In Memoriam: Dr Elianna Saidenberg
Posted on Monday, October 21, 2019
The Faculty of Medicine sadly acknowledges the passing of Dr. Elianna Saidenberg, on October 20, 2019.
Dr. Saidenberg is fondly remembered as a respected clinical and laboratory hematologist at The Ottawa Hospital. An assistant professor and active educator, she taught about hematology and transfusion at the undergraduate, post-graduate and continuing medical education levels.
Hematology spans the countless fields within medicine, and as such Dr. Saidenberg took a cross-disciplinary approach to her patient care and research. She has held an appointment with the Department of Medicine, and was most recently under the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
As a clinician investigator in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Dr. Saidenberg’s research interests lay in quality assurance and improvement with regards to blood transfusions. Dedicated to patient-centred outcomes, she championed many causes including the patient experience.
She leaves a lasting legacy with her colleagues in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, where she held her primary appointment. Department chair Dr. John Veinot cited her remarkable talent for thoughtfulness and caring for patients. "She was an expert at hematopathology and transfusion medicine, and played a compassionate role in helping many patients through difficult illnesses,” he said. “She was respected by the doctors and health care professionals who worked with her, and she was also passionate about educating students and colleagues".
Dr. Mark Walker, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, remembers Dr. Saidenberg as a physician that practiced with both her mind and her heart, taking great care of many patients in the department. “Elianna was a role model to everyone, and especially for our learners,” he said. “Her passion and enthusiasm were known to all.”
Dr. Saidenberg engaged with medical students through her supervision of research projects, providing informal mentoring and following their academic and personal adventures on social media. For her efforts, she was rewarded with the Undergraduate Medical Education Communicator Competency Award in 2016 and the Undergraduate Medical Education Health Advocate Competency Award in 2017. She noted, however, that her greatest reward for teaching was seeing her students succeed in their medical training and careers. In 2019, she was selected to act as the honorary co-president of the graduating MD class, an award bestowed on the single faculty member who has had the largest influence on the graduating class’s entire four years of study.
Dr. Saidenberg earned her MD from McMaster University, continuing there for her residency in internal medicine and hematology and completing fellowship training in Transfusion Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She was the assistant director of the Ottawa Regional Bleeding Disorders Program as well as The Ottawa Hospital Therapeutic Apheresis Program.
The Faculty sends our deepest condolences to her husband Dr. Doron Shmorgun of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, their children, Abby and Joey, and all of their family and friends.
Please view the obituary for arrangements.