Named among Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2020
2020 Women’s Top 100 Winner Dr. Sara Israels is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health and Vice Dean (Academic Affairs) in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. She is a senior scientist in the Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology at CancerCare Manitoba, and directs the Haemostasis Laboratory at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre.
Israels joined UM’s faculty in 1986, as a clinician researcher, caring for children with cancer and blood disorders. Starting in 1993, she led the clinical and academic Pediatric Hematology/Oncology program for 20 years, creating the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology residency training program, expanding the inter-professional care team, and developing an aftercare program for survivors of childhood cancer. Throughout her career, Israels has been a strong advocate and ally for patients, families and community organizations. In partnership with the Manitoba Chapter of the Canadian Hemophilia Society, she worked for recognition and funding of an integrated provincial program for the care of individuals with inherited bleeding disorders, now established as the Manitoba Bleeding Disorders Program.
“I am most proud of the work done to expand clinical care for children and adolescents with cancer and blood disorders in Manitoba; and to link those clinical programs to new opportunities for research to improve patient outcomes, and to education to train the next generation of hematologists and oncologists,” she says.
With the creation of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences in 2015, Israels helped to bring together the five health professions colleges to maximize the benefits of collaboration, leading the development of an educational and faculty development unit, an integrated accreditation unit, and an awards committee responsible for national and international award nominations.
In 2018, she became the sponsor for a faculty-wide “women in science” group (WISDOM) to promote mentorship and career advancement opportunities for women students and faculty members in basic and clinical science. With the support of the Winnipeg Foundation, she launched the Martha Donovan Women’s Leadership Development Awards; the inaugural awards to faculty and students were presented in 2020.
“I was very fortunate to have teachers and mentors who provided me with opportunities to expand my horizons, and then taught me how to make the most of those opportunities,” she says. “It has been my privilege to pay that forward to students and colleagues.”
Dr. Israels has been recognized for her leadership, and for her work with communities of patients and families, by the Canadian Hemophilia Society’s Dr. Cecil Harris Award (2004), the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award (2016) and the Order of Manitoba (2018).