Read the latest AERO newsletter featuring: i) AERO Profiles – Meet our Scientists, ii) Kudos, iii) Featured Articles, and iv) Conference and Grant Opportunities.

AERO: Mobilizing education science

Welcome to our autumn newsletter

Welcome to the new look for our newsletter!

In this edition, we launch our regular ‘AERO Profiles’ feature and get to know Dr. Onyura to learn a bit more about her and her work.

AERO Profiles will begin by profiling our members who are listed as Scientists with the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. We also plan to profile additional AERO Scholars.

So, get in touch with us! We welcome the opportunity to profile you or one of your colleagues in future editions.

We also announce the 2020-2021 season of the Education Research Community meetings, biweekly on Mondays at noon on Zoom, starting October 5th. Please mark your calendars.

And do keep reading for kudos, and conference and grant reminders.
Ryan, Stella, Emilia, and Myra

AERO Profiles -- Meet our Scientists

Each newsletter edition will feature one or two of our AERO members.

Dr. Betty Onyura PhD, CE

Associate Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

Dr. Betty Onyura holds a Ph.D in Industrial Organizational Psychology and is a Credentialed Evaluator with the Canadian Evaluation Society. Dr. Onyura works as an Evaluation Research Scientist (The Centre for Faculty Development) and is Assistant Professor and Evaluation Science Lead with the Office of Education Scholarship, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto.
How would you describe your applied education research program?
Evaluation Science. This involves developing theory and conducting research on program evaluation. Naturally, my work places an emphasis on evaluation practices in Health Professions Education where I am both a scientist and practitioner of Evaluation.

People hold many assumptions about Program Evaluation that are not necessarily supported by evidence. For example, Evaluation is perpetually mandated in Medical Education. Many assume it is a social good and that it adds value to our Educational systems. However, the evidence to support this belief is unfounded or unclear.

We know little about how evaluation is used in the health professions and even less about its impact on health professions education as a whole. 

I am interested in exploring questions about how and why evaluation is utilized across our system. This includes examining how cultural and political environments – and tensions – impact how evaluation is practiced and used.

And, of course – like any Evaluation scientist-practitioner, I am continually developing and evolving conceptual frameworks and other methodological tools to help conduct meaningful evaluative studies.

What project and related insights make you particularly excited about your work right now?
One project I am particularly enjoying involves studying the experiences of Evaluation practitioners across health care and health profession education systems to better understand the tensions they must navigate in their work.

I don’t have insights yet – we are in the early stages of data collection – however, I’m excited about what we’ll learn because it will be key to better understanding gaps and opportunities in evaluation utilization.

If I can take the liberty of noting a second project, I am currently working with some amazing collaborators on disseminating conceptual frameworks about the evaluation of the implementation of innovative or reformative programs. I think evaluation of implementation is often neglected in our field – and is an area that is ripe for conceptual exploration.  
How did you become an AERO Scientist?
The short answer is Stella strong armed me. However, it was clear that there was an opportunity – and a need – to advance Education science at Unity Health.

High quality, practice-relevant research will not only elevate the profile of education at our institution but the knowledge gained can benefit all who work and learn under the Unity Health banner.

We need to study more, write more, disseminate more, and engage more of our colleagues in our applied research work. My view is that AERO is part of how we put tangible structures in place to support this work.
How do you de-compress and enjoy your spare time away from work?
I love gardening! Our family now grows enough onions and garlic to be self-sufficient throughout the year.
Unity Health Toronto grants you a paid 6-month vacation. Where do you go and who’s coming with you?
I would go to Kenya. I would enrol my children in school so they could experience a bit of what my childhood was like. Plus, I’ve promised my daughter a close-up view of an elephant.


SSHRC-cess for AERO Scientists and Researchers!

A team led by Dr. Ryan Brydges, which includes AERO members Dr. Stella Ng and Dr. Kieran McIntyre, has been awarded a 2020 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant ($99,496).

Titled Prepared to learn: Toward valid assessments of self-regulated learning from classroom to workplace, the project will aim to better integrate simulation-based and workplace-based training and assessment practices, with a focus on how trainees self-regulate and prepare themselves for future learning.

The project will run for 3-years.

Featured Article

AERO was pleased to collaborate with scientists who led studies featured in this edition of the newsletter.


Research and Action for Better Interprofessional Maternity Care

A better understanding of the drivers of tensions within interprofessional maternity care teams was the focus of a recent study by AERO scientists, researchers, and members. 

Through a combination of critical incident reports, observation, and interviews, investigators identified some of the work processes that contributed to team tensions and sub-optimal work.

Modifications informed by this knowledge can improve work processes, reduce tensions experienced by individuals working in interprofessional teams, and positively impact care experiences.

Check out the abstract below and stay tuned for a full paper, coming soon: 
Calling all maternity care teams to the table! Exploring the driving forces contributing to interprofessional tensions in intrapartum care“:

Patient as Teacher

A “patient as teacher” program, led by Dr. Jory Simpson, has been developed for surgical clerkship programs.

The program’s focus is to advance a humanistic approach in surgery education that has, traditionally, focused on technical and procedural skill development. 

The pilot and program development is outlined in “Humanistic education in surgery: a “patient as teacher” program for surgical clerkship“: .

Stay tuned for exciting evaluation results, coming soon.

Simulation program responds to COVID-19 demands

How do hospital systems prepare for and implement change during a healthcare pandemic? That was the question posed to the Unity Health Toronto — Simulation Program as COVID-19 made its way into southern Ontario.

The Simulation Program addressed the problem from organizational and program levels by using technology and simulation, developing an educational resource nimble enough to address the challenges that our hospital providers would face.

Conferences and Grant Opportunities

We have updated our list of conferences for 2020 to reflect those that have been postponed until 2021 or have shifted to a virtual platform. Some have canceled their events entirely.

If you were scheduled to present at a conference but it was canceled, the APA has issued guidelines on citing canceled conferences:

Conferences 2020

The Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME): Virtual Conference
All eight plenaries are available from May 15, 2020 through to August 14, 2020

Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE)
In-person conference has been canceled; the committee will announce an alternate format in the coming weeks.
An International Association for Medical Education (AMEE) Annual Conference: Virtual Conference
September 7-9, 2020
International Conference on Residency Education (ICRE)
September 24-26, 2020, Vancouver, BC
Registration not yet open

Inter-professional Global Conference: All Together Better Health X 2020 – Cultivating a Collaborative Culture: Sharing Pearls of Wisdom
October 24-27, 2020 Doha, Qatar
Call for Abstracts open

American Medical Informatics Association
Nov 14-18, 2020, Chicago, IL
Registration open
ICCH 2020: 14. International Conference on Communication in Healthcare
November 19-20, 2020, Paris, France
Early Bird Registration: October 2, 2020
Frontiers in Medical and Health Sciences Education 2020 Conference: Medical Education Disrupted – Negativity or Creativity
November 27-28, 2020, Hong Kong, China,r11.php?Lang=zh-tw
Learning Resources Network (LERN) Annual Conference
December 2-5, 2020, New Orleans, LA


Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions 2021 Annual Conference
January 13-16, 2021, Orlando, FL
Simulation Summit (The Future is Now)
February 20-21, 2021, Montreal, QC
The Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME)
April 17-20, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL
Association for Surgical Education (ASE)
April 27-May 1, 2021, Boston, MA
The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Annual Meeting
June 15-18, 2021, Ottawa, ON
International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (IIQM) 20th Annual Thinking Qualitatively Conference (featuring Focus on Intersectionality)
July 5-10, 2021, Kelowna, BC
Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Annual Scientific Meeting
July 7-9, 2021, Warwick, UK
Transform MedEd 2021
November 19-20, 2021, London, UK
Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Annual Scientific Meeting:
Disrupting Medical Education

2021, Date and venue to be determined
Bot-generated list of conferences, meetings, workshops, training opportunities, seminars, and similar, updated weekly:
Please note: AERO has not reviewed nor vetted the bot list.

Grant Opportunities 2020

Max Bell Foundation – Project, Development, and Senior Fellow Grants
“Max Bell Foundation reflects the spirit and intent of its founder to improve Canadian society. We encourage the development of innovative ideas that impact public policies and practices with an emphasis on health and wellness, education, and the environment.”
**No deadlines for initial requests (submit letter of intent, will receive response in 4 weeks to submit proposal or not)
University of Toronto CPD Research and Development Grants Program
Grants up to a maximum of $5,000 are awarded to fund research relevant to the mission of CPD at University of Toronto.
Application Deadline: TBD – Fall 2020

Joule Innovation Grant Program
Nine funding streams; up to $500K in total.
Deadline extended indefinitely.
SMH Research IPBR Small Grants
$5,000 to inter-professional teams for two-year practice-based research study.
Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) Novice Research Grant Program
Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) Medical Education Endowment Fund Grant Program
Notification of Awards – on or about July 8, 2020


Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP)
Competition opens: Monday, February 1, 2021 at noon (ET)
Competition closes: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 23:59 (ET)

The Stemmler Fund (USA)
Register to see what grants, if any, might apply to your research.


AERO launched in 2018, enabled by two new donations to the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation: The Arrell Family Chair in Health Professions Teaching and the Professorship in Technology-Enabled Education. 

We appreciate the financial support that they provide which allows AERO to positively influence healthcare in Canada.

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