Dr. Natalie Coburn performing surgery
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About the Surgical Practices and Research Collaborative (SPaRC) group

The Surgical Practices and Research Collaborative (SPaRC) group at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre aims to synthesize and disseminate evidence-based practices and research in surgery. We focus on evaluating and improving surgical care and patient outcomes through innovative health services, clinical trials and population-based research. As a multi-disciplinary research program, our scope of research encompasses a wide range of specialties with a primary focus on the care of surgical and critically ill patients.

Our team is composed of internationally recognized physicians, fellows, residents, scientists and students committed to advancing processes of care, surgical outcomes and survival, and the quality of life in patients. SPaRC fosters interdisciplinary learning and collaboration among experts and trainees and provides an opportunity for members to learn and engage on varied research topics through weekly rounds.

SPaRC was established in 2011 and was founded by the surgical oncologists and clinicians at the Odette Cancer Centre. Currently, this program is led by Dr. Natalie Coburn, a surgical oncologist at Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre and a senior scientist at Sunnybrook’s Research Institute, as well as a resident chair. Our current resident chair is Dr. Doulia Hamad, a general surgery resident and graduate student in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation of the University of Toronto.

Areas of research

Our research activity is centered on the following:

  • Health services and population-based research
  • Clinical trials in surgical oncology
  • Surgical outcomes and survival for hepato-pancreato-biliary and upper gastrointestinal cancers
  • Long-term outcomes and quality of life in cancer and trauma patients
  • Quality standards in the processes of care for surgical oncology and trauma surgery
  • Quality in trauma systems and emergency surgical care
  • Care of older adults in emergency and trauma surgical care
  • Access to surgical care


  • Odette Cancer Centre
  • Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences
  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research
  • Ontario Health - Cancer Care Ontario
  • University of Toronto