Promotions 2021: Q&A with Kevin Katz

Kevin Katz

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. Kevin Katz has been promoted to Full Professor.

What is your role in LMP?

I have a number of roles. I am the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at North York General Hospital, the Medical Director of Shared Hospital Laboratory, and the Head of Microbiology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. These roles are all very complimentary and synergistic. They allow me to blend clinical service, research, and education together around a common academic theme of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs).

Why did you pursue an academic career?

Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) and medical microbiology are disciplines that are constantly changing. I find it fun to be challenged by new situations and scenarios. Both fields are very data-intensive and are amenable to asking and answering questions in easy and meaningful ways.

The IPAC leaders across Canada and around the world are amazing colleagues and innovators who are always willing to collaborate. The potential impact is also enormous given the broad applicability of interventions across the health system.

HAIs are one of the top preventable causes of patient morbidity and mortality overall. If we can devise an intervention that improves the quality of cleaning/disinfection, for example, the number of potential lives that can be saved through a reduction in healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) is very substantial. Cleaning in healthcare settings or hand hygiene may not sound sexy but small improvements can have an enormous impact on patient lives.

What does this promotion mean to you?

Promotion is an acknowledgment and recognition of both years of hard work and the contributions I have made in my field. Most researchers and academics do it for the enjoyment. Nonetheless, it is nice to have external recognition!

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

If I could go back in time, I would counsel myself to keep an open mind, seize every opportunity, and stay true to the plan I set out for myself.

My academic career has not been conventional. In my last year of training, SARS 1 (2003/4) struck Toronto which led to the creation of a new IPAC Medical Director position at North York General, a community hospital. I hadn’t considered such a position until my program director pointed out that I can seize the opportunity to create an academic IPAC program in a community hospital setting.

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

I found it very helpful to reach out to senior faculty who have gone through the process. The advice they gave me, ranging from how to set up folders that easily track/accumulate ‘evidence’ of impact to cover letter input, was invaluable. I would highly recommend that new faculty reach out early in their careers and periodically over time.

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

Going through the promotion process as an IPAC leader and medical microbiologist during COVID-19 may not have been the best idea!

It really wouldn’t have been feasible without an amazing administrative assistant (Angie Ciepiela…..you are the best!) who kept me on track, organized everything, and made sure that all of the pieces on the checklist were accomplished.

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.