Year 3 - Succeeding Together, Q4 Highlights

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Year 3 – Succeeding Together

Q4 Highlights

February 1, 2022 – April 30, 2022

Year 3 2021-2022

SNAPSHOT quarter four highlights















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

Executive Committee Nicole Sbrocca (Chair)

Windsor Regional Hospital

Caroline Hamm

Windsor Regional Hospital

Alison Murray

Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare

Heather Pratt

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.

University of Windsor

Chad Sutherland

University of Windsor

Marla Jackson

Hôtel Dieu Grace Healthcare

Peter Wawrow

St. Clair College

Lisa Porter

WE-SPARK Health Institute

Karen Metcalfe

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, Student Network Coordinator Linda Hudson-Chapman, Administrative Assistant Year 3 – Q4

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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

HIGHLIGHTS a) Continue quarterly reporting and tracking that leads to yearly impact report All quarterly reporting was complete and the Year 3 Impact Report is in development mode.


A new reporting structure has been mapped out to show how interconnected our research community is. Currently underway are the internal research environment maps for the four supporting institutions.

Driving Organizational Effectiveness – Governance Committee Next Meeting: July 12, 2022 (committee meets quarterly) Lisa Porter (Chair), WE-SPARK Alison Murray, HDGH Heather Pratt, UW

Year 3 – Q4

Nicole Sbrocca, WRH Monica Staley Liang, SCC Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK

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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 2 Think Tanks WE-SPARK kicked off 2022 by hosting 2 Think Tanks in Q4. This forum allows people to make connections, present research ideas at all different stages of development and mobilize next steps. A summary of the event speakers, topics and outcomes can now be found on the Think Tank landing page. Our next session will be on June 10th, is open to anyone who is interested and requires registration.

Driving Research Excellence – Research Development Committee Next Meeting: May 27, 2022 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Caroline Hamm (co-chair), WRH Chris Abeare, UW Jessica Bennett, WRH Jody Ralph, UW Simon Rondeau-Gagne, UW Balraj Jhawar, WRH Year 3 – Q4

Jennifer Voth, HDGH (new co-chair for 2022) Peter Wawrow, SCC Lisa Porter, WE-SPARK Karen Metcalfe, WE-SPARK

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Research Excellence Think Tank Successes


Think Tanks now include a spotlight on past presenters and how their projects have progressed. In addition to securing grant funding and leading to publications, new collaborators were added to project teams.

b) Host a WE-SPARK grant competition The 2022 grant competition was launched in April with 30 Letter of Intent submissions received. Full applications are due on May 6, adjudication will take place in June and awards will be announced in July. In Q4 we began to bring together metrics that shares some of the outcomes of previous grant competitions. Research takes time and the impact of an initial investment is not often seen for years to come. Of the $138,000 investment in the 2020 COVID-19 rapid response grant program, $1.7 million in additional funding has been awarded. In year 4 we will collect additional metrics and outcomes of the WE-SPARK grants program.

c) Profile and track successes of Core Members We continue to add new members to our research ecosystem with a total of 860 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. Local physicians and healthcare providers need academic appointments to build their research programs. In Q4, WE-SPARK facilitated 4 Adjunct Appointments in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Windsor for the following members: Clinical Assistant Professor Appointments: Dr. Andreu Fernandez Codina, Dr. Omar Afandi and Dr. Judy Seesahai. Professor of Practice Appointment: Anna Guo, Pharm.D., RPh, ACPR Year 3 – Q4

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Research Excellence Highlighting Member Profiles, Projects and Successes Members profiles, projects and successes continue to be shared and added to the WE-SPARK website. In Q4 a number of WE-SPARK Core Members were successful in receiving national funding, two of the research projects began with an Igniting Discovery Grant.

