Awarding extraordinary mission leadership

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Demonstrating “extraordinary" leadership, vision and commitment during a time of tremendous transformation to health care in London, Dr. John Denstedt is the first recipient of the newly named Kathy Burrill Leadership in Mission Award, one of the President's Awards for Leadership.

The Kathy Burrill Leadership in Mission Award celebrates efforts to exemplify and advance St. Joseph’s roles and values as a Catholic, academic and community-oriented health care provider. Recipients are effective change agents and forward-thinkers – the type of leader others want to follow or work with in partnership. At the same time, they lead in keeping with the example of our founders, upholding our rich history and traditions. Those nominating urologist Dr. Denstedt, Chair/Chief of the Department of Surgery from 2002-2016, feel he exemplifies these attributes daily.

“John empowers and supports human potential of colleagues,” says Dr. Hassan Razvi. “He has been an effective mentor to many physician leaders, promoting our own career development by giving us the chance to learn from him and to participate in leadership opportunities.” 

Dr. Denstedt checks off all the boxes of a leader in mission, say colleagues, from his high standard of ethics when the stakes are high, to his clear vision for surgery citywide and staunch support of St. Joseph’s role, to many advances he has led in teaching and surgical practice in London. 

“John’s ability to respectfully establish mutual purpose, explore others’ opinions and then come to a decision that would be best for both patients and our organization cannot be overstated,” said Michelle Mahood, Director of Ambulatory Services. 

Others were not short of words in describing Dr. Denstedt’s dedication to the mission and vision of St. Joseph’s by ensuring the needs and concerns of the organization were heard during the many years of restructuring. As a result, leading edge surgical programs continue to flourish at St. Joseph’s Hospital. 

“John's well thought out vision for surgery citywide and his ability to communicate that vision effectively have led to many advances in the training of surgeons and the practice of surgery in London,” says Anne Marie Mcllmoyl, Director of Perioperative Services. “Some examples include his unprecedented recruitment of young faculty, the development of surgical simulation and the establishment of Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences at Western University.”

Dr. Denstedt’s numerous contributions to St. Joseph’s as an effective administrator, respected leader and surgical innovator are well known locally, nationally and internationally, making him a most deserving recipient of this prestigious award, say colleagues. 

Dr. John Denstedt in operating room

Pictured above: Dr. John Denstedt

To honour the memory of Kathy Burrill, former Vice President of Communication, Patient and Public Relations, St. Joseph’s has amended the name of the President’s Award Leadership in Mission to be the President’s Award Kathy Burrill Leadership in Mission. 

Kathy, who passed away in November 2015, dedicated 31 years to cultivating and nurturing partnerships and relationships. She was committed to advancing London’s integrated hospital system, academic science network and Catholic health care in Ontario. Throughout her career and through her work with the Mission Committee, Kathy made remarkable contributions to St. Joseph’s mission.  

About Dr. John Denstedt

Dr. Denstedt graduated from medical school from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, in 1982. He also completed his residency in urology at Western in 1987, which was followed by a fellowship in endourology at Washington University in St. Louis. He returned to London and joined the Division of Urology in the Department of Surgery at Western in 1990. 

In July 2002 Dr. Denstedt assumed the role of citywide Chair/Chief of the Department of Surgery at Western University and served for 14 years. Among other leadership roles he has held are: Special Advisor to the Dean, Health Globalization, Internationalization and Simulation; Integrated Senior Medical Director, Surgery Services, London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London (2003-2012); Residency Program Director, Division of Urology (1996-1998); and Chief of Urology, St. Joseph’s Health Care (1991-2002).

In May 2013, Dr. Denstedt joined the Board of Directors of the American Urological Association, becoming the third Canadian in the organization’s history to do so.  Dr. Denstedt is the immediate Past Chair of the Canadian Association of Surgical Chairs.

While maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Denstedt is an internationally renowned scholar in urology with career accomplishments encompassing more than 250 published papers and book chapters; more than 200 guest professorships in countries throughout the world; and numerous honours and awards including being the first Canadian to have won the Gold Cystoscope Award from the American Urological Association.  

Dr. Denstedt’s research interests include urolithiasis; biomaterials; and urinary tract infection.  With a specific interest in surgical education, he has participated in the development and validation of computer based surgical simulators.  Dr. Denstedt serves on the editorial board of numerous journals in urology and is currently Executive Editor of the Journal of Endourology.

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