We are delighted to announce this year’s winners of the Learner and Faculty Awards for Teaching Innovation 

The awards, offered by Office of the Vice-Dean, Education, and announced during Quebec’s Teacher Appreciation Week, recognize innovative, effective and sustainable teaching strategies that have been shown to have a positive impact on learners and learning. 

“Congratulations to this year’s winners!” says Farhan Bhanji, MD, Vice-Dean, Education. “The awards committee and I were thrilled to see so many submissions from across our Faculty this year, and we are encouraged by the high quality of ideas and strategies from all of the applicants.” 

“Seeing the numerous contributions our faculty members and learners are making to learning, teaching and educational excellence has been inspiring,” he adds. “I am immensely grateful for their creativity and initiative.” 

Learner Awards 

Indigenous World Views on Health Delivery and Research 

Sidney Leggett (centre), with Josh Swain and Vivian Qiang

Recipient: Sidney Leggett, a 2022 McCall MacBain Scholar and a master’s student in Epidemiology & Biostatistics Project: Leggett, who is Métis from Manitoba, designed and launched, in collaboration with other Indigenous students, faculty and allies, Indigenous World Views on Health Delivery and Research, a single semester course open to graduate students in the School of Population and Global Health that aims to decolonize teaching about Indigenous health. Leggett is also a teaching assistant in the course, which is led by Indigenous instructors.  

In her own words: “This course was developed out of the advocacy work of many students at the School of Population and Global Health, and getting to work alongside students Josh Swain and Vivian Qiang to really bring it to life and show why it was so needed was extremely empowering. Getting our hard work and dedication to having Indigenous Health topics taught to students in our program recognized is so fulfilling. I hope to keep having opportunities to work alongside amazing students, staff and faculty to help SPGH grow into a safer and more inclusive space for Indigenous people.” 

Climate Wise Slides 

Owen Dan Luo

Recipient: Owen Dan Luo, MDCM, a first-year internal medicine resident

Project: Luo co-developed the Climate Wise Slides, a set of 45 open-access slides are designed to address barriers to teaching on planetary health in medical schools by weaving evidence-based, clinically actionable planetary health content into existing medical curricula. McGill University and the University of Calgary have implemented the Climate Wise slides, which have been published in Medical Teacher.  

In his own words: “Physicians are underprepared to practise in the climate crisis, which is the greatest threat to the current and future health of our patients and communities. This prompted me to work with my peers to develop the Climate Wise slides as a teaching tool to integrate planetary health topics into existing medical school lectures. It is an honour for the Climate Wise slides to be recognized by the Faculty with this award. We hope that our work encourages other learners and faculty to advance planetary health education in healthcare training programs.”

McGill Healthcare Management Case Competition 

From left to right: Julia Phillip, Shanti Gryte, Laurence Robert, Sébastien Lamarre-Tellier, Lauren Perlman, Saad Razzaq, Lucy Pu, Arielle Grossman.

Recipients: Medical students Saad Razzaq, Lauren Perlman, Lucy Pu and Sebastien Lamarre-Tellier (third year); Julia Phillipp and Shanti Gryte (fourth year); and Arielle Grossman and Laurence Robert (second year)

Project: The McGill Healthcare Management Case Competition (MHCC) invited teams of learners to identify solutions to help decrease the length of stay for older patients in the emergency department (ED) and/or to improve access to care for patients who left without being seen.  

In their own words: “The MHCC was inspired by areas for improvement in the UGME and PGME curriculum regarding collaboration amongst medical learners and physicians as well as exposure to teaching around healthcare management. Winning this award has given us momentum to build upon our ideas to develop medical education on healthcare management. We hope to tackle critical issues affecting the healthcare system each year, by uniting learners and licenced practitioners in other medical and surgical specialities and programs (e.g., nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, etc.) across the nation.”

A hands-on bioinformatics workshop for undergrads 

Michael Shamash

Recipient: Michael Shamash, a PhD candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology  

Project: Shamash initiated and organized a two-part workshop on bioinformatics – using software tools to understand biological data – for undergraduate students in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. The workshop gave students insights into hands-on preparation of sequence libraries of bacteriophage DNA and assembly of the sequenced DNA using bioinformatics. 

In his own words: “I am honoured to have been selected for the Learner Award for Teaching Innovation. Bioinformatics is becoming increasingly embedded in the life sciences. My motivation to develop these workshops stemmed from this as I wanted to create an opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct their own computational experiments and analyses using datasets I had previously generated.”

Faculty Awards 

A new assignment that exposes the uses and limitations of ChatGPT 

Jasmin Chahal

Recipient: Jasmin Chahal, PhD, Assistant Professor (Teaching), Department of Microbiology and Immunology 

Project: The assignment asked learners to evaluate ChatGPT-generated outputs and determine if the primary research articles listed by the artificial intelligence (AI) tool were reliable. It helped learners understand the theory behind some of the course’s laboratory experiments and encouraged them to evaluate the reliability of the articles cited by ChatGPT using PubMed and Google Scholar. Learners also reflected on how to best use ChatGPT and its weaknesses and strengths. 

