lipsman (PHD ’14 IMS, PGME ’16 Surgery)

Nir Lipsman is a leading world expert in focused ultrasound (FUS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS) and their application in the field of psychoneurosurgery. He has developed the world’s largest and most comprehensive focused ultrasound clinical trials program and has led several world-first trials in depression, brain cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. As the director of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Harquail Centre of Neuromodulation, which he founded with generous philanthropic support, he leads a team of more than 70 local and global collaborators in this pioneering work. He is also the director of the neurosurgery residency program at the University of Toronto, where he oversees one of the largest neurosurgery training programs in the world. In 2020, Dr Lipsman was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40.

The 2023 Dean’s Alumni Award recipients will be formally honoured at an intimate celebration this fall.