2018 Report on Education
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Educational Scholarship

The goal of the Educational Scholarship priority is to build capacity for education research and scholarship that focuses on improving patient outcomes and learner experiences.

Education Research is applying research methodology to a question and/or area of inquiry related to health professional, trainee and patient education.

Education Scholarship refers to approaches in teaching and learning that advance the practice of teaching and contribute to the knowledge in a field of practice or across disciplines.

The two primary goals for 2018 were to build capacity and increase our profile through reach and influence within the domain of education research and scholarship. A number of intentional partnerships were co-created to reach these goals.

This past year, we aligned the Education Research Unit (ERU) with Practice-based Research & Innovation (PBRI) and have one director reporting to the Vice President, Education. By aligning both portfolios, we created an awareness and engagement for education research and appointed an associate director role.

The Education Research Unit Advisory Council (ERU-AC) was expanded to include representation from patients, families, community partners and health professional education researchers.

Education Research Unit Advisory Council Membership

Education research unit membership

Awareness and Engagement

The Education Research Rounds showcase education research both internally and externally to Sunnybrook and links directly to one of four priorities.

We conduct these rounds on a quarterly basis and invite both internal and external facilitators to present their work.

We have seen an increase in attendance both across professions as well as programs.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Attendees 11 28 10 14
Professions 7 15 8 10
Unique pageviews
Month 2017 2018
January 45 114
February 41 112
March 35 125
April 24 131
May 63 59
June 84 84
July 43
August 127
September 422*
October 260
November 324
December 151

* Increase in views is a result of the Call for Education Research & Scholarship Grant applications

“Excellent discussion with many thought-provoking questions!”

“Very useful ideas on how to garner foundation support.”

“An excellent presentation dealing with human behaviour and its effect on high performing teams and at the bottom line its effect on patient care. Great!”

“Great insight into how we teach in healthcare.”

NewSunnybrook Education Advisory Council (SEAC) Award

The Innovative Curriculum Award is a newly created award that recognizes an educator or team of educators who have designed and/or implemented teaching that is innovative with respect to planning/development, content, methods, delivery, and/or evaluation/assessment. The award recognizes “new, innovative, and creative” contributions to teaching and learning for students, staff, clinicians, patients and the community.

“The medical improv workshop was so inspirational and thought-provoking! It showed us, in a creative and fun way, that looking at a situation from a different perspective can change it from a negative outlook to a positive one.” Learner, Improv Workshop

NewERU-SRI Education Research Appointments Grid

The ERU-AC is the holder of and oversees the ERU Grid. The ERU-AC is responsible for reviewing and approving all applications for additions/revisions to the grid. The purpose of the ERU grid is to provide a way to systematically recognize all those involved in education research at Sunnybrook.

The primary appointment includes a staff or physician of Sunnybrook who has actively participated in educational research and scholarship by meeting at least two of the following criteria for over the last 3–4 years:

  • Primary Investigator (PI) or co-PI of an active Education Research and Scholarship Grant (ERSG) funded study
  • PI or co-PI of education research study or education quality improvement project
  • Presentation of education research or scholarship at a conference that implements a peer-review call for abstracts
  • Publication of one or more article in a scientific or peer-reviewed journal as a primary author or co-author within the last three years
  • Teaching (based on education scholarship definition) as a course director, co-course director, and/or curriculum developer
  • Curriculum development
  • Impact and influence
  • Graduate degree within education (not time sensitive)
  • University certificate courses in education (accredited) (not time sensitive)

26 Appointees

Breakdown of professions:

  • 11 Physicians
  • 1 Physician Assistant
  • 3 Radiation Therapists
  • 1 Assistant Professor
  • 2 Occupational Therapists
  • 1 Pharmacist
  • 1 Dietitian
  • 1 Speech-Language Pathologist
  • 1 Physiotherapist
  • 1 Sonographer
  • 1 Scientist

Breakdown of programs/departments:

  • 2 Emergency Medicine
  • 3 Internal Medicine
  • 5 Family Medicine
  • 2 Anaesthesia
  • 3 Radiation Oncology
  • 2 Medical Imaging
  • 1 Education
  • 1 Obstetrics
  • 1 Pharmacy
  • 1 Evaluative Clinical Sciences

“Receiving a Sunnybrook Education Research and Scholarship Grant has helped make a passion project a reality for our team. SEAC’s support was instrumental in catalyzing our project on the development of an audio podcast sharing the stories of patients and caregivers living with serious illness. Furthermore, the support I received through the Education Scholars Fund to attend a Wilson Centre Atelier on delivering outstanding presentations will have a positive impact on my teaching and academic work.” Dr. Giovanna Sirianni, Palliative Care Consultant Palliative Care Consult Team

Annual Education Research & Scholarship Grant

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to provide operating grants to facilitate education scholarship and research at Sunnybrook. The mandate for funds is to enable SEAC and its Education Research Unit to:

  • Build ongoing capacity
  • Raise the profile of education research and scholarship within Sunnybrook
  • Raise Sunnybrook’s profile with respect to education research and scholarship externally
  • Produce measurable markers of success

For the purpose of this funding, education is taken to include any phase in the training of clinicians (ranging from teaching students at all levels to facilitating continuing education and professional development) as well as the education of other hospital staff, patients, families and volunteers.

Here is a sample of the grants we funded:

  • “Educating Patients about Sleep Disorders after Stroke: A prospective study” - Dr. Mark Boulos
  • “Good Clinicians, Bad Outcomes: Understanding how physicians learn from unintended bad outcomes” - Dr. Heather Flett
  • “Development of an Intensive Training Certificate Course in OCD: Targeting skill acquisition and practice changes” - Dr. Peggy Richter

Education Research & Scholarship Grants

# of grant submissions Amount requested Amount granted # of teams
2013 27 $240K $60K 7
2014 18 152,367 43,450 7
2015 14 114K 65,384 8
2016 19 170K 53,283 6
2017 13 107K 39,755 7
2018 7* 55K 44K 5

*of the seven submissions received, six were being considered for Innovative Curriculum

In 2018, the call included funding streams for both innovative curriculum and simulation.

NewInaugural Joint Seed Grant: Non-Physician PI

Both internal and external funding to support education research and scholarship are limited. In recognizing this, the SEAC ERU created an education grant fund to support innovation in health education through research and scholarly study of practice-based education solutions in order to improve patient care. Since 2013, over $200,000 has been dedicated to support 31 projects across Sunnybrook.

Since its inaugural call, the grant competition has received a decrease in the number of applications from non-physician Primary Investigators.

Year Proposals Year Funded proposals
2013 - 2013 7
2014 - 2014 7
2015 14 2015 7
2016 19 2016 6
2017 12 2017 7

To address this gap, the ERU-AC formalized opportunities to further support, coach and mentor education research capacity of health professionals. In addition, we will be creating an intensive workshop that offers focused knowledge and skills for clinicians interested in education research and scholarship. The goal of this workshop is to foster best practices to support high quality research among Sunnybrook staff. The three hour workshop will focus on the intricacies of conducting education research with an expected January 2019 release date.

A dedicated funding stream was created in 2017 for non-physician-led education research.

The inaugural award was granted to the team of Brian Liszewski, Merrylee McGuffin, Krista Dawdy, Jason Oliver, and Lisa Di Prospero. The project entitled “Learning in 360 Degrees: The use of virtual reality for radiation therapy patient education.”

“The ‘Virtual’ Reality of Patient Education in Radiation Therapy The Situation: Radiotherapy treatment is a relatively unfamiliar treatment modality with the potential to cause patient anxiety. Treatment education is delivered using a combination of verbal and written formats. These teaching methods may not provide a full picture of the technical aspects of treatment for patients as they begin their radiation therapy journey. The inquiry: Can a 360 degree Virtual Reality (VR) video outlining the technical aspects of Radiation Therapy treatment add to traditional education methods and reduce patient anxiety. Impact: Partnering with patients to create a 360 degree virtual reality video from their point of view should increase their understanding of Radiation Treatment techniques. Partnering with patients and families provides opportunities to directly participate in the development of tools, improve the delivery and improve person-centred care.” - Brian Liszewski, Primary Investigator, SEAC Grant Recipient 2017

“Canada’s first Realities In Medicine Conference 2018 (#REALMx2018) showcased a variety of innovators developing new ways of improving patient outcomes and experience through the use of VR technology. This conference provided both inspiration and practical advice about everything from funding an idea to commercializing a product. Demonstrations and presentations from industry representatives revealed the capabilities of available technologies and provided a sneak peek at future developments. Panel discussions and networking sessions provided unique opportunities for collaboration and idea sharing. As an investigator embarking on a study that brings VR to the world of radiation therapy patient education, the expert advice and contacts are invaluable and will be used going forward in this and future research endeavours.” - Merrylee McGuffin, Research Radiation Therapist, Radiation Therapy

“Dr. Natalie Coburn and her team hosted North America’s First D2 gastrectomy course, through a collaborative effort between the Sunnybrook Research & Scholarship Grant, Toronto Central LHIN, CIHR and several industry partners. The event included a multi-disciplinary symposium, as well as a surgical skills lab. Drs. Taeshi Sano (Tokyo), Woo Jin Hyung (Seoul), and Roderich Schwarz (Indiana) served as international guest faculty." - Dr. Natalie Coburn, Surgical Oncologist

Education-Simulation Fellow

The need for dedicated time allocated to develop education research and scholarship is in high demand at Sunnybrook. The recent SEAC retreat identified this need as an opportunity to enhance academic productivity by dedicating time and resources to education research. The hiring of an education scientist and introducing an Education & Simulation Fellowship would provide an excellent complement to the more formal potential – the future role of scientist.

“I was the inaugural education fellow in the PBRI/TAHSNp fellowship program and had the opportunity to contribute to the quality of resident care in the Veterans Centre. The fellowship was a transformative experience, and allowed me to be mentored and also to lead through an innovative application of team-based simulation to promote high quality conversations at end-of-life. The fellowship program allowed me to see how goals and objectives of the education strategic plan can be supported by and beneficial to frontline clinicians.” - Jennifer Wong Speech-Language Pathologist Education & Simulation PBRI Fellow 2018

Master Class for Teachers with Stella Ng, PhD

As a joint initiative between the ERU and the Student Experience Committee, a Master Class for Teachers was offered during the 2017 Education Week. The session titled “Teaching for Critical Reflection: Why and how?” developed through discussions realizing that the best learners are a result of the best teachers — who continually craft their skills as educators. Our inaugural session delivered as part of Teacher Appreciation Day was overwhelmingly positive.

“Great insight into how we teach in healthcare & offers practical idea on implementing a different approach. I have found tone to be very helpful — especially making the patient human.”


“Great speaker. Made the complex a lot simpler. What she discussed really resonated with me and validated my own experiences and thoughts as a learner and educator.” Master Class Attendees

Master class by the numbers:

  • 31 registered
  • 23 attended 
  • 10 professions
  • 80% in favour of "Master Class" series