CHILD researchers receive mentorship awards

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CHILD researchers Drs Theo Moraes and Wendy Lou (2nd and 3rd from left) receive their mentorship awards from Harkness family members Kasey Ouwendyk (far left) and Glenn Harkness (2nd from right) as well as AllerGen President & CEO Diana Royce (far right) on 28 January 2024 in Toronto.

Two CHILD researchers have been honored for their contributions as mentors.

Dr. Theo Moraes, Site Leader for CHILD’s Toronto site, and Dr. Wendy Lou, member of CHILD’s Executive Committee, have been awarded 2024 Michelle Harkness Mentorship Awards.

Dr. Moraes was recognized for mentoring excellence by an established academic researcher, and Dr. Lou for a lifetime of mentoring achievement.

MHMA awards recognize Canadian allergy and immunology researchers, practitioners and advocates who demonstrate a significant commitment to promoting capacity building, career enhancement and personal growth through mentorship. Honorees are nominated by their peers and/or mentees, and their mentorship contributions are adjudicated by a committee of recognized mentorship practitioners.

“Theo not only supports and motivates his mentees professionally, but he also prioritizes our mental and physical well-being. Theo constantly checks on us to ensure we are not feeling burnt out or overwhelmed with our projects. He often goes out of his way to offer support and is always happy to help in any way he can,” wrote Dr. Morae’s mentees in his nomination form.

“Theo makes sure his office is a safe and comfortable space for all his mentees and staff. He is always entertaining us with his light-hearted jokes, and ensures he has chocolate available for us ‘in case we need it.’ Anyone that comes in to meet Theo leaves his office with clarity, motivation, and drive…”

“Wendy inspires us with her work and infuses in us a passion for learning, critical thinking, and the discovery of our own professional and academic path,” commented Dr. Lou’s nominators.

“Wendy is very intentionally inclusive, and strongly committed to building a diverse and inclusive work and learning environment … She has created a big family within the unit at the university, and always provides her time and advice for as long as we need it [whether for personal or professional support].

“She holds mentees to high standards and has left an invaluable mark as a mentor for many trainees over the years.  Like Michelle, Wendy generously gives her time, energy, experience and advice for the benefit of her trainees.”

The MHMA program was by created by the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network (AllerGen) in memory of Michelle Harkness, AllerGen’s trainee program coordinator, following her sudden passing in August 2017. The awards have been issued annually since 2019. Past honorees include CHILD Director Dr. Padmaja Subbarao; CHILD’s Deputy Director, Dr. Meghan Azad; and CHILD researchers Drs Dean Befus, Kozeta Miliku and Teresa To.