Page 1

Michener M A G A Z I N E A publication for Alumni & Friends • Spring 2013

Learning by Doing

Graduates doing Research

Paramedics in Profile

define your course define your course

W W W. M I C H E N E R . C A / C E W W W. M I C H E N E R . C A / C E

Choose from over 100 continuing education courses offered year-round with flexible learning options.

• Enhance your skills • Expand your job opportunities • Enrich your future Complete a graduate certificate program within a year! • • • • •

Clinical Laboratory Quality Manager Clinical Research Associate Diabetes Educator Imaging Informatics Leadership in Health Care

register today & join our mailing list!

222 St. Patrick Street Toronto, ON M5T 1V4 • 416.596.3117 • 1.800.387.9066 B E S T




in this issue Learning by Doing 8

Michener’s Clinical Education Partners

Alumni in the Spotlight 11

Michener Graduates Giving Back and Paying it Forward

Graduates doing Research 14

Two alumni explore unanticipated paths

Program in Profile 16 4

Michener’s Paramedic Graduates provide more than just a lift to the hospital



Message from the Alumni Association


Alumni Profile


Continuing Education Faculty


What’s up at Michener


Alumni Happenings


com•mu•ni•ty noun (pl.. communities) EDITORIAL TEAM Lissa Manganaro, Editor COPY EDITOR Dana Hopkins LAYOUT & DESIGN Brianne Tulk ADVISORY BOARD Donald Bartlett Sheena Bhimji-Hewitt Jordan Holmes Shamini Martin Sean McCluskey Kelly McPherson ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Chipman Alex DeOliveira Brian Ko CONTRIBUTORS Sharon Aschaiek Debbie Fein-Goldbach Lissa Manganaro Christine Nielsen Dana Yates Published by The Office of Advancement 222 St. Patrick Street, 9th Floor Toronto, Ontario M5T 1V4

Michener Magazine is produced for all alumni, friends, donors, and partners to foster our community, strengthen loyalty, engender Michener pride and inspire investment. STAY CONNECTED Has your name or address changed? Keep us up-to-date by calling 416.596.3132 or email The Michener Institute respects your privacy and doesn’t divulge your mailing information to any other party.

4 Michener Magazine

1. : a. unified body of individuals : as : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society Mirriam-Webster Dictionary


reating a strong community requires individuals to give of themselves and band together for a common purpose. As health care providers, Michener alumni come together to care for patients, whether directly as part of a health care team or indirectly as individual members of society. Around the province and across Canada, alumni unite to make a difference and do something meaningful. The Michener graduates featured in this issue represent just a sample of those in the applied health sciences professions. These individuals are educating current Michener students - our future health care heroes - in clinical sites across Ontario, conducting innovative research, supporting lifelong learning through continuing education and overall, contributing to the improvement of patient care. Whether on the job or off, Michener graduates are committed to being professional, responsible and socially aware members of society. We hope that the success stories, milestones, contributions and achievements of your peers will inspire you. Most of all, we hope to invoke pride in your chosen profession

Lissa Manganaro, Editor and your alma mater, for it is being part of the Michener community that we all have in common. To further enhance Michener’s Alumni Association, we hope to introduce new opportunities to bring alumni, students and the Michener community together. Stay in touch and look for ways to get involved by visiting

Spring 2013

From the Alumni Association

A Strong Community Creates a Better Health Care System By Christine Nielsen, Chair, Alumni Association Board of Directors Michener graduates choose a career in health care because they want to do something meaningful and truly want to help others. This is a common thread amongst the thousands of applied health sciences Michener graduates. So much good can come from such commitment and social responsibility. Our graduates know that every day, their actions impact patients. Communications and relationship-building are the foundations upon which we have built Michener’s Alumni Association, and these remain our highest priorities as we work to create lifelong relationships with our graduates and a lasting legacy for Michener. Bringing alumni together is one way to leverage commonalities within our community. When you share your knowledge, experiences, and expertise, relationships are forged with your fellow graduates - and with Michener. This creates a stronger community, which trickles down into the health care environment. Michener Magazine

Your alumni association has been working to enable you to connect or reconnect with Michener, as well as with your classmates. 2013 follows a very successful year of celebrations as part of the 15th anniversary of the Alumni Association. To build upon this success, we will continue to bring alumni together. We plan to hold two alumni events in 2013. A breakfast for respiratory therapy graduates will take place on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the Sheraton on the Falls in Niagara Falls. This is during the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) Educational Conference and Trade show (May 31 - June 1) (see invitation on page 7). We are also holding a Chiropody alumni breakfast on Saturday, October 4, 2013 from 7:30 - 9:00 a.m. at the time of the Federation of Podiatric Medicine Annual Conference, October 4 & 5, 2013 in Toronto. More details will follow. If feet are your business, plan to be there. It will be a great opportunity

to meet with your colleagues and connect with Michener. It will be a great opportunity to meet with your colleagues and connect with Michener. We hope to see you there. Another way to build a strong community is to bring alumni and students together, a significant component of the educational experience that helps our future health care heroes succeed in their chosen profession. As you, the alumni, share with students your experience, expertise, and advice, you can help to build a stronger support system for our students, and that will result in a stronger, more collegial, and highly collaborative health care system that benefits the patient most of all. Come out and support the Michener community and help us build a stronger health care system for all. Visit to find out how you can get involved or email us at

