Dr. Ivar Mendez is the Fred H. Wigmore Professor and Unified Head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatoon Health Region.
Dr. Mendez received his MD and PhD in Anatomy from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario where he also completed his post-graduate training in Neurosurgery. After completion of his neurosurgical residency, Dr. Mendez was awarded the Resident Research Prize by the American Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the William P. Van Wagenen Fellowship by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. His research Fellowship was done at the Department of Medical Cell Research, University of Lund, Sweden. From 2000 to 2012, Dr. Mendez was the Chairman and Founding Member of the Halifax Brain Repair Centre, the most comprehensive neuroscience research institute in Atlantic Canada. Dr. Mendez was the Head of the Division of Neurosurgery at Dalhousie University and the QEII Health Sciences Centre for more than a decade.
Dr. Mendez is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American College of Surgeons. As a Clinician/Scientist, Dr. Mendez’ research focus is in functional neurosurgery, brain repair, stem cells, robotic neurosurgery and computerized systems in neurosurgical applications. His laboratory research has been supported by peer-reviewed funding from a number of sources including the Canada National Centers of Excellence, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canada Foundation for Innovation and Parkinson’s Disease Foundation of USA. He is recognized internationally as an expert in his field, having over 200 international and national presentations as well as over 200 scientific publications. For the past decade he has worked in the use of remote-presence robots for medical care in neurosurgery. In 2002, Dr. Mendez and his team performed the first long distance telementoring neurosurgery in the world and in 2013, he reported the first experience in remote programming for neuromodulation devices. Dr. Mendez was the President of the Canadian Neuromodulation Society (CNS) from 2009 – 2012 and under his leadership he promoted the access of neuromodulation therapy to all citizens of Canada.
Dr. Mendez has taken an active role in humanitarian and global health issues. He has been instrumental in establishing and equipping neurosurgical units in several developing countries. Through the Ivar Mendez International Foundation, he has instituted programs for school breakfast, dental care and computer education in his native Bolivia. In 2010, Dr. Mendez was awarded a Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award and was named one of 10 most Influential Hispanic Canadians for his clinical research and humanitarian contributions. Dr. Mendez also received the Health Canada - 2011 Contribution to the Improvement of the Health of Canadians Award and The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In 2014, St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia awarded Dr. Mendez a Doctor of Science (honoris causa) degree for his contribution to Neuroscience and was inducted as a fellow into the Canadian Academy of Health Science (CAHS).
Dr. Mendez is also a gifted photographer and sculptor. He has published three books of photography of Bolivia and has exhibited his sculptures in Bolivia, Canada and the United States.