IHPME Student Awarded Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship 

December 19, 2023

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Leighton Schreyer, IHPME student in the Health Systems Leadership and Innovation program, is among 11 Canadians awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Leighton Schreyer, currently pursuing both the MD Program at Temerty Medicine and the MSc in Health Systems Leadership and Innovation (HSLI) at the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), is one of 11 Canadians awarded the Rhodes Scholarship. Among four University of Toronto recipients, Schreyer will pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford with 100 scholars from around the world. 

The Rhodes Scholarship, widely considered the world’s most prestigious international scholarship program, recognizes individuals with outstanding academic achievements, exceptional character, leadership, and a commitment to addressing global challenges. Driven by a passion for connecting medicine to human experience, Schreyer is set to pursue a DPhil in anthropology at Oxford, specializing in medical anthropology.

“This will undoubtedly be a life-changing experience and one-of-a-kind opportunity for me to come together with exceptional people from all over the world, in all fields of study, to develop my skills as a leader and build my capacity to make a positive impact in the world,” Schreyer says. “I hope to take advantage of every opportunity this scholarship provides for me to grow, both personally and professionally, and to truly commit to, as Rhodes likes to say, fighting the world’s fight.” 

In IHPME’s HSLI program, Schreyer’s capstone project and research focus on treatment resistance in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and major depressive disorders. Their research aims to understand the construct of treatment resistance’s evolution over time, considering its definitions and wider sociocultural, political, and economic influences. Schreyer is co-supervised by Dr. Suze Berkhout, a clinician investigator and practicing inpatient psychiatrist with the University Health Network, Dr. Csilla Kalocsai, a cultural anthropologist and education scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute and Dr. Isser Dubinsky the Capstone course instructor at IHPME. 

Dr. Savithiri Ratnapalan, Program Director of HSLI, notes that Schreyer’s scholarship reflects the program’s core mission to equip clinical leaders with valuable leadership skills. “We congratulate Leighton Schreyer on this well-deserved scholarship and believe this opportunity will further hone their abilities as a systems thinker, innovator, and strategic leader, well-equipped to address health systems challenges in Canada and beyond with competence and compassion,” says Ratnapalan.

Schreyer emphasizes that IHPME provides valuable insights into understanding policies, systems, and structures needed to effect and sustain transformational change. “Through IHPME, I have been able to learn about and engage with health systems science, health policy, systems transformation, and health innovation. The knowledge and skills I have gained through this program will be foundational as I step into my role as a healthcare leader.” 

Dr. Audrey Laporte, Director of IHPME, notes this prestigious scholarship aligns with IHPME’s commitment to supporting individuals academically and fostering leadership qualities crucial for reshaping the future of healthcare. “We extend our sincere congratulations to Leighton Schreyer for this achievement and anticipate that this experience will provide exceptional learning opportunities on their journey as a future healthcare leader.” 

Balancing the demands of both the MD program and MSc HSLI while embarking on a Rhodes Scholarship is a significant undertaking. When asked about managing multiple academic pursuits, Schreyer has found that beyond time management and maintaining a strong work ethic, one should simply do what you love. 

“When you love what you do—when you are passionate about what you are learning and driven by curiosity—then everything else follows,” Schreyer says.  

Schreyer aims to complete the MSc in HSLI program by the summer of 2024 before embarking on their scholarship at the University of Oxford. 

For students interested in the Rhodes Scholarship, please visit the School of Graduate Studies for eligibility and application information.  

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