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Meet the Team

We are committed to providing all patients with safe, high-quality and compassionate care. Mount Sinai is both a clinical care centre and a teaching hospital, which means that you will be supported by a care team. Here are some of the health professionals you may meet during your hospital visit.

Dr. Bruce Perkins
MD, MPH, Medical Director

Dr. Bruce A Perkins is a Professor, Endocrinologist, and Diabetes Complications Clinician-Scientist at the University of Toronto appointed to the Faculty of Medicine and to the Institute of Health, Policy, Management and Evaluation. He holds the Sam and Judy Pencer Family Chair in Diabetes Clinical Research. He obtained his MD and Internal Medicine training at the University of Toronto, his endocrinology subspecialty training at Harvard University, his Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a research fellowship in epidemiology at the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Dr. Bernard Zinman
OC, MDCM, FRCPC, FACP

Dr. Bernard Zinman, a clinician-scientist at Mount Sinai, is a recognized leader in the field of diabetes. His research focuses on the prevention of the long-term complications of diabetes, new treatments for diabetes, and diabetes in high-risk populations. His research holds promise for increased understanding of how to deal with this growing, global epidemic.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Zinman has played a key role in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, the largest and most comprehensive diabetes complications study ever conducted in Type 1 diabetes. This pivotal study demonstrated that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible slows the onset and progression of eye, kidney, and nerve complications caused by diabetes. One of the most cited diabetes study in the world, this study had a global impact on treatment of Type 1 diabetes patients and the occurrence of complications.

Dr. Zinman was inaugural Director of the Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes, a unique, multi-disciplinary outpatient unit that is one of the largest diabetes clinical research units in Ontario. The Centre provides the highest quality care by integrating clinical practice, research and education for those with diabetes and their families.

Dr. Denice Feig
MD, MSc, FRCPC

Dr. Denice Feig is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Toronto, and holds a cross-appointment in both the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation Head. She is Head of the Diabetes and Endocrine in Pregnancy Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, Chair of the University of Toronto Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group and Past Chair of the Diabetes in Pregnancy Interest Group for the American Diabetes Association. She is an Adjunct Scientist at the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences and a Member of the Motherisk Team at SickKids Hospital.

Dr. Feig is a clinician investigator and her research focus is in the area of diabetes in pregnancy. She is currently the principal investigator of 2 multicenter, international randomized trials in women with diabetes in pregnancy (the MiTy trial and the CONCEPTT trial) as well as a follow-up trial of the offspring in the MiTy trial (MiTy Kids). She has numerous peer-reviewed publications in the area of diabetes in pregnancy.

Dr. Jacqueline James
MD MEd FRCPC

Dr. Jackie James completed her MD in internal medicine, subspecialty training in endocrinology and metabolism, and Master’s of Education at the University of Toronto. She is a clinician-educator and associate professor in the Department of Medicine and has been a proud member of the community of clinical teachers and educators at the University of Toronto since joining the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 1995.

Dr. James has made excellent and sustained contributions to the Faculty of Medicine through a variety of educational leadership roles throughout her career and she has provided outstanding academic service in support of the MD program, postgraduate, continuing professional development and interprofessional education. She was the recipient of University of Toronto Colin R. Woolf Award for Excellence in Course Coordination in 2005, for her work with the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, the Department of Medicine Teacher of the Year Award in 2014 in recognition of her contributions to the Department’s educational mission, and the Faculty of Medicine W. T. Aikins Award for Course or Program Development and Coordination in 2017 in recognition of outstanding contributions to the MD Program.

Dr. James was director of the Faculty of Medicine Wightman-Berris Academy from 2006 to 2017, and has been Vice-President, Education, Sinai Health System since 2011. As past chair of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, Care and Education Committee, she led the development and funding of educational and research programs for health professionals throughout the Toronto region. She is passionate about bringing individuals across all health professional disciplines, clinical and academic sites with a common goal of improving healthcare delivery through providing outstanding educational and research experiences for the next generation of clinicians and investigators.

Her goal as division director will be to continue to nurture and support the already highly successful diabetes and metabolic research programs across the university, while building on existing strengths in endocrinology and endocrine oncology to grow research endeavours in these areas. She will also aim to strengthen the quality of person-centred care through innovation and collaboration across all affiliated university sites.

Her general endocrinology practice is based at Mount Sinai Hospital and she has a special interest in caring for people with Type 1 diabetes transitioning to adult care.