Spring 2013 5



Allahna Elahie MLS, 2000; Clinical Lab Quality & Operational Management, 2005 By Dana Yates


or many people, graduation signifies the end of the learning journey. For Michener graduate Allahna Elahie, however, it means just the beginning. A strong supporter of lifelong learning, this alumna completed a bachelor of science in molecular biology and biotechnology in 1997 from McMaster University before earning multiple credentials from Michener, specifically a diploma in Medical Laboratory Science (2000) and certificates in Clinical Laboratory Quality Manager (2005) and Interprofessional Collaboration (2011). “The health care field is always changing,” Elahie says. “It’s important to keep up with new updates and stay at the top level of competency.” A former Michener student council representative, Elahie was hired by her clinical placement site, St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, to work as a full-time medical laboratory technologist (MLT) in the core and microbiology laboratories. A year later, she also began working on a part-time basis at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, specializing in transfusion medicine (TM). Eventually, Elahie took on a third role, developing curricula, exams, and laboratory exercises for Michener’s Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Health Professionals in Medical Laboratory Science. She continues to teach in that program today, and also serves as an instructor in continuing education programs at

6 Michener Magazine

Michener and Mohawk College. “I’m passionate about sharing knowledge and leading discussions,” says Elahie, who has also volunteered on Michener’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and has participated in the development of certification exams at the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Sciences. Clearly, Elahie is drawn to positions that match her interests in teaching and mentoring. By the mid 2000s, for example, she had joined Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga on a full-time basis as an MLT, and not long after became the professional practice leader for laboratory services. In that role, her many responsibilities included educating staff and high school students, as well as those training to become MLTs and medical laboratory assistants/technicians Now a full-time charge technologist in TM at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Elahie enjoys the challenges of working in a blood bank. In addition to providing guidance to technologists, she works closely with doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals on the use of blood products—sometimes during life-and-death scenarios. “If blood is urgently needed, you have to make quick decisions, especially if the product requires preparation,” says Elahie. To that end, the ever-changing demands of Elahie’s career are a good fit with her everevolving interests. Last year, she began a bachelor’s degree in adult education at Brock University. “I am still learning and growing,” she says.

Spring 2013

Respiratory Therapy alumni, join us for this exclusive event! Respiratory Therapy Alumni Breakfast Date: Saturday, June 1, 2013 Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Place: Sheraton on the Falls Hotel, Niagara Falls, ON Exclusively for Michener Respiratory Therapy graduates and for those planning to attend the CSRT Educational Conference and Trade Show, this FREE event will give you the opportunity to reconnect with your classmates and Michener. Alumni, student and staff hosts will be there to meet, greet, answer questions and share information. There will be door prizes and fun giveaways too! This is a FREE event for Michener graduates and students. Please note that registration is required to attend this event. RSVP to

Michener’s Alumni Association Remember. Rediscover. Reconnect. Reingage

Feature Story

Learning by Doing with Michener’s Clinical Education Partners By Dana Yates

8 Michener Magazine

Spring 2013


In their clinical placements, students use the latest diagnostic and therapeutic patient-care equipment with real patients, building their expertise in a variety of settings, including teaching and community hospitals, private laboratories and clinics, community health centres, and home-care providers.

ristotle once wrote, “The things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing them.” Those ancient words of wisdom hold true at the Michener Institute, particularly when referring to the school’s principles of teaching and learning. The quintessential “learning by doing” experience is a In fact, Michener places students annually in approximately vital component of all Michener programs. In addition to the 100 leading clinical sites across Canada. The value of the knowledge acquired and skills practiced in the didactic and relationships between Michener and its clinical sites is recognized simulation phases, clinical education is a critical component in the Institute’s Integrated Academic Strategy (2010 - 2014). to the success of students, says Don Bartlett, Manager, Clinical Clinical education plays a key role in bringing to life Michener’s Education Relations. A 1981 graduate of the Institute’s intent to provide Best Experience, Best Education. This happens in Respiratory Therapy program, Bartlett is responsible for two ways. First, students benefit from the true-to-life learning students’ clinical placements and oversees all clinical education opportunities available only through these clinical placements. partnerships. Second, maintaining close ties with the clinical partners allows “Ultimately, students will graduate and work in clinical Michener to stay in touch with current and future practice settings,” Bartlett says. “It’s our job to ensure that students not demands. This affords the school the opportunity to modify and only have the chance to see how their profession is practiced but also be given the opportunity to transfer their knowledge and update the curriculum to the needs of the profession, keeping it current and relevant for both students and skills to an authentic environment where graduates, says Sydney Redpath, Michener’s they must demonstrate competence in their Senior Director of Academic Planning & chosen fields according to a national set of Operations standards. The clinical education experience Michener and its students aren’t allows this to happen.” the only ones benefitting from clinical In their clinical placements, students use education partnerships. The clinical sites the latest diagnostic and therapeutic patientalso reap rewards from their association care equipment with real patients, building with Michener, according to Lynne their expertise in a variety of settings, Campkin. A 1976 graduate of Michener’s including teaching and community hospitals, Radiological Technology program and 1981 private laboratories and clinics, community Ultrasound graduate, she is now Director health centres, and home-care providers. of Diagnostic and Respiratory Services at Within these environments, students Markham Stouffville Hospital. The facility are supervised by a network of professionals. is a clinical education site for students in Michener’s clinical placement sites - and the Michener’s Ultrasound, Nuclear Medicine experts who run them - play an important and Radiological Technology programs, as role in educating the next generation of Lynne Campkin well as continuing education students in the allied health care professionals.

