We are thrilled to reveal the winners of the third annual Learner and Faculty Awards for Teaching Innovation.  

The awards, created by the office of the Vice-Dean, Education as part of the Faculty’s ongoing Proud to Teach campaign, recognize faculty members and learners who developed and implemented innovative teaching strategies that are learning- and learner-focused. 

“Congratulations to the winners of this year’s awards!” says Farhan Bhanji, MD, Vice-Dean, Education. “This year, we received more submissions than ever before, and the awards committee and I were truly impressed at the high quality of all the applicants’ ideas and strategies for educational excellence.”  

“Although selecting the final winners was a difficult choice, it was inspiring to learn more about the impactful and innovative contributions that so many are making to teaching, learning and education in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences,” he adds. “I am deeply grateful for the creativity and initiative of our educators and learners.” 

The winners of the awards were announced during Teacher Appreciation Week, which is celebrated in Quebec during the first week of February each year.   

Learner Award recipients 

The COMP team

Canadian Ophthalmology Mentorship Program (COMP) 

Recipients: Stuti (Misty) Tanya, MD, an ophthalmology resident, and Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen, a fourth-year medical student 

Project: Canadian Ophthalmology Mentorship Program (COMP), which connects Canadian medical students (mentees) and ophthalmology residents (mentors) to help build a nation-wide network of mentors and mentees in the landscape of Canadian ophthalmology training.  

In their own words: “We are honoured to be recipients of the Learner Award for Teaching Innovation, which recognizes COMP’s efforts in improving access to equitable mentorship opportunities for learners at McGill and beyond. Founded by and for trainees in ophthalmology at McGill University and other Canadian institutions, this grassroots initiative is an innovative and pragmatic response to reimagining mentorship in contemporary medical education. With this award, we will be able to sustain COMP and develop additional tools to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in ophthalmology.” – Stuti (Misty) Tanya, MD, Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen and the COMP team 

Jacob Sawa

A geriatric rotation for the emergency department 

Recipient: Jacob Sawa, MD, an emergency medicine resident  

Project: The creation of a four-week rotation curriculum for residents devoted to geriatric care in the emergency department.  

In his own words: “As the population continues to age, the complexity of care also increases. It is our hope that this novel Geriatric Emergency Medicine rotation will help to give medical residents additional experience and training to provide older-aged patients with the best care possible from the moment they step foot into the emergency department. It is a big honour to receive the Learner Award for Teaching Innovation and to contribute to the growing world of Geriatric Medicine as a whole. Thank you so much!” – Jacob Sawa, MD 

10 members of the McGill iGEM team at the iGEM Grand Jamboree in Paris, France

McGill iGEM team   

Recipients: 17 undergraduate students from a range of health and basic science disciplines:
Jonathan Cheng (Biochemistry)
Elliott Cole (Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering)
Rylan Donohoe (Math and Computer Science)
Mysha Ibnat (Microbiology and Immunology)
Hyerin Kim (Biochemistry)
Jesse Lee (Biochemistry)
Anna Li (Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering)
Huilin Liang (Biology and Computer Science)
Stephen Lu (Biology and Computer Science)
Emily Martin (Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering)
Albert Nitu (Neuroscience)
Chandler Ochs (Biology and Computer Science)
Jade Tong (Biochemistry)
Dan Voicu (Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering
Hanwen Wang (Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering)
Huanyi Zhang (Biochemistry)
Jessica Zhu (Computer Science

Project: A completely student-led, extracurricular project, the McGill iGEM team has furthered synthetic biology education at McGill through various initiatives. Their activities include the ongoing development of a new course (MIMM/PHAR/BIOT 501: Introduction to Synthetic Biology) and a translational synthetic biology project investigating a proactive (early) probiotic to lower cholesterol. 

In their own words: “We are really excited to have been selected for this award, and are grateful to Codruta Ignea, PhD, and Lisa Münter, PhD, our academic advisors, who have helped us bring this initiative to where it is today. We are also thankful to Terence Hébert, PhD, Jasmin Chahal, PhD, and the many other professors who have supported us. Through our various educational initiatives, we aim to make science and synthetic biology more accessible to undergraduate students and give them the tools to enter this field and make a difference. Receiving this recognition is gratifying, but the McGill iGEM team’s end goal remains the same: to create opportunities for undergraduates in synthetic biology that will last well beyond our time here. We want to ensure that support is there for the next generation of students who want to push the boundaries of synthetic biology and education forward.” – Albert Nitu, Dan Voicu and the McGill iGEM team 

From left to right: Vivienne Tam, Christina Popescu, Adam Hassan and Charlotte Ouimet

Graduate Certificate in Translational Biomedical Science Research 

Learner recipients: Adam Hassan, PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, MDCM Class of 2026
Charlotte Ouimet, PhD candidate in Experimental Medicine with a specialization in Bioethics
Christina Popescu, a second-year medical student at the University of Alberta
Vivienne Tam, PhD candidate in Materials Engineering 

Project: The Graduate Certificate in Translational Biomedical Science Research is a 15-credit, 1.5-year certificate programfor any Master’s or PhD student in the STEM fields interested in complementing their graduate school training with translational science training. This program aims to introduce interested students to the more clinical aspects of translational work through medical-style coursework adapted for graduate students, mentorship and networking to foster much-needed collaboration between basic science researchers and clinicians.

In their own words: “We are highly honoured by this award and are so grateful for the recognition. This certificate is a passion project driven by student needs and interests. Therefore, seeing it evolve from our imaginations into an actual university program is incredibly meaningful. We hope it can inspire other students to pursue their ideas for improving education.” – Adam Hassan, PhD, Charlotte Ouimet, Christina Popescu and Vivienne Tam 

Matthew Ades

The development of an interprofessional crisis resource management simulation course 

Learner recipient: Matthew Ades, MDCM, resident in general internal medicine 

Project: Matthew was a co-lead on the development of the first interprofessional crisis resource management (CRM) simulation course. The course is the first of its kind at McGill that is designed by an interprofessional team of educators with the explicit intent of fostering and encouraging a culture that supports interprofessional collaboration.  

In his own words: “It is an honour to be recognized by the faculty with this award. This project was a team effort, and it has been a privilege to work with such a talented and dedicated team of individuals from multiple professions. We hope this project will serve as a success story to encourage interprofessional partnership between educators from different professions and foster collaborative educational environments within the hospital.” – Matthew Ades, MDCM 

Faculty Award recipients 

Mikaela Stiver, with the cranial nerve trading cards that she designed

The integration of gamification/serious games in anatomy education  

Recipient: Mikaela Stiver, PhD, Faculty Lecturer, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology 

Project: Prof. Stiver integrated gamification and serious games into ANAT 323 Clinical Neuroanatomy by creating Pokémon-inspired neuroanatomy trading cards to teach the 12 cranial nerves, as well as adapting popular games like HedBanz and Kahoot! to advance learning.  

In their own words: “I am tremendously honoured to receive the Faculty Award for Teaching Innovation this year. Game-based learning quickly became a core tenet of my teaching approach when I joined the Division of Anatomical Sciences in August 2021. Having been entrusted with a content-heavy course like Clinical Neuroanatomy, I saw the perfect opportunity to apply the principles of game-based learning as a way to mitigate ‘neuro-phobia’, increase motivation, and hopefully rekindle a genuine enjoyment for learning in my students. I am immensely grateful to my colleagues for providing support and encouragement, my community of game-based learning collaborators for being an ongoing source of inspiration and information, and my students for keeping me on my toes and reminding me why I truly love teaching.” – Mikaela Stiver, PhD  

Mylène Arsenault

The integration of blended learning into family medicine 

Recipient: Mylène Arsenault, MDCM, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine 

Project: Teaching telemedicine using a blended learning approach.  

In her own words: The pandemic was a catalyst for the rapid implementation of virtual care worldwide. Using a blended learning approach to teach this new care modality was instrumental to disseminate knowledge quickly to help clinicians provide telemedicine safely. The online interactive module transfers important knowledge to participants and the subsequent case simulation activity in small groups consolidates learning and ensures the human connection does not get lost in translation. It is an honour to be a recipient of this award and I look forward to further pursuing educational projects that integrate technology to fulfill learners’ needs.” – Mylène Arsenault, MDCM 

Fatma Zaguia and Mash Darvish

McGill Academic Surgical Hub 

Recipient: Fatma Zaguia, MDCM, Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences 

Project: The development of the McGill Academic Surgical Hub, an application and web-based portal to help with teaching cataract surgery 

In her own words: “It is a great honour to receive the Faculty Award for Teaching Innovation. After three years of development and beta testing, we are so excited to roll out our new app for the 2022-23 academic year. Historically, the teaching of cataract surgery has been a difficult procedure for residency programs to measure and give accurate feedback on for multiple reasons. Alongside my colleague Mash Darvish, MDCM, we were able to develop a platform consisting of a smartphone application and a web-based portal that addresses these issues and takes teaching high volume, multi-part surgeries into the Competency by Design (CBD) era. We truly believe this platform will allow residency programs to implement CBD principals to complex high volume surgeries in an efficient and effective manner.” – Fatma Zaguia, MDCM 

From left to right: Ning-Zi Sun, Mathew Hannouche, Caroline White, Chantal Piché and Oxana Kapoustina

The development of an interprofessional crisis resource management simulation course
Faculty Recipients: Ning-Zi Sun, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Oxana Kapoustina, RN, Faculty Lecturer, Ingram School of Nursing
Mathew Hannouche, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Caroline White, RN, CHSE, Simulation Specialist Advisor, McGill University Health Centre
Chantal Piché, Technical Coordinator, Simulation Centre, McGill University Health Centre

Project: Alongside Matthew Ades, the faculty recipients developed an interprofessional crisis resource management (CRM) simulation course. It was the first such course at McGill that is designed by an interprofessional team of educators to foster and encourage a culture that supports interprofessional collaboration.  

In their own words: “We are honoured and excited to receive this award. We see the award as the Faculty affirming the value and importance of interprofessional training and pushing it forward. We hope that this will inspire others to also create and lead projects that advance interprofessionalism.” – Ning-Zi Sun, MD and team  

Terence Hébert

Graduate Certificate in Translational Biomedical Science Research 

Faculty Recipient: Terence Hébert, PhD, Assistant Dean, Biomedical Science Education and Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics 

Project: Prof. Hébert supported a team of students in developing the Graduate Certificate in Translational Biomedical Science Research, a 15-credit, 1.5-year certificate programfor any Master’s or PhD student in the STEM fields interested in complementing their graduate school training with translational science training.

In his own words:An overarching concern that students felt was that we do not train science graduate students to be skilled at translating their research nor provide the infrastructure required to facilitate interdisciplinary communication,​ particularly between clinicians, clinician-scientists and scientists. This was an educational gap at McGill. A radical re-thinking of how we train the next generation of translational scientists produced in biomedical science graduate programs was imperative if we are to break down professional silos and facilitate the flow of innovation from bench to bedside and back. I am thrilled to be a part of this, thrilled to see such engaged student leaders crafting the future and I hope it leads to bigger things in the School of Biomedical Sciences.” – Terence Hébert, PhD