Dr. Caroline Kramer
MD, PhD

Dr. Caroline K. Kramer is an Endocrinologist and Clinician Scientist at the LSCD and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medicine, University of Toronto. Her clinical research work has focused on the pathophysiology and risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) particularly the interaction between obesity and T2DM, risk factors for cardiovascular disease in individuals with metabolic abnormalities, and strategies for the treatment of T2DM including lifestyle interventions. To date, her research has yielded more than 100 original peer-reviewed publications including first-authorship publications in high-impact general medical journals such as Annals of Internal Medicine and British Medical Journal, and top subspecialty journals in the field of diabetes and endocrinology including Diabetes, Diabetes Care and Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. She has received the Diabetes Canada (former Canadian Diabetes Association) Clinician-Scientist award (for the period of 2016-2021), Banting and Best New Investigator award 2015/2016 and her research has been funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Dr. Adam Millar
MD, MScCH, FRCP(C)

Dr. Adam Millar is an Assistant Professor and Clinician Teacher in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Mount Sinai Hospital. He is an Endocrinologist with clinical expertise in andrology. In 2018, he coauthored the Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guideline chapter on Sexual Dysfunction and Hypogonadism in Men with Diabetes.

Dr. Millar has been the recipient of several teaching awards, including the UHN/MSH Department of Medicine Excellence in Teaching Award (Undergraduate), the University of Toronto Division of Endocrinology George From Postgraduate Teaching Award, and the University of Toronto Division of Endocrinology Robert Volpe Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Dr. Ravi Retnakaran
MD FRCPC, FCAHS

Dr. Ravi Retnakaran is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and an Endocrinologist and Clinician-Scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital where he holds the Boehringer Ingelheim Chair in Beta-cell Preservation, Function and Regeneration. He was awarded the 2013 Dr. Charles Hollenberg Young Investigator Award by the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the 2014 Joe Doupe Award from the Canadian Society of Clinical Investigation. In 2020, he was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. His research program focuses on the pathophysiology and treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2DM), with a particular interest in the potential reversibility of pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction early in the course of diabetes. In this context, his research group is conducting a series of innovative clinical trials evaluating novel therapeutic strategies for the preservation of beta-cell function in early T2DM, including the CIHR-funded RESET IT Trial and PREVAIL Trial. In addition, he has a particular interest in the concept that a women’s gluco-regulatory response to the metabolic challenge posed by pregnancy can provide unique insight into her future risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Alanna Weisman
MD, PhD, FRCPC

Dr. Alanna Weisman is a Staff Endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a Clinician Scientist at the Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute, and an adjunct Scientist at ICES.

Dr. Weisman attended medical school at Queen’s University and completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology & Metabolism at the University of Toronto. Following her clinical training, Dr. Weisman completed a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology & Health Care Research in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Dr. Weisman’s research program utilizes epidemiologic and health services research methods to study determinants of outcomes in type 1 diabetes, which ultimately will inform the design of novel interventions to improve outcomes for people living with type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Weisman’s clinical practice is based at Mount Sinai Hospital where she has a general endocrinology practice with particular expertise in type 1 diabetes and technologies used in the management of type 1 diabetes. She also practices in the CaRE Clinic at Toronto General Hospital, a multidisciplinary clinic for people with diabetes complications.

Barbara Cleave
RN, MN, CDE

Barbara is a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Certified Diabetes Educator who has worked at the LSCD for over 30 years. Her primary clinical focus is diabetes in pregnancy, technology and inpatient consultation. However, she works together with all patients with diabetes. She has published research on self-management education and diabetes in pregnancy. She co-authored two Diabetes Canada publications for diabetes educators (The Essentials and Advancing Practice) and has presented numerous workshops for diabetes educators. As part of the team, she provides education programs for CDECB exam preparation. She volunteers through various diabetes organizations such as Diabetes Canada and Type 1 think tank. She received the 2011 Banting and Best Diabetes Educator of the Year Award and Diabetes in Pregnancy Special Interest Group award from Diabetes Canada in 2016.

Karen Gorecki
RN, MN, CDE

Karen is a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Certified Diabetes Educator who have worked at the LSCD since 2001. Her focus is helping people with diabetes achieve their goals. She is a certified pump trainer. Karen has co-authored 2 nationally recognized self-learning manuals for diabetes educators and has presented at numerous workshops for health care providers. She is a clinical associate in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.

Violetta Nikolova
RN, MScHQ, CDE

Violetta is a Certified Diabetes Educator and a Certified Pump Trainer at the LSCD. She has worked in diabetes programs in various community settings with different population groups. Violetta is interested in continuous quality improvement and building resilient organizational culture in healthcare organizations. She completed her Master’s degree in Healthcare Quality at Queen’s University with focus on quality Improvement, risk mitigation and patient safety. Violetta is a co-author of “Building Competences in Diabetes Education: The Essentials”. Violetta volunteers at Diabetes Canada, Standard Recognition Program.

