Trevor Cuddy (Director, CPD Portfolio) Receives President’s Influential Excellence Award for National-Level Impact and Transformative Leadership

Standing atop a snow-capped mountain taking in the endless possibilities that lie ahead, he steps back and invites others to share this newfound perspective from 10,000-feet.

This is Trevor Cuddy (Director, Continuing Professional Development Portfolio, Temerty Faculty of Medicine) when contemplating ideas on the slopes while snowboarding, and when identifying new opportunities and brainstorming solutions with his team, stakeholders, and collaborators. Trevor sees the big picture, advocates for innovation, and inspires everyone around him to dream boldly and drive change forward alongside him.

In recognition of his national-level impact on health professions continuing professional development (CPD) and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) youth outreach, as well as his transformative leadership in staff talent development, Trevor is the 2024 recipient of the University of Toronto President’s Influential Excellence Award.

Part of the Pinnacle Awards Program, the President’s Influential Excellence Award is one of the highest honours bestowed upon a member of the University of Toronto community whose ongoing contributions have a far-reaching impact outside the University.

Trevor’s forward-thinking, inclusive, and collaborative approach to leadership has been integral in building a national CPD community of practice. He has also played a pivotal role in the development and success of innovative CPD programming focused on improving the health of individuals and populations in Toronto, across Canada, and internationally.

Patricia Houston, Vice Dean Medical Education and Interim Dean, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, shares how the respect colleagues have for “Trevor’s wise counsel as well as his ability to inspire others to achieve speak to the impact his influence has had at the University of Toronto and beyond.”

As the Director of Canada’s largest Continuing Professional Development (CPD) unit, Trevor has overseen major transformations over the past 10 years.

Reflecting on Trevor’s contributions, Suzan Schneeweiss, Associate Dean, CPD, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, remarks that Trevor “introduced numerous innovative business and partnership models to incubate and support the development of market responsive education programing that has a direct impact on improving patient care in Canada and beyond.” 

A constant throughout this period has been his active promotion and modelling of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) across all initiatives. This includes his founding and ongoing support of the Canadian Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities (HWDD) Conference and the Canadian Children, Youth, and Communities (CCYC) Health In | Equity Conference.

Reflecting on Trevor’s collaborative leadership, Megan Primeau, CPD’s in-house director for both conferences, shares how “Trevor’s ongoing support of this unique conference model and contributions to planning have been critical to the overall success of these events, helping to shape a more inclusive and positive future for many marginalized groups.”

“Trevor’s exceptional advocacy for children and youth in Canada is inspiring,” notes Ripudaman Singh Minhas (Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Temerty Faculty of Medicine and CCYC Conference Director).

Professor Minhas adds that “Trevor’s leadership and partnership has been key in advancing the discourse on health equity at a national scale in our professional community.”

His “passion for inspiring others and fostering inclusive spaces has amplified the conversation on health equity amongst otherwise siloed stakeholders in Canada. Through his efforts and expertise, [the CCYC] conference has become successful in opening critical dialogue and initiatives that prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion in healthcare and education for marginalized communities.”

Always looking ahead of the curve, collaborators also praise Trevor’s advocacy for innovative program development. A prime example is the establishment of the Narrative-Based Medicine Lab (NBM Lab), which offers humanities-based training through a flagship Foundational Certificate as well as workshops, series, and free access events that have reached over 700 learners from around the world.

Damian Tarnopolsky (Creative Lead) says “Trevor’s innovative thinking in CPD program development and delivery has guided the creation of our complementary suite of accredited learning activities.” He’s been a “steering force behind our success” and “the international impact the NBM Lab has had.”

This success would not have been possible without Trevor’s commitment to consultation, collaboration, and the creation of inclusive environments. Karen Gold (Curriculum Lead) adds that Trevor’s “vision has been pivotal in growing this initiative at CPD and ensuring our impact goes well beyond the scope of the University of Toronto.”

Beyond the University of Toronto, Trevor is known by colleagues as a “senior statesman” who has onboarded, mentored, and inspired CPD directors and managers from other universities, contributing to the success of a national CPD community of practice.

In his role as Vice Dean, Post-MD Education (Postgraduate Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development) at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Salvatore Spadafora (Professor, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine) was witness to Trevor’s active and influential leadership within the CPD community.

According to Professor Spadafora: “Trevor has found himself among the ‘senior statesman’ of the Canadian CPD landscape, folks who are both experienced enough to able to have the outsized influence at the national and international level, but still chooses to be involved in the management and day-to-day functions of a CPD office.”

Professor Spadafora adds that Trevor “ascribes to the dual purpose of global impact and local accountability” and “brings a great deal of gravitas to U of T and enhances the University’s reputation as the largest influencer of academic thought in our country and one of the highest-capacity CPD mobilizers globally.”

Andrea Keesey, currently the Associate Director of CPD in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University, worked with Trevor for close to a decade during her time as CPD Director at the University of British Columbia.

Reflecting on their time together, Andrea observed how “Trevor’s leadership, professionalism, and innovative thinking were formative for me during my time at UBC. He was a ‘go to’ person — always willing to collaborate, to brainstorm ways to better serve clinicians, and to discuss program improvements. In particular, his contributions to our national group of CPD operational leaders were influential. He was always willing to share knowledge and he genuinely wanted all of us to be successful.”

