Year 3 – Succeeding Together
August 1, 2021 – October 31, 2021
Quarter 2 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, diversity and 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, Innovation Research Associate Ryan Palazzolo, Volunteer Network Coordinator Linda Hudson-Chapman, Administrative Assistant Year 3 – Q2
Year 3 2021-2022
SNAPSHOT quarter two highlights
560 VIEWS ON YOUTUBE
6 STUDENT INTERNS
21,862 VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENTS (SOCIAL MEDIA & WEB)
200 EVENT ATTENDEES
5 ADJUNCT APPTS
1320 NEWSLETTER ENGAGEMENTS
400+ 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) b) c) d) e) f)
Continue quarterly reporting and tracking Monitor and adapt budget reporting Implement a fundraising plan Develop MOUs between WE-SPARK institutions, as needed Review current policies and respond to changing needs Develop process and timelines for next strategic planning cycle
a) Continue quarterly reporting and tracking that leads to yearly impact report On September 29th, 50 members joined us for a virtual Town Hall. They rated our progress and provided input on where we need to focus our efforts for the next year. Comparing responses from previous years, people rate the overall state of health research in Windsor-Essex as improving.
All reports are available on the WE-SPARK website
c) Implement a fundraising plan A committee made up of fundraising leaders from the 4 partners have initiated a plan to host a health research fundraiser in May 2022 called Cheers to Hope.
Driving Organizational Effectiveness – Governance Committee Next Meeting: January 11, 2022 (committee meets quarterly) Lisa Porter (Chair), WE-SPARK Terra Cadeau/Marla Jackson, HDGH Heather Pratt, UW
Year 3 – Q2
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 We hosted 2 virtual Think Tanks in Q2. This forum allows people to make connections, present research ideas at all different stages of development and mobilize next steps. New this quarter was highlighting grants, publications and new collaborations that have grown out of past Think Tank presentations. A summary of the event speakers, topics and outcomes can now be found on the Think Tank landing page. The final Think Tank of 2021 is scheduled for December 3rd. They are open to anyone who is interested and require registration.
Driving Research Excellence – Research Development Committee Next Meeting: November 26, 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 – Q2
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
The grant competition timeline has been finalized and the 2022 competition will be launched in February. Reviewers have been confirmed and in Q3, reviewer, applicant and administrative manuals will be complete. A new onboarding session for reviewers has been added to the process.
c) Profile and track successes of Core Members We continue to add new members to our research ecosystem with a total of 758 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. Local physicians and healthcare providers need academic appointments to build their research programs. In Q2, WE-SPARK facilitated 5 Adjunct Appointments in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Windsor for the following members: Clinical Assistant Professor Appointments: Dr. Hema Gangam, Dr. Sahar Khan, Dr. Jerry Tan, and Dr. Alice Tsui. Professor of Practice: Monica Bagga, Pharm D., B.Sc. Pharm, CDE.
Highlighting Member Successes Publishing Dates June, 2021 December, 2021 August, 2021 February, 2022 October, 2021 April, 2022 Year 3 – Q2
Research Excellence d) Consult and support WE-SPARK programs In collaboration with WE-SPARK, a research team led by Dr. Edward Cruz, Dr. Jennifer Voth and Clementa Stan, hosted the inaugural Caring for the Caregiver Conference on October 16 and October 23. The conference agenda was carefully curated based on the experiences and needs caregivers had expressed as part of the Caring for the Caregiver Study, which was funded by a WE-SPARK Igniting Discovery Grant. Check back to the Caregiver Resource Hub often as new resources are added. In Q3, the Caregiver Resource Hub will expand to include conference material and community resources developed directly from the needs expressed by caregivers.
