Prof. Stephen Hwang

Bringing Health to the Homeless

He's dedicated to figuring out how to bring wellness to the disadvantage. In his quest, he's guided by the wisdom of Yogi Berra.


Stephen Hwang is a Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto. We asked everything from why he chose his field of study to what’s on his playlist in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What inspired you to become a scientist?
I was working as a doctor in Boston, taking care of patients who were homeless.  I realized that instead of just treating and controlling their medical illnesses, I needed to do research to figure out how to help make their lives better in a meaningful way.

What do you like most about being a scientist?
I love thinking about the questions that we don’t know the answers to, and then trying to figure out how to answer them.  I love doing research that has a chance of making life better for some of the most disadvantaged people in our society.

What do you envision in the future of your field?
As Yogi Berra once said, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

How will your research make a difference in our lives?
I hope my research will show people that homelessness is a problem that we can solve, if we really want to.

What advice would you give young researchers?
Pursue research that you really care about, and don’t be afraid to go down the “road less travelled.”

What’s on your Ipod?
My favorite music is written by Joe Hisaishi, for animated movies by director Hayao Miyazaki.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?
Architect, because I’d like my work to be landmarks that withstand the test of time.

What do you like to do for fun?