Michener Magazine

Spring 2013 9

Imaging Informatics program (also known as PACS). “By serving as a clinical education site, the hospital remains current with best practices in all imaging modalities,” says Campkin. “The partnership also links us with a prestigious and well-respected institution like Michener. And that’s definitely a feather in our cap.” The benefits offered by serving as a clinical education site are experienced throughout the hospital. Working alongside students, for example, encourages staff members to stay up-todate on the latest developments in their profession. Regarding staff recruitment activities, student who are trained to follow the hospital’s specific protocols are often the best candidates to fill job openings, says Campkin. Her colleague Carol Hirst Wilson agrees. A 1982 graduate of Michener’s Radiological Technology program and a 1987 graduate of the Ultrasound program, she is now Team Leader of Ultrasound Services at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Since 2010, her area has served as a clinical placement site for three Michener Ultrasound students - and all three have been hired by the hospital on a casual, part-time, or full-time basis. “We have already trained the students, so their learning curve isn’t as steep,” says Hirst Wilson. She goes on to explain that it takes a number of steps to prepare Ultrasound students for the rigours of the clinical environment. To start, students observe processes, and then under staff supervision they begin scanning one organ at a time. Eventually, students are able to scan the full abdomen, all while learning

10 Michener Magazine

Carol Hirst Wilson

Amir Soheili

to recognize different pathologies and deal with a variety of patient populations. Hirst Wilson points out that the integration of knowledge, technical and soft skills, and its translation to safe patient care in the context of the time demands of a busy clinical environment can be difficult to realistically simulate in the didactic setting. It emphasizes why the clinical experience is integral to the full educational experience of our students and it reiterates why Michener values its clinical partners so highly. The learning journey, according to Amir Soheili, is a major contributor to students’ success. A 2003 graduate of Michener’s Nuclear Medicine program and a 2007 graduate of the PACS Administrator program (now called Imaging Informatics), Soheili is now Program Manager of Diagnostic Services and Clinical Support at Mackenzie Health, a major health care provider in York Region. Mackenzie Health serves as a clinical education site for students in Michener’s Ultrasound, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Radiological Technology programs. The clinical experience, Soheili says, enables students to hone their technical abilities and soft skills at the same time: “It’s one thing to learn techniques and pathologies in a textbook. It’s quite another thing to work with real patients. Along the way, students develop effective problem-solving and communications skills, and learn how to deal with sick, upset, and palliative patients. That’s a tremendous wealth of knowledge.”

Spring 2013

Alumni Awards


in the spotlight

Michener Graduates Giving Back and Paying it Forward By Sharon Aschaiek



he winners of The Michener Institute’s 2013 alumni awards are competent and confident leaders in health care who are helping to advance both their professions and patient care. The respiratory therapy profession in Ontario and across Canada has certainly benefited from the hard work and dedication of Janet Fraser, the recipient of Michener’s Alumni of Distinction of Award. A registered practitioner since 1977, Fraser has been involved in promoting community-based care, educating allied health care professionals, and contributing her clinical insights to professional practice guides. “It’s quite humbling and stunning,” says Fraser about the award. “I’ve been fortunate to work with many dedicated and bright people who are very passionate about the same things I’ve been passionate about.” After graduating from the Respiratory Technology program at the Toronto Institute for Medical Technology (Michener’s predecessor) in 1977, Fraser began her career in critical care ventilation at St. Michael’s Hospital, where she worked her way up from staff therapist to department director. In 1986, she became one of the first respiratory therapists in Canada to help set up nasal constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) units to treat community-based patients with obstructive sleep apnea. “These were people who were thought of as lazy, idle, and stupid because they were falling asleep all the time...[CPAP units] dramatically changed Janet Fraser

Caitlin Gillan their lives,” Fraser says. “It’s great when an RT can be there with technical expertise to support some of the things physicians are doing.” An RT at West Park Healthcare Centre since 1989, Fraser has worked in the Chronic Assisted Ventilatory Care program, the Home Ventilator Training program and the Long-Term Ventilation Centre of Excellence, the second of which has enabled several hundred long-term ventilator users to be discharged out of intensive care. Much of Fraser’s work has involved sharing her technical skills and expertise in respiratory therapy with others to promote safe and effective care. She has educated patient caregivers, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and RT residents and students in caring for invasive and non-invasive mechanically ventilated patients. Fraser has also contributed to publications such as the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario’s 2010 training manual Optimizing Respiratory Therapy Services: A Continuum of Care from Hospital to Home - A Training Manual for Pediatrics and Adults. She also contributed to the Canadian Thoracic Society’s 2011 guideline Home Mechanical Ventilation: A Canadian Thoracic Society Clinical Practice Guideline and last year, she presented on the information in this document at the Ontario Respiratory Care Society’s annual conference. In recognition of her contributions to respiratory therapy, Fraser has received multiple awards, including West Park Healthcare Centre’s Excellence in Clinical Education Award and the Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario’s President Award. For Fraser, the key to her professional success, and what has also been the most enjoyable part of her career, is collaborating with

12 Michener Magazine

interprofessional peers—physicians, respirologists, anesthetists, and others who “had the confidence in me to let me be the RT they called for.” She hopes the Michener award inspires new and future respiratory therapists to make a full commitment to all aspects of their practice. “Respiratory therapists are equal to all other professions and have a very important contribution to make,” Fraser says. “We need to be confident in ourselves and be prepared to go out there with other professionals and represent our patients.”



lso making her mark in health care is Caitlin Gillan, 31, a radiation therapist and winner of Michener’s Young Alumni Award who, within just six years of completing her education, has already made a significant impact on her profession. A graduate of the joint Medical Radiation Sciences program between Michener and the University of Toronto, Gillan also obtained her Master in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at U of T. She has been a therapist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre since 2008. There, she spends half of her time working with pediatric and central nervous system patients and half of her time running the hospital’s courses on new knowledge and advances in radiation medicine. These courses allow for interprofessional learning for radiation therapists, medical physicists, and radiation oncologists. “We operate on the premise that there’s no value in learning alone. . . how radiation therapists optimize their practice relies on what the other two professions are doing, and everyone needs to speak the same language,” says Gillan.

Spring 2013

Outside of the hospital, Gillan has been actively involved in research, education, and professional development initiatives, particularly those geared toward students. She also works at U of T as an assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology, and as the associate director of curriculum for the Medical Radiation Sciences undergraduate degree program. She is enhancing the university’s Medical Radiation Science master’s degree program with a distributed learning format to make it more accessible to students across Canada and worldwide. Gillan has served a three-year term on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), where she represented students and recent graduates in medical radiation technology. Last June, she volunteered as student program lead for the joint annual conference of the International Society for Radiographers and Radiological Technologists and CAMRT. “My role in providing a forum for those students to engage and present their research was a contributing factor to them getting heard, so I see that as probably the most valuable part of that experience,” Gillan says. The next generation of radiation therapists training at Michener have also benefited from Gillan’s generosity with her knowledge and expertise. As a former supervisor for the clinical project course in Medical Radiation Sciences, she oversaw the research proposal projects of about 150 students. She has also supervised Michener research students at Princess Margaret and helped MRS students and graduates secure research student/assistant roles at the hospital. “I’m paying it forward from the time and energy people put into me when I was a student at Michener,” Gillan says. “If my contributions and award empowers 10 or 15 students to do their own work, then I think the profession will be in good shape.”

Recognize deserving alum in


Michele Henry (2008 recipient) presents the 2013 Alumni of Distinction Award to Janet Fraser.

Alumni of Distinction The highest honour awarded by Michener’s Alumni Association recognizes graduates who have made outstanding contributions to the community and the applied health sciences professions. Visit for full criteria and how to submit a nomination. Deadline: January 30, 2014

Young Alumni Award Recent graduates are leading important initiatives and are giving back to their professions and their communities. This award recognizes young alumni who demonstrate significant professional accomplishments and commitment to others. Candidates must be Michener alumni who have graduated with the last seven years from the year of nomination. Visit MichYoungAlum for full criteria and/or to submit a nomination. Deadline: January 30, 2014 We are now accepting nominations for 2014!

Feature Story

Graduates doing Research By Debbie Fein-Goldbach


fter graduation, most Michener students enjoy long and rewarding careers in their chosen health care field. But some find themselves on unanticipated paths. Building on the strong technical skills and education they gained at Michener, alumni Melanie Kjarsgaard (Respiratory Therapy, 2000) and Albert Razvan Gheorghita (Radiation Technology, 2012) have branched into successful careers in research. Kjarsgaard came to Michener in 1997 after completing a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph. She has worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, since her student days, first in the ICU and then in the pulmonary function laboratory. She wasn’t looking for something new, but in 2005 she came across an interesting job posting. “It was a fluky job posting by a respirologist for a one-year, full-time contract. Full-time work isn’t easy to get in health care, so I took it,” recalls Kjarsgaard. “I never thought in a million years that I would go into research, but after that year I said, ‘I’m in to stay, I’m hooked.’” Kjarsgaard works with Dr. Parameswaran Nair, Canada Research Chair in Airway Inflammometry. They

14 Michener Magazine

Melanie Kjarsgaard

research and test sputum induction, a non-invasive measurement of airway inflammation in the treatment of asthma and COPD. Within a year of joining Dr. Nair’s research team, Kjarsgaard worked on a clinical trial and helped author a research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “I had just started my research career and in 2008 got published as one of the primary authors in the paper. That was a total turning point,” remembers Kjarsgaard. t age 14, Albert Razvan Gheorghita came to Canada from Romania with his parents, who instilled in him a very strong work ethic. “Just seeing how hard they work, and that


they came here for me, it motivates me. Nothing seems too hard to take on,” says Gheorghita. He entered the Life Sciences program at the University of Toronto, and after just one year was accepted into the Michener/ University of Toronto joint program for Medical Radiation Sciences. Interacting with patients, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals soon galvanized his interest in research, but few research opportunities existed for Radiography (X-Ray) Technologists “When students want to be involved in research, they have to make new paths,” he explains. “It’s very difficult coming from the X-ray perspective, as opposed to my colleagues in Radiation Therapy. Radiation

