Promotions 2021: Q&A with Catherine Streutker

Catherine Streutker

This year, we celebrate a record 12 promotions in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology.

We speak to each of them to learn more about their role and what this promotion means to them.

Dr. Cathy Streutker has been promoted to Full Professor.

What is your role in LMP?

I have been involved in the Departmental Appointments Committee (DAC, aka the ‘Prom Com’) since just after my promotion to Associate Professor; I was a committee member and then became the Chair of the committee, followed by being appointed Vice-Chair of Promotions and Mentorship for the LMP department, managing the spectrum of appointments and promotions for the department, as well as the new Mentorship committee.

I am currently the Chief of Laboratory Medicine at Unity Health Toronto and I am the chair of the Annual Meeting Organizing Committee and a member of the Executive Committee for the Canadian Association of Pathologists.

Why did you pursue an academic career?

When I started my job a St Michael’s Hospital in 2001, I really wasn’t sure that I could succeed in academic medicine. My kids were small, and it was extremely difficult to find time to work on projects. I basically gave myself 5 years to figure out if this was going to work out, and it did.

I wanted to work at an academic centre as I always enjoyed looking for the ‘holes’ in our knowledge in pathology and trying to investigate these – Gastrointestinal Pathology is a great area for this.

What does this promotion mean to you?

It means recognition - of all the work I’ve put in over the years, and of the impact that I have had.

If you can go back, what advice would you give your younger self?

I had a lot of insecurity and lack of confidence when I began, a fairly common thing for junior staff. I had ideas and projects I didn’t pursue because I wasn’t sure they were worthwhile, and I wish I had not given up on them.

What advice would you give faculty who would like to apply for promotion?

It can be difficult to find a niche in your specialty; it’s best to consciously think about this early on so that you can try to focus on it, but also leave some leeway for the unexpected projects and collaborations that can come up. Sometimes these turn out to be the most fun as well as the most important things in your dossier.

Keep your paperwork (especially your CV!) up to date, and think carefully about how to present and document your impact. Come to one of our Promotions workshops!

How did you manage your time in putting your dossier together considering your multiple priorities?

I had been reasonably careful about keeping the documentation for various talks and projects since my promotion to Associate Professor and had been thinking about how I would organize my CPA themes over the last couple of years, so I had the backbone sketched out ahead of time. Still, even though I have been helping others in the department write their cover letters for years, I found it extremely difficult to write my own.

Even though I had a fair bit prepared, it was still a significant amount of work to pull it all together. I took a week off in the summer to get it all finalized, which helped a great deal.

Find out more about promotion

Promotion guidelines: to Associate Professor and Professor

Contact Patricia Cayetano at patricia.cayetano@utoronto.ca if you are a faculty member in LMP and want to learn more about the promotion process, workshops, and more.