2020 Report on Education
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Patient as educator

Tamara Harth.
Tamara Harth,
Program Manager, Patient & Family Education

The goal of Patient as Educator is to become the standard of practice in learner development, patient education, and education research activities.

This past year, we: 

  • Completed our first year of Humanism in Surgery patient as teacher curriculum for medical students in their surgical rotation in collaboration with St. Michael’s Hospital and University Health Network;
  • Offered Patient as Educator initiatives in the following programs:
    • DAN Women & Babies Program
    • Holland Bone & Joint Program
    • Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program
    • Integrated Community Program
    • Odette Cancer Program
    • Schulich Heart Program
    • St. John’s Rehab Program
    • Tory Trauma Program
    • Veterans Program
  • Launched our inaugural Patient as Educator workshop in November 2019;
  • Defined Patient as Educator metric; and
  • Began collecting Patient as Educator data across Sunnybrook.
Amy Wainwright.
Amy Wainwright,
Manager, Rehab & Bone and Joint Program Development, Holland Centre Rehab Services

We envision for Patient as Educator:

  1. Creating six patient narratives to use as a teaching tool and inspiration for other programs;
  2. Increasing the number of patient as teachers at Sunnybrook by 15%;
  3. Collecting and profiling Patient as Educator data to demonstrate the reach and value of patient teachers in improving the quality of patient experience at Sunnybrook; and
  4. Integrating patient educators into curriculum development, interprofessional teams and system quality improvement.

Patient Educators by the numbers

July 2018 – Sept 2019 # of patient educators # of patients reached # of staff/patients reached # of other learners reached (i.e., residents, social work students, etc.)

Total - All Programs

470 17,106 121 1,215
DAN Women & Babies Program 185 1,499 36 451
Holland Bone & Joint Program 4 605 6
Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program 43 670 32 205
Integrated Community Program 5 137
Odette Cancer Program 145 12,646
Schulich Heart Program 1 50 3 5
St. John’s Rehab Program 31
Tory Trauma Program 50 1,489 542
Veterans Program 6 10 50 6


Barbara Sloane. Barbara Sloane,

"Being able to see things now from both perspectives, the hospital’s and the patient’s, gives me a unique ability to help those who come to Odette for treatment. I’m able to understand the patients’ and their caregivers’ motivation and concerns, I’m able to bring tempered enthusiasm to my interactions with them, and I’m able to help them in a very practical way to get to where they need to be, answer their basic questions and bring some calm to what can be a stressful time for them.”

Paul Taylor. Paul Taylor,
Family Advisor

Paul’s journey through Ontario’s health care system started in 2008 when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease). Following a two-month stay in acute care, Paul spent another month at St. John’s Rehab. He says his journey motivated him to give back to the institutions and people who both saved and restored his life. Today, Paul is a volunteer patient advisor who facilitates group education sessions for clinicians and students about providing person-centred care. “My experience makes (person-centred care) real for the people I teach,” says Paul. “At the same time, I can reinforce to them the positive difference they are all making in the lives of their patients.”

Ophelia Kwake. Ophelia Kwake,
Family Advisor

Ophelia gave birth to her son 15 weeks early. He weighed 780 grams when he was born and stayed at Sunnybrook for almost four months while he battled infections and pneumonia. Now, Ophelia’s journey in the NICU inspires hope in other families. As a breastfeeding peer counsellor at Sunnybrook, Ophelia spends her days chatting with women about their challenges and encouraging them to pump breast milk. She organizes weekly mom-to-mom lunches and walks, telling other moms about Emmanuel – now a healthy, energetic 8-year-old. “When they see or hear about my son and I tell them my story, they feel like their child will be okay too.”