Dr. Clarke’s major clinical and research focus is in obstetrical brachial plexus palsy. He is responsible for the Brachial Plexus Programme at the Hospital for Sick Children which includes a weekly multidisciplinary clinic for the evaluation of children with obstetrical brachial plexus palsy. He is extensively involved in both primary and secondary reconstructive procedures for these children. This brachial plexus program is the largest program in Canada and is recognized at an international level. The brachial plexus team in Toronto has developed the Active Movement Scale, a validated and reliable tool for the assessment of infants and children and the ‘Cookie Test’ for the assessment of the adequacy of spontaneous recovery in these infants. With these tools, the team has produced a series of clinical studies taking advantage of reliable data collected across treatment to demonstrate statistically the advantages of neuroma resection and grafting. His clinical interests beyond brachial plexus surgery include cleft lip and palate surgery and congenital hand surgery.
Dr. Clarke studied medicine at the University of Toronto and entered the plastic surgery training programme there upon graduation in 1977. Graduate training in the Institute of Medical Science was integrated into this training programme under the supervision of Ralph Manktelow and Nancy McKee. Dr Clarke’s Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘The Haemodynamics and Viability of Skin and Muscle Flaps’ was completed in 1985. Fellowship training followed at Harvard University studying hand surgery with Joe Upton and at the University of Tokyo undertaking microsurgical training with Professor Kiyonori Harii.
Dr. Clarke has been a member of the American Society for Peripheral Nerve since 1999 and has served on the Programme Committee many times acting as its chair for the 2005 meeting. He has served as Secretary, Vice President and President-Elect before becoming the President of the Society. Dr. Clarke has organized or participated in many panels on obstetrical brachial plexus palsy and paediatric nerve surgery for many international meetings.
For Canadian surgery, Dr. Clarke serves as a member of the Examination Board of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Surgery Test Committee of the Medical Council of Canada. Internationally, he was an Associate Editor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from 2002-07 and is currently on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery. He is a Membro Correspondente of the Associação Brasileiro de Cirurgia da Mão and has served as a Clinical Professor of the College of Medicine at Korea University in Seoul. He has traveled on medical missions to Ecuador, China and Honduras.
At the University of Toronto, Dr. Clarke is enthusiastic about teaching at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels. He was the recipient of the PAIRO (Professional Association of Interns and Residents of Ontario) Excellence in Clinical Teaching Award in 2002. Dr. Clarke has recently been appointed a Senior Fellow at Massey College, a prestigious residential college for graduate students at the university.
Dr. Clarke has been on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Stage Company and is presently on the board of Touchmark Theatre. His other interests include travel, even if it involves work, and photography. He is an artist member of Gallery 96, an artist-run space in Stratford and has won the Bronze Medal of the Canadian Association for Photographic Art.