Spring 2013

Albert Razvan Gheorghita

Therapy sees a lot of research in their field, whereas in X-ray, it’s very difficult to find.” Primarily interested in cancer research, the tenacious Gheorghita looked for opportunities to volunteer in laboratories. When he heard that the ELLICSR Health, Wellness and Survivorship Centre needed research volunteers, he signed on. That in turn opened the door to other opportunities In Gheorghita’s early research days, he interviewed patients undergoing cancer treatments at Princess Margaret Hospital, documenting their feedback. “Everyone has a different story,” says Gheorghita. “Research allows me to better listen to these patients.” These responses profoundly influenced all his future work, heightening his awareness of patients’ needs and implementing feedback to further improve their care. Today, Gheorghita researches bone diseases while also studying for a Masters degree in Health Services Research at the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto. lthough people sometimes associate research with long hours alone in libraries or labs, Kjarsgaard and Gheorghita talk about


Michener Magazine

the satisfaction of getting to know their patients. “When you have patients in research studies,” explains Kjarsgaard, “you spend so much time with them. You develop a rapport; you really get to know them. You get to spend more time with them than [if you were] working in an ICU.” Kjarsgaard may have graduated from Michener 13 years ago, but she still has very fond memories of the school. “All the instructors had a range of skills to share,” recalls Kjarsgaard, “but in particular I remember Kathleen Olden-Powell. She wasn’t just a teacher - you could sit down and talk with her about what you wanted to do when you finished school.” Gheorghita also holds his professors in high esteem, explaining, “The professors were always in touch with us and always linked their course material to clinical application.” He cites Sheena Bhimji-Hewitt as a noteworthy influence. In 2011, under her guidance, he teamed up with students from six other professions and founded The Michener Inter-Professional Applied Health Students Association. “Even though this wasn’t a researchbased group, it was exciting to do research in the hospital, then meet up with

the other students and look at patient cases from different perspectives,” says Gheorghita. This gave him experience communicating in a multidisciplinary team. Today, he’s a mentor for the group’s board. He encourages the students he interacts with to attend conferences and keep in touch with the people they meet there. Kjarsgaard and Gheorghita both enjoy the many networking opportunities that come with working in research. Kjarsgaard attends meetings—both in Canada and globally—to discuss studies, drugs, and procedures in her field. She also takes part in the annual American Thoracic Society International Conference, which offers lots of networking opportunities. Gheorghita, who also attends conferences, neatly sums up his personal technique for networking: “Smile. . . and keep in touch.” Both researchers love the direction their careers have taken. “Everything I’m doing is really engaging,” says Gheorghita. “It’s fun, so it doesn’t feel like work.”

Spring 2013 15

Michener’s Paramedic Graduates provide more than just a lift to the hospital By Debbie Fein-Goldbach


aramedic Julie Braaksma (Michener Advanced Care Paramedic Program, 2000) has seen huge changes in her profession over the past 20 years. When she became a paramedic in the early 1990s, she mostly comforted and provided oxygen to patients on the way to the hospital. “There was basically no treatment we could do, and we had very antiquated equipment,” Braaksma recalls. “We had to lift the entire stretcher and the patient into the ambulance, which caused a lot of back injuries. Over time, things have evolved.”

Julie Braaksma

Program in Profile

Today, paramedics can administer drugs for symptom relief, use defibrillators (to various degrees depending on level of training), and offer fluids to keep patients comfortable. Paramedics, says Braaksma, have progressed from mere ambulance drivers to prehospital-care providers. The profession began to transform in 1991 with the launch of the Ontario Prehospital Advanced Life Support (OPALS) Study. This controlled clinical trial involved 17 cities and over 25,000 patients, and was the largest prehospital study in the world. As a result, programs began to pop up across the country that offered paramedics the opportunity to train for higher levels of patient care. In a prescient move, Michener launched its advanced care program in 1984. “I was a paramedic in Peterborough,” says Braaksma. “I started out part time doing six-week contracts and filling in wherever I could.” Soon after Braaksma landed full-time employment as a primary care paramedic, Peterborough began participating in the OPALS Study. In 1999, Braaksma applied to the program, and upon acceptance her employer sent her to Michener to upgrade to the advanced care level. Her program included four components. It began on campus at Michener for didactic sessions. “When you were going through it, you stressed over it. Did I do this right? Didn’t I?” she remembers. “But it allowed you to make mistakes that helped solidify the concepts.” After a few months, she returned to Peterborough for the hospital clinical component. Next, she did a preceptor rotation based in Welland, ON, where she joined a paramedic crew. Finally, she spent three months back in Peterborough under the supervision of a base-hospital doctor. Although it took a year to earn her advanced care certificate, Braaksma found it invaluable to her career. “It allowed me to expand my knowledge and provide help to the patients sooner,” says Braaksma. But not all advanced care paramedic students came directly to the campus to learn. Kevin King entered the program a year after Braaksma and earned his certificate offsite. “I was one of the fortunate first dozen to go through an advanced care paramedic program offered through Michener but delivered by a company called Canadian Health Educators using the Michener curriculum,” recalls King. “They were very closely affiliated at the time, so my advanced care certification came from The Michener Institute.”

