Dr. Sophie Dessureault, 1983 TFHA Alum Story

Dr. Sophie Dessureault

1983 TFHA Alum

Current Job

Part-time Surgical Oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida.

Devoted mother of a 14-year-old adopted son who has Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Dyslexia.

Dr. Sophie Dessureault’s journey through medicine has been nothing short of remarkable. Graduating with distinction from Dalhousie University School of Medicine in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she embarked on a path of excellence that has left a mark on the field of surgical oncology.

Following her passion for surgical research, Dr. Dessureault pursued a rigorous surgical residency and earned her Ph.D. through the esteemed Surgical Scientist Program at the University of Toronto. Her thirst for knowledge and dedication to her craft led her to H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, where she completed her surgical oncology fellowship in 1999.

It was during her time at Moffitt that Dr. Dessureault became known for her pioneering work in cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Her involvement in groundbreaking studies paved the way for advancements in treating peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer affecting the abdominal lining.

Dr. Dessureault has served as an esteemed associate professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine, imparting her wealth of knowledge and experience to the next generation of medical professionals. Her contributions to the field have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by her accolades, including the prestigious Society of Surgical Oncology Young Investigator Award and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Career Development Award.

Over her decades of experience, Dr. Dessureault has pushed the boundaries of surgical oncology through her research, publications, and active involvement in professional organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Society of Surgical Oncology, Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, and Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Her unwavering commitment to excellence serves as an inspiration to colleagues and patients alike.

 He is a devoted mother and advocate for neurodiversity and mental health.


We have Terry Fox Scholars working in a wide range of fields, including medicine, activism, and tech. Do you have an area of humanitarian work you are passionate about? Tell us about it. 

My first passion was in teaching students of all ages (from Cub Scouts to middle school students to medical students to residents and fellows!) about medical and surgical topics.  But, as I have navigated my son’s journey and struggles with neurodiversity and mental health in the past 5 years, I have focused my time on him and others who need different supports and accommodations.  I have taken time to learn about their needs and taken steps to advocate for them at school and at home.

You are the first year’s recipient of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award in 1982. How has humanitarian work impacted your life? 

Humanitarian work adds meaning to one’s life.  Making a difference in the lives of others is what life is all about.

Learn about the important work Dr. Sophie Dessureault is doing at the Moffit Cancer Centre in Tampa, Florida in the video below.