2020 Report on Education
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Message from our Vice President, Education

Dr. Ari Zaretzky.Education is foundational to Sunnybrook’s core mission: inventing the future of health care. Being an outstanding learning organization is one of the main reasons why Sunnybrook continues to be recognized as one of the top employers in Canada. We are proud to be the destination for 5,271 learners from approximately 45 health disciplines and 93 countries. Our aspirational vision is to be the destination of choice, a magnet, for all health professional learners in Toronto.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought into clear focus the critical need for us to constantly adapt to change. In a crisis like COVID-19, staff and learners alike depend on high quality, nimble, personalized education and training in order to thrive not only clinically and academically but also emotionally.

Over the last three years, we have achieved success that we can be proud of and this will provide us with a firm foundation as we contemplate our exciting new 2020-2023 Education Strategic Plan in a new learning environment. In the last year, we have completed our 2017-2020 education strategic plan that focused on enhancing the use of patients as educators, expanding team-based learning, enhancing the learner experience including learner wellness, and building capacity for education research and novel curriculum development.

Our partnership with patients has expanded across all of the nine clinical programs and to date we have had 470 patient educators who have educated more than 17,000 Sunnybrook patients and families about disease management. The voice of the patient and their eloquent and evocative individual stories has also educated thousands of students and staff thereby enhancing the compassion of our staff and our learners. These patient stories can also inspire hope in other patients and can increase the resilience of both our patients and our staff who derive meaning in the work they do through the education that is provided.

Last year we embarked on utilizing a structured selfassessment tool that evaluates the performance of our teams and aids in promoting self-reflection. These 39 Sunnybrook team assessments have helped us to identify opportunities to improve communication skills, role clarity, conflict management and capacity for self-reflection. We have preliminary data to suggest that these team assessments are indeed having an impact on how our students and patients perceive their experience at Sunnybrook. In addition, our Sunnybrook Simulation Centre has trained almost 3,100 student, staff, and physician learners and has received national media attention for its involvement in trauma simulation.

Using data from the TAHSNe Student Experience Survey, our Student Experience Committee has assisted our Sunnybrook teachers and preceptors to provide the most optimal experience possible. Special emphasis has also been placed on understanding the Sunnybrook teacher/preceptor experience and sharing best practices. In addition, we have been devoting increased attention to Sunnybrook learner wellness and have created an innovative and seamless way for Sunnybrook residents and clinical fellows in distress to access mental health assistance at Sunnybrook through self-referral. We have also enhanced our website so that all learners in distress can report concerns that can be acted on.

The Sunnybrook Education Research Unit champions education research at Sunnybrook and continues to work closely in alignment with Sunnybrook’s Practice-Based Research and Innovation (PBRI). This past year, we awarded $62,000 in education research seed grant funding to eight interprofessional teams. We intend to significantly enhance capacity for education research through our new recruit, Dr. Csilla Kalocsai, an education scientist affiliated with the Wilson Centre. Dr. Kalocsai is our inaugural Professor in education research and was recruited through a generous gift to the Sunnybrook Foundation of $5,000,000 from the Sunnybrook Academic Clinicians Management Services.

Ultimately, the soul of education is our teachers. I would like to thank all of our teachers, supervisors, preceptors, instructors and staff who educate our learners, patients and families. Without your passion and dedication, Sunnybrook could not be the worldrenowned academic health sciences centre that it is. Enjoy reading the report!

If you have any questions, I welcome them at education@sunnybrook.ca.

Ari Zaretsky, MD, FRCPC
Vice President, Education
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre