2022 DFCM Program Award Winners

Congratulations to all our 2022 Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) Program Award winners! At this year's virtual Awards & Celebration Event on Sept. 20, we will recognize and honour your contributions to your patients, communities and our department.

These awards relate to the period June 2021 – June 2022.

Academic Fellowship and Graduate Studies

Continuing Education Student Award for Overall Excellence

Dr. Shruti Gupta | Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital, Family Medicine with special interest in Palliative Care
Dr. Shruti Gupta, family physician with a special interest in Palliative Care, enrolled in the Clinical Research Certificate in 2021-and is on track to graduate this Fall. Further to her high academic standing in program courses, her practicum is well underway entitled, Urine Drug Testing for Patients with Advanced Cancer Receiving Palliative Care in Canadian Outpatient Settings. She has developed a full research protocol to submit to REB for approval with the intention of carrying out her study. As an active clinician, she identified a practice need for research skills and took action in an independent and self-directed manner to dive into her courses, building her competencies with enthusiasm and dedication. She is goal-driven and aspires to apply knowledge to her practice and disseminate to her resident learners.

Dr. Phillip Tsang | St. Michael's Hospital (Residency), Enhanced Skills Program, Family Medicine
Dr. Phillip Tsang is a Clinical Teacher Certificate student, who ambitiously enrolled in the program while concurrently completing his Enhanced Skills PGY3 Education Scholar residency. In addition to his exemplary motivation and organization, Dr. Tsang has consistently demonstrated a strong performance in course work achieving high academic results in assignments and final course grades. He has distinguished himself as a role model student by his calm and confident work ethic and attentiveness. His contributions to class work demonstrate his deep and collegial engagement and broad knowledge base.

Continuing Education and Graduate Studies Instructor Award

Dr. Savithiri Ratnapalan | The Hospital for Sick Children, Pediatric Emergency Medicine
As lead Instructor of the Continuing Education for Health Professions courses, core requirements of the Education stream Fellowship and Graduate degree programs, Dr. Ratnapalan provides exceptional, essential and consistent medical education leadership of CE and Graduate students. As such, her contributions to professional development have been immense. Her continued flexibility with course enrolment capacity and delivery exemplifies her commitment and collaborative efforts to support the Academic Fellowship and Graduate studies program. Her enthusiasm to inclusivity has enabled learners from a range of disciplines, clinical and cultural backgrounds and other departments to experience dynamic and respectful learning spaces. She leads many of her students to publications of their work through her passionate mentorship and teaching.

Field Practicum Preceptor Award

Dr. Abhimanyu Sud | Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital, Family Medicine
As a Practicum Supervisor for a MScCH(FCM) student this past year, Dr. Sud exemplified supportive, communicative and innovative scholarship and leadership skills through this Preceptor role. His passion for research and teaching is inspiring and infectious; he is described as an exceptional role model by the graduate student he supervised. Dr. Sud creates a safe and respected learning space ensuring practicum projects align with long term research and career goals. He encourages self-directed learning with timely feedback. Further to his excellent mentorship and supervision, the research work of the graduate student was accepted for journal publication and conference presentation.

Emergency Medicine

Excellence in Research/Quality Improvement

Dr. Caroline Chan | Scarborough Health Network – Division of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Chan has masterfully lead her department's quality improvement team thorough the pandemic with her dual skill sets of environmental engineer and  MD clinican/educator to impressively decrease patient wait times and significantly improve quality metrics.

Excellence in Teaching and Education

Dr. Maria Ivankovic | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre – Division of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Ivankovic is described by learners as a once in a career type of educator who motivates you to better yourself personally and professionally. She goes to exceptional efforts to support learners in achieving their goals. She personifies teaching excellence, and is the model academic Emergency Medicine Physician.

Excellence in Teaching in EM (Early Career)

Dr. Vince Brienza | Mount Sinai Hospital – Division of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Brienza is an enthusiastic, patient and skilled teacher. Since becoming staff he has been involved in lectures, procedural skills labs, simulation and bedside teaching. His evaluations are consistently outstanding with comments such as "one of the best teachers I have had during my whole education at UofT!"

Excellence in Emergency Medicine

Dr. Rick Penciner | North York General Hospital – Division of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Penciner is a full professor in the Division of EM and has made immense contributions to the field of emergency medicine through teaching & education, mentorship, scholarship and leadership roles locally, nationally and internationally.

Faculty Development

Elana Fric Family Medicine Award for Leadership and Advocacy

Dr. Kamakshi Ganesan | North York General Hospital
Dr. Ganesan is an exceptional family medicine and addictions physician. She has a strong background in working with diverse and marginalized populations. She works in collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams to meet the primary care needs of those with chronic mental illness and addictions. She completed her family medicine residency and addictions training at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about harm reduction, health promotion, and community advocacy.

