Dr. Susa Benseler is a Staff Rheumatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Associate Professor of Paediatrics and Health Policy Management & Evaluation (HPME), University of Toronto. She is an Associate Scientist in the Child Health and Evaluative Sciences (CHES) Program at The SickKids Research Institute.
Dr. Benseler graduated from Medical School in Freiburg/Germany and completed a PhD thesis focusing on the immunopathology of scleroderma in George Wick’s lab in Innsbruck/Austria. She trained in Pediatrics in Freiburg and Bonn, Germany, focusing on Pediatric Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine and Rheumatology. After completing a Clinical Fellowship in the Division of Rheumatology at SickKids (2001-2003) and a research fellowship in Pediatric Lupus funded by the Geoff-Carr-Lupus Fellowship Award, she joined SickKids on staff in 2005. She completed a Clinical Epidemiology Masters program in HPME at the University of Toronto and subsequently joined the HPME faculty. Dr. Benseler is a staff physician in the Division of Rheumatology and hold a cross-appointment to Paediatric Emergency Medicine. In Rheumatology, she previously served as Clinical Director and is currently the Chair of the Research Council. She established the first Childhood Central Nervous System (CNS) Vasculitis and Inflammatory Brain Diseases Program and recently initiated the Interdisciplinary Childhood Systemic Vasculitis Initiative and Clinic at SickKids.
Dr. Benseler has shared the knowledge gathered in the innovative clinical research programs at Sickkids at international meetings and invited lectures. She received numerous clinical excellence and teaching awards. She was selected to participate in the Future Leaders in Rheumatology Training (FLIRT). Dr. Benseler has supervised clinical research projects of outstanding former fellows including Clare Hutchinson (Toronto), Jorina Elbers (Stanford), Heinrike Schmeling (Calgary), Gordon Soon (Toronto), Tania Cellucci (Hamilton), more recently Peter Gowdie and Marinka Twilt. Dr. Benseler is a clinician and clinical researcher. Her research focus is childhood CNS vasculitis, inflammatory brain diseases and systemic vasculitis. She established international, interdisciplinary SickKids-led networks of clinical and basic science researchers. She led the development and implementation of BrainWorks, an innovative prospective network of children diagnosed with childhood CNS vasculitis and inflammatory brain diseases. BrainWorks aims to improve recognition, diagnostic evaluation, treatment and long-term outcome of children with childhood CNS vasculitis and inflammatory brain diseases around the world. Dr. Benseler and her team are participating in leading national and international studies of childhood rheumatic diseases. She is an active member of the Canadian Pediatric Rheumatology Investigators (CAPRI training committee)), the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA scientific committee) and the Ontario Rheumatology Association (ORA board of directors), the international Understanding Childhood Arthritis Network (UCAN), the North American Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), the German Society for Pediatric Rheumatology and the Pediatric Rheumatology European Society (PRES). She currently holds peer reviewed grant funding from the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR).