Dr. Irish graduated with his M.D. degree in 1984 from the University of Toronto. He completed residency training at UCLA and at the University of Toronto. He completed his Master’s of Science degree in Molecular Biology at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto in 1991 where he studied the molecular biological characteristics of head and neck cancers. He completed the American Head and Neck Society Fellowship in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology in 1991 under Dr Patrick Gullane and joined the staff of the Toronto General Hospital and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in 1992. He is currently Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and Head of the Division of Head and Neck Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Toronto. Dr. Irish was elected as President of the American Head and Neck Society for 2017-2018.
In 2000, Dr. Irish was appointed as the Chief of the Department of Surgical Oncology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and completed his term after 16 years in 2016. Since 2004, Dr. Irish has been a major health policy advisor and responsible for access to care, quality improvement and health care funding for the Surgical Oncology Program at Cancer Care Ontario which oversees the delivery of cancer services for 13.8 million people in the Province of Ontario, Canada. In 2004, Dr. Irish became the Clinical Lead for Access to Care (“Wait Times”) and Strategic Funding Initiatives for the Surgical Oncology Program at Cancer Care Ontario and is responsible for the Cancer Surgery Wait Times portfolio. He was the Provincial Clinical Lead for Access to Services and Wait Times for the Province of Ontario from 2008-2012. In 2008, Dr. Irish was appointed Provincial Head of the Surgical Oncology Program at Cancer Care Ontario. As the Provincial Head for Surgical Oncology, Dr Irish has provided provincial leadership and oversight linking volume funding to quality improvement. Many of the performance metrics associated with these initiatives are reported as part of the Cancer System Quality Index (http://www.csqi.on.ca/) and are on the CCO website (https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/cancer-care-ontario/programs/clinical-services/surgical-oncology-program).
As the Kevin and Sandra Sullivan Chair in Surgical Oncology at the University of Toronto he has led a multidisciplinary program in Guided Therapeutics at UHN and is currently leading the Guided Therapeutics Core and is Director of Clinical Faculty for the TECHNA Institute at the University Health Network. In that capacity Dr Irish leads a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, engineers, physicists and nanoparticle biochemists in the development of novel nanomedicine-based contrast agents which in combination with near real-time navigation and tracking systems can create innovative solutions for minimal access surgical approaches in cancer therapy.
Dr. Irish has over 340 peer review publications and over 30 book chapters and has over $10M in peer-review funding for his research. In 2017 he and his co-PIs were awarded a $6.6M Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project grant for nanoparticle therapy development and clinical trials.
Jon is married to Professor Rosemary Martino who is a clinical epidemiologist and speech language pathologist and the Canada Research Chair in Dysphagia.