Continuing Education Impact Award

Dr. Paolo Mazzotta | Mount Sinai Hospital – Division of Palliative Care
Dr. Paolo Mazzotta is an outstanding educator whose contributions as a teacher and program developer deserve to be recognized by the DFCM through its Continuing Education Impact Award. He has played a significant and sustained (2009 – 2021) leadership role in the development, refinement, and delivery of the Palliative Care eLearning (PCeL) Program, a 6-month collaborative online case-based continuing education experience aimed at increasing the knowledge and skills of Ontario family physicians to deliver palliative and end-of-life care to their patients.  The PCeL Program has been delivered to over 250 family doctors and others engaged in primary clinical care.  Evaluations of the learning experience by participants have been consistently superlative, and the PCeL Program has earned ongoing support from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as one of its signature vehicles for increasing access to high quality palliative and end-of-life care for Ontario citizens. PCeL is the first online education experience in Canada to achieve certification by the CFPC at the level of 3 credits per hour.

Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship in Faculty Development

Dr. Rahul Jain | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Rahul Jain is a primary care leader in cardiovascular disease prevention and management and demonstrates sustained contribution to the discovery and knowledge translation of clinical practice guidelines. As co-chair of the Canadian Cardiovascular Harmonized National Guideline Endeavour (C-CHANGE) and annual CHEP+ conference as well as invited participation with Diabetes Canada, Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and Heart and Stroke Foundation, he provides important primary care perspectives and contributes to high-quality continuing professional development for clinicians.

Mentorship Award

Dr. Paul Das | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Paul Das exemplifies the traits of mentorship. He is generous with his time, leads by example, and finds ways to bring out the best in people. He mentors through sharing experiences, providing growth opportunities and role modelling. During the pandemic, Paul took on significant leadership roles in developing and overseeing the Unity Health COVID Assessment Centre and COVID Vaccine Clinic. He mentored the interdisciplinary staff by focusing on teamwork, safety and flexibility.

Global Health & Social Accountability

Faculty Award for Excellence in Global Health

Dr. Vanessa Redditt | Women's College Hospital 
Dr. Vanessa Redditt contributes in outstanding ways to Global Health and Social Accountability in our department and internationally. Vanessa demonstrates clinical excellence as a family physician serving resettled refugees and asylum claimants. Her work focuses on enhancing the health of vulnerable individuals and communities through clinical care, health system improvement, and tackling social inequities. She is a gifted teacher who has deep knowledge of the content and a longstanding passion for global health and equity. 

Yves Talbot Award for Excellence in Global Health Leadership

Dr. Abbas Ghavam-Rassoul | St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Abbas Ghavam-Rassoul has distinguished himself as a leader in guiding and nurturing a large number of international colleagues. In the context of international collaborations that demand particular attention and responsiveness to cultural safety and flexibility, Abbas uses his leadership skills to nurture relationships and partnerships, and to offer concrete and constructive solutions to challenging problems and ever-changing landscapes. Few in our Department have had such a direct and profound impact on nurturing our discipline internationally.

Palliative Care

Carmelita Lawlor Award

Dr. Sandy Buchman | North York General Hospital – Division of Palliative Care
Dr. Sandy Buchman is a palliative care physician and an Associate Professor in the DPC/DFCM. Sandy is also a founder and medical lead of a new residential hospice (Neshama Hospice) currently being built in the Toronto area. His lecture from the lens of access, equity, and compassion “Reimagining how palliative care can foster more compassionate, accessible, equitable and effective healthcare in Ontario”, was delivered at the HPCO Annual Conference in April.


Advocacy for Patients

Dr. Cam Matamoros | Toronto East Health Network
Dr. Matamoros practices exemplary patient-centered care and is a physician we would want on our care team because of their demonstrated strength as a patient advocate. Dr. Matamoros seeks a comprehensive understanding of patients, and their journeys and experiences. We appreciate Dr. Matamoros’s commitment to creating more inclusive environments for patients.

Dr. Yi-Hong Shao | Enhanced Skills Program
Dr. Shao assessed cultural barriers to long-acting reversible contraception via TAAAC-FM. She included the target audience in the discussion in order to appropriately advocate for necessary changes.  She also advocated for vulnerable women by creating a comprehensive pathway for 2nd trimester non-viable pregnancy management, a long-time gap in the system, as her scholarly project.

Dr. Jane Tooley | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Throughout her training, Jane has demonstrated excellence in social engagement and patient advocacy. She thrives on providing attentive, compassionate, and comprehensive care to our most vulnerable patients, including patients experiencing homelessness, substance use disorders, and mental health challenges. She inspires her co-residents to reach new standards of advocacy in our community

Dr. Liane Bailey | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Bailey has superior skills around advocating for patients. She not only explores the values of the patient, she ensures that any family involved in complex cases are heard and addressed through her skills of rapport building. Her patients' needs are top priority along with ensuring their dignity and respect.

Dr. Garvin Leung | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Resident leader who rises to the challenge to serve colleagues and community.  As wellness representative advocated for better supports in the pandemic, founding member of THP's Diversity & Inclusion Leadership circle and during COVID 19 pandemic stepped up to support work to help indigenous peoples evacuated by a wild fire.

Clinical Excellence

Dr. Deema Couchman | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Deema has an incredible work ethic, constantly going the extra mile to follow up, or see an extra patient, without being asked, because she knows it will help the patient. As a chief resident, she exemplifies one who leads by example, the first to do extra call or sign up for weekend flu clinics.