WE-SPARK has been working with WCRG to improve their website and social media presence. Ignite Student, Eddie Grimmett, has been focusing on highlighting local cancer research on social media and creating cancer-related Ask the Experts.
e) Provide a central hub for research processes and system navigation Complementing and connecting directly to our website is our newly launched WE-SPARK App which provides a central hub for navigating the WE-SPARK website and connecting members. The App is a one stop shop to spark collaborations, facilitate group conversations, provide quick and easy access to tools, house a central message board and lets you share ideas and stay connected. To see the app in action, check out the promo video and contact us to get started!
h) Implement an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan Following the recommendations in the EDI action plan, the WE-SPARK website has a dedicated EDI section with the report available in French and English. An EDI email has been created to provide a direct path to any EDI specific inquiries and each committee has EDI action items embedded into their responsibilities and milestones. Kaviya Selvaperumal, WE-SPARK’s EDI Ignite Student is creating tools to support inclusive and accessible social media content, tapping into the efforts of our partners regarding self-identification surveys, and drafting an EDI-related position paper.
Year 3 – Q2
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
We continue 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 2, 1 local expert, John Freer, Professor at St. Clair College, was added to the series. On October 6th, WE-SPARK supported Igniting Discovery Grant recipient Dr. Kenneth Drouillard to share an update of his research on the effectiveness of cloth masks. If you missed it, the presentation can be found on WE-SPARK’s YouTube channel.
John Freer, PhD
b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms @wesparkhealth continued to increase content and reach during Q2. Thank you to our volunteer network for continuing to create new campaigns to support on-going community engagement efforts.
Driving Community Understanding - Community Engagement Committee Next Meeting: November 18, 2021 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Marla Jackson (Co-Chair), HDGH Dora Cavallo-Medved, UW Allison Johnson, WRH
Year 3 – Q2
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 $287,000 Awarded for Local Health Research New study reveals impact of COVID-19 on children's mental health in Southwestern Ontario WE-SPARK Health Institute Publishes 2nd Annual Impact Report Local Partners to Host Inaugural Virtual Conference for Caregivers to Loved Ones with Mental Illness and/or Addictions; Registration Now Open WE-SPARK Health Institute & Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry Appoint Research Associate Research Results Show Effectiveness of Homemade Masks by Community Group
Select Featured Media Stories In Q2, WE-SPARK was part of 29 local mainstream news stories, 64 stories in partner newsletters/communications and 5 in national/other media. SCC News: St. Clair College students examine radiation therapy wait times The Globe & Mail: Amplify: Women are taking their sexual health into their own hands Windsor Star: UWindsor early-detection tools warn community of infectious disease Global News: ‘They’re often overlooked and not heard’: Family caregivers need more support WRH Newsroom: Input sought from physicians on clinical trials
Community Friendly Resources Available on WE-SPARK YouTube Channel In Q2 WE-SPARK’s YouTube channel continued to expand in content and reach, housing workshops and webinars, health research education videos and Igniting Discovery Grant videos. The most viewed content was a research update event supported by WESPARK, highlighting the outcomes of Dr. Ken Drouillard’s Igniting Discovery Grant: Medical vs 2-Ply Cotton Masks.
Community Connections and Outreach WE-SPARK supports the efforts of others by speaking at events, providing sponsorship and collaborating on initiatives locally, regionally, provincially and nationally. Some connections made in Q2:
d) Continue to evolve our website capabilities and reach Website Analytics WESPARKHEALTH . COM
Total Q2 Visits: 18,630 Unique Q2 Visits: 11,313 Most Visited Pages in Q2: COVID Screening Platform, Caring for the Caregiver, Cancer Program-WCRG
Top Site Visitors CANADA (55%)
Year 3 – Q2
OTHER (22%) including Sweden, China, France, Ireland
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 Q2, our Volunteer Network doubled. New volunteers participated in a network onboarding session and Ryan Palazzolo, Volunteer Network Coordinator, created and hosted a workshop, “Involving Student Volunteers in Research Projects” that showcased how WE-SPARK volunteers come with additional training and supports that make them valued members of research teams.
Driving Knowledge Translation – Knowledge Translation Committee Next Meeting: November 24, 2021 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Pete Wawrow (Co-Chair), SCC Dave Andrews, UW Linda DiRosa, HDGH Jody Ralph, UW
Year 3 – Q2
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 Q2 we launched the Caregiver Resource Hub, that will continue to evolve in the coming months. The Caregiver Resource Hub is led by the Caring for the Caregiver Study team as well as WE-SPARK volunteer Zoë Millar.
c) Expand the knowledge translation toolkit, including tools for commercialization, and increase awareness to our research community Host workshops that grow the Knowledge Translation Toolkit In Q2 a series of workshop/events were hosted to continue to build the knowledge translation toolkit. The two most popular were the “Community-Engaged Research Workshop” and “Involving Student Volunteers in Research Projects”. Each provided an introduction to the topic and included an interactive panel discussion with experts. The KT Water Cooler series continued, with topics including getting started with Twitter and things to consider when planning a webinar. Join WE-SPARK’s Knowledge Translation Coordinator, Adriana Grande, on the first Wednesday of every month for a casual conversation on KT.
d) Support student experiential learning and novel training opportunities in health research The Masters in Translational Health Research program has been approved by the University of Windsor Senate and will begin in April 2022. Devinder Moudgil, Medical Student Research Associate, has been supporting the experiential learning and research efforts of the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry – Windsor Campus students. The SWORP Competition is ready for launch and a “mixer” event to pair up medical students with researchers will be held on November 24th. Devinder was featured in the September edition of the Windsor Campus newsletter.
e) Develop a plan for increasing engagement with industry and community partners Chris Ng-Fletcher is the latest addition to the WE-SPARK team as the Commercialization and Innovation Research Associate. He has initiated a plan to support commercialization and business development in health research related areas and is working closely with the NUCLEUS committee to grow the acquisition of research infrastructure. Year 3 – Q2
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 Q2, REDCap was used by research teams for funded projects, operational support and quality improvement. Kyle Lago, Translational Research Associate has added an Ignite Student to his REDCap team to work directly on research projects providing a unique training opportunity and expanding capacity. Training workshops are 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 is available for member use.
Training and Support
Driving Research Capacity – NUCLEUS Committee Next Meeting: December, 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 Krista Naccarato, WRH Year 3 – Q2
Michelle Nevett, UWindsor Ken Ng, UW Ming Pan, WRH Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Jody Ralph, UW Chad Sutherland, UW Pete Wawrow, SCC TBD, HDGH Page 12
Build Capacity b) Facilitate joint funding plan for large infrastructure grants 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. A consistent meeting schedule has now been established, the needed expertise is at the table and the plan is moving forward:
Year 3 – Q2
Looking Forward Igniting Discovery, Succeeding Together, Living Better
Below are a few action items you can expect to see in coming months.
Organizational Effectiveness • •
Plan Cheers to Hope fundraising event in May 2022 Initiate MOU for regional biomedical ethics review board
Research Excellence • • • • •
Prepare for the 2022 grant competition, including finalizing the administration and reviewer manuals and onboarding session Distribution of position papers Share success metrics from Think Tanks Finalize and share position papers Increase ‘ease of use’ on the website to showcase core member successes and local research projects
Knowledge Translation •
Initiate a commercialization navigation and resource hub to support health researchers connect with Industry Create a Research Training Hub for the volunteer network including links to existing best practices and local resources Audit and update all sections of the resource hub
Community Engagement •
Finalize and begin to implement the WE-SPARK Engage Program that invites and provides roles for the community in research initiatives Roll out WE-SPARK branded merchandise
Build Capacity • •
Launch revised NUCLEUS section of the website, highlighting infrastructure available within Windsor-Essex Initiate a data visualization platform for NUCLEUS
SUCCEEDING TOGETHER Year 3 – Q2
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 – Q2
Proposed 2021-2022 BUDGET $365,500
$40,000 $30,000 $64,500 $500,000
$200,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $500,000