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Announcing the 2020 Sunnybrook Excellence in Education Awards

July 28, 2020

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The 2020 Sunnybrook Excellence in Education Awards honours 10 champions of education.

The Excellence in Education Awards are designed to recognize the education achievements of Sunnybrook’s staff, physicians or volunteers, and their passion for teaching and learning.

“The soul of education is our teachers. Our award recipients have gone above and beyond to build and empower future generations of health care,” says Dr. Ari Zaretsky, Vice President of Education. “Their passion and dedication make Sunnybrook the world-renowned academic health sciences centre that it is today.”

Congratulations to all of the 2020 Sunnybrook Excellence in Education Award recipients and all those who were nominated.

The Allan Knight Lifetime Achievement in Teaching Award

Dr. Jeffrey Gollish

Dr. Jeffrey Gollish.

Dr. Jeffrey Gollish, orthopaedic surgeon and medical director for the Holland Bone & Joint Program, is a prized educator who has developed a reputation over his 30-year career as a dedicated teacher and mentor whose “high standards, attention to detail, and pursuit of excellence have made him a role model to all.”

Dr. Gollish’s teaching extends beyond orthopaedic surgery with a genuine interest in the education of the entire inter-professional health team. Few of his many successes include championing the development of new roles such as the Registered Nurse First Assistants and Advanced Practice Physiotherapists (APP), and implementing a team-based model of care for musculoskeletal specialty clinics. The model of care, known as Rapid Access Clinics, “quickly evolved into an award-winning program, streamlining and improving care for patients from referral to treatment,” says his nominators. In 2017, the model of care was rolled out across Ontario, with now 54 Rapid Access Clinics and over 100 physiotherapists stepping into the advanced practice role.

“Without hesitation, Dr. Gollish saw an opportunity for innovation and improving care through the development of others; he saw an opportunity to release new capacity in health care,” says one nominator.

Dr. Gollish has held appointments across the system, including: Clinical Advisor to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Musculoskeletal Care Strategy, Health Quality Ontario Expert Panels, and the Toronto Central LHIN Orthopaedic Steering Committee.


Teaching Award

Dr. Kaif Pardhan

Dr. Kaif Pardhan

Dr. Kaif Pardhan is an emergency medicine physician and acclaimed by his nominators as an “exceptional teacher, leader and scholar” for undergraduate medicine, postgraduate residency and continuing professional development.

Dr. Pardhan challenges students to step outside of their comfort zone, encouraging them to re-examine their perspectives of the learning process: “He effectively flipped the classroom, and encouraged us to work through problems together, highlighting areas where we were on track, re-directing us when we were off course and encouraging us to generate our own ground-up approach to problem solving.” The nominator adds that his teaching provided an example for “effective, safe, team-based clinical environments” for their future in medicine.

Dr. Pardhan has received numerous awards for his teaching, including the Outstanding Clinical Teaching award by the University of Toronto Emergency Medicine Residency Program in 2018 and the Postgraduate Teaching Award: McMaster University Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine in 2017.


The Student Experience Award

Dr. Marlene Taube-Schiff

Dr. Marlene Taube-Schiff

Dr. Marlene Taube-Schiff, psychologist at the Frederick W. Thompson Anxiety Disorders Centre, is described by her nominators as a knowledgeable, approachable, empathic, and supportive supervisor who goes above and beyond to ensure her students feel valued.

“She makes it clear that their opinions matter as she encourages them to actively participate in staff meetings and clinical decision-making,” says one nominator.

“Students who are fortunate enough to work with Dr. Taube-Schiff learn quickly that they are part of a valued team, that they will always be encouraged to ask questions (no matter how apparently small), and that they are empowered to search for knowledge and answers to their own questions while always having high-quality consultation readily available,” says another nominator. “She listens with a genuine, curious, and open stance, which cultivates an atmosphere of comfort and trust with her students.”


Educating Sunnybrook Award

Estella Tse

Estella Tse

Estella Tse has been an occupational therapist at Sunnybrook since 1989 and currently works in the Tory Trauma Program on C5. She is described by her peers and learners as a mentor, role model, and their biggest fan.

Known for her “legendary analogies,” Estella takes complicated concepts and explains them in ways that makes sense to those who listen, regardless of their profession or role. She is part of the teaching faculty for psychological safety and the Teaching and Learning for Collaboration series run through Organizational Development & Leadership, receiving countless accolades for being sensitive to the needs of interprofessional learners.

