Year 2 Reporting - Q4_Final

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Year 2

Q4 Highlights

February 1, 2021 – April 30, 2021

Quarter 4 Highlights A thriving and engaged research community, driving advancements in health

Executive Committee Nicole Sbrocca (Chair)

Windsor Regional Hospital

Terra Cadeau

Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare

Caroline Hamm

Windsor Regional Hospital

Marla Jackson

Year 2 – Achieving More, Together Igniting Discovery, Living Better WE-SPARK was officially launched in March 2020. Despite being newly minted, the Institute has been gaining momentum for over a decade and brings together health research and healthcare strengths across our region to work toward a vision of a thriving and engaged community driving advancements in health. In our first year, we UNITED STRENGTHS across our region. The details of our progress from year 1 can be found in our Impact Report.

Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare

Heather Pratt

University of Windsor

Chad Sutherland

University of Windsor

Peter Wawrow

St. Clair College

Lisa Porter

WE-SPARK Health Institute

Karen Metcalfe

WE-SPARK Health Institute

In year two, we are focused on ACHIEVING MORE, TOGETHER. We are establishing pipelines to address pressing health issues, advancing discovery, innovation, technology and community resources. Training is at the heart of all that we do. We are promoting excellence among our health professionals and engaging and empowering our community. We are committed to providing equity, diversity, inclusivity, and support. We aim to inspire and drive change, achieve more and ignite discovery so our community lives better.

Lisa A. Porter, PhD, Executive Director Professor, University of Windsor

The WE-SPARK Team Lisa Porter, Executive Director Karen Metcalfe, Assistant Director Kyle Lago, Translational Research Associate Cathy Mombourquette, Media Relations Adriana Baggio, Knowledge Translation Research Associate Aleksandra Redko, EDI Intern Ryan Palazzolo, Volunteer Network Coordinator Megan Pidgeon, Marketing & Media Intern Linda Hudson-Chapman, Administrative Assistant Christopher Fletcher, Commercialization Intern Year 2 – Q4

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Organizational Effectiveness Build the effective organizational structures and systems we need to achieve our mission.


Year 2 Milestones a) Implement quarterly reporting and tracking mechanisms that leads to the yearly impact report b) Implement budget reporting system c) Facilitate a fundraising plan, including a partner MOU d) Develop MOUs between WE-SPARK institutions for communication and data sharing e) Implement Conflict of Interest policy for all committees

HIGHLIGHTS a) Implement quarterly reporting and tracking mechanisms that leads to yearly impact report Quarterly reporting has been fully implemented with all quarterly reports made available on the WE-SPARK website. Megan Pidgeon, a 3rd year student in the Graphic Design Program, School of Media, Art and Design at St. Clair College completed an internship with WE-SPARK to design the Impact Report that will be available in June 2021.


c) Facilitate a fundraising plan Foundation representatives and Major Gift Officers from each partner institution have been consulted and agreed to a fundraising proposal that focuses on 1 event/year to raise funds for the WE-SPARK grants program. A package and MOU are being drafted for review at a joint meeting in Year 3.

Driving Organizational Effectiveness – Governance Committee Next Meeting: July 12, 2021 (committee meets quarterly) Lisa Porter (Chair), WE-SPARK Terra Cadeau, HDGH Heather Pratt, UW

Year 2 – Q4

Nicole Sbrocca, WRH Monica Tighe, SCC Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK

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Research Excellence Create a dynamic research environment that enables, supports and promotes excellence


Year 2 Milestones a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h)

Host events that build collaboration, grow teams and support professional development Host WE-SPARK Grant competitions Grow membership and consult and support WE-SPARK programs Profile and track successes of Core Members Provide a central hub for research processes and system navigation Address need for a regional Research Ethics Board (REB) Provide support for external peer review Develop an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan

HIGHLIGHTS a) Host events that build collaboration, grow teams and support professional development Hosted 2 Think Tanks Our virtual Think Tank series continued with 2 events hosted this quarter: February 5 and April 9. This forum allows people to make connections, present research ideas at all different stages of development and mobilize next steps. The speakers presented their ideas, moved to breakout rooms to discuss with participants and ended with action items to move projects forward. A summary of the event speakers, topics and outcomes can be found on our website. Think Tanks are scheduled bi-monthly, are open to anyone who is interested and require registration.

