2021 DFCM Program Award Winners

Congratulations to all our 2021 Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) Program Award winners! At this year's virtual Celebration Event, we will recognize and honour your contributions to your patients, communities and our department.

These awards relate to the period June 2020 – June 2021.

Academic Fellowship and Graduate Studies

Continuing Education Student Award for Scholarship

Dr. Karishma Ramjee | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital – Division of Hospital Medicine
Dr. Ramjee completed a 1-year PGY3 Hospitalist program while also fulfilling all requirements of the Clinical Research Certificate. Despite an increased clinical caseload and an impact on subject recruitment in her research practicum due to the pandemic, Karishma managed all her responsibilities with excellence. She completed her 3 required program courses with an average of 90% and pivoted her practicum to attain her scholarly goals. Karishma has demonstrated a phenomenal dedication to the principles of integrity, quality and persistent workload management.

Continuing Education Student Award for Overall Excellence

Dr. Mohammad Waseem Zakour | Clinical Research Certificate Student, DFCM Central
Dr. Zakour is a Syrian medical graduate and completed surgical training in Egypt. After his immigration to Canada, he developed a keen interest in research and is now a recent graduate of our Clinical Research Certificate program. During the program, Waseem excelled in all 3 of his required research courses with an average of 90%, completing the courses quickly and with keen attention while grasping new learning styles and formats. He has been a role model student and researcher, very attentive at class practicum meetings, sharing his knowledge and guidance openly.

Continuing Education and Graduate Studies Instructor Award

Dr. Judith Peranson | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
As co-lead instructor for the INTAPT course, Dr. Peranson provided exceptional leadership to our team in moving the course to an online format. This included working collaboratively with the staff and other instructors to develop the new structure of the course that would ensure students had a positive learning experience. Importantly, she prioritized faculty development for our co-instructors. She dedicated time to meet with individual faculty member teams to help them adapt their materials and rehearse sessions online. The course was a great success with students highlighting the supportive nature of the instructor team, the development of relationships with their peers and skill development.

Field Practicum Preceptor Award

Dr. Susanna Talarico | The Hospital for Sick Children
Dr. Talarico has been a consistent supervisor of practicum projects for graduate students who have clinical responsibilities at The Hospital for Sick Children. Her passion for faculty development and education are infectious. She has created opportunities for students to teach, while challenging and supporting them. Her students describe her as an exceptional role model.

Emergency Medicine

Dr. Anna Jarvis Award for Postgraduate Teaching Excellence in Emergency Medicine

Dr. Carly Ng | UHN – Toronto General Hospital – Division of Emergency Medicine

Excellence in Teaching in Emergency Medicine (Early Career)


Dr. Adrian Heller | North York General Hospital – Division of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Gil Yehudaiff | North York General Hospital – Division of Emergency Medicine

Excellence in Teaching & Education in Emergency Medicine

Dr. Joan Cheng | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre – Division of Emergency Medicine

Excellence in Research/Quality Improvement in Emergency Medicine

Dr. Shelly McLeod | Mount Sinai Hospital

Excellence in Emergency Medicine

Dr. David Dushenski | Mount Sinai Hospital – Division of Emergency Medicine

Faculty Development

Elana Fric Family Medicine Award for Leadership and Advocacy

Dr. Bannuya Balasubramanaiam & Dr. Rob Dmytyshyn | Women's College Hospital

Dr. Bannuya Balasubramanaiam is a Women’s Health Clinical Fellow collaborating with Dr. Dmytryshyn and Michelle Bobala RN from the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre at Women’s College Hospital to develop a clinical care guide for family doctors with a focus on trauma-informed screening, ongoing support and resource provision for survivors of intimate partner violence. Her goal is to bridge gaps in detection and support of women facing increased isolation and violence during COVID-19.

Jamie Meuser Award for Excellence in Leadership and Innovation in Faculty Development

Dr. Risa Bordman | North York General Hospital
Risa Bordman is a community Family Physician, Palliative Care provider and Associate Professor at UofT. She is a Faculty Development Lead for the Office of Education Scholarship and Co-chair of the Education Committee, Division of Palliative Care, UofT. She has over 30 years experience as an educator, program director and reseracher in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education.


Dr. Debbie Selby | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Division of Palliative Care
Dr. Selby has created a culture of mentorship for learners, physicians and members of the interdisciplinary team within our division. She encourages colleagues to challenge themselves clinically, she is generous in sharing opportunities for academic career advancement, and guides colleagues through difficult ethical cases and personal challenges. Dr. Selby has had a profoundly positive impact on generations of younger colleagues through her years of mentorship in the DFCM.

Excellence in New Leadership in Faculty Development

Dr. Cristina de Lasa | CAMH
Dr. Cristina de Lasa is a Family Physician with a Certificate of Added Competence in Care of the Elderly. She is a staff Hospitalist, Medical Education Lead and interim Medical Head in the Division of Medicine in Psychiatry at CAMH. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her interests include medical education, physician wellness, patient advocacy and complex medical care for individuals with severe mental illness.