This dedication to collaboration and equity can also be traced through Trevor’s support of STEM youth outreach and engagement that dates back 25 years. Through his long-standing work with Actua — Canada’s leading STEM education outreach organization — Trevor guided network member expansion from 33 to 43 university and college-based members and ensured best practices in non-profit governance.

Today, Actua engages 375,000 young people in 600 communities nationwide annually, 200 of which are Indigenous communities, in transformational STEM learning experiences that build critical employability skills and confidence. The impact has been tremendous, as Actua’s programs have reached 7 million youth over the past 25 years.

Jennifer Flanagan (Actua’s Co-Founder, President, and CEO) notes how Trevor “was instrumental in collaborating with staff and other volunteers on a project to map out a robust theory of change: a logic model that distills the unique Actua approach and activities with key stakeholders into measurable outcomes for youth.”

Trevor also advised Actua network members around “strengthening how their programs serve institutional strategies around community engagement and equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

Trevor’s “leadership around the membership expansion and growth has allowed us to amplify and strengthen Actua’s national reach with local impact.”

In addition, Trevor also advises on initiatives that support the next generation of physicians through his involvement as a Board Director with the Resident Doctors of Canada, where he works closely with resident doctors to champion excellence in medical education and training, resident wellness, and patient care.

Leslie Cuthbertson (CEO, Resident Doctors of Canada) notes Trevor’s “skills and commitment to community service has significantly strengthened our organization’s capacity to achieve its mission to champion the healthiest ways for resident doctors to learn and work.”

This passion for uplifting future leaders extends to the impact Trevor has had on the career paths of an entire generation of staff in higher education. This is, in part, largely due to Trevor’s creation of inclusive spaces and positive workplace cultures where individuals can grow professionally and move into senior leadership roles.

Colin Fleming (Senior Financial Analyst, Office of the Faculty Controller & Chief Financial Officer, Temerty Faculty of Medicine) remembers how “Trevor stands out as a remarkably supportive supervisor during my career at the University of Toronto . . . his transparent management, coupled with positive reinforcement, is a testament to his effective leadership, leaving a lasting impact that I will carry throughout my career.”

Many other colleagues shared similar stories about how Trevor’s mentorship has positively shaped their career journeys, and how his leadership style informs how they approach their professional work today.

“Trevor recognizes that an organization’s success is intrinsically tied to the growth and well-being of its members,” shares Christopher Chipman (Associate Director, Programs Portfolio & Business Development, CPD). He adds that Trevor’s “motivation and commitment to staff development extends well beyond this reasoning. Trevor deeply cares about the well-being and growth of those around him [and] the community at large.”

“Trevor has consistently promoted professional growth and development, inspiring us to dream big and strive for greatness in our careers,” notes Olenka Baron, who worked with Trevor at the University of Toronto’s Engineering Student Recruitment & Outreach Office (ESROO) and is currently Chief Financial Officer for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

Shilpa Gantotti (Interim Executive Director, Communications, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering) says “Trevor nurtured an office culture of collaboration and camaraderie, and inspired many of us to continue in leadership roles ourselves” during her time in the ESROO.

Trevor’s inspirational mentorship extends beyond staff who report to him. Ramadhani (Rama) Ponda, currently the Graduate Administrator in Department of Geography & Planning, stressed how, “as my mentor, Trevor demonstrated unwavering dedication to my career progression within the University of Toronto.” After the formal mentorship ended, “Trevor continued to counsel and guide me through challenges. His commitment played a pivotal role in my successful achievement of career goals.”

Established under Trevor’s leadership in 2023, a Staff Talent Development Working Group is investing in the growth and development of over 130 professional services staff across the Medical Education Portfolio at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

This includes a first-of-its-kind initiative at the University of Toronto: a staff-organized and staff-focused conference on February 22, 2024 that focused on career growth opportunities and professional development specific to individuals working across all functions in medical education. This is only the beginning. Initiatives slated to launch in fall 2024 will help staff develop professional communication skills and integrate the principles of EDI into their work.

Hana Lee, Director, Enrolment Services & Faculty Registrar, Temerty Medicine, observed how “through Temerty Medicine’s Staff Talent Development Working Group, Trevor has started a cultural movement for the professional staff by creating a dedicated group to review and develop a blueprint for medical education staff development, inviting a diverse group of staff from all corners of Temerty Medicine to join the working group, and fostering safe meeting space to encourage open discussions.”

Charlene Betty, a past member of the Staff Talent Development Working Group who was recently appointed as Administrative and Project Coordinator in the Temerty Medicine Office of Inclusion & Diversity, noted that Trevor is a “a constant advocate for change management, collaboration and empowerment especially in the area of equity, inclusion and diversity” and has “championed initiatives to support racialized staff in Medical Education, ensuring they have equitable access to opportunities for growth and advancement.”

Leading with “influential excellence” requires simultaneously looking deep within oneself and looking outwards — inspiring others to strive for greatness.

Trevor recognizes this potential in everyone he meets. Through his contributions to community engagement, collaboration, and commitment to advancing EDI principles and practices, Trevor models what it means to lead with vision, integrity, and kindness.