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Northern Constellations 2014

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In spite of a spring snow storm, a record number of NOSM faculty members converged on Thunder Bay for Northern Constellations 2014. The Third Annual Faculty Development Conference provided a wide variety of educational activities for the 213 participants including 174 faculty members from the Clinical, Human, and Medical Science Divisions. Plenary sessions on post graduate accreditation; teaching and educational scholarship; along with the impact of faculty and learner health on educational activities were both informative and inspiring.

Over 30 workshop options provided an opportunity for each conference participant to attend sessions which addressed their own personal learning needs. This diverse program was a result of approximately 50 NOSM faculty and staff who facilitated conference workshops. The Faculty Awards Ceremony recognized all 48 faculty members who have been promoted or granted tenure since NOSM’s inception along with the five recipients of the 2013 Faculty Peer Awards of Excellence.

Conference Innovations included wellness activities, personal research consultations, twelve affiliated meetings, and the establishment of a Northern Constellations Leadership Bursary Fund. Throughout the two days, there were multiple opportunities for faculty, staff and learners to connect, to support, and to engage with each in their shared quest of optimizing the many educational experiences delivered throughout the communities of Northern Ontario.

Northern Constellations Program


​Plenary 1: Embracing Accreditation

Presenter: Cathy Cervin MD, MAEd, FCFP

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the benefits of the accreditation process and importance of faculty, staff, and resident participation.
  • Discuss the relationship between accreditation standards, educational best practices, excellent clinical care and the health of Northern Ontario citizens.
  • View Presentation


Plenary 2: Teaching in the Health Sciences: A time of opportunity

Presenter: Susan Lieff MD, FRCP

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss faculty motivation as teachers.
  • Identify opportunities for faculty to further enjoy and enrich their practice.
  • View Presentation

A1: Developing the medical education leader in you

Presenter: Susan Lieff MD, FRCPC

Effective leaders engage others in pursuit of the realization of a shared mission. Faculty members who engage in medical education leadership often have clinical and other administrative responsibilities. Additionally, the faculty that they work with are usually not employees of NOSM or directly accountable to their Division Head. Leading in this context requires a nuanced understanding of one’s role and relevant organizational issues.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Define medical education leadership.
  • Discuss effective practices and perspectives of medical education leaders.
  • Identify various frameworks for analyzing issues in educational committees or programs.
  • View Presentation 

A2: Introducing the NOSM Simbulance: Mobilizing simulation for Northern Ontario

Presenters: Susan Morhart, RN; Siobhan Farrell, BA, MSc; Cheryl Cameron-Ripku

Mobile simulation supports the principles of community engagement and distributed educational activities where NOSM faculty and learners will work together with other health-care practitioners, first responders, emergency personnel and learners from health-care partners. Workshop participants will review the various modalities of simulation and examine important principles for providing mobile simulation educational opportunities in distributed community sites.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Identify at least four different modalities of simulation.
  • Discuss the NOSM Mobile Simulation Pilot Project 2014, including goals to provide simulation based learning in distributed teaching sites.
  • Identify important principles for planning community based mobile simulation learning.
  • View Presentation 

A4: Providing feedback on professionalism and communication to learners

Presenters: Tom Crichton, MD, CCFP; Mark Mensour, MD, CCFP(EM)

Providing effective feedback is a core competency for all preceptors. Despite its critical role in professional development, learners regularly report receiving little feedback on their performance. Competency based educational literature, emphasizes the importance of feedback and formative assessment to assist learners in achieving program educational goals. Opportunities to work with competency-based evaluation objectives in professionalism and communication skills will enable participants to hone their skills in providing feedback to learners.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss evaluation objectives in professionalism and communication skills.
  • Define principles for providing effective feedback to learners.
  • Document feedback using the NOSM postgraduate education program tools.
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A5: Bridging the gap between interprofessional education and collaborative practice

Presenters: Justine Bertrand, BSc, MSc, OTReg(Ont); Gayle Adams-Carpino, RSW, MSW

Interprofessional education provides learners with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for collaborative practice and ultimately improved patient outcomes. Competencies for collaborative practice include knowledge of other professional roles and scopes of practice, ability to communicate respectfully and interprofessionally, effective team functioning, person-centred care, and leadership skills. Participants will be provided with relevant resources and case material to explore integrating interprofessional learning with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, physician assistant, dietetic, and medical learners.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Discuss the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative competencies and application to best-practice guidelines for health-care professionals.
  • Analyze varying levels of interprofessional engagement and competency indicators.
  • Review interprofessional educational experiences that have been achieved by learners at varying levels of learning.
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A7: Evidence based medicine: How to appraise a clinical trial