Excellence in Faculty Development

The Wellness and Resilience Team has been developing and creating modules to trian the trainer and help build practices, methods and techniques to support preceptors and their students. They also initiated the development of the DFCM Wellness CoP, bringing together wellness leads at various sites to help support initiatives, and fundamentally build more connection between sites and central DFCM. They are a heart-felt team full of wonderful ideas, creating excellent events with the aim of supporting fellow colleagues and diminishing physician burnout.


Dr. Michael Roberts | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Milena Markovski | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Dr. Donna Vlahos | The Scarborough Hospital
Dr. Maria Ivankovic | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Dr. Eleanor Colledge | Michael Garron Hospital

Excellence in Continuing Education

John H. Fowler Fundamentals for Primary Care Physicians lecture series
The continued success of the John H. Fowler Fundamentals for Primary Care Physicians lecture series (established in 1979 by Dr. John Fowler and Dr. John Axler) lies in its tailoring towards primary care physicians; it is a program designed by family physicians for family physicians. One of the most valued aspects of the program is the development of a strong physician community that in turn can increase the level of care of the local patient community.


Dr. John Axler | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. John Fowler | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. Geordie Fallis | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. J. Joel Rosenberg | Michael Garron Hospital

Excellence in Community-Based Contributor to Faculty Development

Dr. Peter Tzakas | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. Peter Tzakas has made significant contributions to professional development at the local and central level through valued leadership. For over a decade, Dr. Tzakas has worked wtih the DFCM central Professional Development Team on numerous projects including updating the BASICS workshop series for new faculty and faculty development for two PGME and CFPC accreditation cycles. Dr. Tzakas has planned, facilitated, and participated in workshops at the local hospital, central DFCM, and many national and international conferences. Additionally he has dedicated time to training faculty to help prepare residents for their certifying examinations.

Global Health and Social Accountability

Yves Talbot Award for Excellence in Global Health Leadership

Dr. Anne Biringer | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Biringer's support for the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration in Family Medicine has been invaluable and she is both recognized and highly valued as a mentor, teacher, colleague and friend to the AAU Family Medicine faculty. Beyond the wealth of her expertise, her passion for teaching, mentorship and capacity strengthening sets her apart as a remarkable leader.

Faculty Award for Excellence in Global Health

Dr. Suzanne Shoush | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael's Hospital
Combining a fierce commitment to Indigenous Health and a keen ability to listen, engage and prompt action, Dr. Shoush's leadership has spawned contributions that span a wide range of academic accomplishments including teaching and education, the delivery of clinical services through clinical innovation for the delivery of culturally safe care, relentless advocacy, and leadership.


Advocacy for Patients

Dr. Rahul Joshi | Enhanced Skills Program
Rahul can connect with patients and determine not only their medical needs but their spiritual needs also. The following was written by a family about Rahul: “He was able to see beyond the frail, incapacitated person he had become and treated him as the dignified, intelligent former lawyer that he once was.”

Clinical Excellence

Dr. Cassandra De Gasperis | Women's College Hospital
Dr. De Gasperis’s knowledge base is outstanding. She performs far above her level of training; she is a strong communicator and has established trusting relationships with the patients. One never has to worry about elements of patient care falling through the cracks when she is involved in a case.

Dr. Jeff Gustafson | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Gustafson is an excellent family physician. He is a thoughtful and practical practitioner with very strong and patient-centred communication skills. Jeff is also a dedicated colleague who has contributed positively to the collective resident experience. We are confident that he will excel in his career.

Dr. Brandon Kingston | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Brandon is an all-around exceptional resident. He brings a strong knowledge base, a commitment to learning, and goes above and beyond to provide equitable care to his patients. He is highly professional and a true team player. A true pleasure to work with!

Dr. Alexandra Mitcham | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Alexandra Mitcham has demonstrated her superior clinical skills since the start of her residency. She has been functioning at the level of an independent clinician throughout her PGY-2 year and continues to show further improvements in her patient-centred approach. She is an asset to the clinic and to her patients.

Dr. Nirit M. K. Rozenberg | Toronto East Health Network
Dr. Rozenberg is enthusiastically recognized as an asset to each team she has worked with and her exemplary knowledge base, technical skills and professionalism often leads her to be mistaken for a core specialty resident on that service. We consistently receive unsolicited comments from supervisors who want to recognize her significant contributions.

Dr. Cathy Kaixi Wang | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Cathy is very diligent and has genuine empathy for her patients. She is willing to work hard to do her best by her patients, whether it is spending extra time when her patients need it, ensuring appropriate follow up care or advocating for her patients. Her patients are lucky to have her!

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

Dr. Margaret Hess | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Hess’s capacity for excellence is boundless, what makes her so deserving of this award is her deep sense of commitment to the role of a family doctor. To be around her is to re-realize the joy of being a physician. One patient said it best, he exclaimed, “We love Maggie!”

Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Jennifer Hopfner | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Dr. Hopfner is a role model of what we aspire to be. She is patient-centred, an excellent communicator, and works great within teams. Her teaching is practical and high yield for learners. Residents never spend a day with her without having some formal or informal teaching.