Dr. Thomas Kirkham | Scarborough Health Network
Tommy Kirkham is the best resident in 30+ years of teaching FM residents. Logical, innovative, evidence based, patient centred care, thinks outside the box. A very solid physician. A genius with personality disordered patients.

Dr. Jonah Elfassy | North York General Hospital
Jonah is the strongest resident we have seen. Jonah takes thorough and accurate assessments in a timely manner while empowering the Choosing Wisely approach. He is always patient-centred and keenly aware of when expectant management is appropriate and equally astute at determining when a case requires more urgent care or investigation.

Dr. Maxine Kish | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Maxine Kish personifies clinical excellence.  She has a careful, yet confident approach with her patients, develops instant rapport and uses her fantastic knowledge base to co-create unique management plans, all while maintaining her humble mindset.  She is dedicated to patient care, insightful and committed to continuous professional growth.

Dr. Jacob Wong | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Dr. Jacob Wong exemplifies clinical excellence.  He has an exceptional knowledge base and possesses remarkable judgement when facing complex presentations.  He formulates sophisticated assessments and comprehensive treatment plans, both applying evidenced-based medicine and staying patient-centred. Dr. Wong is a warm, humble, and thoughtful clinician who provides exemplary care.

Dr. Daniel Sigal | Integrated Communities Program
Dr. Sigal recognized that he required more experience and did as much as he could to attain clinical excellence which he has demonstrated over many times in our Department.  His kind and compassionate manner along with his excellent clinical skill set will serve him well in his future practice.

Dr. Joo Hyung (James) Yoon | Enhanced Skills Program
Stands among the top residents over the past 10 years. Consistently garners excellent POWER and other evaluations, extending across all SEM disciplines, primary care, specialty, and allied health.  His attitude really shines, demonstrating humble confidence, knowing when and how to ask the right questions, without compromising clinic flow or quality.

Dr. Kevin Si | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Si has been an exceptional resident in our program who functioned at a high level early on. He has a sound knowledge base and a good clinical common sense. He will be an excellent family physician and we look forward to seeing where his career takes him.

Dr. Samuel Leitenberg Memorial Scholarship for the Humanitarian Practice of Family and Community Medicine Award

Dr. Russell Bahar | Toronto East Health Network
Dr. Bahar is an exemplary resident who strives to help his patients, colleagues, and community. His personality, trustworthiness and well-rounded practical approach enhances everyone’s experience around him. The descriptors for Dr. Leitenberg; self-effacing, warm and engaging, with a delightful sense of humour immediately make us think of Dr. Bahar.

Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Dana Newman | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Dr. Newman is an outstanding teacher. She provides high-quality patient care and encourages residents to strive to do the same through role modelling and mentorship. She always creates a positive learning environment for residents and does not shy away from tailoring her teaching style to meet residents’ learning needs and objectives

Dr. Jane Ridley | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Jane has a very sharp clinical eye and teaches her students to think critically and carefully to provide the highest level of care to patients. Her feedback is meaningful and cultivates excellence in her students, be it wider differentials or clever problem solving. Working with Jane has been a pleasure.

Dr. Navsheer Gill | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Dr. Gill has been involved with the development of business curriculum, Quality Improvement physician lead/educator, Balint leader, Ethics AHDs/BeSci CBT AHD. She is an excellent teacher, clinician and excellent example for residents in the program.

Dr. Yuet Ming Lam | Markham Stouffville Hospital
Dr. Lam is an excellent teacher and role model who is kind and compassionate with exceptional dedication to resident learning. She consistently provides excellent and timely feedback for resident learning. She always takes the time to provide helpful and concise teaching around each patient case in clinical encounters.

Dr. Jordana Sacks | North York General Hospital
Dr. Sacks without a doubt is the most comprehensive and caring family physician I have worked with. She maintains thorough notes and CPPs, and always stresses the importance of patient-focused care. Her patients are lucky to have her, and her trainees are lucky to learn from her stellar standard-of-care.

Dr. Ruby Alvi | Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital
Dr. Alvi has been an excellent teacher at the FMTU since the inception of this unit, her clinical intuition is not surpassed and she is a great education advocate.

Dr. Sakina Walji | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Sakina Walji is an excellent clinical teacher and role model. During supervision of residents, she consistently provides support, constructive feedback, and challenges learners to refine their clinical skills. She is actively involved in resident research and remains approachable to assist with and support resident projects.

Hollister King Resident Award

Dr. Kevin Si | Mount Sinai Hospital
Kevin is a very personable and energetic resident; he excels at inpatient care and his knowledge and skill set has certainly helped patients and he will no doubt help countless more into the future. Kevin is a confident and skilled physician with a great personality, he can establish a doctor patient relationship with ease and can back it up with the confident knowledge that patients come to expect.

Hollister King Preceptor Award

Dr. Mike Kirlew | Weeneebayko Area Health Authority
Dr. Kirlew is a dedicated clinician that often hangs around the hospital and ED to help his colleagues with his knowledge even on his days off. He also volunteers to teach our nursing staff about airway equipment and to lead other educational sessions. It's obvious how dedicated he is to his patients and his teaching and multiple staff, patients and other community members have described how lucky Moose Factory is to have him here.


