Jonathan Crawford Irish, MD, FRCSC, FACS, MSc
Dr. Jonathan Irish graduated with his M.D. degree from the University of Toronto. He then completed residency training at the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of Toronto. He completed his Master of Science degree in Molecular Biology at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto where he studied the molecular biological characteristics of head and neck cancers. Dr. Irish completed the American Head and Neck Society Fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, and joined Toronto General Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in 1992.
Dr. Irish is currently a Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the Head of the Head and Neck Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery Division at the University of Toronto. He is a head and neck surgical oncologist and reconstructive surgeon with particular expertise and interest in oral cancer, melanoma and skin cancer, thyroid cancer as well as salivary gland tumors and malignancies.
Dr. Irish served as the Chief of the Department of Surgical Oncology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre from 2000 to 2016. Since 2004, he has been a major health policy advisor and responsible for access to care, quality improvement, and health care funding for the Surgical Oncology Program at Cancer Care Ontario. In 2004, he became the Clinical Lead for Access to Care and Strategic Funding Initiatives for the Surgical Oncology Program at Cancer Care Ontario and is responsible for the Cancer Surgery Wait Times portfolio. He was the Provincial Clinical Lead for Access to Services and Wait Times for the province of Ontario from 2008-2012. In 2008, Dr. Irish was appointed as the Provincial Head of the Surgical Oncology Program at Cancer Care Ontario where he has provided leadership and oversight linking volume funding to quality improvement.
Dr. Irish has served as the President of the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) for 2017-2018. He is a double recipient of the American Head and Neck Society Presidential Citation with distinction. This is the highest honour bestowed by the AHNS recognizing contributions to the field of head and neck surgery in research, innovation, leadership, and education. He is a recipient of the Honorary Membership Award with distinction from the Israeli Society of Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology, and the Honour Award with distinction from the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery for his long-term contributions to otolaryngology – head and neck surgery in Canada. Dr. Irish has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Toronto, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery as one “who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the practice and teaching of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and whose professional and ethical standards have been of the highest order.”
As the Kevin and Sandra Sullivan Chair in Surgical Oncology at the University of Toronto, Dr. Irish leads a multidisciplinary program in Guided Therapeutics at UHN and is currently leading the Guided Therapeutics Core, and is the Director of Clinical Faculty for the Techna Institute at UHN. In that capacity, he leads a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, engineers, physicists, and nanoparticle biochemists in the development of novel nanomedicine-based contrast agents, which, in combination with near real-time navigation and tracking systems, can create innovative solutions for minimal-access surgical approaches in cancer therapy. In 2017, he and his co-investigators were awarded a $6.6M grant from The Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project Grant for “Porphysome nanoparticle-enabled image-guided cancer interventions.” His other research interests are in population-based outcomes in head and neck cancer, utilization of molecular biological techniques for prediction of clinical outcomes, and quality-of-life in head and neck cancer.