PhD '21, Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
“I’m so honoured to have been put forward and chosen for it. It’s really rewarding to be recognized for the hard work I’ve done, but I owe a lot to the people around me who’ve supported me. I think this honour is shared amongst all of them.”
Dr. Kieran Quinn was wrapping up a busy day of clinical service on the general medicine ward at Mount Sinai Hospital when his phone rang. On the other end was Dr. Chaim Bell, his PhD supervisor at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), urging Quinn to check his email.
The message he read stopped him in his tracks: he was one of only three students in all the University of Toronto to win a Governor General’s Gold Medal for highest academic standing at the graduate level. “I’m still kind of in shock, to be honest,” says Quinn, smiling.
Quinn recently completed his PhD in the Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research program at IHPME—all while juggling his duties as a physician and a father of three young kids. “It’s quite a balancing act. Between clinical work, research and having a family that I try to be there for as much as I can, it’s always a constant challenge to manage my time,” he says.
Quinn, who practices general internal medicine and palliative care at Sinai Health system wrote his dissertation on how patients with non-cancer illnesses receive end-of-life care. He says he was compelled to do his PhD after witnessing the suffering of his patients, who had varying levels of access to palliative care services. “Observing this on a day-to-day basis really drove me to try and think about ways we can change our health care system to minimize these disparities and improve the quality of end-of-life care. I believe that research is one of the ways we can enact meaningful change,” says Quinn.
Reflecting on the award, Quinn says he is deeply appreciative of the acknowledgement and grateful to his support network including family, mentors and colleagues. “I’m so honoured to have been put forward and chosen for it. It’s really rewarding to be recognized for the hard work I’ve done, but I owe a lot to the people around me who’ve supported me. I think this honour is shared amongst all of them.”