Presenter: Hassan Gorji, MD, MSc

Clinical trials are the most appropriate research design for studying the effectiveness of a specific intervention. A practical approach to understanding the crucial steps in designing a clinical trial along with a simple method for appraising each step will be presented. This will enable participants to read and appraise clinical trial papers with more confidence and determine the relevancy of study results to their practice. No prior research methodology knowledge is required for this workshop.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Discuss the basic designs of clinical trials.
  • Identify and appraise the main steps of a clinical trial.
  • Evaluate the applicability of research findings to specific patients or clinical settings.
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B1: The mentor’s table

Presenters: Jacques Abourbih, MD, FRCPC; Susan Lieff, MD, FRCPC; William McCready, MD, BCH, FRCP
Facilitator: Marion Briggs, BScPT, MA, DMan

Effective mentorship contributes positively to the personal and professional development of both new and seasoned practitioners. Presenters will summarize their mentorship experiences and reflect on challenges and changes in their careers including the evolution of professional roles and identities. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss their mentorship experiences providing further insights. Themes identified from the discussions will contribute to critical thinking about NOSM’s ongoing efforts to develop a mentorship program relevant to its unique educational context.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Explore the role of mentorship in health professional practice.
  • Articulate the benefits/challenges of mentorship in Northern practices.
  • View Presentation 

B3: Research funding opportunities: Where’s the money?

Presenter: Dorothy Wright, BA, CPA, CA

Successful research grant applications require specific knowledge of the granting agency’s mission and granting interests. Representatives from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR-CIHR), Health Canada (HC), Northern Ontario Academic Medical Association (NOAMA), and Physicians’ Services Incorporation Foundation (PSI) will present on granting opportunities available from their agencies and upcoming opportunities in health research funding. Strategies for successful grant applications will be discussed giving participants an opportunity to engage with relevant funders of health research.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify research grant opportunities from granting bodies relevant to NOSM faculty.
  • Discuss best practices in writing successful grant proposals for each funding agency.
  • Clarify specific strategies for novice funding proposal writers.
  • View Presentation

B4: Using the CMPA good practices guide to enhance clinical teaching

Presenter: Ellen Tsai, MD, MHSc, FRCPC

The Canadian Medical Protective Association has developed the Good Practices Guide, a comprehensive online patient safety education resource of relevance to both faculty and learners. The Guide may be used by preceptors as they work with either individual or groups of learners. Educational materials from two domains (Teams and Adverse Events) will be emphasized, although there will be ample opportunity for participants to learn about other patient safety topics.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Become familiar and access educational materials from the CMPA Good Practices Guide.
  • Develop a patient safety educational session for either undergrad or postgrad learners.
  • View Presentation

B5: Quality assurance: How can I learn more?

Presenters: Sheldon Tobe, MD, MScCH , FRCPC, FACP

Quality is not an accident but a result of planned practices and is a core issue for the health system. Foundations of quality assurance (QA) along with a QA framework will be presented followed by discussion on QA experiences, challenges, and achievements. The IDEAS project will be discussed as an example of training available to further develop QA skills. The workshop will be of interest to practitioners involved in QA projects or providing support to learner QA projects.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Define the purpose and benefits of a QA plan.
  • Identify QA problems and strategies to develop relevant QA projects.
  • Discuss available quality assurance training activities through the IDEAS project.
  • View Presentation

B6: The learner in difficulty: Strategies for identification and educational intervention

Presenter: James Goertzen, MD, MClSc, CCFP, FCFP

Most students and residents will successfully complete their educational program. Some will run into difficulties resulting in a strain on the preceptor learner relationship and require specific training program interventions. Although preceptors can identify learners in difficulty, they often lack strategies to clarify an educational diagnosis. A review of the literature provides several frameworks which can be used to assess a learner in difficulty. Building on this foundation, participants will develop education interventions for learners in difficulty.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss key concepts from the literature on learners in difficulty.
  • Apply effective strategies for identifying learners in difficulty, developing an educational diagnosis, and planning an educational intervention.
  • Reflect on previous experiences with learners in difficulty.
  • View Presentation

B7: Finding your place at your own pace: Implementing adult learning-based orientation strategies

Presenters: Barb Zelek, MD, CCFP, FCFP; Brock Chisholm, BSc, PT

Clinical placements can be optimized with a systematic approach to learner orientation. Clarifying program and learner educational objectives along with communicating preceptor and practice expectations are key. An understanding of adult learning styles and principles as they relate to health-care learners provides helpful strategies for the supervising preceptor. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in self-directed approaches to learning and develop take-home strategies for innovative clinical learner orientation.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Discuss the role and importance of a successful learner orientation.
  • Explore current preceptor attitudes and practices regarding learner orientation.
  • Apply practical approaches to innovative learner orientation to future clinical placements.
  • View Presentation