Dr. Antoine Normandin | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Antoine has demonstrated exceptional leadership during a very exceptional time. He strives on creating emotional bonds within the residents, focusing on building trust within the team and fostering a sense of belonging to the program. His efforts have boosted morale and created harmonious working relationships at the PG Executive table.

Dr. Kathleen Armstrong | Women's College Hospital
Katie is an excellent resident and has demonstrated clinical excellence while always striving for more. She has exceptional leadership skills and teaching skills. Her strong leadership skills helped to ensure that process changes during covid went smoothly and were well communicated. Katie has always been thoughtful, perceptive and professional.

Dr. Alexandra Brown | Southlake Regional Health Centre
As co-chief resident, Ali acts as an incredible example of leadership among the residents. She is always communicative with other residents and sensitive to the needs and concerns of her co-residents. AHDs run very smoothly and well organized thanks to her leadership. Respected by teachers, co-residents, and staff for clinical excellence and leadership.

Dr. Angela Duan | Markham Stouffville Hospital
Dr. Duan has excelled this year in her role as chief resident. She has guided her fellow residents through transitions between virtual and in person care and learning with ease.  She is a quiet yet confident leader.

Dr. Polina Myrox | Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital
Polina has been a strong advocate for the safety and wellbeing of her colleagues she has stepped up many times despite the challenges of being a wiselblower.

New Teacher

Dr. Christa Kozanczyn | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Kozanczyn may be a new Faculty member, however she is well versed in teaching Residents during their Hospitalist rotation. Christa is an attentive and thoughtful teacher with residents in clinic and on the wards. Her clinical acuity and ability to instill her skills upon learners is valued beyond measure.

Dr. Jeffrey Ho | Scarborough Health Network
Dr. Jeffrey Ho empowers learners and strives to involve them in the larger professional team. He has a great personality, he offers abundant practical pearls for inpatient care and is very knowledgeable. He is an excellent teacher and made my rotation a joy.

Dr. Stephanie Godard | Toronto East Health Network
Dr. Godard is a graduate of the FM Program who has used her experiences to improve the learning environment for learners and quickly become an asset to our faculty. Her FMOB/Women’s Health teaching is invaluable. She challenges learners to expand their understanding of medicine and ensures they leave as more capable physicians.

Dr. Naushin Walji | Enhanced Skills Program
Dr. Walji is an exceptional clinician, teacher, and mentor. In my two months working with her, she fostered a supportive and educational environment, ensuring I was meeting learning objectives, having exposure to diverse cases, and building independence. She provided constructive feedback and offered practical informal and formal teaching throughout.

Program Leadership

Dr. Melissa Graham | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Outstanding mentor and leader of all faculty & resident initiatives/curricular innovations in our FMTU including Women's Health, Mental Health & Addictions, Procedures Clinic/Derm and responsiveness to community needs (Syrian refugees, Indigenous evacuees of wildfires, newborns without a GP). A  responsive leader who listens to those she leads and galvanizes them towards a common vision.

Dr. Vaibhav Kamble | Enhanced Skills Program
Dr. Kamble’s passion, patience, support and investment in our success go above and beyond anything we have ever experienced. He is committed to a culture of inclusivity, diversity and  is an extraordinary leader who has made a tremendous positive impact in the future of healthcare by improving access to anesthesia in rural and remote communities.

Resident Advocacy

Dr. Manjot Sarao | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Mannie Sarao has demonstrated exceptional advocacy in her new role as the site PG competency lead at 61 Queen Clinic. She has balanced empathy and resident-centredness with educational priorities. She has dealt with a number of challenging situations and has supported multiple residents through their wellness journeys.

Dr. Sarah Fleming | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
We are extremely lucky to have Dr. Fleming as our Site Director. From promoting wellness to advocating on our behalf, our residents have always felt well-supported and heard. Despite facing pandemic-related challenges, she went above and beyond to make sure the residents were unaffected. She is well-deserving of this award.

Ms. Jennifer Capell | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Ms. Capell works tirelessly to advocate for residents wellness. On her own, she took Peer Support Workshops, so she can better support our learners and staff in the unit. She keeps an open door policy -allowing all to walk in for advise/support as needed. She is also a huge support to EDISON.

Role Modeling Clinical Excellence

Dr. Charissa Chen | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Chen is a wonderful role model. She spends time providing helpful counselling to her patients. She has strong clinical skills and always shares useful knowledge with residents. She spends extra time during OB shifts to discuss cases. She is always a dedicated teacher and very approachable.

Quality and Innovation

PGY1 Impact Awards

Cancer Screening in People with Bipolar, Schizoaffective, and Schizophrenia Diagnoses

This group focused on improving care and cancer screening for marginalized populations that are known to have lower rates of screening. Completing this project during the pandemic was difficult, but the group pivoted accordingly, still considering how this patient population would be most affected.

