Director’s Message

by Dr. Mingyao Liu

Dr. Mingyao Liu

Beginning in the Fall of 2021, it is heartwarming to see a sense of normalcy as UofT’s campus doors re-open allowing students to return to the classroom for in-person along with online learning. For new students joining the large IMS family, welcome! I cannot wait to see the discoveries, successes and accolades you each will achieve with us at IMS.

Reflecting since the start of the pandemic, it was a roller coaster ride with high peaks and low troughs in the number of cases. In this ride, the very social fabric of society was put to the test. Some communities rebounded in health while others were in despair. The COVID-19 pandemic harshly exposed the pre-existing health inequalities that are present in the Canadian healthcare system. The pandemic reminds us that despite having universal healthcare, there remains social determinants that impacts a Canadian’s overall health and quality of life. Hence, this current issue seeks to highlight social factors that contribute to driving the health inequality among Canadians.

This issue features researchers involved in public health with the goal to combat health inequalities. Read the work by Dr. Teresa To and her group that aims to understand social factors underlying childhood asthma and implementing ways to improve access for these patients. In another feature, you will learn about homelessness among Canadian youths, their health outcomes, and how Dr. Sean Kidd and his team are working to fix this. Dr. Aileen Davis and her colleagues implemented a novel exercise program for osteoarthritic patients, read how that impacted patient access and outcomes.

Every year we host a “Summer Undergraduate Research Program” (SURP) which attracts many talented undergraduate and medical students to be involved in projects relating to biomedical research at IMS. I am grateful for the ingenuity of the supervising faculties and IMS team members to make this program possible online. You can read about one of our SURP students’ projects on pages 33.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the faculty who have been promoted to associate and full members as well as the new faculty of the IMS. Check out pages 22-23 about their inspiring research! Welcome to the IMS and I am looking forward to your continued excellence as graduate faculty members!

I extend my gratitude to Natalie Osborne for her tireless hard work and leadership in her tenure as an Editor in Chief for the IMS Magazine. To Jason Lo Hog Tian and Mikaeel Valli, the incoming co-Editors in Chiefs, my heartfelt congratulations. I am proud of the excellent work put together by all the editors, journalists, photographers and the design team. This Spring/Summer issue underscores the topical issues of social determinants that impacts Canadian health. I encourage you to turn the page and read on!


Dr. Mingyao Liu