Michener Magazine

Kevin King King’s Michener certification then served as a foundation to the rest of his career. He went on to become a critical care paramedic—the highest level of paramedic care. “It’s a very competitive program that only takes in the best of the best,” says King. “I was one of 30 out of 14,000 in the province of Ontario and I worked on a helicopter in downtown Toronto.” In 2004, King attended the Harvard Center for Medical Simulation. Today, he’s a trainer, keynote speaker, and expert on high fidelity simulation. He travels around the world to teach. Julie Braaksma also travelled to teach, albeit a little closer to home. Eight years ago, after injuring her back, she became a middle-school teacher and moved to the town of La Loche, Saskatchewan,to teach remedial reading and math. “But every time I’d see the ambulance driving around town, I’d want to be on it,” says Braaksma with a laugh. Soon she found herself teaching full time and working part time as a paramedic. In 2011, her two jobs collided when a student got stabbed in a fight at school. Braaksma ran to help, and her quick response saved the student’s life. As a result, in October 2012, Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield officially recognized Braaksma’s actions. Although Braaksma and King have gained career recognition for different reasons, both credit Michener for a strong start. “The foundation I received through my Michener education really helped dictate both my work ethic and the creativity I put into my research initiatives,” says King. And Michener’s classroom clinical simulations have always stayed with Braaksma, who remembers, “A lot of logical thinking had to be done there.”

Spring 2013 17

Continuing Education Faculty committed to professional advancement By Sharon Aschaiek


he 4,000 students per year who participate in continuing education courses at The Michener Institute do so for a range of reasons related to professional development. They also enjoy access to the extensive experience, expertise, and dedication of the department’s instructors. “Our more than 150 faculty provide a combined contribution of over 2000 years of experience,” says Gillian Nichol, Director of Continuing Education. “They work in the same world as the students - as clinicians, professionals and managers, so they understand and empathize with students and generate passion for their professions.” That real-world experience and insight is in full effect in the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) courses, which train participants in American Heart Association guidelines for managing a critically ill child. Anna Jarvis, a now-retired pediatric emergency physician with 36 years of experience, oversaw this course at Michener. “As a paediatric emergency specialist, I

became very aware of the subtle ways children react to injuries and pain. That understanding is what I have to offer to students,” says Jarvis, PALS medical director and instructor. Throughout her career, spent mostly at SickKids, Jarvis not only provided clinical care but she worked to advance knowledge among medical professionals. She developed a variety of continuing education learning opportunities in pediatric emergency medicine and life support while creating and supervising the hospital’s clinical fellowship program in pediatric emergency medicine. Michener’s PALS courses are in high demand among doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, dentists, and emergency medical responders in Canada and worldwide. A main reason for this demand is the relevant course content, thanks to Jarvis’s efforts to integrate information on current best practices in the field. “I stay abreast of all the changes being reported in critical care and pediatric literature, and go to a number of pediatric conferences

Anna Jarvis - front row, second from left 18 Michener Magazine

Spring 2013

Continuing Education

each year, and bring that information back to Michener to share with faculty and enrich the program,” says Jarvis, who is currently coaching two other Michener faculty members to take over as co-medical directors.


n aptitude and passion for teaching along with substantial field experience are also what Cesar Mendez brings to the classroom. A full-time instructor who teaches continuing education courses, Pharmacology for Chiropodists and Local Anesthesia and Injections for Chiropodists, Mendez draws Cesar Mendez on 14 years of experience in private practice as a podiatrist and chiropodist. “It’s one thing to recite a fact, but it’s another to back it up with several real-world experiences - it adds to the relevance of what you’re teaching and helps expand the students’ knowledge base,” Mendez says. Mendez also brings to his courses years of experience in teaching gained by educating and mentoring students at a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “It’s interesting seeing things through fresh eyes,” Mendez adds, “and when students learn a new skill and are able to apply it, it’s exciting to watch.”


ew knowledge and skills informed by real-world practices and trends are also being shared in Michener’s diabetes continuing education courses, which include the Diabetes Educator Graduate Certificate Program and courses on Diabetes and Pregnancy, Diabetes in Children and Adolescents, Diabetes Management in the Elderly, and Strategies for Behaviour Change in Chronic Illness. Clinical adjunct professor Anne Belton has an engaging and collaborative teaching style that is informed by her extensive professional accomplishments outside the classroom. For more than 30 years, Belton managed the Diabetes Education Centres at William Osler Health Centre. As a member

of the International Diabetes Federation Consultative Section on Diabetes Education, she has contributed to the International Standards for Diabetes Education and the International Curriculum for Health Professional Education in Diabetes. Belton has also co-authored two books, The How To of Patient Education, which helps health professionals develop their teaching skills, and Diabetes in Adults, geared towards people with diabetes and their families. “The courses aren’t about textbooks, they’re about people, so I am always giving examples of how strategies worked in real life—it brings the curriculum alive,” says Belton, who is currently vice-president of the International Diabetes Federation. For her significant contributions to diabetes education, Belton has received the Canadian Diabetes Educator of the Year Award and the Charles H. Best Award, among many others. But the opportunity to empower health professionals that comes with teaching offers its own unique rewards, Belton says “I enjoy seeing people when they get a concept and say ‘I Anne Belton didn’t realize it was like this’ or ‘I really have to change my practice,’” Belton says. “If the course can help students make a difference in someone’s life, that’s great, that’s what it’s all about.” The intent of Michener’s continuing education programs is to enable our graduates to remain current in their professional practice; to upgrade their skills with technology changes; to expand their respective scope of practice and to advance their careers. The Continuing Education department acknowledges the wonderful team of instructors in all its programs and recognizes their expertise and dedication. We appreciate their role, along with the greater role played by The Michener Institute, in addressing the needs of a changing health care environment and better meeting the needs of patients in Ontario and beyond.