Members are asked to submit research activities and successes for the bi-monthly newsletter. They are distributed to our research community and archived on our website. The two newsletters for Q4 highlighted:

• • • • •

$2.3 Million in new project funding 28 publications 17 awards 6 appointments 5 conference presentations Publishing Dates June, 2021 December, 2021 August, 2021 February, 2022 October, 2021 April, 2022

e) Provide a central hub for research processes and system navigation Spark Plug, the new WE-SPARK app has added a new weekly digest. If you haven’t checked the app or missed some messages, they will be sent to your email every Monday morning. An app “road show” is available to any groups wanting to know more about the app. To see it in action, check out the promo video and invite us to your next meeting to show you how it can help you grow your network and improve your research profile.

Year 3 – Q4

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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 Over 130 people came together for Cheers to Hope to celebrate local health research successes and highlight the importance of health research for the future of Windsor-Essex. The ultimate goal of the event is to garner support for the WE-SPARK grants program. Funding grants brings all of the important benefits of health research: supports training, permits acquisition of new infrastructure, supports discovery happening here first, benefitting our local patients, our students and our local economy.

At Cheers to Hope, we debuted a video that showcased the unique research environment we are building together, focusing on the message that research changes lives. It brought messages of thanks to our supporters for being the difference from our local researchers.

Driving Community Understanding - Community Engagement Committee Next Meeting: May 17, 2022 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Marla Jackson (Co-Chair), HDGH Dora Cavallo-Medved, UW Allison Johnson, WRH

Year 3 – Q4

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

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Community Engagement b) Increase engagement on all social media platforms @wesparkhealth continued to engage the community on all social media platforms during Q4. Thank you to our volunteer network for continuing to create new campaigns to support on-going community engagement efforts.


c) Broaden community understanding of WE-SPARK through media relations and community engagements locally, provincially and nationally Select Featured Media Stories In Q4, WE-SPARK was part of 11 local mainstream news stories, 30 stories in partner newsletters/communications and 4 in national/other media. Blackburn News: WE-SPARK to raise funds for research grants CTV News: Windsor-Essex public school board trustees to discuss bringing mask mandate back UWindsor Alumni News: Quarterly report details health institute accomplishments Windsor Star: Local study finds elevated distress levels in kids due to COVID-19 pandemic WRH The Pulse: WE-SPARK Think Tank Session to spark collaborations

Community Newsletter In Q4, we continued with our community newsletters alternating between providing a quarterly highlight (February, 2022) and spotlighting the impact of research (March, 2022) (1,978 engagements)

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 Q4:

d) Continue to evolve our website capabilities and reach Website Analytics WESPARKHEALTH . COM

Total Q4 Visits: 19,583 (unique visits: 11,513) Most Visited Pages in Q4: Cancer Program, COVID Screening Platform, Events, Researcher Tools

Top Site Visitors CANADA (42%)

Year 3 – Q4

USA (28%)

OTHER (30%) including Turkey, Sweden, France, Germany

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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 Q4, members of our student network logged over 800 hours supporting local health research in various capacities. Our network is made up of student interns and volunteers and when possible, we offer employment opportunities. Students come with a variety of skills and the network offers additional training and workshops. This was the first time since WESPARK’s launch in 2020 that we were able to invite our students to enjoy an in-person volunteer experience at Cheers to Hope.

Driving Knowledge Translation – Knowledge Translation Committee Next Meeting: May 18, 2022 (committee meets every 6 weeks) Pete Wawrow (Co-Chair), SCC Dave Andrews, UW Martin Crozier, UW Linda DiRosa, HDGH Jody Ralph, UW Year 3 – Q4

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

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Knowledge Translation Student Network Project Highlights Students in our network are paired with researchers on a per-project basis and provide our students with unique collaborative opportunities. Students come with a variety of skill sets and WESPARK provides additional training to support professional development. Project requests are diverse and range in time commitment. If you have a project that could benefit from student involvement, contact us at:

d) Support student experiential learning and novel training opportunities in health research The Master of Science in Translational Health Science program’s inaugural class of over 20 students will be beginning on May 9th. This program is designed to provide students with education and skills to enter a wide variety of career paths in translational health sciences. A record number of Schulich-UWindsor Opportunities for Research Excellence Program (SWORP) applications were received this year and in Q4, 10 successful grants were awarded. Projects will begin in June.

e) Develop a plan for increasing engagement with industry and community partners Chris Ng-Fletcher, Commercialization and Innovation Research Associate, has moved forward plans to connect and grow industry engagement in health research related areas. Highlights to date:

Creating a commercialization and innovation toolkit The toolkit will assist those interested in moving their research towards commercialization. Included will be events designed in collaboration with regional partners to mobilize multi-disciplinary teams and accelerate innovation.

