September 04, 2019
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Donald (Don) Stuss (O.C.), Founding Director of Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI), former Vice-President of Research at Baycrest and adjunct senior scientist at the RRI.
A highly esteemed colleague and trailblazer in neuropsychology, Don helped advance brain research through his appointment as the RRI’s first director when it was launched by the late Joseph Rotman in 1989. During his 20-year tenure at Baycrest, Don led the RRI to become a world-class research centre exploring the brain’s everyday functions, such as memory and decision-making, and the effect of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Many of our researchers were drawn here to Baycrest and RRI by Don’s vision to create a renowned brain research centre and the opportunity to be part of something extraordinary in the field.
His pioneering work into the brain’s frontal lobes (an area of the brain that plays a crucial role in our day-to-day functioning), led to the development of treatment and rehabilitation programs for patients with traumatic brain injury. His evolved theory of frontal lobe function and interventions to optimize brain functionality in older adults has been adopted internationally by researchers and clinicians within various healthcare institutions to impact the way we treat patients and enhance the well-being of those living with brain injuries.
In 2017, Don was named an Officer of the Order of Canada one of Canada’s highest civilian honours. He was recognized for his “contributions as an internationally respected neuropsychologist who has expanded scientific understanding of brain function, injury and rehabilitation.”
He was also the Founding Director and past President of the Ontario Brain Institute, a not‐for‐profit research centre funded by the Ontario government, where he helped shape the future of brain research, translation and innovation.
Throughout his career, Don was recognized through numerous awards, such as the Order of Ontario; the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; the Gold Key Award, the highest honour presented by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine; and the International Neuropsychological Society Lifetime Achievement Award.
Don committed his life’s work to better understanding the brain in order to support the development of effective treatments for brain disorders, such as dementia. He helped to revolutionize the way we care for our seniors now and in the future.
Baycrest extends its deepest sympathies to Don’s family and to all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him.