Minimally Invasive Surgery Program

Program Director: Dr. Allan Okrainec

Associate Program Director:  Dr. Steven MacLellan

Program Description: 
The University of Toronto offers a one year clinical fellowship in advanced minimally invasive surgery providing high volume clinical exposure to laparoscopic bariatric, colorectal, foregut, and solid organ surgery. Our fellowship includes the participation of three large University of Toronto affiliated hospitals and over 10 full-time MIS faculty. We also offer a two year research/clinical fellowship where the first year is spent developing research skills in a focused area of interest to the fellow. Opportunities exist to obtain a master's degree as part of the two year fellowship. Positions are available for two 1-year clinical fellows and one 2-year research/clinical fellow annually. 

The primary goal of the clinical fellowship is to train excellent surgeons in advanced minimally invasive techniques. In addition to extensive operating room experience, fellows will have the opportunity to develop their endoscopy skills and participate in ambulatory clinics. The clinical fellowship also includes an active research component. Current research programs in clinical epidemiology, surgical education and telesimulation, quality improvement, and health technology assessment provide an opportunity for fellows to develop their research and academic skills. Fellows will be assigned a research mentor at the start of the fellowship with the expectation that they will complete at least one project throughout the year suitable for publication in a peer reviewed journal and presentation at a scientific meeting. 

As part of the program, fellows will also gain significant experience teaching residents in the operating room and in the surgical skills lab. Simulation facilities are available onsite at many of the affiliated hospitals as well as at the University of Toronto Surgical Skills Centre. Participation and certification in the SAGES Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) program is expected as part of the fellowship. Opportunities for fellows to participate in international teaching initiatives and electives are also available. More information about the program and application process may be found at  

Expected Case volumes: 
Bariatric: 150 cases 
Foregut: 40 cases 
Colorectal: 50 cases 
Solid Organ: 20 cases 
Abdominal Wall: 40 cases 

2 Sites for Clinical Activity: 

University Health Network – Toronto Western Hospital: site director: Dr. Allan Okrainec

Dr. Allan Okrainec, MDCM, MHPE, FACS, FRCSC
Site Director 
Division of General Surgery 
Toronto Western Hospital 
University Health Network 
399 Bathurst Street 
Toronto, ON M8Y 1E8 
Tel: 416 603-5224 
Fax: 416 603-5991 

The University Health Network (UHN) MIS rotations occur at 2 hospital sites: the Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) and Toronto General Hospital (TGH). Fellows will perform a variety of clinical cases including colorectal, malignant and benign foregut, hernia, splenectomy, adrenalectomy, hepatobiliary pancreatic, and laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. Fellows at the UHN site are in the OR approximately 3 days per week, and spend 1/2 day per week in the ambulatory clinic and 1/2 day per week in endoscopy. In the clinic, fellows will learn the appropriate evaluation and management of GERD/benign foregut diseases and the endocrine evaluation of adrenal and pancreatic lesions. The MIS fellows function as associate faculty, supervising residents in the ward and ambulatory clinic, and taking call at the faculty level. Fellows will participate in the resident teaching program, teaching MIS skills and general surgical skills in the surgical skills laboratory. Each fellow is expected to complete one research project and present the results at a scientific meeting. There will be opportunities to spend time in the esophageal motility laboratory if desired. Fellows are expected to attend all academic activities including morbidity and mortality rounds, GI/general surgery rounds, journal club, and GI and endocrine tumor boards. 

Dr. Todd Penner, MD, FRCSC 
Assistant Professor University of Toronto 

Dr Penner completed his surgical residency in Toronto and was the 1st ever graduate of the University of Toronto MIS fellowship. After a brief stint in New Zealand at a private laparoscopic hospital, he returned to Staff at the Toronto Western Hospital. His clinical practice includes all areas of minimally invasive surgery within the abdomen. 

Dr. Allan Okrainec, MD, MHPE, FRCSC
Associate Professor University of Toronto 

Dr. Allan Okrainec is Head of the Division of General surgery and Peter A. Crossgrove Chair in General Surgery at University Health Network. He completed his medical school at McGill University in 2000 and residency in general surgery at McMaster University in 2005. He went on to complete a fellowship in minimally invasive gastrointestinal surgery at McGill University. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and the Director of the Temerty/Chang International Centre for Telesimulation and Innovation in Medical Education.

Dr. Eran Shlomovitz, MD, FRCSC
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Dr. Shlomovitz attended medical school at the University of Western Ontario. He subsequently completed a hybrid residency in General Surgery and Radiology, including training in Interventional Radiology at the University of Toronto, followed by a fellowship in minimally-invasive gastrointestinal surgery and surgical endoscopy at the Oregon Clinic in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Shlomovitz is appointed both as an Interventional Radiologist and a General Surgeon at the University Health Network in Toronto, where he focuses on percutaneous hepatobiliary and oncologic interventions, minimally-invasive foregut surgery and surgical flexible endoscopy of the upper and lower GI tracts.

Humber River Regional Hospital

John Hagen, MD, FRCS(C)
Site Director ​​​​​
Humber River Regional Hospital
960 Lawrence Ave. W., suite 504
Toronto, ON M6A 3B5
Tel: 416-782-2616

Humber River Regional Hospital is a community hospital in the Northwestern part of Toronto. At present, laparoscopic fellowship training has been centered at the Finch site of Humber River regional hospital. There are three main surgeons, Dr. Laz Klein, Dr. John Hagen, and Dr. Quoc Huynh involved with the laparoscopic fellowship program, but all the surgeons are happy to have fellows help with their laparoscopic surgeries. The scope of practice for all of the surgeons is similar. There are approximately 300 laparoscopic gastric bypass operations, 200 laparoscopic colon resections, 15-20 laparoscopic gastrectomies, 60 laparoscopic ventral hernia repairs, 150 laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs, and 400 laparoscopic cholecystectomies done on a yearly basis. All surgical emergencies, such as perforated viscus, bowel obstructions and incarcerated hernias are usually approached laparoscopically. 

There will generally be a senior level general surgical resident rotating through HRRH. The fellow’s primary clinical responsibility is in the OR. Fellows are expected to attend all divisional rounds. The fellows will be expected to take call at the staff level, with an attending available for back-up. 

Dr. John Hagen, MD, FRCS(C) 
Surgical Director of Bariatric Surgery, Humber River Regional Hospital
Lecturer, Division of Surgery, University of Toronto

Dr. John Hagen is the Chief Director of Surgery and Surgical Director of Bariatric Surgery at Humber River Regional Hospital. He is a pioneer in advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques (MIS).

Dr. Hagen has extensive experience in advanced laparoscopic procedures and is a faculty member of the University of Toronto's MIS fellowship training program.

Dr. Hagen is also one of the lead surgeons for the Cancer Care Ontario mentoring program which is designed to train surgeons around the province in the most current minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of colon cancer.

Dr. Steven MacLellan, MD, FRCS(C)
Staff Surgeon, Humber River Regional Hospital

Dr. MacLellan is a staff surgeon at Humber River Hospital. He completed Medical School at the University of Western Ontario and General Surgery Residency at the University of Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto MIS Fellowship and was appointed as Associate Program Director in 2016.

Dr. Quoc Huynh, MD, FRCS(C) 
Staff Surgeon, Humber River Regional Hospital 

Dr. Huynh completed medical school and residency in general surgery at University of Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto MIS fellowship. Dr. Huynh’s practice is almost exclusively laparoscopic.

Dr. Jensen Tan, MD FRCS(C)
Staff Surgeon, Humber River Regional Hospital
Lecturer, Division of Surgery, University of Toronto

Dr. Tan completed his undergraduate Honours degree from McMaster University in Biochemistry. He went on to obtain his MD at the University of Toronto where he also completed his General Surgery residency. During his residency, he completed a Masters degree as part of the Surgeon Scientist program in clinical epidemiology. He is a graduate of the MIS Fellowship and a staff surgeon at Humber River Hospital.