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Dr. Mark  Bernstein - University Health Network. Toronto, ON, CA

Dr. Mark Bernstein Dr. Mark  Bernstein

Neurosurgeon, Krembil Neuroscience Centre | University Health Network

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Pioneer in awake brain craniotomy and same day surgery for brain tumours



Dr. Mark  Bernstein Publication Dr. Mark  Bernstein Publication



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Dr. Bernstein's main areas of interest are neuro-oncology, bioethics, and advancing surgery in the developing world, where he spends time operating and teaching. He is a committed educator and has won numerous teaching awards.

In 2003 he completed a Masters of Health Science in Bioethics. In 2011 he was awarded the Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery.

Besides over 300 biomedical papers and chapters published, a book on brain tumours and one on bioethics, he has published about 150 popular articles many of which attempt to bridge the gap between the medical profession and the public.

Current research interests include: qualitative research studies in bioethics, medical error, surgical innovation, and novel resource utilization.

Industry Expertise (4)

Health and Wellness Research Health Care - Services Health Care - Providers

Areas of Expertise (11)

Awake Craniotomy Neurosurgery Bioethics Malignant Brain Tumours Surgical Innovation Medical Error Novel Resource Utilization Neuroethics International Surgery Brain Tumours Neuro-Oncology

Accomplishments (6)

George Armstrong-Peters Prize, University of Toronto (professional)


Awarded to a young investigator* who has shown outstanding productivity during his/her initial period as an independent investigator as evidenced by research publications in peer reviewed journals, grants held, and students trained.

Stephen Mahaley Award, Joint Section on Tumors, AANS/CNS (professional)


The Mahaley Award is given at each of the AANS and CNS meetings to a neurosurgery resident, fellow, or attending who submits the best clinical study in neuro-oncology.

Ross Fleming Surgical Educator Award (professional)


The Ross Fleming Surgical Educator Award is presented annually for excellence in undergraduate or postgraduate teaching at the University of Toronto.

The Alan Hudson Teaching Award (professional)


The Alan R. Hudson Neurosurgery Faculty Teaching Award is awarded to a Neurosurgery Faculty member in recognition of contributions to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Bruce Tovee Post-Graduate Teaching Award (professional)


The award is to be made annually on recommendation of the Chairman of the Department of Surgery as per the following conditions:
Without imposing any restrictions upon this donation, it is requested that it be used to provide for a suitable memento to be awarded to an academic staff member of the Department of Surgery who has made the greatest contribution

Greg-Wilkins Barrick Chair in International Surgery (professional)


The Chair in International Surgery will be held by a world-renowned neurosurgeon, in affiliation with Toronto Western Hospital’s Krembil Neuroscience Centre. The centrepiece of health initiatives to honour Greg Wilkins, the Chair will oversee research and training programs for doctors and nurses in developing countries.

Affiliations (3)

  • Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery
  • Professor Department of Surgery University of Toronto
  • Researcher Krembil Research Institute

Media Appearances (6)


University Health Network  online


Walking into Dr. Mark Bernstein's office it's hard not to notice the tall stacks of brand new grey and blue textbooks around the room. There is a stack in front of his brown leather couch, a stack in front of his already full book shelf, and Dr. Bernstein reveals that until recently, the stacks were spilling into the reception area. Dr. Bernstein, a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, has ordered 100 copies of his newly published textbook Neuro-Oncology: The Essentials, which he plans to give away to residents and fellows.

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Memory of late Barrick CEO, Greg Wilkins, honoured at TWH

University Health Network  online


Barrick Gold Corporation and the family of Greg Wilkins, former CEO of Barrick, have donated $5.5 million to the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation (TG&WHF). The gifts from Barrick and the Wilkins family will create the Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery and fund medical training in neurosurgery for health care providers in developing countries.

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Multi-Million Dollar Gift Helps Train Doctors & Nurses in Developing Countries

UHN  online


​Neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Bernstein knows all too well the challenges of providing neurosurgical care in developing countries like Ghana. In many communities around the world resources and health care expertise are in short supply.

Image of Mark BernsteinBut these challenges are the driving forces behind Dr. Bernstein's goal to foster locally sustainable, modern neurosurgical care in developing countries.

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Dr. Mark Bernstein writes about the life of a brain surgeon in the Globe and Mail

University Health Network  online


UHN Neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Bernstein wrote an essay for the Globe and Mail's Facts and Arguments section about what it's like to know so much about a patient's future just based on their medical chart.

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Patient gets brain surgery — fully awake

The Star  online


Jeff Heatherington, a strapping personal trainer from Toronto, is discussing ultimate fighting, a brutal, brain-busting sport he has recently taken an interest in.
"It's a hard living," he concedes to Dr. Mark Bernstein, who, and you scratch your head at this one, is himself well versed in the bare-knuckled game.
It would seem a commonplace conversation, just a bit of sports banter between two guys.

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Canada AM takes an in-depth look at brain tumours

Canada AM  tv


Every year in Canada, 10,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumours, and the prognosis is grim. CANADA AM launches a week-long special series on living with the disease, the treatment and the hope for a cure.

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Articles (6)

A qualitative assessment of the benefits and challenges of international neurosurgical teaching collaboration in Ethiopia PubMed.gov


To explore the perspectives of Ethiopian and international neurosurgeons on the development of a sustainable academic neurosurgery teaching unit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Neuro-oncology: Under-recognized mental incapacity in brain tumour patients PubMed.gov


Many patients with brain tumours possess inadequate mental capacity to provide informed consent, but this situation often goes undetected because clinicians do not routinely conduct formal cognitive assessments. This oversight should be recognized and rectified to enable optimum ethical and medical care of these vulnerable individuals

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International neurosurgical volunteerism: a temporal, geographical, and thematic analysis of FIENS volunteer reports PubMed.gov


Examine the experiences of volunteers of the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery.

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Are patients open to elective re-sampling of their glioblastoma? A new way of assessing treatment innovations PubMed.gov


This is a qualitative study designed to examine patient acceptability of re-sampling surgery for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) electively post-therapy or at asymptomatic relapse.

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Religion Benefiting Brain Tumour Patients: A Qualitative Study PubMed.gov


As the focus on modern neurosurgery has shifted to the realm of technological advancement, some patients and their loved ones still hold a strong faith in their religion to guide them through the process. This study aimed to determine whether religion as a coping mechanism was beneficial for patients before, during and after craniotomy.

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As a brain surgeon, I know patients' futures before they do The Globe and Mail


It’s Friday afternoon. Another exhausting but exhilarating week is winding down. Seven brain tumour operations have been successfully performed and the patients have all sailed through without a problem.

But some of the seven, including a new mother, have brain cancer and don’t have much of a chance of being alive five years from now. Just as I slow down my practice, some of these lovely people will have died of their malignant brain tumours. My efforts and those of my oncology colleagues will usefully extend their lives, but will be unlikely to cure them.

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