Her teaching excellence shines through those who had her as their preceptor and gone on to do practiced-based research fellowships, patient education improvements and collaborations with provincial agencies. Nominators say, “Working alongside Estella has exposed me to the gold standard for what constitutes an educator.”

Bev Waite

Bev Waite

Nursing education lead Bev Waite is described by her nominators as having a “lifelong enthusiasm for teaching and learning, a remarkable aptitude for mentoring, a commitment to providing ongoing development opportunities for staff and learners, and a collaborative nature.”

In her more than 30 years at Sunnybrook, she has excelled in a variety of diverse and progressive education and leadership roles and at the very heart of her professional life is her love of teaching.

For the past six years, Bev has been the co-lead for the Developing Nurse Leaders Program to provide an opportunity for experienced nurses to take on a new leadership role and acquire the knowledge and skills required to supervise students in a clinical setting.


Education Beyond Sunnybrook Award

Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn

Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn

Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn is a plastic surgeon and professor who in 2015 decided to use his knowledge, skills and time to run humanitarian aid missions in Ukraine. At first, his mission was to provide consultation and surgical reconstruction to patients with traumatic defects and who otherwise would not receive treatment. But as time went on, Dr. Antonyshyn and his team realized the value of providing education and training to local surgeons and medical professionals. To date, he has headed seven successful medical missions and, in collaboration with Sunnybrook and the University of Toronto, launched a surgical education and training partnership (Ukraine Surgical Educational and Training Partnership) with three medical centres in Ukraine.

“Dr. Antonyshyn does not only promote lifelong learning, but he inspires others to become mentors and teachers,” says one nominator. Others agree he is a “surgical educator, a community builder, and a leader.”


Innovative Curriculum Award

Dr. Tina Bhandari

Dr. Tina Bhandari

Dr. Tina Bhandari, emergency medicine physician, developed an advanced ultrasound curriculum that has since become a core competency rotation for all University of Toronto Emergency Medicine Residents. The curriculum includes flipped classroom lectures, online worksheets, supervised scanning sessions at multiple sites (including pediatrics), scholarly presentations, self-scanning, and the opportunity to teach basic ultrasound skills to junior learners.

“This rotation fills a major gap in Emergency Medicine education by providing hands on training for what is becoming an essential skill for emergency medicine practitioners,” says one nominator.

Since its implementation in 2014, word spread quickly about the value of the rotation and has since received applications from programs beyond emergency medicine (e.g. internal medicine, anesthesia) across Canada and the USA.


Patient & Family Education Award

Jill Zweig

For Jill Zweig, diabetes educator and registered dietitian with Sunnybrook’s Academic Family Health Team, patients and their needs are at the centre of individual and group diabetes education sessions. Each session begins with the question, “What do you want to get out of today’s session?” When patients are unsure what they want to discuss, Jill walks patients through goal setting to help guide education in a way that is meaningful to them. As a result, nominators report improvements in patient confidence, blood work and overall health.


Educational Research Award

Dr. Lesley Gotlib Conn

Dr. Lesley Gotlib Conn

Dr. Lesley Gotlib Conn, scientist in the Tory Trauma Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI), is described as a “passionate researcher who demonstrates a commitment to undertaking clinically meaningful and impactful education research.”

Since joining Sunnybrook in 2013, Dr. Gotlib Conn has collaborated on eight SEAC-funded Education Research and Scholarship Grants (total funding value over $70,000), three of which she has led as primary investigator. Throughout her career, she has published over 54 papers, ranging in topics from examining burnout among surgical trainees to exploring quality improvement learning in trauma to enhancing interprofessional team collaboration.


Team-Based Interprofessional Teaching Award

Dr. Nicole Kester-Greene

Dr. Nicole Kester-Greene

Dr. Nicole Kester-Greene, emergency department physician, has been the co-lead of simulation for the emergency department since 2013. In the past seven years, she has developed curriculum on the handover between the emergency department and teams such as trauma or NICU, in order to improve communication during high-stakes patient care. Her work has led to revisions of the code pink cart to improve access to equipment used during neonatal resuscitation, as well as changes in difficult airway algorithms and equipment used by the trauma team in clinical practice.

As part of her programming, she developed a “3 simple pauses” approach to communication – “a simple technique to clearer, more effective and timely communication that allows the team to maintain situational awareness and a shared mental model,” explains one nominator.

The program currently includes 16 interprofessional, interdisciplinary staff simulations involving approximately 110–140 learners in the last year.