C1: Role modeling disclosure and transparency: Positively influencing our learners

Presenter: Sue Berry, DipPT, BA, MCE

Faculty interactions with commercial entities provide valuable teachable moments for learners. Role modeling and teaching professionalism through these interactions encourages learners to acquire skills to appropriately interact with commercial entities as future practising health care professionals. Workshop participants will examine authentic teaching situations and problem solve the issues of real, perceived, or potential conflict of interest leading to strategies which can be incorporated into future educational and research activities.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Discuss literature relevant to conflict of interest with commercial entities.
  • Identify solutions to overcome conflict of interest education and research dilemmas that involve faculty and learners.
  • Apply principles of NOSM conflict of interest policy to various educational activities (lectures, small group learning, research activities, and clinical supervision).
  • View Presentation

C3: Managing risk when supervising learners in a community setting

Presenter: Ellen Tsai, MD, MHSc, FRCPC

With the advent of distributed learning, physicians and other health-care professionals who may be relatively new faculty are embracing the opportunities and challenges of supervising junior learners. A clear understanding of one’s responsibilities in delegating to and supervising different levels of learners, as well as other health-care professionals and staff, is essential to ensuring patient safety and managing medico-legal risk.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify at-risk situations for learner supervision in community settings.
  • Define the principles of delegation and supervision.
  • Discuss strategies to enhance patient safety when delegating care to students and residents.
  • View Presentation 

C4: Movin’ on up: An introduction to the NOSM promotions process

Presenters: Jack Haggarty, MD, FRCPC; Barb Zelek MD, CCFP, FCFP

An orientation to the NOSM Promotions Policy and review of the promotions process will be provided. The pivotal role that documentation provided by an applicant has on the review process will be highlighted along with strategies to streamline the application process. Workshop presenters will recommend ways that applicants can increase their chances for success in seeking promotion at NOSM.

Learning objectives: 

  • Describe the NOSM promotion process.
  • Assess essential elements of a successful application at each level from Assistant Professor to Full Professor.
  • Discuss specific requirements for promotion, to determine if one should seek promotion.
  • View Presentation

C6: Family medicine competency-based residency training: What does it mean to the preceptor?

Presenters: Chris Rossi, MD, CCFP; Nancy Woods, MD, CCFP; Tom Crichton, MD, CCFP

Competency-based residency training provides relevant learning contexts and strategies to ensure that graduating family physicians possess the knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors to practise independently. Time-based training is deemphasized and replaced by desired outcome-driven educational activities. Assessment strategies provide feedback to residents on their progress while simultaneously providing evidence to determine when they are competent for independent practice. The workshop content will be relevant to both family and specialty physicians preceptoring family medicine residents.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Explain rationale for family medicine competency-based Triple C Curriculum.
  • Implement competency-based medical education activities at various NOSM clinical sites.
  • Employ tools for competency-based assessments of residents in training.
  • View Presentation 

C8: Five A’s: Breaking down the evidence-based medicine process

Presenters: Jennifer Dumond, BA, MLIS; Alanna Campbell, BA, MISt

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an often misunderstood concept in medical education and practice. Critical appraisal, sometimes thought of as a standalone process, is only one of the five steps in EBM each requiring its own set of skills and understanding. Participants will work through the EBM process from assessing a clinical need for evidence to the applicability of that evidence in a clinical setting along with discussing strategies for incorporating EBM techniques into teaching activities.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Define the five steps of the evidence-based medicine process.
  • Access evidence-based resources via the Health Sciences Library.
  • Identify ways to teach and practise evidence-based medicine.
  • View Presentation

C10: Effectively facilitating case-based small-group learning

Presenter: William Hettenhausen, DDS, FACD, FICD, FPFA

Case Based Learning (CBL) and Topic Oriented Sessions (TOS) are core NOSM undergraduate learning activities. Within these small groups, tutors are not content experts providing answers, but rather facilitators who assist students in a self-directed learning process. Tutors provide each student with mid – and end-point assessments including comments on group communication, self-awareness, and self-responsibility. Workshop format will be a round table interactive discussion that simulates the small-group learning dynamics of a TOS or CBL session.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Define the principles of small-group case-based learning.
  • Identify strategies for completing mid – and end of module student assessments.
  • Discuss common tutor challenges including establishing an optimal learning environment, encouraging participation from all group members, and addressing the disruptive student.
  • View Presentation 

