An award-winning psychiatrist, neurodegenerative researcher, and educator, Dr. Corinne Eleanor Fischer has served as the co-director of neurodegenerative research at St. Michael’s Hospital since 2013. She first developed an interest in science and the brain during childhood, and, after years of reading and researching, she became dedicated to making her own mark on the field. When the time came for her to select her specialty, she settled on psychiatry because it appeared ripe for discovery, especially compared to other fields of medicine. Dr. Fischer proceeded to earn an MD from the University of Toronto in 1993, a Royal College specialty certification in psychiatry in 1998, and a Royal College sub-specialty certification in geriatric psychiatry in 2013.
In addition to her work with St. Michael’s Hospital, Dr. Fischer joined the Keenan Research Center of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute as an adjunct scientist in 2007 and was named co-director of the clinical core of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance in 2013. She also maintains memberships with the International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment, the Elder Care Task Force, the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Canadian Association of Geriatric Psychiatry. Some other organizations she affiliates with are the Consortium of Canadian Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research, the International Psychogeriatric Association, the Mental Health Service Advisory, and the Canadian Medical Association.
One of the things that have made Dr. Fischer stand out from her peers is the fact that she has a foot in both the clinical and research factions of the industry. She handles outpatient work, consults on long term care homes, serves as a mentor for medical students, and does imaging among other tasks. Dr. Fischer’s main research focus includes the study of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia, specifically delusions and their neurocognitive/neurobiological correlates, as well as the impact of cognitive decline on real world activities. Her goal is to understand how cognitive reserve protects against the development of dementia. Moving forward, she would also like to expand her research to include Alzheimer’s disease.
The highlight of Dr. Fischer’s career was when she published one of her papers on multi-modal synesthesia following stroke. This was only the second reported case in the world and it received a lot of media coverage. In recognition of her accomplishments, Dr. Fischer has received four certificates of appreciation from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and was nominated for the Ivan Silver Teaching Award for Continuing Education. She was presented with mental health service awards for continuing medical education in 2008 and 2009, and in 2013, she earned the Values in Action Award for Social Responsibility from St. Michael’s Hospital.