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Exploring Institutional Membership with Sunnybrook Health Sciences

We had the opportunity to connect with members of the annual Sunnybrook Education Conference planning committee (Ari Zaretsky, Elizabeth McLaney, Lisa Di Prospero, Agnes Ryzynski, and Christopher Townsend) to discuss their planning to date and joining the CFD this academic year as an Institutional Member.

Q: Can you share with us the theme of your upcoming Sunnybrook Education Conference, and what our community can expect?

The theme of our upcoming Sunnybrook Education Conference is: “Coaching to Enhance Clinical Teaching”. For too long, health and medical education have focused on identifying and remediating deficits in supervisors. Coaching supervisors is a very different approach, emphasizing appreciative inquiry, positive psychology and learner determined learning. This approach has powerful applications in many diverse learning environments. Our Sunnybrook Annual Education Conference has attracted over 200 learners every year since 2012. We are excited that after a four year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are finally back in person! Participants at this year’s conference can expect lively in-person conversations and the opportunity to learn from outstanding educators in highly interactive workshops that emphasize practical skill acquisition.

Q: Where can people go to register and learn more about the Sunnybrook Education Conference?

People can learn more and register for the Sunnybrook Education Conference through this link.

We expect that the conference will be a fully accredited educational event such that if relevant, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and College of Family Physicians of Canada Maintenance of Certification credits will be offered to all participants.

Q: How do you see the role of coaching in clinical teaching evolving?

For too long healthcare education has applied the same approach to supervision of teachers as it would to treatment of diseases: a deficit model in which weaknesses are to be identified and then remediated. Coaching is an exciting new approach that is borrows concepts and techniques from appreciative inquiry, positive psychology, solution-focused psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy to create the ultimate learner-centred education: an approach to learning that is actually determined by the learner themselves.

Q: What is something happening at Sunnybrook within the Education portfolio that you are particularly proud of?

Our Education portfolio at Sunnybrook has recently gone through an exciting Strategic Plan refresh for 2023-2026. We continue to emphasize our 5 Strategic Directions: 1) Learner Experience and Culture 2) Team-Based Learning 3) Patient as Educator 4) Lifelong Learning and 5) Education Research and Scholarship. However, our strategic plan refresh focuses on a number of discrete initiatives that will be aligned with these 5 Strategic Directions. We will emphasize greater measurement and frequency of measurement for all of our strategic directions and will show them on our corporate dashboard to enhance Education profile and accountability. We also intend to spearhead new approaches for teaching and learning with patients and families by engaging them in providing formative feedback to our learners. In addition, we will strengthen our capacity and capability for micro-teaching and micro-learning. We will also enhance career progression, employee satisfaction and life-long learning through specialty training and certification. And finally, we will also strengthen the capacity and capability for education research conducted by our front-line clinicians.

Q: Sunnybrook recently became an Institutional Member at the CFD.  What does this continued collaboration and connection with the CFD mean to you?

Collaboration with the Centre for Faculty Development has been an integral part of Sunnybrook Education’s success in developing high performing teams and delivering team-based education. For the last decade, our Sunnybrook Education Conference has also been enhanced by our close collaboration with the CFD.

Q: Many of you have had past and ongoing connections to the CFD, having graduated from a number of the CFD’s longitudinal programs. As you reflect back on these learning experiences, what continues to stay with you in your current work/roles from your time participating in these CFD programs?

Ari: On a personal level, as one of the graduates of the inaugural Education Scholars Program 2004-2006, I view that experience as a launching pad for my transformation into a clinician educator. My academic success and my ability to take on exciting leadership roles was made possible by the training, the human connections and the networks that I developed at the CFD.

Indeed many members of our planning committee have been graduates of CFD programs.  It has been powerful becoming part of a community of educators and building a network across TAHSN (and beyond) is something graduates carry forward. This why it was important for Sunnybrook to formalize this connection as institutional members this year –to ensure even more access for our community.

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