Paying tribute to Michener’s founder, Dr. Diana Schatz

Dr Diana SchatzDr. Diana Schatz, founder of the Michener Institute, passed away on October 24, 2020 surrounded by her family.

The UHN and Michener education community was fortunate to have celebrated Dr. Schatz’s accomplishments with her and her family twice over the past two years: in marking Michener’s 60th anniversary in October 2018, and again when she was awarded UHN’s Global Impact Award in June 2019. We offer our gratitude for those opportunities, as well as our deepest condolences to Roy Schatz, their children and their families.

Dr. Schatz’s work has supported the health care of millions of Canadians and set the standard for medical technology education in Canada, China and the Middle East. She blazed a trail not only for health care education nationally and globally, but as one of the first female directors of a major educational institution, she paved the way for women in leadership roles in Canada.

Dr. Schatz began her career as an Assistant Chemist at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) in 1958 after she finished her PhD at the University of Toronto in Biochemistry – in itself a significant accomplishment for the times. TGH built a new lab facility that year, making the former labs available as a potential learning ground for medical technologists. Before long, Dr. Schatz started the Medical Laboratory Technology pilot program at Toronto General Hospital, which represented a significant shift from an apprenticeship model to the robust theoretical, practical and clinical education that The Michener Institute remains famous for today.

Within five years, the pilot program had expanded to 12 teaching hospitals and a year later, there were enough students to warrant an application to the Ministry of Health to create a formal school. Michener’s growth continues to this day, as the Ministry of Health’s partner in preparing a superior labour force to meet emerging health care needs. Today, most applied health science programs in Canada emulate the model established by Dr. Schatz.

Though she retired as Michener’s CEO in 1995, Dr. Schatz continued to contribute to global health care as a lifetime member of the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. She remained active in her community as well, and in 2017 was awarded the Order of the Diocese of Toronto, which honours those who have given outstanding service over a significant period in their volunteer ministry.  As a member of St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Dr. Schatz transformed St. Anne’s Place, one of the first assisted living seniors’ residences in Toronto and contributed as church treasurer and president of the St. Anne’s Music & Drama Society. Dr. Schatz also oversaw all aspects of the restoration of the church, including wheelchair accessibility in 2016.

A celebration of Diana’s remarkable life will be held at a future date. The Schatz family has generously asked that in lieu of flowers, donations to the Dr. Diana Michener Schatz Scholarship are welcome. Select “Other” and then in “Other gift designation” indicate: Dr. Diana Schatz.