Dr. Paul Leger | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Dr. Leger has been a very influential mentor throughout my residency. He is always available to discuss complex patients and has implemented monthly meetings to discuss any concerns and develop learning goals. I feel extremely grateful to have trained under him and hope to achieve his level of excellence in my own career.

Dr. Gordon Mercer | Rural Residency Program
Dr. Mercer has mentored and guided numerous second year family medicine residents during their residency in Port Perry, teaching them assessment, communication and critical thinking skills. He fosters independence and confidence in his learners and has helped to build a community of rural family physicians; many of which stay on to practice here.

Dr. Tanya Wyman | North York General Hospital
Dr. Wyman is incredibly supportive and always creates a resident-centric learning environment. She is attentive to our individual goals and ensures we are exposed to both medical and non-medical aspects of running a family practice. She encourages continuity of care and provides feedback in a timely manner.

Family Medicine Resident Scholarship

Dr. Elliot Lass | Mount Sinai Hospital

Hollister King Teaching Practices Preceptor Award 

Dr. Brian Watada | Milton, ON

Innovation in Education

Dr. Christopher A. Cavacuiti | Enhanced Skills Program
Dr. Cavacuiti and the TrueNorth team provide addiction care to clients in rural Ontario via telemedicine. They were well-equipped to pivot to a remote rotation owing to years spent innovating in remote-care-delivery prior to covid-19. For dedication to learners and being early-adopters of technology to serve Ontarians, I nominate them.

Dr. Mruna Shah | Scarborough Health Network
Dr. Mruna Shah, Director of Scarborough Health Network’s Global Health, Diversity and Health Equity Program (GHDHEP). She has created an innovative multidisciplinary program with the SHN GHDHEP Curriculum of interactive seminars covering the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) for our residents, community FM Doctors, Specialists and hospital staff since 2018.


Dr. Jennifer Yanwen Duan | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Jennifer Duan is an outstanding leader. She has helped to seamlessly lead our postgraduate program in her capacity as Co-Chief resident during this challenging year. She has demonstrated the utmost responsibility, reliability and all-round professionalism. Dr. Duan similarly embodies and role-models clinical excellence and team collaboration.

Dr. Margaret Hess | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Hess is a champion for resident education and wellness. She is an exceptional leader who has exceeded every expectation as chief resident. Unfazed by COVID, she organized and facilitated every academic session, introduced weekly land acknowledgments, planned virtual wellness days, and advocated for us at both local and post-graduate levels.

Dr. Marina Abdel Malak | Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital
A Chief Resident who promotes resident comfort. She dedicates time to reaching residents and steps up the plate to solve problems. She brings enthusiasm and is always available to help. She reassures residents in speaking about their struggles and promotes wellness. Marina is an awesome Chief who goes above and beyond.

Dr. Sean McIntosh | Scarborough Health Network
Dr. Sean McIntosh has been an exemplary leader this year, helping with Accreditation, transition to Zoom seminars, and resident social activities. He is easy to work with and brings a professional and positive attitude to all resident committees.

Dr. William Tsang | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Tsang stepped into the Co-Lead role mid-year and was exposed to the challenges of the pandemic, redeployment, and a clinic move. William has accepted the tasks of his co-lead role with ease. He is a dependable, organized, and a visionary leader who traverses the divide between resident and faculty needs.

Dr. Mark Tyler von Allmen | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Mark has worked hard behind the scenes as a co-Chief to help his fellow residents feel welcome and supported in residency. He has organized gatherings, fundraisers and helped organize a hilarious virtual Christmas party. Clinically he shows leadership with excellent knowledge, teaching of residents and students.

Dr. Adam Zoccoli | Markham Stouffville Hospital
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult time. Dr. Zoccoli recognized the PGY1 struggle early on as co-chief resident and worked tirelessly to improve their experience at the Markham Stouffville FMTU. He connected with each resident offering support and organized virtual group activities. His leadership has been invaluable during this pandemic.

New Teacher

Dr. Evan Chong | Enhanced Skills Program
Dr. Chong is an excellent and supportive teacher. He role models clinical excellence in his care for patients and his communication skills with families and interdisciplinary colleagues. He understands the importance of teaching practice management skills in addition to the clinical skills that are needed to become a successful professional.

Dr. Yuet Ming Lam | Markham Stouffville Hospital
Dr. Lam is a skilled clinician and medical expert deserving of the New Teacher’s Award. She stands unique in her approachability, and treats residents as peers. She excels at teaching with her respect for resident autonomy, while simultaneously providing non-judgmental, constructive feedback to residents, fostering their growth in family medicine.

Dr. Carly Schenker | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Schenker is an outstanding teacher who excels in supporting resident learning. She provides concise, high-yield teaching and provides helpful educational resources. Outside of clinic, she always makes herself available to support residents. Her passion, teaching skills and clinical knowledge make her an incredibly strong educator.

Dr. Lauren Welsh | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Welsh is an exemplary clinician, and a true role model for the learners who have the chance to work with her. Her kindness, dedication to her patients, and passion for teaching are remarkable; her love of medicine is contagious.