Christine Opsteen
NP-Adult, MNCDE

Christine is a Nurse Practitioner at the LSCD. Her primary clinical focus is the care of adults with type 1 diabetes, with a special interest in young adults, and insulin pump therapy. However, Christine works with all people with diabetes to help them achieve their goals. She is co-author of two peer reviewed manuals Building Competency in Diabetes Educations in partnership with the Diabetes Canada. Christine and the LSCD team are committed to improving diabetes care through education of diabetes health care professionals. She has a Clinical Appointment at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. Christine loves the great outdoors and enjoys back-country camping, hiking, and skiing.

Holly Tschirhart
RN, MN, CDE

Holly is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at LSCD, joining the team at the end of 2020. She has been a Certified Diabetes Educator since 2013 and worked with a variety of diabetes populations through roles in the community and clinical research. Holly is a PhD student at McMaster University in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Her thesis research focuses on examining diabetes distress and depressive symptoms in women with pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy using a mixed methods approach. Her clinical and research interests include pregnancy, mental health, technology, and peer support. Holly is a volunteer editorial board member for Diabetes Canada’s Diabetes Communicator publication.

Christie Hamilton
RD, CDE

Christie Hamilton is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who has worked at the Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes since 1995. She has extensive experience working with patients with type 1 & type 2 diabetes, as well as diabetes in pregnancy. She participates in the training of dietetic interns. Christie is a co-author to ‘The Essentials’ and ‘Advancing Practice’ diabetes self-learning manuals for the Diabetes Canada.

Jennifer Sampson
RD, CDE

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who joined the team at the Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes in 2006 where she works with patients with type 1 & type 2 diabetes as well as diabetes in pregnancy. She has a lot of experience working with patients on continuous glucose monitoring systems and insulin pump therapy. She has extensive experience providing diabetes education to fellow healthcare providers. She has co-authored and acted as a reviewer for the Diabetes Canada’s reference manuals for healthcare providers. Jennifer also participates in the training of dietetic interns. Jennifer loves the outdoors and has a passion for keeping fit and eating healthy and hopes to encourage others to do the same.

Annette Barnie
RN, CDE, CPT

Annette is the Manager of Diabetes Research at Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes. Upon graduating she started her career working in diabetes education and research at the Hospital for Sick Children. In the over 40 years she has been working in diabetes she has seen many changes to how diabetes is monitored and managed. Approximately nine years into her career the opportunity arose to be part of a large international Type 1 diabetes study that was assessing the best treatment to prevent the complications of diabetes. That study was called Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT). The rest is history…that study changed the treatment and course of Type 1 diabetes worldwide!

Annette continues to follow those same dedicated volunteers in the Epidemiology of Diabetes Intervention and Complications trial (EDIC) which continues to educate the world about diabetes. She has been part of numerous diabetes research studies over the years. She has co-authored numerous publications in high impact journals. She is passionate about research volunteers making informed decisions to participate in research and to be treated ethically. As such she has been on the Research Ethics Board at Mount Sinai Hospital for over 20 years.

When not at work Annette can be found spending time in her new role as Grandma.

Nancy Cardinez
NP, CDE

Nancy is a Diabetes Research Nurse Practitioner & Certified Diabetes Educator, and Adjunct Lecturer (University of Toronto). Her diabetes career began in 2014 at Toronto General Hospital with an emphasis on post-transplant diabetes. Her current research involvement include type 1 diabetes, artificial pancreas systems, adjunctive therapy for type 1 diabetes management, renal outcomes in type 2 diabetes using GLP1-RA, and improving access to diabetic retinopathy screening via teleophthalmology . Her clinical practice focuses on type 1 & type 2 diabetes management as well as thyroid disease management. She hopes to own a bee-hive and produce honey one day!

Alexandra Emery
RN

Alex is a Registered Nurse and the Research Coordinator for both the RESET IT and PREVAIL research studies.

Marcelo Falappa

Marcelo is a researcher with the Perkins Lab.

Leif Erik Lovblom

Leif Erik Lovblom is a biostatistician and researcher with the Perkins Lab.

Maria Eugenia Luzardo
Clinical Research Coordinator

Maria Eugenia joined the team at the Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes in 2008. Today, she coordinates the Gestational Diabetes and Acute Phase Biomarkers clinical study (GAP2-GAP3), where the levels of certain proteins or markers in the blood related to diabetes are being studied in participants with and without gestational diabetes. Maria hopes that her work will contribute to our understanding of diabetes.

Maria herself was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1994. She firmly believes that, with proper management, diabetes does not have to stop you from leading the life you want to achieve. In her eyes, knowledge and careful management are essential to a healthy, active, and full life.

Shamini Murugavel
HBSc Biomedical Sciences

Shamini is Clinical Research Coordinator for the Intermittent Fasting and EMPA studies.

Andrej Orszag

Andrej is a researcher with the Perkins Lab.

The administrative team is essential in keeping the clinic organized – from preparing of a patient’s first visit to booking of follow up appointments. They also make sure the clinic day runs smoothly and that patients receive that extra special care and attention.