Dr. Brianne Robinson | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Jaskarn Sahota | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Yihsuan Liu | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Milena Forte | Mount Sinai Hospital

Improving the Efficiency of Virtual Blood Pressure Appointments at Health for All

I am pleased to nominate Dr. Dylan Demarco for the PGY1 Impact Award to recognize his exemplary quality improvement work to improve clinical efficiency of virtual blood pressure appointments at the Health for All Family Health Team. During his PGY1 year, he developed, tested and implemented an e-form for home blood pressure measurement which resulted in a statistically significant 30% reduction in time spent per issue per virtual appointment among staff physicians. He used rigorous quantitative and qualitative approaches throughout his PDSA cycles. His form continues to be in use regularly at Health for All today.

Dr. Dylan Demarco | Markham Stouffville Hospital

FITting in the Time for Colorectal Cancer Screening

This project sought to improve the FIT completion rate for patients at the TW FHT. A needs assessment demonstrated a poor FIT completion rate at the TW FHT in 2020. This project identified patient, provider, and system barriers contributing to the poor completion rate and implemented change ideas that engaged patients and providers to increase FIT screening completion. This was a great effort to address lapses in preventative care resulting from the pandemic.

Dr. Travis Graetz | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Matthew Breton | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Andrew Hsiao | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Mathieu Desruisseaux | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital

Improving Prescribing of SGLT2 Inhibitors for Those Living with CHF

Scarborough residents are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases like CHF because they live at the intersection of multiple social determinants of health. Our project sought to ensure that those living with CHF were prescribed life saving medications in the form of SGLT2 inhibitors, which have proven morbidity and mortality benefits. Through our QI project, we increased the proportion of folks with CHF on an SGLTi from 3% to 18%, improving the health of our local population.

Dr. Sam Lambert | Scarborough Health Network
Dr. Travis Sutherland | Scarborough Health Network
Dr. Christal Zhou | Scarborough Health Network

Improving Statin Prescriptions in Patients with Diabetes

They created a flag in their EMR to remind physicians about the need to consider treating their diabetic patients with a statin. After their initial PDSA cycle they identified that this approach missed patients not regularly attending for scheduled diabetic medical visits. They adapted their approach to reach out to patients overdue for their diabetic visits and used multiple methods to connect with these patients and provide education around the benefits of statins for diabetics. Their project demonstrated a strong understanding of QI and incorporated many appropriate diagnostic tools and process maps.

Dr. Brigida Bruno | North York General Hospital
Dr. Nahal Dezfool | North York General Hospital

Optimization of the Mental Health Visit in the FMTU

This project demonstrated extremely well how small tests of change implemented by a cohesive team can be very successful.  The Resident purveyors of this project successfully communicated with all team members to garner support for their project which subsequently lead to successful improvements in the domains of efficiency and efficacy.  Their improvement initiative also touched on important aspects of the quadruple AIM by preparing Resident’s better to engage in mental health care during a pandemic which not only improved Provider experience but ultimately Patient experience as well.

Dr. Ahmad Al-Abduljabar | Trillium Health Partners – Summerville
Dr. Leanna Mantella | Trillium Health Partners – Summerville
Dr. Polina Myrox | Trillium Health Partners – Summerville

Improving Equity in Diabetes Care at Sunnybrook Academic FHT

This group of residents worked with our equity team in an attempt to tackle a very important issue in family practice. Data initially showed that there was a 10% difference in the number of A1C checks per year between those patients living in lower income quintile and higher income quintiles.  They made good use of QI tools like cause and effect diagrams and process maps, as well as engaging patients and FHT staff through surveys. The survey results were essential is developing tests of change and will hopefully have ongoing impact at the FHT.

Dr. Ray Cho | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Ben Ng | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Kaitlyn Siou | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Raisah Mohamed | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Optimizing Resident Training on EMR Efficiencies and Improving Patient Care Workflow

This team identified that increased time spent on EMR is an erosion of physician well-being (Quadruple Aim) . They conducted a root analyses and engaged with pertinent stake holders. The team developed a one- pager tool instructing on use of OTN e-consult. This tool increased use of and Resident’s confidence in using this service. This format to optimize resident training on EMR efficiencies and improve patient care workflow will be utilized for other EMR workflows and introduced during PGY1 orientation.

Dr. Liane Bailey | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Ryan Potts | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Devon Turner | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Jacky Lai | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Melissa Witty | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Deb Hill | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Hannah Silk | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

C​ervical Cancer Screening Among Canadian Immigrants

Our QI project idea was born in the Labour Assessment Unit after noticing a theme of patients with no pap smear; many of whom were immigrants. A literature review confirmed that there are low cervical cancer screening rates among immigrants. Our goal was to assess this in the FMTU and raise pap smear rates by 5% in eligible patients. We screened hundreds of patients, interviewed 20 eligible immigrant patients and 70% of them expressed interest. Ultimately, 50% (10/20) scheduled a pap. The lack of information was the most common barrier identified. The FMTU now has a thriving pap smear clinic.