Program Leadership

Dr. Erin Bearss | Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Erin Bearss has been an instrumental leader at our Mount Sinai FHT during this tumultuous year. Taking over as Associate Chief of Family Medicine during COVID, she was beyond prepared for the challenge, leading implementation of critical COVID programs in the hospital and the community beyond through long-term care testing and vaccination initiatives.

Dr. Jackie Bellaire | Toronto East Health Network
For five years Dr. Bellaire has been a dedicated lead for the MGH Family Practice OB group and has successfully developed and strengthen the program through thoughtful leadership, recruitment/faculty development, and an ability to inspire an interest in primary care obstetrics amongst learners. Her leadership is highly respected by colleagues.

Dr. Diana Hsiang | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Diana Hsiang has demonstrated dedication, enthusiasm and exemplary organizational skills in her leadership of the WCH Maternity Care Group. She has consistently engaged multiple stakeholders including OB leaders, prenatal care education providers, patients and trainees to understand best practices and to advance education and clinical care at the highest levels.

Dr. Gihane Zarifa | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Leads a well received academic half-day and residents call her "academic half day queen". These sessions are a strength of the curriculum and worked tirelessly since 2006 to develop an excellent program. She goes out of her way to seek skilled individuals and herself, runs diabetes workshops and workshops that are highly rated.

Resident Advocacy

Dr. Bachir Tazkarji | Trillium Health Partners – Mississauga Hospital
An excellent leader and mentor to residents. Supports our work and ensures wellness. He advocates for residents and treats them with respect, care, compassion, and respect. He coordinates with staff and residents to ensure that the FMTU functions smoothly. He excelled during the pandemic, helping residents adapt and without compromising education.

Dr. Anne Wideman | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Despite a trying year, Dr. Wideman went above and beyond to advocate for her residents as program director. From advocating for timely vaccination to organizing regular check-ins, Dr. Wideman has proven that she will treat every concern with compassion and understanding and support her residents every step of the way.

Role Modelling Clinical Excellence

Dr. Jennifer McNaughton | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
She is our local clinical expert and serves as a resource to residents and community doctors regarding obstetrical and gynecological care including medical termination of pregnancy. An innovative project she has worked on since her installation as a lecturer is our social determinants of health sessions on academic half days.

Dr. Thea Weisdorf | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Weisdorf has role modelled comprehensive, compassionate care of transgender and gender expansive patients to Residents for several years. She has co-presented biannually at AHD on Transgender Health topics. Thea has provided mentorship to learners seeking skills for all aspects of transgender health, from social, medical and surgical transition perspectives.

Teaching Excellence

Dr. Noam Berlin | Enhanced Skills Program
Noam demonstrates unique talents compared to many of his peers on both the teaching and leadership fronts. During his rotation at Bridgepoint, he took the junior learners under his wing, created a culture of caring, and led several interactive and practical teaching sessions for them.

Dr. Zane Joshua Brickman | North York General Hospital
Zane is a natural enthusiastic teacher. He has mentored several medical students and junior residents in my practice. He successfully completed the Teaching Residents to Teach program. He recently became an FMLE teacher during the pandemic and has found creative ways of immersing the student in the clinical experience.

Dr. Bandeep Kaur | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Bandeep has a strong interest in teaching medical learners. She has a strong presence in our clinic for supporting and nurturing learners. She is keen to share what she has learned including from her mistakes, and passing that on to the next generation of medical learners.

Dr. Karishma Manji | Rural Residency Program
Karishma is a very conscientious and dedicated resident. She is extremely thorough in her assessments, documentation and patient-centered communication. I have been very impressed by her dedication to teaching and her participation with medical students virtually; Karishma displays a commitment to work life balance.

Quality and Innovation

PGY1 Impact Awards

Deprescribing Benzodiazepines

They used QI tools appropriately and implemented effective and sustainable change ideas that tackled an important issue that was of benefit to providers and patients. They worked well in their inter-professional team and maximized each others' strengths.

Dr. James Yoon | Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team
Dr. Gurbani Sandhu | Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team
Dr. Anh Nguyen | Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team
Mr. Denis Tsang | Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team
Ms. Suzanne Singh | Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team
Dr. Melissa Nutik | Mount Sinai Academic Family Health Team

Improving the Rate of Smoking Cessation Counselling in Primary Care

Drs. Cao, Lai, and Stefanoff performed a thorough analysis and QI initiative in the topic of improving rates of smoking cessation counselling in primary care offices in Scarborough. This project, which was very relevant to the Scarborough community, used system diagnostic tools for analysis and multiple PDSA cycles in order to effect change on the delivery of care, reduce the largest modifiable disease factor, and offer solutions for practice management.

Dr. Shen (Sarah) Cao | Scarborough Health Network
Dr. Tracy Lai | Scarborough Health Network
Dr. Matthew Stefanoff | Scarborough Health Network

Improving Safety of Opioid Prescribing for Chronic non-Cancer Pain In Resident Practices

This project demonstrated excellence in Improving Quality with regards to the safe prescribing of Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain coupled with Resident Education on the mechanisms to achieve this goal within Resident practices.  Due to the COVID 19 pandemic the proposed education strategies were halted. However the Residents continued to create an education template that can be enacted in the future for incoming Residents (once the Pandemic is resolved) with an AIM to providing evidence based education around the recommendations for the safe prescribing of opioids.  

