Spotlight: Dr. Ashamalla

Dr. Shady Ashamalla

Shady Ashamalla, MD, MSc, FRCSC, is breaking ground in every way possible. Using his medical education from the University of Toronto, the surgical oncologist is shortening recovery times and spreading the word about revolutionary new techniques.

Dr. Ashamalla currently serves as an assistant professor and surgeon educator at his alma mater, as well as the interim division head of General Surgery at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The Globe and Mail has been following Dr. Ashamalla’s career closely, from his involvement with the Sunnybrook Canadian Simulation Centre to his interest in minimally invasive approaches to lower gastrointestinal surgical oncology.

Three years ago, U of T became the first medical school to make simulation practice a part of its core curriculum, and Dr. Ashamalla is thrilled that students and doctors alike now have the opportunity to approach complicated surgeries having practiced several times before.

“Simulation is not terribly novel,” he told The Globe and Mail. “What’s novel is how we are implementing it into surgical training.”

The U of T grad is at the frontlines in the battle to bring modern technology and research into the OR, primarily using minimally invasive surgery practices. One of his patients reported having a shorter recovery time than either of her C-sections after Dr. Ashamalla removed her tumor and resected her colon using a laparoscope. Mary, in fact, happily went on a hiking trip three weeks after the procedure.

“By sneaking in like a thief in the night, our job is to go in and not let the rest of the body know we were there, doing everything we can to cure the patient’s cancer,” says Dr. Ashamalla.

His next big project is creating an innovative new event through U of T’s Continuing Professional Development. For the first time, from June 2nd – 3rd, the inaugural Canadian Congress on Transanal Total Mesorectal Excision (TaTME) conference will be held. It will feature two days of specialists sharing new research in order to improve patient care. Dr. Ashamalla, as course director, will oversee the event in addition to moderating and presenting a session in anastomotic techniques. To learn more about the TaTME event and to register, visit