Mehran Anvari

Born in Iran in 1959, Mehran Anvari was destined for a life in medicine. His father, Nooraldin, and mother, Noorangiz, were pharmacists in Tehran until the Islamic Revolution erupted in Iran in 1978. To avoid persecution and possible death, the Baha'i family immigrated to Canada, settling in Grimsby, Ontario. Mehran Anvari had already completed his formal education in England, and he returned there the same year his family immigrated to Canada, enrolling at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne to pursue his medical degree.

Mehran Anvari is Director of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery at McMaster University.After completing a one-year internship, Dr. Anvari returned to Canada in 1984 and enlisted in postgraduate training at McMaster University, where he completed a training programme in surgery. To further his studies in surgery, Dr. Anvari travelled to Adelaide, Australia, and graduated with a Ph.D. in gastric motor function and the influence of gastric surgery. Dr. Anvari set up a clinical practice in 1992 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, and was appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at McMaster University.

A current resident of Hamilton, Ontario, Dr. Anvari is married, and he and his wife Sima are the parents of Sama, Bijon, and Nassem.

As the Founding Director of the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS) at McMaster University (1999), Dr. Anvari is recognized internationally as an expert in the field of minimal-access surgery. The major benefits accuring to patients undergoing this type of surgery are less pain and surgical trauma, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery.

The author of more than 120 publications, he is also very active in training surgeons, having directly mentored over 50 surgeons. Dr. Anvari has brought his advanced techniques to remote areas of Canada. Since 1999, he and 70 colleagues have been using live long-distance videoconferencing with rural surgeons as they perform operations. This “telementoring” is done so that the specialist can see what is going on and talk to the surgeon during the procedure. Wearing 3-D glasses and twisting the controls of a scalpel-equipped robotic arm, Dr. Anvari is helping to sculpt the next frontier in medicine: telerobotic surgery.

On 28 February 2003, Dr. Anvari, Dr. Craig McKinley, and their respective surgical teams made history when they performed the world’s first hospital-to-hospital telerobotics-assisted surgery. Telementoring from St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Dr. Anvari successfully collaborated with Dr. McKinley, a General Surgeon at North Bay General Hospital, in completing a laparoscopic surgical operation on Dr. McKinley’s patient in North Bay, nearly 400 kilometres from Hamilton. Dr. Anvari’s hand, wrist, and finger movements were translated from a console, with a delay of no longer than 150 milliseconds, to control the endoscopic camera and surgical instruments in the abdomen of the patient.

Dr. Anvari is the CEO and Scientific Director of the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation (CSii), founded in 2009, the Centre is a National Centre of Excellence CECR engaged in leveraging Canadian expertise in the fields of robotic space technology and minimal access surgery to create the next generation of image guided surgical robotic tools which will enhance the capabilities of surgeons by providing them with greater access, dexterity and endurance while minimizing trauma to patients.

The Bariatric Registry, a joint project with CSii and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) has been established under the direction of Dr. Anvari, principle investigator. The Registry is part of the provincial strategy to fight diabetes and the growing trend toward obesity.

Dr. Anvari has been awarded the 2010 ORION Award for Leadership, the Government of Ontario Diamond Award for Innovation in Technology, the Government of Canada Gold Medal of Distinction for Telerobotic Surgery and the McMaster Innovator of the Year Award (2009). In addition, he is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Robotic Surgery and has been invited to be the Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery.

Read more about Dr. Anvari’s work on the Baha'i World News Service and at http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/503458--medicine-s-future.