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Health Professions Chair in Women and Babies Patient-Oriented Research

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Inventing the future of health care

Sunnybrook has 1.2 million patient visits each year. It is the largest single-site, research-intensive teaching hospital in Canada. Fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook provides outstanding quality clinical care; conducts groundbreaking research that changes the way patients are treated around the world, leading to new understanding and better treatments; provides expert training to health care professionals and scientists; develops innovative health promotion and prevention strategies; and influences public policy at all levels of government.

Women & Babies Program

Caring for women, mothers and their babies

The Women & Babies Program at Sunnybrook specializes in perinatal care with a focus on high-risk mothers and newborns. The program’s facilities are one of the most innovative, modern and family-centred spaces for high-risk birthing and maternal care in Canada.

The program is nationally renowned for its excellence and accommodates over 4,000 births each year. The strength of this program provides an ideal environment for research, and the Women & Babies Research Program covers a broad spectrum of research related to pregnancy, infancy and breastfeeding. Research is led by interprofessional research teams consisting of nurse practitioners, midwives, physicians, social workers, dietitians, nurses, lactation consultants, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and patients and families. The program is committed to practice excellence through research and innovation as evidenced by the following clinicians who are leading or participating in research.

Building a culture of inquiry: clinicians engaged in practice-based research

Dr. Jo Watson

PhD, RN(EC), IBCLC, operations director and nurse practitioner, Women & Babies Program

Dr. Jo Watson is an internationally recognized authority on breastfeeding and recipient of the 2012 Award of Excellence from the Canadian Lactation Consultant Association. Her doctoral research investigated the effect of intrapartum fluid management for women with epidural analgesia on newborn weight loss in breastfed babies. She has recently coauthored a Cochrane Systematic Review on breastfeeding.

With provincial funding, Watson is leading the implementation and evaluation of a breastfeeding peer counsellor program in the neonatal intensive care unit, and a program of enhanced education and support for women with diabetes who are planning to breastfeed.

Along with being the operations director for the Women & Babies Program, Watson is an adjunct professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg faculty of nursing at the University of Toronto, teaching in the undergraduate and graduate programs. She is the professional leader for the nurse practitioners at Sunnybrook.

Patti Schurr

Neonatal nurse practitioner, M.Sc., IBCLC, neonatal intensive care unit

Patti Schurr is a nurse practitioner and lactation consultant in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her research is focused on respiratory management and resuscitation of preterm infants. Most recently, she was part of a research team that explored the effectiveness and safety of noninvasive ventilation strategies to identify which strategy may provide more effective respiratory support for this fragile patient population.

Rosine Bishara

Registered dietician, M.Sc., neonatal intensive care unit

Rosine Bishara is a registered dietitian whose research is focused on nutrient composition of preterm breast milk, nutrient intakes and postnatal growth of preterm infants. Individualizing the care provided to preterm infants, with special emphasis on providing them their own mother’s milk, and adding nutrient modules specific to their needs, ensures that even the most fragile preterm infants have the foundation for positive long-term outcomes. Bishara has been awarded the first Sunnybrook Breastfeeding Centre of Excellence Research Fellowship.

Endowed Health Professions Chair in Women and Babies Patient-Oriented Research

Generating and translating knowledge to improve health outcomes through evidence-informed care

The endowed Chair in Women and Babies Patient-Oriented Research will be held by a nursing or allied health scientist who will develop and sustain a new, innovative and productive program of research focused on improving the care of women experiencing high-risk pregnancy complications and their premature or ill babies.

The focus of this research chair draws heavily on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s national strategy for patient-oriented research, which is aimed at improving health outcomes through evidence-informed care. This relatively new focus of patient-oriented research includes a higher level of engagement of the woman and family in the clinical research and knowledge translation process. Improved health decision-making and clinical outcomes are key to this approach.

The chair will be a strategic addition to Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) and will work closely with the Waks Family Chair in Maternal-Fetal Medicine Research, Dr. Jon Barrett, who is also director of the Women & Babies Research Program at SRI. The chair will be affiliated with the University of Toronto through the relevant faculty department; and it will provide local, national and international leadership in the synthesis, dissemination and integration of new knowledge into the health care system and clinical practice. The chair will also have an opportunity to engage with students at the undergraduate, masters, PhD and postdoctoral levels.

The creation of this role will contribute to the achievement of Sunnybrook’s practice-based research and innovation strategic plan focused on providing opportunities for all health professionals to engage in research to improve practice. The chair will be recognized as a leader within the organization and will have the opportunity to work with inter-professional care teams to lead, develop and support clinically focused research to enable Sunnybrook’s vision of inventing the future of health care.

Health Professions Chair in Women and Babies Patient-Oriented Research

Endowed $4 million
10-year limited term $2 million
5-year limited term $1 million

If you have any questions about the chair in Women and Babies Patient-Oriented Research, contact:

Jessica Carn
Advancement director
Sunnybrook Foundation
Phone: 416-480-4560
Email: jessica.carn@sunnybrook.ca

Lisa Di Prospero
Interim director practice-based research and innovation
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 416-480-6100, ext. 89513
Email: lisa.diprospero@sunnybrook.ca

Clare Olmstead
Advancement director
Women & Babies Program
Sunnybrook Foundation
Phone: 416-480-6100, ext.83639
Email: clare.olmstead@sunnybrook.ca

Dr. Jo Watson
Operations director, nurse practitioner
Women & Babies Program
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 416-480-6100, ext. 87769
Email: jo.watson@sunnybrook.ca

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