Driving Research Excellence – Research Development Committee Next Meeting: May 21, 2021 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Caroline Hamm (co-chair), WRH Chris Abeare, UW Jody Ralph, UW Simon Rondeau-Gagne, UW Balraj Jhawar, WRH Year 2 – Q4

Ingrid Qemo (co-chair), UW Jennifer Voth, HDGH Peter Wawrow, SCC Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK Page 5

Research Excellence Hosted a Networking Event On April 29th, we hosted the first virtual networking event. WE-SPARK After Dark was designed to provide our members the opportunity to connect and get to know each other. The night included introductions, researcher roulette (think small group speed dating), and 4 themed discussion rooms. Based on participant feedback, we will be planning another networking event and continue to focus on what people enjoyed most - “I

liked the round robin to meet people and ask about our biggest goals. It was fun to dream big!”; “It was very interactive and fun. No pressure.”

b) WE-SPARK grant competitions WE-SPARK grants programs are designed to move research to the next level. Our Igniting Discovery Grants are for early stage ideas, and our Incentive Grants are for researchers who are close to breaking into large national funding. We also have an infrastructure grants program to continue to advance our research landscape. With dedicated WE-SPARK budget, as well as attracting partner contributions, these grants are critical for growing our health research ecosystem. In Q4, a timeline was set for all future Igniting Discovery Grant competitions and the 2021 competition was launched. The grant LOI and application process was streamlined using REDCap.

c) Grow membership and consult and support WE-SPARK programs Since inception, our membership continues to grow. Q3 has seen an increase in membership from 229 (Q1) to 677 (Q4). Core membership has more than doubled from 88 to 183.

Year 2 – Q4

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Research Excellence d) Profile and track successes of Core Members Local physicians and healthcare providers need academic appointments to build their research programs. In Q4, WE-SPARK facilitated 5 Appointments in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Windsor for the following members: Clinical Assistant Professor: • Fawad Ahmed, M.D., Windsor Regional Hospital, Family Medicine • Balraj Jhawar, M.D., Windsor Regional Hospital, Neurosurgery • Ryan Punambolam, M.D., Windsor Regional Hospital, Neurology • Wassim Saad, M.D., Windsor Regional Hospital, Internal Medicine Professor of Practice: • Laura D’Alimonte, MRT(T), BSc, MHSC, Windsor Regional Hospital, Radiation

e) Provide a central hub for research processes and system navigation Centralizing and simplifying administrative processes allows researchers to focus their energy where it is most needed - moving research projects forward. Tools have been developed to help navigate research. Noteworthy from Q4 is the uptake of the Research Registry, the creation of the Fresh Tissue Process Map and the addition of REDCap resources to our website.

Research Registry Expanding WE-SPARK Research Registry highlights local recruiting studies conducted by WE-SPARK researchers. In Q4, 3 studies were added to the registry with a total of 9 projects actively recruiting.

REDCap Resources As the use of REDCap increases, WE-SPARK is focused on building resources that can support researchers and their data management needs. In Q4 a number of key tools were added including training videos, policy documents, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

h) Develop an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan WE-SPARK’s EDI Intern, Aleksandra Redko (graduate student, Department of Psychology, University of Windsor), has completed an environmental scan, examining best practices and recommendations for WESPARK’s EDI action plan. A presentation was made to the Research Development Committee on February 19, 2021 and a final report has been submitted. In Year 3, an EDI action plan will be finalized and implemented.

Year 2 – Q4

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Community Engagement Enhance understanding and build trust with the community


Year 2 Milestones a) Launch an Ask the Expert series to support the health-related questions of our community b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms c) Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK through media relations, our community newsletter and speaking engagements d) Continue to evolve our website capabilities and reach

HIGHLIGHTS a) Launch an Ask the Experts series to support the health-related questions in our community The Community Engagement Committee has developed an ‘Ask the Expert’ program to serve as a trusted resource for our community and showcase the expertise we have in Windsor-Essex. This series was kicked off in January with the commitment to add 1 expert per month. This target has been exceeded with 6 local experts responding to questions, 2 experts added this quarter. For all the details go to our website. Questions can be sent to

Yufeng Tong, PhD | Munir Rahim, PhD | Wasim Saad, MD| Jessica Summerfield, MD | John Ulakovich, BSc, CCSI | Jennifer Voth, PhD

b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms In Q4, @wesparkhealth continued to increase engagement across all platforms, implementing an engagement strategy that more than tripled our previous engagements and reach.


