Dr. Allan Covens
Staff, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Toronto
The Gynaecologic Oncology program includes five hospitals: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC), Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH)/University Health Network (UHN)/Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH), Trillium Health Partners (THP), Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, and Lakeridge Health in Oshawa. Our staff now comprises of 21 gynaecologic oncologists: five at Sunnybrook, six at Princess Margaret Hospital, five at the Trillium Health Parthers, three at Royal Victoria, and two at Lakeridge Health. This is the largest group of Gynaecologic Oncologists in Canada and one of the most clinically active groups in North America.
Gynaecologic oncology supports medical student, resident, and fellow education. All University of Toronto residents spend a month in our division as a PGY1, two months as a PGY3, and two months as a PGY4. The Fellowship program is the largest and the only three-year training program in Canada. It includes two years of clinical training along with one year of research, with approximately two fellows in each year.
The Gynaecologic Oncology program is very committed to research. SHSC and PMH both have very robust research programs, while THP is continually developing/improving their research program. Over the last two years this group has used an endowed fund, The McArthur Fund, to promote and fund collaborative research between at least two of the hospital groups.
The Division of Gynaecologic Oncology has also become committed to a Global health initiative in Kenya. Several members of the division travel to Kenya regularly to provide education and training to gynaecologists in Eldoret – a collaborative endeavour of the University of Toronto and AMPATH program. This program is also successful in research, receiving a Grand Challenges Canada Grant, as well as grants from National Institute of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For complete information about the Gynaecologic Oncology/RCPSC program, click here.
This program is currently a 2-year clinical fellowship combined with a mandatory third year focused on providing each fellow with formal training and/or experience in an academic (non-clinical) field relevant to their future career in Gynaecologic Oncology.
Staff at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Al Covens is the Professor and Chair of the division of Gynecologic Oncology at U of T, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. He was the previous fellowship director for over 13 yrs. Dr. Covens obtained his medical degree with honors from the U of T in 1983. He attended the University of Western Ontario for residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the U of T/McMaster University for a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology, which was completed in 1990. He is the author of over 140 peer reviewed publications, and the recipient of more than 32 scholarships and awards. He has been successful in obtaining over 33 peer-reviewed grants. He has presented over 200 abstracts at scientific meetings, and given over 200 invited lectures around the world. He has served as a visiting professor over 29 times around the world at various academic universities. He has performed live surgery around the world, and is on faculty at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. He has participated in 16 textbooks in Gynecologic Oncology, and has edited a DVD/book on laparoscopy in Gynecologic Oncology.
Dr. Covens chairs the Rare Tumour Cmte, and is a member of the Gyn, cervix and gestational trophoblastic cmtes of NRG. He has served as the vice president of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society and the co-chair of the cervical cancer task force for the NCI (US). Dr. Covens is on the Editorial board for Cancer, and reviews articles for the Lancet Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Annals of Surgical Oncology, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and The Oncologist. His main interests and expertise include clinical trials, germ cell tumours, gestational trophoblastic disease, cervical cancer (innovative surgical approaches, sentinel lymph nodes, and fertility sparing approaches), and radical and reconstructive surgical techniques in Gynecologic Oncology.
Dr. Gien is also an Adjunct Scientist in the Cancer Program at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and an Affiliate Scientist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute. Her research interests are in health services research with patterns of care and its effects on health outcomes in vulvar cancer, endometrial cancer and minimally invasive surgery. She is a Principal Investigator for an arm in the Molecular Analysis for Treatment Choice (MATCH) trial funded by the US National Cancer Institute, and is involved in clinical trial design of rare gynecologic malignancies. Dr. Gien was awarded the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) Young Investigator Award in 2012 and currently is a member of the NRG Oncology Cervix and Vulva Committee in the US. In Canada, she is the Chair-Elect for the Gynecologic Oncology Subspecialty Committee at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Dr. Danielle Vicus is a gynecologic oncologist at the Odette Cancer Center, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. She completed her medical degree at the Ben Gurion University in Israel and went on to complete a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel-Aviv, Israel. Dr. Vicus further completed her fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Toronto and obtained a Master’s of Science in Clinical Epidemiology through the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and an Affiliate Scientist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute.
Dr. Vicus is a member of the NRG Oncology Rare Tumor Committee and is involved in the development of international studies in rare tumors. Her key research interests are rare gynecologic tumours and screening strategies in women. Dr. Vicus has received multiple awards including: Chair’s Award for Outstanding Research Potential (2017), Dorothy Borsook Award for excellent patient care (2015) and Chair’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Program Development/Innovation (2014).
