Catharine Walsh 1996
Catharine Walsh, MD, M.Ed., PhD, FRCPC, recipient of the 2016 Dr. Susan Ditchburn Young Alumna award is a true role model who embodies the exemplary qualities of an Old Girl who is making a profound difference for good in the world. At Havergal, Catharine actively contributed to the HC community through numerous extracurricular activities and volunteer roles. As a swim instructor helping her students learn a new stroke, as founder of the Havergal Handicrafts Club teaching her peers innovative new crafts, and as a peer tutor working to help others grasp new concepts, Catharine demonstrated her commitment to teaching others and enabling them to learn and thrive. During her undergraduate years at Queen’s University, Catharine travelled to Guyana with Queen’s Medical Outreach to help establish a sexual education curriculum in schools. Catharine went on to complete her medical training at the notoriously rigorous University of Toronto Medical School, where she demonstrated outstanding academic achievement by making the Dean’s Honour list for four straight years. Meanwhile, Catharine was a major contributor to school life, which earned her the Mary Cassidy Award in recognition of outstanding contribution to extracurricular activities. Catharine then completed her residency training in paediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. It was at this time that I had the opportunity to reconnect with her years after our time at HC, as we spent four years as close colleagues and friends. In those years, I witnessed first-hand Catharine’s incredible diligence, enthusiasm and comprehensive approach to learning – all in the interest of offering her patients the best possible care. Following her paediatrics residency, Catharine completed a fellowship in gastroenterology, followed by a master’s and PhD in education. In 2014, she joined the faculty at the Hospital for Sick Children as its first educational research clinician scientist. Catharine’s research focuses on how to best aid members of the health-care team – including physicians and nurses – in learning techniques and essential skills. She has a long list of awards and honours for her outstanding research and teaching, as well as more than 25 peer-reviewed journal publications and three book chapters. Catharine’s research has influenced the way in which international medical bodies are setting standards for quality performance of physicians around the world. In this way, Catharine’s work is having a profound impact on ensuring that health-care providers are optimizing learning and providing the best care possible. Catharine Walsh is a dedicated teacher and mentor, a loyal friend and an outstanding role model. She is a devoted and adoring mother of two wonderful children, a supportive wife, an accomplished academic and a trail-blazing researcher. She also finds time to pursue her own athletic interests and artistic talents – her home is decorated with her beautiful art work. Catharine’s compassion and commitment to improving the care and lives of children and their families is making a powerful difference to the world around her.
Written by Linda Hiraki 1995