Dr. Louise Shaw | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Dr. Hira Rao | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Dr. Quentin Wong | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital

Exploring patient preferences and goals for Advance Care Planning (ACP) discussions in the primary care context

Advance care planning (ACP) discussions refer to a process in which a person reflects on and communicates their values, beliefs, goals, and preferences to best prepare for future medical care (Sudore et al., 2017). Despite the many benefits of ACP, up to 76% of patients will be unable to participate in some or all decisions affecting their own healthcare at end of life (Sudore and Fried, 2010), and 47% of Canadians have not had a discussion with a loved one about their preferences if they were ill and unable to communicate (Teixeira et al., 2015). It follows that the role of family physicians in ACP is becoming increasingly recognized. The purpose of this project was to increase understanding of patient experience with and preferences for ACP, so that St. Michael’s Hospital’s 80 Bond Clinic can better meet the needs of patients on this important topic.

Dr. Justine Baek | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Ilana Birnbaum | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Caroline Ruderman | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Margarita Lam-Antoniades | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital

Mental Healthcare Needs in Patients with Mood Disorders Within the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team (SMHAFHT) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed mental healthcare, which extends to patient needs, types of services offered, and delivery of these services. To generate change ideas for improving mental healthcare services demographic data was analyzed in two different two-week periods during the pandemic for patients with a mood disorder. Additionally, interviews were conducted with five patients from each timeframe, who were selected in proportion to their represented demographic. The interviews conducted inquired about barriers to accessing mental health care and about factors that were helpful in accessing mental health care. The change ideas identified will help inform future QI projects.

Dr. Shelby Olesovsky | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Derek Zhang | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Ann Stewart | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Caroline Jeon | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Mo Al-Haj | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Alyssa Swartz | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Nassim Vahidi-Williams | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital

Is There a Role for Eating Disorder Screening at SJHC UFHT Toronto?

Drs. Eleanor Vandermeer and Tiffany Richards led an outstanding QI project exploring “Is There a Role for Eating Disorder Screening at SJHC UFHT Toronto?” Through a comprehensive review of the literature, an MD survey on eating disorder comfort and current screening practices, and listening to the voice of patients with lived experience,  they were able to demonstrate a definite need. With the valued input of their team they proposed impactful next steps. This team is very deserving of the PGY1 QI Impact award.

Dr. Eleanor Vandermeer | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Dr. Tiffany Richards | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Jane Bowman | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Mr. Eric Solway | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Tanya Peresic | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Melissa Murray | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre

Understanding Barriers to Cervical Cancer Screening Through an Equity and Patient Experience Lens

There have been multiple initiatives to increase cervical cancer screening rates in the past, but a lack of understanding of the perceived barriers to care for our family practice patient population. An EMR search found approximately 4800 patients who had not been screened in the last 5 years or more at WCH family practice. The purpose of the project is to conduct patient interviews to gain a greater understanding of the barriers to receiving timely screening from the patient perspective.

Dr. Alexa Lund | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Amber Cintosun | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Greg Hawley | Women's College Hospital

Effectiveness and Equity in Utilizing a New Therapeutic Modality

The residents’ Quality Improvement Project was in the dimensions of effectiveness and equity by choosing a topic that ensured that medical providers felt more comfortable in utilizing a new therapeutic modality that has been recently introduced and to ensure equitable use of this therapy. The residents were able to demonstrate excellence in medical expertise and advocacy in their CANMEDs roles.

Dr. Cam Matamoros | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. Nicole Roda | Michael Garron Hospital

PGY2 Impact Awards

Experiences, Challenges and Mental Health of Migrant Agricultural Workers in Ontario During COVID-19 and Implications for Their Return to Work

The COVID -19 pandemic brought to light many of the issues that Migrant Agricultural Workers have been experiencing in Ontario for years, including: their precarious employment and migration status, poor access to healthcare, language barriers, social isolation, and under-housing. These issues may have contributed to outbreaks of COVID -19 among this population, resulting in illness and deaths of migrant workers. At baseline and during non-pandemic times, workers experience significant psychological stress and suffering owing to exploitative working conditions, racism, prolonged family separation and fear of repatriation. This study gained insights into these factors could help inform future advocacy to improve living and working conditions and future health of the workers.

Dr. Kailey Minnings | Mount Sinai Hospital

Bedtime Dosing of Antihypertensives to Improve Cardiovascular Risk Reduction

Dr. Elfassy demonstrated a strong knowledge of QI and employed the model for improvement in his project. He also incorporated the appropriate diagnostic tool, process maps and risk mitigation strategies. As a strong advocate for quality improvement, Dr. Elfassy was identified to be a leader in this area and is now acting as one of the PGY2 Quality Improvement Representative at North York General Hospital. In this role he has continued to provide mentorship to the PGY1s while they work on their Quality Improvement Projects.

Dr. Jonah Elfassy | North York General Hospital

Resident Monthly Update

Chief residents identified an opportunity for improvement around ineffective communications of rapidly changing patient care and educational processes in FMTU  due to the Pandemic and virtual interactions. Through collaboration with all FMTU staff  & residents a monthly e-mail to all residents  summarizing  public health pandemic updates and clinical/educational resources, was established. Through PDSA cycles, this expanded to include social updates e.g. birthday celebrations. Feedback detailed positive impact on patient care, resident education and provider wellbeing, therefore this project will be sustained in our residency program.

