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2021/2022 Education Research & Scholarship Grant Recipients

May 24, 2022


The Sunnybrook Education Research Unit (ERU) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021/2022 Research Grants. Following a rigorous selection process, five research teams were successful in being awarded funding for two years to complete their research. The interprofessional teams are exploring a variety of innovative and important research questions focused on enhancing the impact of education on the care and experience we provide our patients and families.

Since 2013, the ERU has funded over 50 interprofessional research teams in their efforts focused on patient, student, and post-licensure clinician education. The successfully funded studies focused on our strategic priorities of Patient as Educator, High Performing Teams, Simulation, and Education, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI).

The 2021/2022 Education Research & Scholarship Grant recipients are:

Mikki Campbell.

Mikki Campbell
Co-Investigators: Kelly Skinner and Sarah Sousa
Title: “Prospective Evaluation of Retention and Recruitment Professional Development Programs: Building Evaluation Capacity through Co-design of Formal Evaluation Plans”

Dini Hui and team.

Dini Hui
Fahad Alam, Noor Ladhani, Richard Pittini, and Aimee Santoro
Title: “Female Pelvic Examination Training and Assessment via an Augmented Reality System: A pilot study with system development and evaluation of its utility as a teaching tool”

About »

One of the first steps in preparing medical students for their careers as physicians in medical school is teaching clinical skills. The female pelvic examination represents a critical clinical skill as it is useful in detecting a variety of pathologies. The pelvic examination represents an especially sensitive physical examination skill that historically has been difficult to learn and teach. Traditional teaching methods for the pelvic examination include teaching on mannequins, as well as teaching via Gynecologic Teaching Associates (trained, ‘professional’ patients). With the recent dissolution of Gynecologic Teaching Associate-led programs previously used for teaching undergraduate medical students, training prior to clinical rotations has been limited to practice on mannequins, whose effectiveness at teaching has been sub-par. This has raised the possibility of exploring more innovative ways to teach the pelvic examination effectively. Our study aims to fill this gap through the development of an Augmented Reality system to be used in conjunction with mannequins to address the problem of lack of visualization via Augmented Reality, and to evaluate its utility as a teaching tool.

Csilla Kalocsai.

Csilla Kalocsai
Mireille Norris and Ayelet Kuper
Title: “The Possibilities and Limits of Anti-Racism Education and Praxis in Academic Health Sciences Centres”

About »

The proposed study complements a bigger participatory research study in which we partner with Sunnybrook’s President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) and other racialized and equity-seeking Sunnybrook workers to understand the possibilities and limits of anti-racism education in an academic hospital in a Canadian settler colonial context. In the present study our objective is to use a novel digital storytelling method to explore the reception of anti-racism education and identify the perspectives and experiences that anti-racism education and praxis might exclude at Sunnybrook. The findings will inform the creation of a sustainable anti-racism agenda and recommendations to extend the possibilities of anti-racism education in the hospital and beyond.

Robyn Moxley.

Robyn Moxley
Co-Investigators: Karen Fleming and Katherine Stead
Title: “2SLGBTQ+ Affirming Pregnancy Care: Training for family practice residents and faculty”

About »

The 2SLGBTQ+ childbearing community reports insensitivity from obstetrical care providers. However, providers themselves often do not perceive any problems with their care of this community. 2SLGBTQ+-focused education of obstetrical care providers can increase competency and allow providers to be affirming to diverse sexual and gender identities. This project will include the development of an academic half-day as well as asynchronous content (a podcast) to address the attitudes of family medicine residents toward 2SLGBTQ+ childbearing patients, and encourage the use of inclusive language. Principles-Focused Evaluation is used to determine if the principles are leading to the desired results (Patton, 2018). The principles of integrated anti-oppression, as described by the Rainbow Health Network, will be used to recognize socially constructed hierarchy in society, and the complex identities of individuals (2017).

Ahtsham Niazi and team.

Ahtsham Niazi
Co-Investigators: Fahad Alam, Kyle Wilcocks, and Stephen Choi
Title: “Remote Immersive Virtual Reality (RIVR) Teaching: Use in ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia procedural skills acquisition”

About »

The use of ultrasound in regional anesthesia has many advantages but requires the acquisition of new technical skills. These skills are complex and not attained by didactic teaching alone and require hands on practice. Most physicians do not have access to specialized hands on teaching and we are studying methods of remote teaching by which these skills can be taught to them in their familiar environment without the need for them to take time off or travel long distances. This would be beneficial in Canada’s rural areas where the need of ultrasound guided regional anesthesia teaching and coaching is required. If our methods are successful we can extend our teaching to train anesthesiologists around the world who do not have access to specialized training.

This is the first study looking at using immersive virtual reality to teach ultrasound guided regional anesthesia remotely. With the advent of the pandemic, teaching has ventured from in person to virtual classrooms and remote teaching, however skill acquisition has still required one on one teaching. Immersive virtual reality, with the use of head mounted displays and 360-degree cameras the student and teacher are in direct communication as if they were in the same room. This allows this technology to teach skills remotely. With this form of technology it is possible to teach in remote areas in our country and also beyond our borders.

If our study is successful, we would be able to teach ultrasound guided regional anesthesia remotely. This will also allow us to mentor physicians in remote areas. Some of the barriers we perceive are technological such as broadband internet connectivity, failure of equipment and affordability and availability of equipment.

Inaugural joint ERU and AFP grant

In the 2021/22 funding year, the ERU was thrilled to partner with the AFP to co-fund an education research grant for $20,000. The goal of the grant is to promote innovation within education research. The research will focus on the education of clinicians, learners/trainees and/or patients. The purpose of the program is to support Sunnybrook’s goal to enhance education research and scholarship to improve learner, teacher, and patient experience and outcomes.

The inaugural recipient was Fahad Alam and his team for his work titled: “Simulation for Operating Room Ergonomics – The SORE Study: Creating an inter-disciplinary simulation curriculum for operating room ergonomics”.