Dr. Helen Dimaras
The Hellenic Heritage Foundation is proud to present the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Under the Age of 40 Award to Dr. Helen Dimaras for her outstanding leadership as a dedicated scientist, innovative and inspiring educator and humanitarian.
Helen is a leader in her field, making significant contributions to eye cancer research, retinoblastoma, both at home and globally. She is Director of Global Eye Health Research in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at The Hospital for Sick Children. She is a scientist in the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program and member of the Centre for Global Child Health at the SickKids Research Institute. Helen is Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and Honourary Lecturer at the University of Nairobi.
Helen deeply cares about others. She served as a steering committee member of the Canadian National Retinoblastoma Strategy Guidelines for Care and assisted in adapting these guidelines in Kenya, training and mentoring faculty and trainees. To support the work in Kenya, she ran a marathon to raise funds for the NGO World Eye Cancer Hope (formerly Daisy’s Eye Cancer Fund), for which she currently serves as a Scientific Advisor. She has now begun advising the Ethiopian National Retinoblastoma Strategy, following the model developed in Kenya. She also spent time in Egypt and India developing several research initiatives and coordinated an international clinical trial. In 2016, she initiated the Canadian Retinoblastoma Patient Engagement Strategy, to enhance and empower the patient voice in health research. This initiative has been supported with several grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. She is a strong advocate for collaborative global research, including patients and their families, to improve retinoblastoma clinical care.
Helen is proud of her heritage. As a member of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox community, she has taught Sunday School and Greek School. In 2001, she joined an Orthodox Christian Mission to an orphanage in Guatemala City. The following year, she joined the Mission Board of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto and organized three subsequent Canadian missions to the same orphanage. In 2018, Helen led a group of students from the University of Toronto to learn about international and Greek-led efforts to meet the health challenges in Greece. She has spent time in Athens, assisting with grassroots efforts to help newly arrived refugees.
Helen’s achievements have been recognized by the Greek America Foundation, which named her a member of the Top Forty Under 40 Class of 2012. In 2016, Helen was the regional (Ontario) and National winner of Notable Young Professionals Award for Healthcare.