Dr. Alis Xu | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Katie Bertram | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Adrian Bulfon | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Faculty and Staff Impact Awards

Staff Member Led Preventative Care Encounter

Over 5 months in 2021, we aimed to increase the number of adult rostered patients who had preventative care calls with our family medicine practice by 40%. By adding a new virtual phone call Staff Member Led Preventative Care Encounter, our efforts could reach more patients. Four PDSA cycles were designed. A large part of our preventative care can reliably be completed virtually by trained office staff guided by the physician.

Dr. James Carson | Scarborough Health Network

Applied QI Framework in Development and Deliverance of Cough, Cold and COVID-19 Clinic and COVID-19 Virtual Follow-up Clinic

Dr. Cohen collaborates with colleagues locally at NYGH, within the North York community, and provincial counterparts. She has carried out multiple tests of change for the improvement in these clinics based on changing public health guidance, overall clinic demand, as well as patient and organizational feedback. As the result of feedback and multiple PDSAs, she has help create urgent appointment times for health care workers, same-day appointments, and the creation of a testing facility for NYGH staff and their families which functions to increase testing capacity at both locations. All have been for the well-being of patients and health care workers.

Dr. Rebecca Cohen | North York General Hospital

Equity Team

Given the dramatic increase in virtual care since the beginning of the pandemic, email communication has also increased substantially. The equity team showed that the percent of patients with email consent on file was substantially less in those living in lower income quintiles than in upper income quintiles. Despite a number of roadblocks like accessing postal code data and the pandemic creating competing priorities, the team has been able to steadily move forward with targeting income quintiles 1-3 to better understand their communication needs. Additionally there has been spill over into other areas of quality work such as differences in cancer screening rates between income quintiles.

Dr. Lisa Del Giudice | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Kate Stead | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Debbie Elman | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Sherylan Young | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Ms. Ashley Shum | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Ms. Kim Truong | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Mr. Tom Nguyen | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Ms. Ingrid Wirsig | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Ms. Jean Keele | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Ms. Chandra Ram | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Virtual SOOS Practice Sessions

Due to pandemic, team identified need to run SOOS practice sessions virtually,  involving 25 supervisors,  PYG2s and PGY1s. Instead of hiring professionals, an innovative and dedicated team effectively collaborated with other DFCM sites that already had a process in place. Employing extensive process mapping, and many PDSA cycles to ensure its functionality prior to going live, it was very successful -- only a few small changes needed, based on feedback. The learning from extensive collaboration and QI skills will be spread and sustained.

Ms. Carolyn Brooks | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Christine Stewart | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Rob Gabor | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Brit Thompson | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Alyssa Hill | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Credit Valley Family Health Team Quality Reviews

A team-based quality review process that uses principles of quality improvement to develop lasting recommendations for change in response to medical errors. Best practices from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement were adopted into a framework for addressing errors.  Providers are invited to the review in a safe and solutions-oriented environment along with content experts to map out the processes leading to the error, brainstorm an ideal process, conduct a root cause analysis, develop causal statements, and create recommendations for change.

Dr. Ali Damji | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Dr. Melissa Graham | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital

COVIDCare@Home at St Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team: An Equity-Based Approach

COVIDCare@Home is one example of a quality improvement initiative that leveraged resources provided by Ontario Health for primary care and our high-functioning interprofessional team to better meet the pressing care needs of our FHT patients during this unprecedented wave of the pandemic.  COVIDCare@Home was operationalized as a pilot project lead by a dedicated working group at one of our clinical sites. It then utilized small tests of change and regular and purposeful team-based input to successfully spread the initiative across the FHT in a short period of time. In alignment with both the Unity Health Toronto and SMHAFHT values and vision statements regarding human dignity, compassion, excellence, community and inclusivity, the team additionally and purposefully sought to ensure that our COVIDCare@Home initiative materials and processes included a wider range of professional / role input as well as an equity-focused lens to best serve the diverse and often marginalized populations in our community. The COVIDCare@Home initiative was experienced as an impactful practice improvement by both patients & clinicians.

Ms. Soruba Vijayaratnam | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Candice Kostyshyn | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Ann Rodrigues | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Donnavan Boyd | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Judith Peranson | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Willem McIsaac | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Heather Campbell | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Paula Pereira | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Amy McDougall | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Cathy Wilson | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Laura Drygas | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Leslie Weil | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Roy Ramirez | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Karin Bogad | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Eion McCook | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Gail Sumagang | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Kari Fulton | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Margaret Kohut | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Elsa Eman | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Carri-Lynn Wannamaker | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Devin Meireles | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Laura Best | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Mo Al-Haj | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Ms. Lisa Miller | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Jonathan Hunchuck | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Mr. Daniel Bois | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital

COVID19 & BEYOND Steering Committee

Nominating members of the SJHC Family Med/UFHT COVID19 & BEYOND Steering Committee in recognition of their sound leadership guiding the successful adoption of virtual care in our practice.  Since March 2020, they have supported the development and optimization of systems & workflows to transition from in-person care to telephone/video appointments and vice versa; all while encouraging patient and staff input to improve timely patient care and maintain our team’s safety and wellness.

