(January 3, 2012—Toronto, ON) Dr. Bernie Zinman, Director of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes, and Senior Investigator at the hospital’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, has been appointed to the Order of Canada, in recognition of his internationally renowned achievements in diabetes patient care and research.
Canada’s Governor-General David Johnston announced 66 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Friday, which recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.
“It’s a humbling experience to receive this kind of recognition and it makes me realize how fortunate I have been to have had the opportunity to work with many talented colleagues and have the outstanding support of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto,” said Dr. Zinman.
For more than 25 years, Dr. Zinman has helped lead the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), 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 studies worldwide, this trial has had a global impact on the treatment of type 1 diabetes, and thousands of people with the illness in Canada have benefitted from Dr. Zinman’s research.
A clinician-scientist at Mount Sinai since 1990, Dr. Zinman’s leadership and achievements in diabetes care at the hospital are numerous, resounding and unparalleled.
"Dr. Zinman is a prime example of our bench-to-bedside vision at Mount Sinai Hospital, and the future of patients with diabetes looks brighter because of his extraordinary talents," said Mr. Joseph Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai. "I am thrilled that his talent is being recognized nationally by this significant award."
Dr. Zinman’s research discoveries in diabetes have helped dramatically improve the care of people with the illness. For example, in 2010 he found that use of low-dose combination therapy (rosiglitazone and metformin) reduces the risk of progression to type 2 diabetes by two thirds in people deemed at risk of the disease. The study, published in the leading journal The Lancet, was the first time that low-dose combination therapy was proven to have such a beneficial effect (with minimal adverse effects) in diabetes, in the context of disease prevention.
“Dr. Zinman epitomizes the benefits of combining clinical and research insights to improve human health,” noted Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of Research at the Lunenfeld. “His work has demonstrably improved the lives of many Canadians living with diabetes.”
Since 1992, Dr. Zinman and his collaborators have also been examining the prevalence of diabetes and its associated risk factors in Sandy Lake, an isolated native community in northwestern Ontario in which more than 25 per cent of residents have diabetes. Dr. Zinman and his colleagues’ commitment to developing and implementing new strategies for the prevention and treatment of diabetes in Sandy Lake are another testament to the impact of his leadership on new levels of care for people with diabetes in Canada.
The Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes is a multi-disciplinary outpatient unit at Mount Sinai Hospital and is one of the largest diabetes clinical research units in Ontario. Under Dr. Zinman’s leadership, the Centre provides the highest quality care by integrating clinical practice, research and education for those with diabetes and their families.
Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions worldwide and is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and limb amputation. Two hundred and eight-five million people worldwide are affected by diabetes. Several studies—including those initiated and led by Dr. Zinman—have shown that lifestyle changes and appropriate pharmacologic therapy can significantly reduce the development and/or progression of diabetes in people at risk of the disease.