Preparing for Launch of Innovation Ambassador Program This program has been develop and plan to focus on breaking down silos and growing our local network of innovators to be able to respond to unique problems that impact health and the care system. Included will be an innovation hub on the WE-SPARK website. Year 3 – Q4

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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. REDCap was used by research teams for funded projects, administration improvement projects at HDGH and WRH and quality improvement. In Q4, the number of active users has grown by 20% with active REDCap projects at each of the four partner institutions, collecting data in real-time. We’ve just surpassed 10,000 records/participants, up 26% from Q3. Kyle Lago, Translational Research Associate has added student trainees to his REDCap team to work directly on research projects providing a unique training opportunity and expanding capacity. MyCap is an App interface that allows researchers to capture participant reported outcomes using a mobile device. MyCap is available for member use. REDCap USE

Training and Support

Driving Research Capacity – NUCLEUS Committee Next Meeting: July, 2022 (committee meets every quarter) Adriana Grande, WE-SPARK Renee Biss, UW Arezoo Emadi, UW Jackie Fong, UW Wendy Foote, SCC

Year 3 – Q4

Phil Karpowicz, UW Kyle Lago, WE-SPARK Krista Naccarato, WRH 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 c) Explore and evolve infrastructure planning and a capital plan As we wrap up our 3rd year, momentum is building as the large provincial investment into our healthcare system infrastructure is officially moving forward. Over the past year we have been working closely with the new hospital system project to align research infrastructure planning and continue to grow our academic health research environment. An environmental scan has been initiated into Health Innovation Parks, specifically how they operate, governance, funding sources, and challenges encountered. 30+ sources were consulted involving: ● Research Parks ● Hospital-aligned Innovation Centres ● Economic Development Corporations ● Municipal Governments ● Healthcare Hubs

d) Implement the NUCLEUS plan A gap analysis focused on research infrastructure is being initiated and an infrastructure facility report template was created including the equipment usage data, sustainability plan and case for support. These facility reports can be used to facilitate a coordinated infrastructure effort and increase efficiencies and develop sustainability plans for regional equipment. The initial report created was for the Flow Cytometry Facility which was successful in receiving a $7,000 contribution by the Faculty of Science, University of Windsor. Following up on the recommendations in the report, a Think Tank included a presentation focused on expanding regional flow cytometry for clinical use.

Year 3 – Q4

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Looking Forward Igniting Discovery, Succeeding Together, Living Better

Reporting Timeline


As we enter into Year 4, each committee has revisited and revised the milestones. Below are a few action items you can expect to see in the coming months.

Organizational Effectiveness


Finalize mapping of regional health research ecosystem, including institutional partner structures

Research Excellence • • • • •

Adjudicate and announce the results of the 2022 grant competition Increase use and engagement of the WE-SPARK researcher App to better connect our health research community Roll out plans for the Fall 2022 Health Research Conference Formal commitment made to focus on research mentorship Kick off a monthly, face-to-face WE-SPARK after dark series

Knowledge Translation • • •

Create a commercialization navigation and resource hub to support health researchers connect with Industry Expand and share the Research Training Hub for students Introduce the Innovation Ambassador Program

Community Engagement • • •

Implement and expand the Engage Program Roll out WE-SPARK branded merchandise Finalize and circulate the Year 3 Impact Report

Build Capacity •

Launch revised NUCLEUS section of the website, highlighting infrastructure available within Windsor-Essex


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Appendix: Year 3 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 – Q4

Proposed 2021-2022 BUDGET $365,500

$40,000 $30,000 $64,500 $500,000

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

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