Dr. Marina Abdel-Malak | Trillium Health Partners – Summerville
Dr. Asmaa Mnathr Al-Taee | Trillium Health Partners – Summerville
Dr. Angel Segnanthy | Trillium Health Partners – Summerville

Preventative Screening

This motivated team utilized QI methodologies and incremental improvements to developed resident level Screening Activity Reports (SAR), with a process to clean up data (i.e., ineligible by age or duplicates) and to standardize screening documentation in the EMR. These reports have been disseminated to all resident practices. As well, this project has continued as a resident QI project this year. They worked collaboratively with summer students, our NP Heather and the screening coordinator at CCO to review SAR reports and to learn the ability to manipulate the data.

Dr. MacKenzie Chown | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Taylor Ward-Able | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Matthew Orava | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Heather Taylor | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Mr. Ramneet Kaloti | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Minimizing Unnecessary Office Visits in the Context of COVID-19: Use of Medeo Secure Patient Messaging Platform

This innovative team pivoted their QI project to be feasible during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Medeo patient portal was implemented to facilitate secure document asynchronous transmission during the pandemic to comply with social distancing recommendations. This team worked collaboratively with their resident colleagues and patients.   As a result of this QI initiative, the use of this secure asynchronous patient communication for document completion will be sustained post- pandemic, as it was a workflow improvement for both the provider and the patient.

Dr. Lynda Ekeh | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Mayer Grunfeld | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Li Yin | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Jacky Chung Kit Lai | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Improving Satisfaction with Management of UTIs

This group of residents worked with a nursing team in an attempt to tackle a very common issue in family practice. When COVID hit they very effectively pivoted from a “QI” project to an “IQ” project. They made good use of QI tools like problem statements, driver diagrams, cause and effect diagrams and process maps. They collected data through chart reviews using validated decision tools and received important insights through surveying health care providers and patients. Hopefully we’ll be able to find another resident group to implement some of the tests of change that came from this in depth analysis.

Dr. Joyes Botro | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Kaitlyn Pattrick | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Colin Bolzon | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Increasing the Use of Vaginal Swabs for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Detection at WCH Family Practice

Endocervical swabs and first catch urine (FCU) tests may miss up to 10% of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea (C&G) infections in women in comparison to vaginal swabs. Yet only 8% of C&G tests at WCH Family practice in January 2020 were vaginal swabs. Ishikawa diagrams, laboratory and IT expert consultation and chart review were used to determine a feasible plan to improve patient care by increasing the potential detection of C&G.

Dr. Cassandra De Gasperis-Brigante | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Vivian Choo | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Rebecca Halls | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Michael Polischuk | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Dara Maker | Women's College Hospital

Transitioning from Intramuscular to Oral B12 Supplementation

The TW FHT is pleased to nominate Drs. Jennifer Duan, Stephanie Wan, Vrinda Kalra, and Imaan Kara and supervisors Dr. Benjamin Kaasa and Allison Mann for the PGY1 QI Impact Award. Their QI initiative demonstrated excellence in improving the patient/provider experience, the FHT patients' health, as well as cost-effectiveness for vitamin B12 supplementation. An example of a small scale, feasible initiative towards achieving impactful improvement for our patients and providers.

Dr. Jennifer Duan | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Stephanie Wan | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Vrinda Kalra | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Imaan Kara | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Benjamin Kaasa | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Allison Mann | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital

Improving Appropriate Antibiotic Prescriptions for Respiratory Tract Infections: A Choosing Wisely Initiative at Markham Family Medicine Teaching Unit

Drs. David Field and Susy Lam are nominated for the PGY1 Impact Award to recognize their contribution to improving antibiotic prescribing at the Health for All Family Health Team. During their PGY1 year, they focused on improving appropriate antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections through implementation of the Choosing Wisely viral prescription, circulation of appropriate antibiotic prescribing stewardship reports, and Choosing Wisely RTI educational seminars for residents and staff.  Appropriate antibiotic prescriptions improved by 13% from 2019 to 2020.

Dr. David Field | Markham Stouffville Hospital
Dr. Susy Lam | Markham Stouffville Hospital

STI Screening in Primary Care

Research demonstrates a rising rate of reported STIs in the past decade, particularly among patients under age 25. We set out to identify STI screening practices of family medicine residents. Survey results demonstrated that most residents do not regularly offer STI screening to asymptomatic patients. Our chart review showed that only 40% of patients aged 15-25 who received STI testing were tested for screening purposes. We proposed several interventions to improve STI screening rates.​

Dr. Rabea Parpia | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Dr. Jasleen Gill | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital
Dr. Sahra Gedleh | Trillium Health Partners – Credit Valley Hospital

Does Metformin Drop More Than Just Your A1C? Increasing Screening for Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Diabetic Patients

For their project, they demonstrated proficiency with the use of QI tools with a multi-disciplinary team. Their AIM statement was clear, and they used system diagnostic tools to focus their improvement initiative. They attempted a systems change by consulting with the Data Standardization Committee to include this on our diabetic template. This was unfortunately too difficult to implement, however demonstrated they were thinking of methods to make their project easier to implement and more sustainable. Drs. Bening and Grewal’s project was voted “Best Use of QI Methodology” at our QI presentation day.

Dr. Avneet Bening | North York General Hospital
Dr. Jasleen Grewal | North York General Hospital

Soliciting Patient Engagement to Understand How to Address Sensitive Topics

This team of residents has shown a remarkable ability to listen to patient feedback and strive for better.  Their work on soliciting patient engagement in an effort to understand how to address sensitive topics such as Obesity, has led to creating a more inclusive and patient led approach to Obesity, which has garnered interest from our local hospital partners in an effort to scale up the program.

Dr. Jonathan Lockwood | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Dr. Danyal Saeed | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Dr. Robert Stephens | Southlake Regional Health Centre

Better Understanding Meningococcal Vaccination Rates in People Living with HIV (PLWH) in an Urban Family Health Team

The aim of this project was to better understand the rate of meningococcal vaccinations given to PLWH at St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, the provider awareness of current vaccination guidelines, and barriers experienced by providers. Two PDSAs were completed showing decreased provider awareness of Meningococcal vaccination indication and the number of vaccinations administered to patients with HIV within the past 5 years was less than 20%. Providers shared barriers to vaccination administration including: multiple issues with too little time, decreased awareness of guidelines, patient-identified vaccination hesitancy, patient accessibility to vaccinations with respect to follow-up to clinic and/or cost. Identified next steps, steps indicated by Providers included having a reminder in the chart and more educations sessions for both Providers and patients.

Dr. Monica Edward | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Ann Stewart | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Gordon Arbess | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Mr. Daniel Bois | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital

Transcending Primary Care: Improving Clinic Staff Knowledge, Comfort, and Competence in Providing Care to Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Patients at the SMH Family Health Team

Research shows that transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) clients are less likely to have access to primary care. A 2017 QI project found that provider knowledge had a large impact on transgender and GNC client experience at our FHT. Aim: improve clinic staff knowledge, comfort, and competence in providing care to transgender and GNC clients by 15% through the creation of an evidence-based pamphlet handout. Scores for staff knowledge, comfort, and competence increased after the pamphlet distribution Next steps include, adding the pamphlet into the electronic medical record, re-assessing patient comfort and disseminating work beyond the FHT to hospital ambulatory and inpatient settings

Dr. Yalda Karimi | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Victoria Zhang | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Caroline Ruderman | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Ms. Sue Hranilovic | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital

Exploring the Implementation of Universal Trauma Screening at St. Joseph’s Urban Family Health Team

I am writing to nominate the QI team led by Janine Farrell and Meara Tubman-Broeren, for their project “Exploring the Implementation of Universal Trauma Screening(UTS) at SJHCUFHT”.  Supported by a thorough analysis of the literature and the input of our staff and patients they concluded that with appropriate training and clinic-wide adoption of trauma informed care, it could be safe, acceptable and valuable to employ a type of UTS  in our  clinic. Their exceptional poster and presentation clearly lay out the steps necessary to move forward and inspired staff to learn and do more.

Ms. Janine Farrell | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Meara Tubman-Broeren | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Dr. Casimir Soare | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Jane Bowman | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Chloe Walls | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ms. Alejandra Priego | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre

PGY2 Impact Awards

Pilot Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) Curriculum in Family Medicine Residency

The TW FHT is pleased to nominate Dr. Marlee Klaiman and supervisor Dr. Benjamin Kaasa for the PGY2 QI Impact Award. Dr. Klaiman’s initiative was creative, innovative, and demonstrated excellence in its alignment with the SQUIRE guidelines. Her comprehensive project was especially impactful in striving to improve the resident educational experience within the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Marlee Klaiman | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Benjamin Kaasa | UHN – Toronto Western Hospital

Improving the Test Management and Follow-Up Process in Primary Care, in Accordance with the CPSO’s 2019 “Managing Tests” Policy

Dr. Melody Ng | North York General Hospital
Dr. Ng’s first year project created a tool for managing test results in high-risk patients. She expanded on this in 2nd year with its dissemination across various specialties at UofT using PBSG modules. Dr. Ng shows a strong knowledge of QI and employed The Model for Improvement. She used multiple diagnostic tools and measures, as well as a qualitative study using surveys. Her projects are strong examples of practical, important and feasible QI work.

Faculty and Staff Impact Awards

Patient Safety Committee (PSC)

Our Patient Safety Committee (PSC), established in 2018 has worked to develop & implement a process for the identification, tracking, analysis and evaluation of patient safety incidents. This work is disseminated to other Barrie and Community FHT practices. The committee's work includes: promoting reporting of patient safety incidents to make important improvements to care and to be accountable to our team; analysis of these incidents using SEA; Annual Do It Better Rounds and a quarterly Patient Safety Newsletter. Patient safety incidents reported since 2018 have increased due to this innovative work by the PSC committee. All staff look forward to the Do It Better Rounds, for the opportunity to collaborate and continually learn about QI methodology, and to interactively analyze a patient safety incident. The Rounds topics include: Accurate patient identification in a primary care clinic; tracking referrals to specialist and immunization errors by learners.