Driving Community Understanding - Community Engagement Committee Next Meeting: June 16, 2021 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Marla Jackson (Co-Chair), HDGH Dora Cavallo-Medved, UW Allison Johnson, WRH

Year 2 – Q4

Chad Sutherland (Co-Chair), UW Roseann Danese, SCC Cathy Mombourquette, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK Page 8

Community Engagement c) Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK through media relations, our community newsletter and speaking engagements Media Releases Public Event to Address Vaccine Hesitancy in Windsor-Essex $287,450 Awarded for Local Health Research Volunteer Organization Reaches 50,000 Milestone in Homemade Masks and Caps – Seeks Public Input on Mask Fit and Comfort

Select Featured Media Stories In Quarter 4, WE-SPARK was part of 15 local mainstream news stories, 41 stories in partner newsletters/communications and 7 in national/other media. CBC TV: How a Canadian device aims to help COVID-19 patients breathe with ease Windsor Star: Volunteer mask makers seek public input CTV: WE-SPARK Health Institute Awards Research Grants to Promote Health Projects Return to campus plans taking shape CBC Radio Windsor Morning: University of Windsor COVID-19 testing pilot project

Community Connections and Outreach WE-SPARK supports the efforts of others by speaking at events, providing sponsorship and collaborating on events locally, regionally, provincially and nationally. Here are a few of our new connections in Q4.

Community Newsletter Publishing Dates May 25, 2020 September 21, 2020 January 18, 2021

c) Evolve our website capabilities and reach Website Analytics WESPARKHEALTH . COM

Total Q4 Visits: 8,736 Unique Q4 Visits: 4,995 Most Visited Pages in Q4: Events/Workshops, Grants/Projects, Community Resources

Top Site Visitors CANADA

Year 2 – Q4




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Knowledge Translation Translate research information to inspire and drive change


Year 2 Milestones a) b) c) d)

Develop a student research network and launch an education series to support student research Support novel training opportunities in health research Create, implement and maintain a Health Research Resource Hub Develop an online Knowledge Translation Toolkit for our research community

HIGHLIGHTS a) Develop a student research network and launch an education series to support student research Student Volunteer Network Ryan Palazzolo, WE-SPARK’s Volunteer Network Coordinator continued to move forward with the creation of the student volunteer network, pilot testing the program with a small group of students.

On-line presence Created and launched the network landing page on the WE-SPARK website, including vision, mission, process, volunteer roles and link to apply.

Getting started 8 volunteers worked on projects in areas of interest and provided input on network development. Projects included: REDCap data input, website content support, social media content development, and creation of knowledge translation tools.

Collecting metrics A system was initiated to collect metrics to demonstrate the reach and impact of the volunteer network.

Next steps Beginning May 1, Ryan will join WE-SPARK as a staff member (1-year contract) to fully implement the Student Volunteer Network.

Driving Knowledge Translation – Knowledge Translation Committee Next Meeting: May 19, 2021 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Pete Wawrow (Co-Chair), SCC Dave Andrews, UW Linda DiRosa, HDGH Jody Ralph, UW

Year 2 – Q4

Dora Cavallo-Medved (Co-Chair), UW Indryas Woldie, WRH Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK

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Knowledge Translation Community Outreach Event On April 1, WE-SPARK and Windsor’s Research Information Outreach Team (RIOT), hosted a “Don’t be Fooled” trivia night. The event was led by graduate students Isabelle Hinch and Jillian Brown and focused on testing health knowledge and busting myths about cancer in a fun and accessible way. Livestreamed on YouTube, over 200 people tuned in. The event can be viewed at any time on WE-SPARK’s YouTube Channel.

c) Create, implement and maintain a Health Research Resource Hub The Health Resource Hub is one of the most visited pages on our website. Created to be a trusted resource for our community, it continues to expand every quarter. In Q4, we collaborated with local experts and community members to develop 3 new resource hubs that will be launched in the next quarter: • • •

Transgender & Gender Diverse Health Resource Hub led by Natalie Hazineh Mental Health Resource Hub led by HDGH Youth Advisory Council members Indigenous Health Resource Hub led by Saher Zaidi

General topics for all areas include: general information, statistics & numbers, local resources, mental health and specific sections for researchers, healthcare providers and children and teens.

d) Develop an online knowledge translation toolkit for our research community Create, Test and Implement a Knowledge Translation Toolkit Our Knowledge Translation toolkit continues to grow. Working with our student volunteers, an EDI social media checklist has been created and will be made available in May. In Q4, Adriana Baggio, WESPARK’s Knowledge Translation Research Associate, completed the Knowledge Translational Professional Certificate through SickKids and University of Toronto. This extra training will allow us to add Knowledge Translation consultations to the services available to members and has initiated the planning of new Knowledge Translation workshops.