VISIT US: W W W. M I C H E N E R . C A / C E Michener Magazine

Spring 2013 19

What’s Up

@ Michener By Lissa Manganaro

Charitable Toy Drive


ongratulations to the Michener community for collecting over 200 toys and $200 for the Toronto Firefighters 2012 Toy Drive. Rick Berenz, president of the toy drive, joined Michener on December 19 to accept the donations and personally thank Michener for its continued support.

Michener Magazine has gone digital!


ichener Magazine, a publication for alumni and friends, is going digital! The Spring/Summer 2013 issue is the first to be delivered directly to your inbox. We don’t want you to miss an issue, so to continue receiving Michener Magazine, please ensure that we are using your preferred email address by contacting us at We encourage you to share your copy with your colleagues.

Upcoming Events Alumni Association Board 2013 meetings: June 18, 2013 Summer Semester: May 6 - July 26, 2013 Convocation: June 15, 2013

20 Michener Magazine

Spring 2013

support innovative learning in health care As a training ground for future health care heroes, it’s critical that Michener’s classrooms, labs and learning facilities progress with the ever-changing nature and advancements of health care technology. Donate now and help Michener build modern learning spaces and acquire state-of-the-art technology to give graduates a leading edge outside the classroom.

w w

(416) 596-3101 x3406

put your best

foot forward You’re on your feet all day, so they deserve special attention. The Michener Chiropody Clinic is committed to providing high quality foot care for an affordable fee. Students of The Michener Institute’s Chiropody program treat patients under the guidance of licensed Chiropodists. Treatment can include biomechanical assessment, orthotic customization and soft tissue surgery, and may be eligible for insurance coverage. su B O O K A N A P P O I N T M E N T T O D AY ! Complimentary Consultations! 416.596.3108 . 222 St. Patrick Street, Toronto, ON

Alumni happenings On October 3, 2012, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Vaughn Solomon Schofield, presented a St. John Ambulance Life-Saving Award to Julie Braaksma, Advanced Care Paramedic, 2000, for her life-saving actions. On November 3, 2011, a student at the La Loche Community School - Dene Building High School, where Julie teaches, was stabbed. Julie’s professionalism as a paramedic kicked in and she took steps to save the life of the student. She currently works part-time as an EMT in Saskatchewan while working full time as a grades 7 to 9 Literacy and Numeracy Catalyst Teacher. Read more about Julie on page 16.

Congratulations to Janet

Fraser, Respiratory Therapy, 1973 and

Michener Alumni of Distinction 2012, who received the Respiratory Therapy Society of Ontario’s 2012 President’s Award for her contributions to the profession and especially to patients requiring long-term ventilation. Janet was presented with her award from past president Dr. Mika Nonoyama at the RTSO education forum in October 2012. This excerpt is printed with permission from RTSO Airwaves. Photo is courtesy of Kathleen Olden-Powell.

22 Michener Magazine

Congratulations to Sandra Ellis, Respiratory Therapy, 1979; Professional Leader, Respiratory Therapy, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Clinical Adjunct Professor, Respiratory Therapy, The Michener Institute, whose research was recently published in Research Review 2012, Volume 9, a joint publication of the Ontario Thoracic Society and the Ontario Respiratory Care Society. Sandy is Principle Investigation on research paper titled “Use of mechanical ventilation protocols in intensive care units: A survey of current practice.” To read her paper in full, visit:

Albert Razvan Gheorghita, Radiological Technology, 2012, represented Michener at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, annual Health and Wellness Panel held on January 16, 2013. Albert shared his experience with over 75 students and helped to promote Michener and our programs.

Spring 2013

Congratulations to Sam McKnight,

Radiological Technology, 1985,

Michener’s newly formed Michener’s Medical Laboratory Students’ Society (MLSS) organized a series of sessions for current students featuring MLS alumni. The first session was held of February 26, 2013. Students were joined by graduates Kayla Anderson (2012), Angela Anthony (2012), Sarah James (1990), and Payton Chen (2012) (above). Guest speakers discuswsed their encounters in clinical, their journey to becoming medical laboratory technologists, and their experiences entering the work environment after graduation. Angela and Sarah also spoke about being pathology assistants, one of the many career opportunities available to MLS professionals. The second session, held on March 5, 2013, featured Ethel Lopes (2012), Megan Millar (2012), and Emmanuelle Chung (2012). Thank you to the alumni who participated and volunteered their time for these events, which were very successful and positively received by students. The MLSS looks forward to working with more alumni in the future.

who was recently featured in an article in NetNewsLedger. Sam, Director of Diagnostic Services at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), received the TBRHSC Walk the Talk Award, given to “an individual who leads by example, possesses excellent interpersonal skills, provides guidance to promote team and individual development, and inspires a culture of lifelong learning.” The Walk the Talk Awards have been given out each year since 1999 to recognize employees of the Health Sciences Centre who demonstrate excellence contributing to the mission, vision, and values of TBRHSC. To read the full article, visit

On March 6, 2013, the Biology Students’ Association (BioSA) at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, which oversees approximately 1600 students, held an annual panel for careers in biological sciences. Michener was invited to send graduates from the Medical Laboratory Science and Chiropody programs. Amber LinkenheldStruck, Medical Laboratory Science, 2012 and Albert Razvan Gheorghita, Radiological Technology, 2012 represented Michener at the event and shared with students their career and educational experience.

