Message from Chair

It is my great honour and privilege to assume the responsibility as R.S. McLaughlin Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto.

The Department of Surgery is a strong network of faculty and learners, and traverses six fully-affiliated hospitals and an expanding number of partially-affiliated hospitals. We have approximately 250 full-time faculty, 40 part-time faculty, 75 adjunct faculty and 40 research scientists. We are responsible for surgical teaching for our 225 medical students throughout the four years of our undergraduate curriculum. We oversee eleven residency programs with a total enrollment of approximately 200 trainees. We have an extremely large fellowship program which sees approximately 200 fellows from 15 countries
coming each year to learn with our surgeons.

We are a research-intensive University and this is the Department’s main mission and distal beacon. We continue to do well and thrive in the research realm averaging between $30,000,000 and $40,000,000 of external funding over the last five years. Our Surgeon Scientist Program is a unique element of our research enterprise. This program, which offers our residents the opportunity for graduate training to the masters or doctorate levels, has a yearly enrollment of between 30 and 40 residents. The range of scholarly work has been wide; including formal training in fundamental biology, clinical epidemiology, medical education, business administration and ethics.

On the educational side, the University of Toronto Surgical Skills Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital provides a laboratory setting where basic and complex surgical procedures can be learned and practised. The Centre’s continued use by the University community underscores the increasing recognition of the value and need for technical skills training outside the clinical setting. In addition, it serves as a platform for skills related research. Finally we offer a myriad of CME programs and are now hosting over 300 events per year.

My vision for the Department of Surgery, stated quite simply, is to bring us to a stage where we are recognized continentally and internationally as world leader in surgery using the traditional metrics that are applied to such rankings including peer reviewed publications, grant capture, surgical expertise, education and innovation.  To accomplish this task, we will need to focus our efforts on enhancing the curricula of our medical students, residents and fellows; we will need to recruit and retain the best and brightest faculty; we will need to continue to raise additional funds for new Chairs, initiatives and programs; and we will need to work diligently within and outside the Toronto Central LHIN to garner the strong international reputation that we so deserve.

I look forward to working together to achieve our goals.


James T. Rutka, MD, PhD
R.S. McLaughlin Professor and Chair    
Department of Surgery
University of Toronto