Two accomplished researchers and artists, Dr. Lorelei Silverman and Dr. Rosalind Silverman are the recipients of the prestigious “Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award” in 2009 along with two former Canadian governors Adrienne Clarkson and Michelle Jean among others, recognizing their contribution to science and community volunteering. After receiving their MSc and PhD at York University, they both hold NSERC and HSF postdoctoral fellowships at University of Toronto. While Lorelei is a neurophysiologist, Rosalind is specialized in cell division in cancer and atherosclerosis. They authored numerous articles in high impact journals and presented their scientific discoveries at national and international conferences. They are also interviewers for the Physician Assistant and Pharmacy programs at University of Toronto and instructors for Science Engagement course at U of Toronto, Scarborough.
Dr. Lorelei Silverman and Dr. Rosalind Silverman are the founders of Models of Human Diseases organization, a non profit club aimed at providing support and mentorship to students from Canada and foreign trained biomedical professionals. The Medical School Admission Workshop Series at University of Toronto (https://modelsofdiseases.wordpress.com) have been initiated by Dr. Lorelei Silverman and Dr. Rosalind Silverman with the mission to advance medical education and practice by preparing the students to be the “future health care providers” who will meet the guidelines of strategic planning in medical education at national and global level. Recognizing that the identification and guidance of emerging leaders of our health care system must be done as early as high school and all the way through undergraduate and graduate school we implemented a comprehensive platform “Models of Human Diseases Project” that provides the framework for implementing our mission. Over 150 students, medical students looking to enhance their CV for residency, and 90 foreign trained biomedical professionals looking for Canadian experience benefit yearly from the mentorship, personal guidance, support, and practical help the organization founders Dr. Lorelei Silverman and Dr. Rosalind Silverman so generously volunteer to offer on a daily basis as well as peer support and role modelling. Many are from underrepresented communities in the biomedical field. The educational, knowledge dissemination, and charity support activities are just some of MHD projects.
They built an effective team that organized Models of Human Diseases International Conference (www.wix.com/conferencenet/mhd), the first online and onsite international conference based in Canada aimed at speeding the drug discovery process and improving the life of Canadians and other people worldwide The first conference was supported by a CIHR grant awarded to Dr. Lorelei Silverman and Dr. Rosalind Silverman. The conference provided an unparalleled educational and skill building opportunity to undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and research associates, high school students and foreign trained biomedical professionals from Toronto and beyond. The online part of the conference and the database project are ongoing projects that are directly linked to the on site conference. The project is run entirely on a volunteer base and has established cooperation es internationally with partner groups. The vision of the founders was to create a platform to give practical experience and Canadian experience to individuals from Biotech, medical, pharmaceutical, IT, marketing fields and at the same time to create the first online international conference in Canada that will help members to get jobs or continue training in their chosen fields. Other projects are supporting various foundation in finding cures for diseases such as stroke, ALS, ETS, MS, etc, disseminating knowledge and educational programs in the community, mentorship in collaboration with TBI, JIAS, JVS, etc. The response of the community has been overwhelming showing the big need that young biomedical professionals or experienced new Canadian face while trying to integrate in the Canadian workforce. A wealth of knowledge, talent, passion, and work is wasted when these individuals are not integrated in the workforce. Thus Lorelei and Rosalind set to create an unprecedented organization both mentorship and peer support based aimed at filling the gap in the Ontario community. This model has been shared with other organizations globally.
Models of Human Diseases group and has implemented over 25 projects within the community aimed at improving the health and education of population such as Rodent Models of Diseases database, Flower for Diseases projects. The objective of the data base project is to gather the current knowledge from research centers around the globe regarding models of diseases, to identify what diseases lack good models, and to form and organize interest groups of experts centered on specific diseases in a virtual global consortium. The ongoing data collection and wealth of expertise accumulated during conferences and workshops contribute to a “Global Models of Human Diseases Bank”. The ultimate goal is to speed up drug discovery but at the same time everyone involved gets mentorship, letters of reference, networking opportunities, peer support, and guidance, etc. The organization hopes to offer a viable solution to the challenge faced by biomedical professionals in Ontario being them young inexperienced students or foreign trained professionals.