Ms. Paula Kilkenny | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Roxanne Gopie | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Alejandra Priego | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Daphne Williams | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Mr. Jevon Manchester | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre

Addressing Pandemic Backlog: A Nurse Practitioner-Led Pap Teaching Clinic

Pandemic-related reductions in services have resulted in a 40% increase in the number overdue Pap tests in our practice. Nurse-practitioner led teaching clinics have been a unique learning opportunity where learners with a wide range of scopes (RPN, RN, NP, clerks, residents) learned to perform Paps independently, alongside each other. Over 3 months, the team reduced overdue Paps by 8% (24 clinics, 16 learners, 355 Paps). The team also performed IUD insertions, endometrial biopsies and immunizations.

Ms. Jessie Bawden | Women's College Hospital
Ms. Nicole Bougeois | Women's College Hospital
Ms. Lauren Scott | Women's College Hospital

Environmental Sustainability in Medical Care

Dr. Lee has pioneered and modelled leadership in a new area of quality improvement with respect to environmental sustainability within medical care. Dr. Lee has worked with other academic sites within DFCM, community stakeholders, as well as with the specialist groups at Michael Garron Hospital with respect to these initiatives. Her commitment to these projects is inspiring during the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Kit Shan Lee | Michael Garron Hospital

Driving COVID-19 Vaccine Rates by Addressing Hesitancy, Eligibility, and Safety

Zoe, Mary, Peter and our nursing team (Nancy, Christine, Christine, Paisely and Liz) have together created the platform and infrastructure that allowed our organisation to effectively field hundreds of enquiries around Covid vaccines, hesitancy, eligibility and safety for the last year.  They have organised and run multiple covid vaccine webinars and vaccine clinics in an effort to drive vaccine rates.  They made particular efforts to reach our most vulnerable and high-risk patients.  To have a dedicated team managing this vital aspect of pandemic care, allowed other providers to focus on delivering excellent care in all other areas of primary care.

Ms. Zoe Wong | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Ms. Mary Nguyen | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Mr. Peter Nguyen | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Ms. Christine Girard | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Ms. Paisely Ferguson | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Ms. Nancy Smith | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Ms. Liz Krawiec | Southlake Regional Health Centre

Dr. Catherine Ji | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Catherine Ji lead the work on a small pilot project to increase our colorectal cancer screening rates. A review of data, found only 50.5% of FIT test kits were completed.  Interestingly, some of the patients who forgot about the test actually completed the test within days or weeks after receiving the survey.  A larger project involving an EMR reminder system is now underway to help increase the rate of timely colon cancer screening.

Dr. Carly Schenker | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Carly Schenker has shown consistent engagement in QI work for both the FHT and the DFCM. As the lead for the PGY1 resident curriculum she has received uniformly positive evaluations. She has also volunteered to make contributions to two important DFCM initiatives; the COVID-10 vaccine information modules and the development of faculty QI curriculum modules.

Dr. Sam Tirkos | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. Sam Tirkos is an exemplary QI lead at our site. He integrates his QI lens into daily clinical work, broad FHT operations, and both formal and informal teaching with residents. Dr. Tirkos leads with enthusiasm, jumping to each new central or local QI project with an incisive QI framework. During the pandemic his work on Covid vaccines at our site was detailed and nimble, enabling us to have week-by-week data on vaccine delivery.


(Full Research Program Awards list coming soon)

DFCM Research Program Award for Research Mentorship

Dr. Aisha Lofters | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Lofters is a family physician at Women’s College Hospital and Chair in Implementation Science at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers at Women’s College Hospital, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society. An accomplished clinician scientist, Dr. Lofters is an associate professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Family & Community Medicine, as well as an adjunct scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. She currently holds a New Investigator Award from CIHR. She also serves as the provincial primary care lead for Cancer Care Ontario’s Cancer Screening Portfolio. Her research interests include cancer screening and prevention and health equity, using a broad range of methods.


Excellence in Advocacy

Dr. Mary Thomas | Michael Garron Hospital

Excellence in Mentorship

Dr. Matthew Myatt | ROMP New Tecumseth
Dr. Nena-Rae Watson | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital

Excellence in Program Coordination

Ms. Gilda Barillas | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital

Role Modelling Clinical Excellence

Dr. Leslie-Anne Hutchings | ROMP Collingwood
Dr. Dave Wheler | Scarborough Health Network

Role Modelling Clinical Excellence - FMLE

Dr. Jennifer Potter | Office-Based Physician

Teaching Excellence - Clerkship

Dr. Scott Nguyen | Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital
Dr. Barbara Vari | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital

Teaching Excellence - Electives

Dr. Tom Leventis | Markham Stouffville Hospital

Teaching Excellence - FMLE

Dr. Corey Bricks | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Thomas Yeates | Office-Based Physician

Teaching Excellence - New Teacher

Dr. Lauren Payne | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Esther Rosenthal | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital