Year 3 – Succeeding Together
May 1, 2021 – July 31, 2021
Quarter 1 Highlights A thriving and engaged research community, driving advancements in health
Executive Committee Nicole Sbrocca (Chair)
Windsor Regional Hospital
Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare
Windsor Regional Hospital
Year 3 – Succeeding Together Igniting Discovery, Living Better In our first two years we established a strong common vision of a thriving and engaged community driving advancements in health and united our strengths to develop programs and processes to drive advancements in health. During a global pandemic, we grew existing areas of strength, formed new collaborations, and supported novel ideas to enhance the health, well-being, and care of people in our region. We achieved more by working together. The details of our progress from year 2 can be found in our Impact Report.
Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare
University of Windsor
University of Windsor
St. Clair College
WE-SPARK Health Institute
WE-SPARK Health Institute
As Year 3, we are focused on accelerating research ideas and elevating our excellence. We are enriching the cohesiveness, the diversity and the inclusion in our research community. WE-SPARK will continue to provide support as research programs grow and will find new opportunities to build critical mass and enhance health research capacity. We aim to ignite discovery and succeed together 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 Adriana Grande, Knowledge Translation Research Associate Kyle Lago, Translational Research Associate Devinder Moudgil, Medical Student Research Associate Christopher Ng Fletcher, Commercialization Intern Ryan Palazzolo, Volunteer Network Coordinator Linda Hudson-Chapman, Administrative Assistant Year 3 – Q1
Year 3 2021-2022
SNAPSHOT quarter one highlights
590 VIEWS ON YOUTUBE
14 GRANTS AWARDED
12,119 VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENTS (SOCIAL MEDIA & WEB)
118 EVENT ATTENDEES
1 APP LAUNCHED
$287,000 IN GRANT FUNDING AWARDED
600+ VOLUNTEER HOURS LOGGED
ACTIVE REDCap USERS
Organizational Effectiveness Build the effective organizational structures and systems we need to achieve our mission.
Year 3 Milestones
a) Continue quarterly reporting and tracking that leads to the yearly impact report b) Monitor and adapt budget reporting c) Implement a fundraising plan d) Develop MOUs between WE-SPARK institutions, as needed e) Review current terms, policies and reporting mechanisms to identify and respond to changing needs f) Develop process and timelines for next strategic planning cycle
HIGHLIGHTS a) Continue quarterly reporting and tracking that leads to yearly impact report Quarterly and year end reporting has been fully implemented with all reports available on the WE-SPARK website
c) Implement a fundraising plan A fundraising package has been finalized and shared with potential donors. We look forward to hosting a Cheers to Hope fundraising event in Spring 2022.
f) Develop process and timeline for next strategic planning cycle A planning timeline and process has been approved by the Governance Committee and will be shared with members in Q2.
Driving Organizational Effectiveness – Governance Committee Next Meeting: October 20, 2021 (committee meets quarterly) Lisa Porter (Chair), WE-SPARK Terra Cadeau, HDGH Heather Pratt, UW
Year 3 – Q1
Nicole Sbrocca, WRH Monica Tighe, SCC Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK
Research Excellence Create a dynamic research environment that enables, supports and promotes excellence
Year 3 Milestones a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i)
Host events that build collaboration, grow teams and support professional development Host a WE-SPARK Grant competition Profile and track successes of Core Members Consult and support WE-SPARK programs Provide a central hub for research processes and system navigation Monitor the progress toward a regional Research Ethics Board (REB) Provide support for external peer review Implement an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan Bring together local experts to develop position papers that advocate for change in areas of interest to our partners
HIGHLIGHTS a) Host events that build collaboration, grow teams and support professional development Hosted a Think Tank Our virtual Think Tank series continued on June 4th. 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: September 10, 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 3 – Q1
Ingrid Qemo (co-chair), UW Jennifer Voth, HDGH Peter Wawrow, SCC Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK Page 5
Research Excellence b) Host a WE-SPARK grant competition
Decisions have been made in the latest grant competition where 24 applications were submitted for review. Nineteen members of the Multidisciplinary Research Assessment Committee (MRAC) declared conflicts of interest and areas of expertise. Each grant was assigned a primary, secondary, and tertiary reviewer. MRAC met for an online review panel where the Chair, Co-Chair, Scientific Officer and score keeper ran the meeting. All grants were discussed and scored. Consolidated scores were calculated, grants were ranked against scores, priority streams and partner institutions. Grants were recommended for funding and approved. Details of all projects can be found on the WE-SPARK website.
c) Profile and track successes of Core Members We saw significant growth in Year 2 (363%) and continue to add new members to our research ecosystem. We begin Year 3 with 731 members.
Our research activities are driven by our Principal and Associate Core Members who are actively engaged in the research field on a daily basis. Their profiles continue to be added to our website. A new WE-SPARK App has been developed and launched to make tracking, updating and connecting easier for all our members. Currently WE-SPARK staff are testing the App and Allison Mistakidis, our Innovation Consultant is creating our launch package for members.
Year 3 – Q1
Research Excellence d) Consult and support WE-SPARK programs In collaboration with WE-SPARK, Justin Senecal, medical student, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry – Windsor Campus and Indryas Woldie, M.D., Windsor Regional Cancer Program led a research project focused on understanding the barriers to translational research in Windsor-Essex. The results were presented at UWill Discover, have been submitted for publication and have been summarized in an infographic.
h) Implement an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan In Year 2, WE-SPARK’s EDI Intern, Aleksandra Redko (graduate student, Department of Psychology, University of Windsor) completed an environmental scan, examining best practices and recommendations for WE-SPARK’s EDI action plan. In Q1, the Research Development Committee finalized the plan which focuses on embedded EDI actions into all WE-SPARK committees. In Q2, committees will review, finalize and implement the plan.
Year 3 – Q1
Community Engagement Enhance understanding and build trust with the community
Year 3 Milestones a) Create workshops, series and/or events that engage the community and build the profile of WE-SPARK b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms c) Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK through media relations, community engagements, locally, regionally and provincially d) Continue to evolve our website capabilities and reach e) Develop and Implement a Citizens science program that involves students and focuses on the health concerns of our community
HIGHLIGHTS a) Create workshops, series and/or events that engage the community and build the profile of WE-SPARK
The Community Engagement Committee continues to grow the ‘Ask the Expert’ program to serve as a trusted resource for our community and showcase the expertise we have in Windsor-Essex. In Quarter 1, 1 local expert was added to the series and all questions and answers can be accessed in French and English. For details go to our website. Questions can be sent to email@example.com. Indryas Woldie, MD
b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms @wesparkhealth is off to a good start in Q1 by continuing to engage the community across all platforms. Our volunteer network is creating new campaigns to share the latest health research, profile our researchers and stay connected in the year ahead.
Driving Community Understanding - Community Engagement Committee Next Meeting: August 17, 2021 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Marla Jackson (Co-Chair), HDGH Dora Cavallo-Medved, UW Allison Johnson, WRH
Year 3 – Q1
Chad Sutherland (Co-Chair), UW Roseann Danese, SCC Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK
Community Engagement c) Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK through media relations and community engagements locally, provincially and nationally Media Releases New real-time tool for early detection of COVID-19 cases
Select Featured Media Stories In Q1, WE-SPARK was part of 12 local mainstream news stories, 51 stories in partner newsletters/communications and 6 in national/other media. The Globe & Mail: Amplify: Women are taking their sexual health into their own hands WRH Newsroom: Input Sought from Physicians on Clinical Trials SCC News: St. Clair College students examine radiation therapy wait times Windsor Star: Nine pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled for rest of July CBC News: No jab needed to return to campus at UWindsor or St. Clair College this fall UWindsor Daily News: Researcher to study COVID variants surfacing in Windsor-Essex Windsor Star: UWindsor early-detection tools warn community of infectious disease
Community Friendly Resources Available on WE-SPARK YouTube Channel In Q1 WE-SPARK’s YouTube channel was re-organized, 8 new videos were added and a metrics system was established to allow for quarterly reporting. Past workshops and webinars, health research education videos and Igniting Discovery Grant videos can all be found on the channel. Ryan Palazzolo, Volunteer Network Coordinator created one of the latest videos designed to raise awareness about WESPARK and how it facilitates research collaborations.
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 to kick off Year 3.
d) Continue to evolve our website capabilities and reach Website Analytics WESPARKHEALTH . COM
Total Q1 Visits: 9,369 Unique Q1 Visits: 5,826 Most Visited Pages in Q1: COVID Screening Platform, Researchers, Ask the Experts, Events/Workshops
Top Site Visitors CANADA
Year 3 – Q1
Knowledge Translation Translate research information to inspire and drive change
Year 3 Milestones a) Support and grow a student research network b) Expand, promote, and update our Health Research Resource Hub c) Expand the Knowledge Translation Toolkit, including tools for commercialization, and increase awareness to our research community d) Support student experiential learning and novel training opportunities in health research e) Develop a plan for increasing engagement with industry and community partners
HIGHLIGHTS a) Support and grow a student research network In Q1, our volunteer network officially launched and has demonstrated early on the impact that they can make on our health research activity.
WE-SPARK will be accepting new student volunteers in September. For researchers looking for additional support, a volunteer request form is now available.
Driving Knowledge Translation – Knowledge Translation Committee Next Meeting: September 30, 2021 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Pete Wawrow (Co-Chair), SCC Dave Andrews, UW Linda DiRosa, HDGH Jody Ralph, UW
Year 3 – Q1
Dora Cavallo-Medved (Co-Chair), UW Indryas Woldie, WRH Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK
Knowledge Translation b) Expand, promote and update our 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 Q1, we launched 2 new resource hubs that will continue to evolve in the coming months: • Transgender & Gender Diverse Health Resource Hub led by Natalie Hazineh • Mental Health Resource Hub led by HDGH Youth Advisory Council members: Nikola Kolobaric, Milica Paunic and Doro D'Andrea 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.
c) Expand the knowledge translation toolkit for our research community Host workshops that grow the Knowledge Translation Toolkit In Q1 a series of KT events were rolled out. The KT 101 Workshop provided over 70 participants with an introduction to the concepts of knowledge translation, tools to add to their KT toolkit, and guidance on how to start a KT plan. Attendees received the KT 101 - Tips for KT Planning tool as a reference for future projects. All WE-SPARK workshops can now be found on our WE-SPARK YouTube Channel. The KT Watercooler series was launched. Held on the first Wednesday of every month, members can join WE-SPARK's Knowledge Translation Coordinator, Adriana Grande, for a 30minute casual conversation on KT.
d) Support student experiential learning and novel training opportunities in health research On July 15, Devinder Moudgil, Ph.D. joined the WE-SPARK team as the Medical Student Research Associate. This is a unique position jointly supported by Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry – Windsor Campus, University of Windsor Office of the Vice President Research and Innovation and WE-SPARK Health Institute. This role is a key step in formalizing how the medical students research and experiential learning opportunities fits into our local research landscape. Publishing Dates June, 2021 December, 2021 August, 2021 February, 2022 October, 2021 April, 2022
Year 3 – Q1
Build Capacity Secure the resources needed to achieve our mission
Year 2 Milestones a) b) c) d)
Support and expand use of data sharing platforms for our researchers Facilitate joint funding plan for large infrastructure grants Explore and evolve infrastructure planning and a capital plan Implement the NUCLEUS plan
HIGHLIGHTS a) Support 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 Q1, REDCap was used by research teams for funded projects, operational support and quality improvement. Training workshops are available on WE-SPARK’s YouTube channel. REDCap accounts can be requested through the WE-SPARK website. MyCap is an App interface that allows researchers to capture participant reported outcomes using a mobile device. MyCap was pilot tested and in Q1 was rolled out for member use.
Training and Support
Driving Research Capacity – NUCLEUS Committee Next Meeting: October, 2021 (committee meets every quarter) Adriana Grande, WE-SPARK (Coordinator) Renee Biss, UW Arezoo Emadi, UW Jackie Fong, UW Wendy Foote, SCC Phil Karpowicz, UW Kyle Lago, WE-SPARK Michelle Nevett, UWindsor Year 3 – Q1
Ken Ng, UW Ming Pan, WRH Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Jody Ralph, UW Chad Sutherland, UW Pete Wawrow, SCC TBD, HDGH
Build Capacity d) Implement the NUCLEUS plan Adriana Grande 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. In Year 2, new members were added to the committee to ensure the needed expertise would be at the table and clear goals were developed. The plan is now moving forward:
Developed NUCLEUS onboarding package Package includes a definitions, Core agreement, metric overview (people, output, funding, collaboration)
Creating website and social media content WE-SPARK student volunteer Maria Roye-Azar is working with the NUCLEUS coordinator to develop general promotional content for the website and social media to promote the health research infrastructure being used for research in Windsor-Essex.
Develop a metric collection platform WE-SPARK is now working with the winners of the WinHacks competition to move a NUCLEUS dashboard forward. Adarsh Vulli and K. Sri Varun from GITAM Institute of Technology in Visakhapatnam, India are joining the WESPARK team for an internship to develop a data visualization pathway for NUCLEUS metrics that will be compatible with REDCap
Next steps Committee will review onboarding package and prepare for implementation.
Year 3 – Q1
Looking Forward Igniting Discovery, Succeeding Together, Living Better
Below are a few action items you can expect to see in coming months.
Organizational Effectiveness • •
Finalize process and timelines for the next strategic planning cycle and share with our members Initiate plans for annual fundraising event
Research Excellence • • •
Host our WE-SPARK Town Hall Embed the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion action plan into each committees milestones Roll out or ‘Faces of Local Research’ Campaign
Knowledge Translation • •
Hire a commercialization intern to complete an in-depth environmental scan on a health research park Provide exclusive research training opportunities to our volunteers through a unique collaboration with UWindsor’s Research Ethics Board
Community Engagement • •
Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK locally, regionally, and provincially through a new outreach campaign Finalize a Citizens science program that focuses on the health concerns of our community and prepare for implementation
Build Capacity • •
Launch data collection and e-consenting workshops Initiate a data visualization platform for NUCLEUS
SUCCEEDING TOGETHER Year 3 – Q1
Appendix: Year 2 Budget May 1, 2021 – April 30, 2022 ADMINISTRATION Salaries • Research Director Stipend/Teaching Release • Assistant Director Salary • Translational Research Associate • Administrative Assistant • Nucleus manager • Medical Student Research Associate • Knowledge Translation Research Associate • Volunteer Network Research Associate Discretionary, Supplies and Consumables (meetings, office equipment, printing, Professional Development, software licenses, etc.) Marketing & Website (including dissemination) WE-Spark Grant Competitions TOTAL Operating Revenue (Partner Contributions) University of Windsor Windsor Regional Hospital Hotel-Dieu Grace St Clair TOTAL
Year 3 – Q1
Proposed 2021-2022 BUDGET $365,500
$40,000 $30,000 $64,500 $500,000
$200,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $500,000