Michener Magazine

Spring 2013 23

Chitra Gnanasabesan, Respiratory Therapy, 1994, and Respiratory Therapist Coordinator at Holland Bloorview, was featured in a Toronto Star article on March 26, 2013, profiling the developmental pediatrics training program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. The home of Canada’s largest and most advanced education program for developmental pediatricians, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital makes a significant difference in the lives of children with physical, cognitive, sensory, and socioemotional disorders. The developmental pediatrics training program is at the forefront of preparing physicians to diagnose, manage, and support kids with congenital or acquired disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, brain injury, and spina bifida. Students in this two-year niche program learn to work as part of a multidisciplinary rehab team that focuses on optimizing kids’ development through clinical care, education, research, and advocacy. To read the article visit

In memoriam: The Michener and laboratory science communities are saddened by the passing of graduate Marja Hannikainen, Medical Laboratory Science, 1969. Marja worked as a medical technologist and was with Canadian Blood Services until February 2012. She passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 11, 2012, after a courageous one-year battle with cancer. Marja will be deeply missed by her children Michelle and Michael, daughter-in-law Adayra, and furry friends Cosmo and Nacho. Predeceased by her husband Sepp and parents Eila and Eero.

Michener Magazine 2013 rate card Frequency:

3 Annual Editions


5,000 across Canada (mainly Ontario) to influential alumni, government, Michener stakeholders and community members, as well as key decision makers in the applied health care sector.


8.5” x 11” letter digital format



Cover - Back/Inside Full Page

Rates Full Colour

8.5” W x 11” H


Internal Full Page

7.5” W x 10” H


2/3 Horizontal

7.5” W x 6.4” H


2/3 Vertical

4.75” W x 10” H


1/2 Horizontal

7.5” W x 4.875” H


1/2 Vertical

3.625” W x 10” H


1/3 Horizontal

7.5” W x 3.2” H


1/3 Vertical

2.375” W x 10” H


1/4 Horizontal

7.5” W x 2.375” H


1/4 Vertical

3.625” W x 4.875” H


1/6 Horizontal

3.625” W x 3.2” H


24 Michener Magazine

Spring 2013

Discover why over 375,000 graduates enjoy greater savings

Join the growing number of graduates who enjoy greater savings from TD Insurance on home and auto coverage. Most insurance companies offer discounts for combining home and auto policies, or your good driving record. What you may not know is that we offer these savings too, plus we offer preferred rates to members of The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences. You’ll also receive our highly personalized service and great protection that suits your needs. Find out how much you could save.

Request a quote today 1-888-589-5656 Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Insurance program recommended by

The TD Insurance Meloche Monnex home and auto insurance program is underwritten by SECURITY NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY. The program is distributed by Meloche Monnex Insurance and Financial Services Inc. in Quebec and by Meloche Monnex Financial Services Inc. in the rest of Canada. Due to provincial legislation, our auto insurance program is not offered in British Columbia, Manitoba or Saskatchewan. *No purchase required. Contest organized jointly with Primmum Insurance Company and open to members, employees and other eligible persons belonging to employer, professional and alumni groups which have an agreement with and are entitled to group rates from the organizers. Contest ends on October 31, 2013. Draw on November 22, 2013. One (1) prize to be won. The winner may choose between a Lexus ES 300h hybrid (approximate MSRP of $58,902 which includes freight, pre-delivery inspection, fees and applicable taxes) or $60,000 in Canadian funds. Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Complete contest rules available at ®/ The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or a wholly-owned subsidiary, in Canada and/or other countries.

20-MM9046-13_MMI.EN•michener (8.5x9.5).indd 1

13-03-19 10:52 AM

Projet : Annonce MMI 2013

Province : Ontario

Client : Meloche Monnex

Publication : Michener Magazine

No de dossier : 20-MM9046-13_MMI.EN•michener (8.5x9.5)

Format : 8.5x9.5 Couleur : Quad

Épreuve # : 1 Date de tombée : 20/03/2013 Graphiste : Yannick Decosse

Hamelin Martineau • 505, boul. de Maisonneuve O. Bureau 300 • Montréal (Québec) H3A 3C2 • T : 514 842 4416 F : 514 844 9343

Profile for The Michener Institute of Education at UHN

Michener Magazine - Spring 2013  

Michener Magazine is produced for all alumni, friends, donors, and partners to foster our community, strengthen loyalty, engender Michener p...

Michener Magazine - Spring 2013  

Michener Magazine is produced for all alumni, friends, donors, and partners to foster our community, strengthen loyalty, engender Michener p...

Profile for michener