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A Message from our Vice-President, Education

Strategic Education Plan 2020-2023 infographic.Click image to enlargen.

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  1. Learner Experience & Culture: Learners state they are valued and supported throughout their placement.
  2. Team-Based Learning: Team members from diverse professions, roles and organizations work to their full potential through interactive learning and simulation within a postitive, culturally safe environment. 
  3. Patient as Educator: We will partner with patients and families so we can include their experiences and perspectives in all teaching and learning. 
  4. Life-Long Learning: We will support the career-long personal and professional growth of our employees and physicians. 
  5. Education Research & Scholarship: Education research and scholarship will be enhanced to improve learner, teacher and patient experiences and outcomes.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes.


I am delighted to share the new 2020-2023 Sunnybrook Education Strategic Plan.

Our new Sunnybrook Education Strategic Plan arrives during the COVID-19 pandemic, a catastrophic and cataclysmic event which has shaken our health care system and global economy and profoundly disrupted the way we live and work. COVID-19 continues to be the grand challenge of medical science and health-care delivery. It has also exposed the stark social inequities in health and health care. In addition, recent global anti-racism movements have turned our focus – and rightfully so – on structural racism and institutional violence against Black, Indigenous and other people of colour, and mobilized medical and health profession faculties and hospitals to newly commit to anti-racism and justice. Although all of us yearn for a return to normal, as the writer and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee noted, “a resumption of normality would signal a failure to learn.” We need to contemplate not a resumption of normal but a revision in how we deliver health care. We also need to consider the pivotal role that education can play in that health care change process.

Beginning in the fall of 2019, our new Education Strategic Plan was developed over a six-month period. The extensive engagement process involved nine workshops and one retreat attended by 112 Sunnybrook staff as well as a broad set of stakeholders including representatives from peer TAHSN hospitals, University of Toronto health faculty members, patients and learners.

It is an interesting time to be undertaking strategic planning. Our health care and education systems are undergoing significant transformation. Inflections in areas like telehealth and virtual learning, which have been anticipated for the coming decade, have now unfolded over the course of a few weeks. Significant attention is being paid to diversity, equity, inclusion and systemic racism and oppression. Our plan is responsive to these trends, leveraging our current strengths and achievements, including our focus on relationship building. In addition, given how much remains unknown and unknowable, we have developed a rigorous monitoring and review process to support us in being proactive and responsive to emerging opportunities or threats.

I am deeply grateful for the time and contributions of our Strategic Direction leaders and committee members, our Education Coordinator & Events Manager and our consultant, Jane Cooke-Lauder of Bataleur Enterprises, who provided us with wise direction and oversight during this complex process.

Although we are challenged by COVID-19, I am excited by our collective potential to advance education at Sunnybrook and beyond over the next three years.

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