May 1, 2023

LMP’s inaugural Faculty Development Day brings people together

Agile education, Impactful research, Disruptive Innovation, Dynamic Collaboration, Inclusive community
A large group of people smiling for the camera
By Jenni Bozec

Thursday, April 20, saw the inaugural Faculty Development Day in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.

A mix of clinical, basic science, and translational faculty came together to discuss topics and issues pertinent to the LMP Strategic focus: professionalism and communicating with trainees and peers, and building dynamic collaborations.

A room full of people listening to a presentation

Creating safe, welcoming learning spaces

The panel discussion kicking off the day was led by LMP faculty and Co-Vice Chairs of Wellness, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (WIDE), Dr. Isabelle Aubert and Dr. Gino Somers. Guest speakers were Dr. Reena Pattani, Director of Learner Experience in Temerty Medicine, and Ms. Caroline Rabbat, Director of Centre for Graduate Mentorship & Supervision, School of Graduate Studies. 

Dr. Pattani highlighted the prevalence of mistreatment in the learner community and the complexity of issues. Learners are often dealing with multiple factors such as power differentials, a culture of silence, and microaggressions, all of which can have an effect on the learners themselves, patients or labs, and the institution. She also showcased the role the Learner Experience Unit (LEU) plays in supporting learners.

Ms. Rabbat discussed the role the Centre for Graduate Mentorship & Supervision (CGMS) plays in supporting graduate students and their interactions with supervisors and how they support faculty. She discussed how their personal approach helps mitigate issues by listening to learner concerns and providing support through various means including mediation, coaching and more.

This was followed by discussion and questions that focussed on building awareness of, and skills to handle, these issues and to ensure learners and faculty know how to get support.

Two men holding their fists together

Collegial conversations

Dr. Monica Branigan delivered a workshop on behalf of the Physician Leadership Institute aimed at equipping faculty with the tools to work together more efficiently. 

She spoke about psychological safety and how creating a safe space allows for more engagement and creativity. She highlighted how we can’t have inclusivity without fostering psychological safety. Using interactive polling tools, the room took part in surveys about creating a safe space and how they feel about their teams. She discussed our responses to threats, how our brains can be ‘tricky’ and why compassion is so important, something participants had opportunities to try out in hands-on ways. She also touched on power, privilege, and oppression.

Participants were then given case studies to work on at their table based on generalised real-life experiences in LMP with questions to discuss on how they would handle the situation. An animated discussion followed which demonstrated how important it was to speak up when needed and approach issues with a compassionate lens.

people sitting around tables discussing

Building ideas

The highlight of the day was the Collaboration Café, created in partnership with Krystyna Kongats from the Centre for Research Innovation & Support (CRIS). 

Participants submitted academic questions or challenges during registration, which were used to identify topics/themes of interest and were then assigned to tables. Faculty could then choose a table/topic to join and take part in a 40-minute discussion with their colleagues. They then repeated the process in a second iteration. The table topics were:

  1. How to build collaborations across institutions
  2. Application of AI in healthcare
  3. Use of AI in basic research
  4. New techniques for diagnosis
  5. Adapting to digital technologies
  6. Bridging clinical and basic research
  7. Curriculum design, digital education and assessment
  8. Promoting wellness, inclusion, diversity and equality
  9. Global health

There was a real buzz in the room with many new connections being made. 

Faculty attending the day were then invited to apply for seed funding up to $25k to make some of their new collaborative ideas come to life.

Find out which projects got funded in: LMP seed funding powers new collaborations.

Opinions on the day

“I’ve had such a brilliant day. It’s been amazing to just meet others in LMP and be able to learn about, and discuss, the huge variety of research happening here.”

“Thank you so much for an excellent day.  It gave me new tools, helped me feel more connected with LMP, helped develop new collaborations, and gave me a wellness day away from the busy-ness of every day.”

“It was a perfect format for the day, excellent engaging speakers, and I loved the collaboration café. The ability to meet new people based on shared interests in the collaboration cafe was a creative way to make connections. The venue and food was a bonus on top - being away from UofT helped me focus on the activity and not get distracted with regular work.”

“The morning talks concerning conflict, resources and professionalism were fantastic. I cannot emphasize enough how much I learned, how valuable the content was, and how excellent all three speakers were.”

Department Chair, Dr. Rita Kandel, commented, “Today was incredible. There was a real energy in the room. This event really launches our new strategic plan as it addresses so many of the Pillars. It has been the culmination of a lot of hard work from an incredible team here in LMP. I am so pleased to see it come to life and am looking forward to next year!”

Find out more

The LMP Strategic Plan

Professionalism for faculty 

How to get help

Watch a ‘Youtube short’ of the day