Staff at University Health Network
Dr. Marcus Bernardini is the Head of Gynaecologic Oncology at the University Health Network. Dr. Stephane Laframboise is the fellowship director for the University of Toronto Gynaecologic Oncology Fellowship, and the site group leader in gynaecologic oncology at Princess Margaret Hospital and is the Fellowship coordinator for the UHN site. Dr. Sarah Ferguson is also the Principle Investigator for the NCIC “Shape” trial that will compare radical to simple hysterectomy for small stage 1b cervical cancers. Dr. Taymaa May, who joined the PMH group in September of 2013 after completing her fellowship in Boston at Harvard, is working on establishing collaborations to conduct basic science research. She is already working closely with Dr. Theodore Brown at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. Dr. Genevieve Bouchard-Fortier, who recently completed her fellowship with the department, joins PMH as of July, 2016.
The PMH group has a very robust program in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, which is focused on identifying BRCA germline mutation carriers and providing them with strategies for cancer prevention. Dr. Sarah Ferguson leads the group’s initiative in survivorship, which has become a very important part of cancer care at all cancer centres. She is conducting several studies and is part of several research projects including two where she is the PI. She is also the PI on studies investigation Lynch syndrome and endometrial cancer.
For more information about this site, visit www.gynoncuhn.ca.
Dr. Bernardini has received Research and Teaching awards such as the 2013 - Chair’s Award for Outstanding Research Potential and the 2014- Award for Teaching Excellence and has published many peer reviewed manuscripts. In addition, he holds several administrative positions in both national and provincial organizations. He currently sits on the Board of the Ontario Oncology Association. He leads the UHN robotic surgery program. His research interests include improving outcomes for women with endometrial and ovarian cancer. This includes minimizing morbidity relating to surgery, improved classification of high risk endometrial cancer and risk stratification for women at risk for developing ovarian cancer.
Dr. Taymaa May received her medical degree from McGill University in Montreal and went on to complete post-graduate training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto. During her residency, Dr. May completed the Clinician Investigator Program and received a Master’s of Science degree from the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. Following residency, Dr. Taymaa May completed a 3-year fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/ Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA.
Dr. Taymaa May is a surgical scientist at the University Health Network and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. May has clinical training in the medical management of women with gynecological malignancies and surgical training in complex oncologic surgeries including pelvic, abdominal, laparoscopic and robotic surgery. Her research interests are in translational science and clinical trials in the field of ovarian cancer.
Dr. Genevieve Bouchard-Fortier is a graduate of McGill University. She completed a residency program in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Toronto. During this time, Dr. Bouchard-Fortier also obtained a Master of clinical epidemiology focusing on cancer screening and cancer prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology in 2016 at the University of Toronto. During that time, she worked on the outcomes of minimally invasive surgeries for gynecologic oncology patients. Dr. Bouchard-Fortier research and clinical interests include management of gestational trophoblastic disease as well as development of quality metrics to improve gynecologic oncology care.
Dr. Sarah Ferguson is a practicing gynecologic oncologist and member of the Princess Margaret Cancer Program with a joint position in the UHN/MSH Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the UHN Department of Surgical Oncology. She completed a four year fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2006. She has made contributions to the area of molecular predictors of outcome in early stage endometrial cancer and has research interest in Lynch Syndrome-associated endometrial cancer and new imaging technologies and surgical techniques to identify metastatic disease in women with gynecologic cancers. Her other clinical and research interests are the late effects of gynecologic cancer treatment on women, including sexuality and body image. She is the Director of Research for the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, as well as the Assistant Medical Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Survivorship Program for women with gynecologic cancer. She is also the Ontario Gynecologic Cancers Lead for Cancer Care Ontario.
Staff at Royal Victoria Hospital
Dr. Allison Ball completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, followed by Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, Alberta. She then spent time working in Pennsylvania for the Geisinger Health System. Ultimately she returned to Canada, where she has been on permanent staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, Ontario since 2015.
Dr. Leah Jutzi is a graduate of Western University, where she also completed her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2012. She went on to a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, graduating in 2014. Thereafter, she completed the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health. She joined the team at Royal Victoria Hospital in April 2015.
Staff at Trillium Health Partners
Dr. Genevieve Lennox is a gynecologic oncologist at Trillium Health Partners. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Simon Fraser University and her medical degree at the University of British Columbia. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency and Gynecologic Oncology fellowship at the University of Toronto. During fellowship, she obtained a Master's of Science in Clinical Epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research focuses on minimizing surgical morbidity and improving quality of life for gynecologic oncology patients.