Susan J. Lieff

Susan LieffSusan’s academic career has developed organically; from teaching psychiatry residents to teaching their teachers; from being an emerging leader herself, to developing national leadership programs in academic medicine.  The impact of Susan’s work extends well beyond our campus; her pioneering spirit and ability to create programs and scholarship and disseminate that to a broader audience is what marks Susan as both exceptional and unique in our Faculty.

Susan graduated from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine with her MD in 1981 and completed her residency in Psychiatry here in 1985.  That year she was appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1990.  Since 2002, she has held an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and was recently appointed its Vice-Chair, Education.  She is an Associate Member of the School of Graduate Studies, and holds a cross appointment with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.  Her commitment to a career dedicated to educational scholarship is evidenced by her completion of the Masters of Education Program in Higher Education of Health Professionals at OISE/UT in 2002 and her Masters of Management, International Masters in Health Leadership, from McGill University which she completed in 2008.  As a clinician, Dr. Lieff is a consulting geriatric psychiatrist within the Baycrest Health Care System.

Dr. Lieff has taught at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels but focuses now primarily on faculty and leadership development.  The following key focus areas have formed the bulk of Dr. Lieff’s career: advancing and enriching geriatric psychiatry training, academic career development for educators, and leadership development in both academics and in trained health professionals.  Due to the national and international renown she has within these areas, many organizations seek her leadership.  She is the Medical Director of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Physician Leadership Program, is on Faculty for the Harvard Macy Leading Innovations in Health Care and Education Program, is the Director of Academic Leadership Development at the Centre for Faculty Development at St. Michael's Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and has recently transitioned out of her role as the founding Program Director of the Association for Academic Psychiatry’s Master Educator Program.

Susan’s work has been celebrated by her peers numerous times throughout her distinguished career. In 2009 she was recognized within North America as a Distinguished Life Fellow by the Association for Academic Psychiatry. In the same year she was recognized by the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry as the Educator of the Year.  In 2008, the Baycrest Health System awarded her the inaugural Stephen W. Herbert Award for Excellence in Education for sustained and excellent contributions to the continuum of medical education.  Within the Faculty of Medicine, she most recently received the Helen P. Batty Faculty Development Award and has won other awards for her contributions to postgraduate education.  In 2007, she was the sole recipient of a travelling fellowship, awarded by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to support the acquisition of knowledge and expertise in the field of medical education. This fellowship supported the completion of her International Masters in Health Leadership at McGill University.

Susan is often noted for the spirit and passion she brings to all she does - to the clinical side of her career in geriatric psychiatry, to her teaching, to her work in leadership and to her role in supporting future academics.  This enthusiasm nourished her creation of the very successful Education Scholars Program (ESP) within the Faculty of Medicine.  This program has made a profound difference in the leadership trajectories of our own faculty and we credit Susan for providing this new level of training to such exacting standards and with such thorough attention to best practices.  She has developed and continues to develop training and leadership programs at equally high levels of quality.

Dr. Lieff is an example of enthusiasm tied to excellence; her dedication to the production of knowledge, to scholarship and to fostering career satisfaction is unparalleled.  Through her passion, hard work, skill and clinical excellence Susan is a force for positive change within our Faculty.