D3: Northern Ontario Academic Medical Association grant writing: Dos and don’ts

Presenters: Jack Haggarty, MD, FRCPC; Ghislaine Pilot-Attema, HBA, BED, MA

The Northern Ontario Academic Medical Association (NOAMA) has two calls each year for clinicians who wish to undertake projects aimed at improving health outcomes for patients. Strategies leading to successful grant proposals will be reviewed along with common pitfalls to avoid. The grant proposal evaluation and review process will be discussed providing opportunities to engage with individuals who have been involved in all aspects of the selection process.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Identify strategies for writing a successful NOAMA grant proposal.
  • Clarify difference between Clinical Innovations Opportunity Fund (CIOF) and Alternative Funding Plan Innovation Fund (AFP) relevant to successful grant proposals.
  • Discuss the process of evaluation and review of NOAMA grant proposals.
  • View Presentation 

D4: How to run an evidence-based journal club

Presenters: David Allen, MD, CCFP(EM); Sam Stone, MD, CCFP (EM)

Journal clubs can be an effective strategy for continuing medical education and are an important part of the curriculum in many undergraduate and postgraduate programs at NOSM. Unfortunately, many journal clubs wither away after a brief spark of enthusiasm. Participants will share and discuss strategies for making a journal club an effective educational activity along with learning relevant critical appraisal methods.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify attributes of a highly functioning evidenced-based journal club.
  • Discuss strategies to overcome barriers to making a journal club work effectively.
  • Employ resources available to assist journal clubs to effectively appraise articles and translate their findings into improved patient care.
  • View Presentation

D6: Professionalism: Critical conversations with our learners

Presenters: James Goertzen, MD, MClSc, CCFP, FCFP; Laurel Snyder, MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP

Professionalism is a core competency for learners and supervising preceptors. Professionalism is largely contextual and best understood as a series of behaviors rather than personal character traits or attributes. Lapses in professional behavior by learners are common and can be expected as they integrate the principles of professionalism within clinical settings. A lapse in professional behavior provides an opportunity to have a critical and collegial conversation to better understand the learner’s context and the rationale for their behavior.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the contextual nature of professionalism and importance of defining discipline-specific competencies.
  • Demonstrate professionalism to learners in clinical practice by role modeling and purposeful preceptoring.
  • View Handout
  • View Presentation

D7: Creating LGBTQ-positive spaces in the classroom and clinic

Presenters: Stacey Ritz, BSc, PhD; Kathleen Beatty, MSc; Jennifer Dumond, BA, MLIS

The imperative to address health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals has become increasingly apparent. Health-care professionals are more effective in addressing these needs if they understand the nuances around sexual orientation and gender identity along with being able to create safe and welcoming clinical environments for LGBTQ patients. Progress in this area is enhanced when faculty and educational staff effectively teach and model these concepts and skills with students and residents.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Discuss the relevant health issues for LGBTQ individuals.
  • Identify resources for supporting learning and practice in LGBTQ health.
  • Develop strategies for creating safe and welcoming educational environments for LGBTQ individuals in classroom and clinical settings.
  • View Presentation


D8: Citation management 101: Important tools to make research and publishing easier

Presenter: Sophie Regalado, BA, MA, MISt

Citation Management Software (CMS) assists with organizing references, generating bibliographies, and creating in-text citations. Applications can result in time savings while maintaining accuracy when completing grant applications, writing research proposals, and submitting manuscripts for publication. Hands-on practical scenarios will allow participants to play with the CMS including Google Scholar and ResearchGate while discovering key features and time-saving functions.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Discuss benefits of using CMS to manage citations, cite sources in-text and generate bibliographies.
  • Create CMS, Google Scholar and ResearchGate accounts.
  • Identify advantages of using Google Scholar and ResearchGate to manage personal citations.
  • View Presentation 

D10: RCPSC performance assessment requirements: Where do I start?

Presenter: Ranjit Baboolal, MD, FRCPC

Starting in 2014, Maintenance of Certification (MOC) for RCPSC Fellows will require completion of performance assessment activities. This new requirement is based on research showing that the ability of health-care professionals to evaluate their knowledge, skills, and performance without external measures is limited. Rationale and options for completing performance assessment activities will be discussed along with strategies to model and involve specialty residents in the MOC process.

Learning Objectives:

  • Demonstrate the educational rationale performance assessment activities.
  • Identify approaches and tools and for completion of performance assessment activities.
  • Discuss strategies to model performance assessment requirements to residents participating in Mainpro.
  • View Presentation
  • Workbook