Member Newsletter Publishing Dates June 23, 2020 December 21, 2020 August 17, 2020 March 1, 2021 October 26, 2020 April 19, 2021

Year 2 – Q4

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Build Capacity Secure the resources needed to achieve our mission

Year 2 Milestones a) b) c) d)

Launch and expand use of data sharing platforms for our researchers Facilitate joint funding plan for large infrastructure grants Coordinate infrastructure planning Initiate discussion on capital plan

HIGHLIGHTS a) Launch and expand use of data sharing platforms for our researchers The ability of teams to use REDCap for data collection and sharing continues to grow. In Q4, REDCap was used by research teams for funded projects, operational support and quality improvement. Training workshops were launched and are now housed on WE-SPARK’s YouTube channel. Kyle Lago, WE-SPARK’s Translational Research Associate added REDCap consultations and support to services offered to members. REDCAp accounts can be requested through the WE-SPARK website.


Training and Support

Driving Research Capacity – NUCLEUS Committee Next Meeting: May 11, 2021 (committee meets every quarter) Adriana Baggio, WE-SPARK (Coordinator) Renee Biss, UW Arezoo Emadi, UW Jackie Fong, UW Phil Karpowicz, UW Kyle Lago, WE-SPARK Ken Ng, UW Year 2 – Q4

Ming Pan, WRH Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Jody Ralph, UW Chad Sutherland, UW Pete Wawrow, SCC TBD, HDGH

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Build Capacity c) Coordinate Infrastructure Planning Adriana Baggio was recently hired to coordinate NUCLEUS expansion and support the committee to prepare for future infrastructure funding calls and showcase core facilities on the website, to members and the community. Ensuring that we have dependable and accessible research facilities will support cutting edge solutions in Windsor-Essex. In Q4, Adriana recruited new members from diverse backgrounds to the committee to ensure the needed expertise would be at the table. They re-grouped, decided on clear goals and developed concrete next steps. The Nucleus logo was re-designed and the committee is now positioned to confirm core facilities and begin collecting metrics.

Thank you to Megan Pidgeon, Graphic Design Program, School of Media, Art and Design at St. Clair College for creating a series of marketing materials that you will see rolled out in Year 3

Year 2 – Q4

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Looking Forward Igniting Discovery, Achieving More, Living Better

Year 3 Reporting Timeline


The Year 3 milestones were developed during WE-SPARK’s initial strategic planning process, reviewed and modified by each committee. On February 10, 2021, the Board of Trustees approved the milestones based on the recommendation of the Executive Committee. Below are a few milestones you can expect to see in the year ahead.

Organizational Effectiveness • •

Develop processes and timelines for the next strategic planning cycle Implement a fundraising plan

Research Excellence • • •

Host events that build collaboration, grow teams and support professional development Implement an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan Host WE-SPARK Grants Competition

Knowledge Translation • •

Support and grow a student research network Expand the Knowledge Translation Toolkit, including tools for commercialization

Community Engagement • •

Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK locally, regionally, and provincially Develop and Implement a Citizens science program that focuses on the health concerns of our community

Build Capacity • •

Support and expand use of data sharing platforms Implement a NUCLEUS plan to inform our members and the community about research infrastructure


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Appendix: Year 2 Budget May 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021 ADMINISTRATION Salaries • Research Director Stipend/Teaching Release • Assistant Director Salary • Translational Research Associate • Comms & Events Coordinator – PT • Administrative Assistant - Full Time • Nucleus manager + Medical Student Research Coordinator + Knowledge Translation Research Coordinator + Knowledge Translation Internship (partial grant) Discretionary (exec meetings, office equipment, printing, etc) Marketing & Website (including dissemination) Research Education & Outreach - Cross Institution Education Program Development Infrastructure and Operating Grant Supports (Year 2) WE-Spark Grant Competitions TOTAL Operating Revenue (Partner Contributions) University of Windsor Windsor Regional Hospital Hotel-Dieu Grace St Clair TOTAL

Year 2 – Q4

Proposed 2020-2021 BUDGET $320,000

$25,000 $30,000 $10,000 $15,000 $100,000 $500,000

$200,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $500,000

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