Ms. Hannah Silk | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Angela Lamothe | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Lori Alexander | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Ms. Lynn Hamilton | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Lynda Ekeh | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
Dr. Melissa Witty | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Identifying and Serving Frail Vulnerable Patients in East Toronto During the Pandemic by Creating Partnerships Across All Primary Care and Community Agencies in Four Geographic Hubs Utilizing Mobile Outreach Teams

Through rapid creation of partnerships between primary care, home care and community agencies, we created four geographically centred care hubs to maintain healthcare and social services to vulnerable seniors in East York amidst the pandemic. Using QI methodology and stakeholder engagement, we collaborated to map resources and define goals.  Process measures include breadth of participating organizations, number of clients served monthly; outcome measures include provider satisfaction with care coordination and psychosocial benefits to caregivers.

Dr. Louisa Huband | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. Stephanie Godard | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. Catherine Yu | Michael Garron Hospital
Dr. Thuy-Nga Pham | Michael Garron Hospital
Ms. Mireille Chung | Michael Garron Hospital
Ms. Kathleen Foley | Michael Garron Hospital
Mr. Ian Ritchie | Michael Garron Hospital
Mr. Stephen Beckwith | Michael Garron Hospital
Ms. Shobha Oza | Michael Garron Hospital

Improving Timely Transfers to a Local Palliative Care Unit for Patients at the End of Life

Canada’s aging population has placed increasing demands on the acute care system, creating a need for patients to die in their preferred location, including palliative care units (PCU).  The GIM ward at Sunnybrook does not have a standardized transfer process for patients moving from acute care to the PCU. The aim of this project was to ensure a standardized and efficient patient transfer from acute care to the PCU for an arrival time of 10am.

A multidisciplinary QI team tested ‘Plan-Do-Study-Act’ cycles targeting steps of the transfer turnaround time (time from bed offer to transfer).  Transfer turnaround time of two hours was the primary outcome measure. Process measures included percentage of pre-discharge orders written and pre-discharge summaries completed, and percentage of patients collected for transfer by 9:30am. Data analysis indicates that the targeted transfer time was met in 42% of cases. Program expansion is underway.

Ms. Wendy Kingsburgh | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Division of Palliative Care
Dr. Lise Huynh | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Division of Palliative Care
Ms. Sandra DeCosta | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Division of Palliative Care
Ms. Sonia Dyal | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Division of Palliative Care
Ms. Ashley Skinner | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Division of Palliative Care
Ms. Kalli Stilos | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Division of Palliative Care

Goals of Care Simulation

Dr. Alena Hung | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Alena Hung has demonstrated outstanding leadership in building an interprofessional Goals of Care Simulation training team in the Veteran’s Centre (VC) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. This is part of a larger Quality Improvement initiative within the North Toronto Health Team. Dr. Hung has led this collaborative work in the VC to improve the patient experience through ensuring care if aligned with goals and increase staff comfort with these conversations by improving their knowledge and skills.

Diabetes Outreach Initiative at WCH FP

Diabetes management is a challenge for many of our patients during the pandemic. Our multidisciplinary team, led by our skilled Clinical Diabetes Educators, reached out virtually using OCEAN surveys to gather, not only traditional objective measures of care, but also socioeconomic factors and measures of overall well-being. Our learnings will inform on-going enhancements to team-based chronic disease management translatable to other conditions and settings.

Ms. Behnaz Abedi | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Lisa Fernandes | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Denis Tsang | Women's College Hospital
Ms. Laura Belsito | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Chantal Simms | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Nikita Patel | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Susie Kim | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Noah Ivers | Women's College Hospital

Implementation of Ocean Platform Based Patient Email Communication

I am pleased to nominate Dr. Michelle Homer and Jadie Stone, co-chairs, and the members of the EMR committee for the rapid implementation of a secure email communication platform (Ocean) for patients and providers at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team accelerated the implementation to meet the needs of the virtual work environment with extraordinary success.  Clinical care has been improved with the ability to exchange patient education, referrals, documents, and pictures securely.  Preliminary data from the patient experience survey shows a high degree of patient satisfaction and anecdotal feedback has been excellent.

Dr. Michelle Homer | Markham Stouffville Hospital
Ms. Jadie Stone | Markham Stouffville Hospital

Patient Experience Survey

Briar managed the Patient Experience survey work at the NYFHT/NYGH. She contributed to the planning and question development for the survey for this initiative that was spearheaded by Dr. Payal Agarwal at the DFCM. Briar was able to give the NYGH/community site perspective. This physician team comprised different offices making the results more robust. Briar presented the results at our Do It Better rounds to demonstrate the benefits of a Patient Experience survey -how it fits in with QI work and can be modified for any family physician’s office.