In her own words: “I am very honoured and grateful to have been selected for this award. I want to thank Samantha Gruenheid, PhD, for nominating me and Armin Yazdani, PhD, for consulting on this assignment. I appreciate all the support and guidance I received when designing the assignment and when discussing further ideas about ChatGPT. I believe it is important to not shy away from using tools students have available to them and incorporate new ways of teaching. This ChatGPT assignment was designed to use AI as a tool in student learning. I look forward to integrating technology and AI into my courses and continuing to engage students in their learning.”

Foundations in Medical and Health Sciences Education elective 

Stuart Lubarsky (left) and Robert Sternszus (right)

Recipients: Stuart Lubarsky, MD, MHPE, Associate Professor of Neurology and Health Sciences Education, and Robert Sternszus, MDCM, MEd, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences Education 

Project: The Foundations in Medical and Health Sciences Education elective, offered by the Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE). 

In their own words: “The Foundations in Medical and Health Sciences Education elective was developed to respond to a need to expose medical students and residents to core principles of teaching, learning and scholarship in health sciences education (HSE). Our hope was to stimulate learners to pursue career paths in HSE, whether as clinician-educators, program directors/leads or researchers. In developing their group projects, our students have tackled a variety of bold, contemporary themes such as transgender and gender-diverse healthcare, precision medicine and environmental health. Many of our alumni continue to be actively involved in HSE and pursued master’s degrees and research projects in the field. We are extremely proud of this unique and innovative course and are grateful for the recognition provided by this award.”

Clinical anatomy modules that help learners build clinical reasoning skills 

Jordan Scholl

Recipient: Jordan Scholl, MSc, MHSc, (SLP) Reg., Course Developer, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders 

Project: The creation and implementation of a 14-module clinical anatomy program for graduate students in speech-language pathology. The modules are designed with clinical applications upfront and are intended to be applied alongside other graduate courses. They encourage independent, generative, clinical thought that prepares learners for their future as healthcare professionals.   

In his own words: “It was a pleasure to collaborate with several members of the faculty of SCSD to provide this innovative approach to learning anatomy to our students. This is the kind of learning I wish had been available to me in my own clinical studies. As a practicing speech-language pathologist, I have seen the value of integrating this approach to understanding anatomy into almost every aspect of my practice. It is my hope that through projects like this, we can continue to support future clinicians in entering their field with not only the information from the past, but the skills to confidently forge their own path towards the future.”

Jewish General Hospital Emergency Medicine Simulation Program

From left to right: Eleena Pearson, Haran Balendra, Kamy Apkarian, Errol Stern, Madelaine Yona, Arzu Chaudry.

Recipients: The following members of the Department of Emergency Medicine:
Errol Stern, MDCM, Associate Professor, Director, Jewish General Hospital Emergency Medicine Simulation Program and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine Simulation Education Committee
Kamy Apkarian, MDCM, Assistant Professor
Haran Balendra, MDCM, Assistant Professor and JGH Representative, Department of Emergency Medicine Simulation Education Committee
Arzu Chaudhry, MDCM, Assistant Professor
Eleena Pearson, MDCM, Faculty Lecturer
Madelaine Yona, MD, Assistant Professor 

Project: The Jewish General Hospital (JGH) Emergency Medicine Simulation Program created a hospital-based simulated space where Emergency Medicine (EM) residents, nurses and respiratory therapists learn to work together as a multidisciplinary team. All CCFP-EM and R3 FRCP-EM residents create and facilitate at least one simulation scenario based on a real case experience. They are assisted by JGH simulation educators with their scenario development and are taught debriefing techniques, fostering a collegial peer-to-peer learning environment. 

In their own words: “We are thrilled that our program has received this recognition. The simulation-based educational experience provides teams with a safe learning environment that is error-tolerant and where real patients are not at risk. It gives residents the chance to go through cases, learn from them, debrief and look at what could be done differently. Participants in the simulation room as well as observers are involved in the debriefing process led by their peers. As a result, participant, observer and facilitating resident-learners are equipped with increased knowledge and skills, and are better prepared to deal with unstable patients.”

Innovative anatomy teaching at Campus Outaouais 

Mina Zeroual

Recipient: Mina Zeroual, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology  

Project: Through her anatomy teaching in Campus Outaouais, Dr. Zeroual has ensured optimal learning for all her students.  

In her own words: “I am extremely honoured to receive a Faculty Award for Teaching Innovation this year. Thanks to the innovative teaching strategy that I have created and used since the creation of Campus Outaouais, I combine the useful with the enjoyable. I enable learners not only to learn anatomy, but also to develop their collaborative and professional skills while deepening their understanding of anatomy through clinical discussions and formative assessment at the end of each class. With the help of the healthy and respectful environment this strategy offers, students are highly motivated and engaged in their learning. For me, teaching anatomy is more than a job; it’s a joy, a pleasure and an ongoing passion – a passion that I can pass on to my students at Campus Outaouais. A big thank you to my colleagues and all those who supported me in receiving this award.”