Dr. Xavier Montalban steps down; Dr. Jiwon Oh named interim Medical Director of BARLO MS Centre

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Dr. Xavier Montalban steps down; Dr. Jiwon Oh named interim Medical Director of BARLO MS Centre

Toronto, April 16, 2020

Dr. Xavier Montalban
Dr. Xavier Montalban

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Xavier Montalban, Medical Director of the BARLO MS Centre, has made the difficult decision to return home to Barcelona, Spain with his family. It’s important for him to be with his loved ones at this time, and we completely understand and support this personal decision. His last day with St. Michael’s will be May 14 and we wish him and his family well in their safe travels home.

For the past three years, Dr. Montalban’s leadership within St. Michael’s Hospital has created the foundation for what is rapidly becoming a global powerhouse in multiple sclerosis Research and care. We are grateful for his contributions and leadership in envisioning the BARLO MS Centre, which will occupy the entire top two floors—about 30,000 square feet—of the hospital’s new 17-story Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower.

To continue our incredible momentum of providing world-class specialty care for patients with MS, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Jiwon Oh will be stepping in as interim director of the BARLO MS Centre.

Dr. Jiwon Oh
Dr. Jiwon Oh

Dr. Oh joined St. Michael’s in 2014 and is a world-renowned researcher with a national and international reputation for her work within MS. She is one of the only researchers in the world using multiple advanced imaging techniques to look at the impact of MS on spinal cord tissue in the hopes of finding biomarkers that will help clinicians monitor and more accurately predict how MS will progress in individual patients. She also leads the innovative Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in MS, which has the potential to provide a detailed understanding of how progression in MS starts and why it takes place more rapidly in some patients versus others.

MS is a neurological disease with the highest prevalence in Canada. It affects two to three times as many women as men and generally strikes people in their early 30s. While there are treatments, there is currently no cure.

Our world-class MS research and care and the continued construction of our BARLO MS centre will continue unabated. Dr. Oh will be a source of inspiration and innovation for our MS clinic and its team as they continue to challenge this life-impacting disease through research and academic excellence while providing the person-centred care patients with MS deserve. She will provide direction as we work towards completion of our new BARLO MS Centre and through this period of pandemic. Unity Health Toronto’s leadership and the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation’s lead donors fully support Dr. Oh and congratulate her as she steps into this exciting interim role.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Unity Health Toronto

Unity Health Toronto, comprised of Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital, works to advance the health of everyone in our urban communities and beyond. Our health network serves patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education. For more information, visit www.unityhealth.to.

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