Ms. Briar DeFinney | North York General Hospital
Dr. Maria Muraca | North York General Hospital
Dr. Dhalia Balaban | North York General Hospital
Dr. Debra Small | North York General Hospital
Dr. Teresa Goldenberg | North York General Hospital
Dr. Margaret (Meg) Bennett | North York General Hospital
Dr. Danielle Manis | North York General Hospital
Dr. Susan Masters | North York General Hospital
Dr. Eva Knifed | North York General Hospital
Dr. David Kaplan | North York General Hospital

Leadership of the Southlake Academic Family Health Team

Our Executive Director J.C. Kirk, lead Nurse Laura Gallotta, Office Manager Crystal Allen and Medical Director Dr. Kiehn have tirelessly steered our organisation through the COVID-19 pandemic.  They embodied the spirit of QI and their ability to provide innovative, safe and timely care has kept our organisation running.  Their work ethic ensured our 25,000+ patients, and others from the community who could not access their own family doctors, received the care all Ontarians deserve.

Ms. Laura Gallotta | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Ms. Crystal Allen | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Mr. J.C. Kirk | Southlake Regional Health Centre
Dr. Lana Kiehn | Southlake Regional Health Centre

Influenza Vaccination in Primary Care during the COVID19 Pandemic – Access and Patient Centeredness

The COVID19 pandemic presented in significant challenges with essential flu vaccination delivery by Primary Care. Patients were fearful and clinics concerned about providing enough opportunity for elders, children < 5yrs and high risk patient populations requiring the high dose vaccine not available by pharmacy community partners. The St Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, Vaccine Task Force brought together an interprofessional team who developed a successful, iterative approach to vaccinations, reaching over 1500 high risk patients.  Through PDSA cycles of weekend vaccination clinics, development of routine operational workflow that balanced vaccine clinic capacity and patient flow, ease of access to booking vaccination appointment via one phone touchpoint and outreach to patients who were high risk, the team had successfully developed a sound process map; which will go on to inform safe, COVID vaccination in our primary care centre for 2021.

Dr. Holly Knowles | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Charlie Guiang | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Ms. Lorna McDougall | 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
Ms. Sarah Nestico | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital

Optimizing PSS to Support Patient Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I am writing to nominate Mr. Jonathan Fowler and Dr. Linda Weber for the Faculty/Staff QI Impact Award.  Through toolbars in PSS (Practice Solutions Suite), our EMR, they curated and created an enormous database of information regarding Covid-19, accessible from within PSS.  They developed tools to support virtual care integrated within PSS.  They curated important website links with valuable information for patients and made it easy to send these links to patients via e-mail, with the simple click of a button.   Their work has saved an enormous amount of time for all team members and optimizes the care we provide to patients during this challenging time.

Mr. Jonathan Fowler | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Dr. Linda Weber | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre

Research and Advocacy

Award for Research Mentorship

Dr. Shelley McLeod | Mount Sinai Hospital – SREMI

Award for Outstanding Peer-Reviewed Publication

First Place Publication

Noah Ivers and others | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Ivers NM, Schwalm JD, Bouck Z, McCready T, Taljaard M, Grace SL, Cunningham J, Bosiak B, Presseau J, Witteman HO, Suskin N, Wijeysundera HC, Atzema C, Bhatia RS, Natarajan M, Grimshaw JM. Interventions supporting long term adherence and decreasing cardiovascular events after myocardial infarction (ISLAND): pragmatic randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2020 Jun 10;369:m1731. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m1731. PMID: 32522811; PMCID: PMC7284284.

Second Place Publication

Andrew Pinto with Samantha Green and others | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital
Pinto AD, Da Ponte M, Bondy M, Craig-Neil A, Murphy K, Ahmed S, Nair P, Swartz A, Green S. Addressing financial strain through a peer-to-peer intervention in primary care. Fam Pract. 2020 Nov 28;37(6):815-820. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmaa046. PMID: 32537646.

Third Place Publication

Alice Ordean with Milena Forte, Peter Selby and others | Unity Health Toronto – St. Joseph's Health Centre
Ordean A, Forte M, Selby P, Grennell E. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Prenatal Alcohol Use and Cigarette Smoking: A Survey of Academic and Community Health Care Providers. J Addict Med. 2020 Jul/Aug;14(4):e76-e82. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000588. PMID: 31703018; PMCID: PMC7413672.


Excellence in Advocacy

Dr. Ritika Goel | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital

Excellence in Mentorship

Dr. Jacky Lai | Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Innovation in Family Medicine Education

Dr. Sumeet Gill | Women's College Hospital

Role Modelling Clinical Excellence

Dr. Nemat Daraei | Orillia Soldiers Memorial Hospital
Dr. Jeff Golisky | Georgian Bay General Hospital
Dr. Adam Dwosh | North York General Hospital

Teaching Excellence - Electives

Dr. Eva Knifed | North York General Hospital

Teaching Excellence - Family Medicine Clerkship

Dr. Karen Wong | Women's College Hospital
Dr. Mira Shuman | Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Teaching Excellence - Health Professional Education

Ms. Sue Hranilovic | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital

Teaching Excellence - New Teacher

Dr. Amir Salamat | North York General Hospital
Dr. Caroline Jeon | Unity Health Toronto – St. Michael’s Hospital

Teaching Excellence and Role Modeling Clinical Excellence - FMLE

Dr. John Deliakas | Office-Based Physician
Dr. Christina Tunzi | Office-Based Physician
Dr. Mark Goldstein | Office-Based Physician