Find Your Pulse


Winnipeg 2018 Professional Panel


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Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Gigi Osler, BScMed, MD, FRCSC

Dr. Osler is the President-elect of the Canadian Medical Association. She  graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba in 1992.  Following this, she completed a rotating internship at the Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface General Hospital from 1992 to 1993.  

She began studying Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Manitoba in 1993 and graduated from the residency program in 1997.  This was followed by a Rhinology fellowship at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC.  She has been in practice in Winnipeg since 1998.  

Dr. Osler is actively involved with Canadians Helping Kids in Vietnam (CHKV), a Winnipeg-based charity.  She volunteered as a member of CHKV’s medical mission to Long Xuyen, Vietnam in 2011.  The mission’s goals were to educate Vietnamese doctors and nurses, deliver donated medical equipment and supplies, and to present bicycles to deserving schoolchildren.  

For the last several years Dr. Osler has been volunteering in Africa to help train other surgeons.  Through an ongoing collaboration with Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute / Harvard University, University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba and the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the group works at building up the educational infrastructure of the ENT Department of the Mbarara University of Science and Technology by expanding their clinical capacity to improve the quality of local care.

A recognized advocate for physician health, Dr. Osler co-chaired the 2015 Canadian Conference on Physician Health and served as chair of the Physician Health and Wellness Committee for Doctors Manitoba.  In 2017, she was awarded their Health or Safety Promotion award in recognition of her efforts to develop and implement programs to support the health and well-being of doctors.

Dr. Osler lives in Winnipeg with her wonderful husband and is the proud mother of two incredible children.

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Dr. Peter Hughes, BSc (Hons), MD, FRCPC

Dr Peter Hughes was born and raised in England. He was educated at King’s School, Worcester, after which he attended the University of London to study Physics and Astronomy. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in 1988, he went on to earn a PhD with his research into transportation emissions and climate change. This work was published as a book in 1992. He spent the next nine years working as a journalist, before moving to Winnipeg with his wife and young children in 2001. His first job in Winnipeg was as a researcher with the International Institute for Sustainable Development. In 2002 he made the life-changing decision to apply to medical school. He wrote the MCAT in 2003 and applied successfully to the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine. He graduated with the Class of 2007. While at medical school he fell in love with neurology, and he was fortunate enough to be accepted into the five-year neurology training program (‘residency’) at the U of M. He passed the Royal College of Physicians qualifying exam in May 2012 and started his new life as a practising neurologist. He spends most of his time looking after patients at St Boniface Hospital and in an outpatient clinic. He also enjoys teaching neurology to medical students and residents, because teaching is a great way of finding out what you don’t know.


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Dr. Richard Leicht, MD, FRCSC

Dr. Richard Leicht is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He completed a residency in ophthalmology at the University of Toronto and did a vitreoretinal fellowship in Memphis, TN. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Max Rady School of Medicine, University of Manitoba. He holds a staff position at the Misericordia Health Centre, ophthalmology department. Dr. Leicht is in full time practice as a retina sub specialist at the Winnipeg Clinic.


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Dr. Anastasia Kelekis-Cholakis BA, DMD, Dip., Perio., FRCD(C)

Winnipeg periodontist Dr. Anastasia Kelekis-Cholakis obtained her BA from the University of Winnipeg in 1988 and her DMD and Diploma in Periodontics from the University of Manitoba in 1992 and 1998. She also attended the Misch Institute Program in Implant Dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Cholakis is a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and a member of the Canadian and American Academy of Periodontists, Canadian Dental Association and Winnipeg Chapter of the Seattle Study Club. Dr. Cholakis is the Director of the Graduate Periodontal Program at the University of Manitoba, one of five such programs in Canada.

She currently lectures nationally and internationally, has received numerous teaching awards as well as the 2011 Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and is a contributing reviewer for the “Journal of the Canadian Dental Association”. Her areas of interest are soft tissue plastic procedures and implant complications.

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Dr. Reeni Soni, MD FRCPC

Reeni Soni has been a pediatric cardiologist at the Variety Children’s Heart Center since 1998. After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy, she completed her premedical studies at McGill University, then returned back to Winnipeg to complete her medical degree, BSc Med and General Pediatric Residency at the University of Manitoba. After completing a fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, UK in 1997, she was recruited back to Winnipeg to join the division of Pediatric Cardiology in 1998 and appointed as Section Head of Pediatric Cardiology in 2000, a position which she still holds. She is also an Associate Medical Director of Winnipeg Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor in the Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. In addition to her busy practice, she is also heavily involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at the Max Rady College of Medicine. Beyond pediatric cardiology in Manitoba, she has had an active national presence serving as President of the Canadian Pediatric Cardiology Association from 2008-2011 and as Chair of the Deputy Steering Committee of the Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network from 2012-2017 where she worked with the Deputy Ministers of all 4 Western Canadian provinces to develop coordinated provision of pediatric cardiac care to children all over Western Canada. Her areas of subspecialty expertise are in the domains of fetal cardiology and cardiac transplantation. She was the recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 2006 and the Pediatric Chairs of Canada Distinguished Clinician Award in 2012. Outside of work, Dr. Soni is a busy mother of 3 children ages 15, 18 and 20.

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Sachin Katyal, PhD

Sachin Katyal received his B.Sc. (Biochemistry) from the University of Alberta and received his Ph.D. (Oncology) at the Cross Cancer Institute and the University of Alberta. His post-doctoral training, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in the area of DNA damage and repair in neurodevelopment and neuro-oncology was done in the lab of Dr. Peter McKinnon; work that led to publications in internationally-renowned journals such as Nature, Nature Neuroscienceand EMBO J. In 2013, Dr. Katyal began his independent academic research position at the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba where he is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (D-PT) and, a Senior Scientist within the Research Institute of Oncology and Hematology (RIOH).  Dr. Katyal’s research is CIHR- and TFRI-funded; he is the recipient of the CIHR Institute of Cancer Research 2014 Early Career Award in Cancer Research, a CIHR New Investigator award and a TFRI New Investigator Award. He serves on several scientific review committees for international academic journals and grant review panels. More recently, Sachin established industrial partnerships, which have facilitated the development of innovative technology and methodology to accelerate his DNA damage repair research program. These were instrumental for his recently-funded CFI JELF award to develop a novel high-throughput genotoxicity and drug screening facility to understand and identify new therapies against brain tumours and leukemia. Sachin is also actively involved in trainee development, mentorship and career progression through various University-wide initiatives, courses and workshops.