Award Winners & Fund Recipients


Health Professions Educator Award

The award is designed to encourage and reward the continued excellence of health professions education and scholarship within McMaster University. Nominees will be senior faculty and leaders in their respective educational schools that have made substantial contributions to education in the Faculty of Health Sciences including teaching, mentorship, educational scholarship, or research, throughout
their careers.

Past Winners:

2017: Sue Baptiste (School of Rehabilitation Science)

2018: Rob Whyte (Undergraduate Medical Education)

2019: Janet Landeen (School of Nursing)

Education Scholarship Fund

The Education Scholarship Fund is to promote and support scholarship (research and innovation) in health sciences education in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), McMaster University.

Past Winners:

​Anthony Levinson

Crowd-sourcing Practice Questions and Test Enhanced Learning: Capacity building strategies and randomized trial

Edward Matsumoto

Evaluation of new techniques for objective technical skills assessment for competency-based evaluation of surgical residents

Bernice Downey

Indigenous Health Initiative

Health Professions Educator Award 2020

Dr. Sarah Wojkowski

Sarah Wojkowski, PT, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science and currently the Acting Assistant Dean for the Master of Science (Physiotherapy) Program. Sarah is also the Director for the Program of Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (PIPER) in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) and chair of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association’s Primary Care Advisory Committee (PCAC). Her research interests include assessment of interprofessional competencies, unmet need for physiotherapy services, primary care and role emerging clinical placements. A member of the Governance committee for the Centre for Simulation Based Learning (CSBL), Sarah has a keen interest in the integration of simulation techniques into her teaching. A three time McMaster alumna, she enjoys collaborating with faculty from across Health Sciences to make a positive impact on students’ educational experiences.

Education Scholarship Fund 2020

Dr. Noori Akhtar-Danesh

Q-Methodology: A Revolutionary Approach to Course Evaluation

Akhtar-Danesh, Noori; Wainman, Bruce; Darling, Liz; Wojkowski, Sarah; Brewer-Deluce, Danielle; Jackson, Tom


McMaster University course evaluations typically require students to rate the “effectiveness of the instructor” on a seven-point Likert scale and ask for open-ended comments. While this evaluation is often quick and easy for students to complete, the average score is difficult to interpret, and comments provided are generally inconsistent or may represent the opinions of only a few students. As a result, the information available to instructors is limited, particularly when they aim to use such information for evidence-based course improvement. By contrast, in Q-methodology, participants rank a set of student-generated statements relative to each other, creating a forced quasi-normal distribution14 which permits a more sophisticated statistical analysis of data15,16 beyond means and standard-deviations of Likert scale rankings. Q-methodology also hones qualitative feedback, requiring participants to justify their most highly positively and negatively ranked statements. Contrasting open-ended surveys, this ensures that highly contextual feedback is obtained.

Over the last 10 years, our group has pioneered Q-methodology research in education (Appendix Figure) by developing and testing Q-methodology analysis software15 and employing Q-methodology for investigating barriers to technology uptake17 and course evaluation.18,19 This work is truly cutting edge in both Q-methodology and course evaluation areas research with only seven publications18,20–25 applying Q-methodology to course evaluations. Notably, our most recent efforts were recognized internationally when Dr. Brewer-Deluce was awarded the Early-Career Anatomist Publication Award by the American Association for Anatomy18 and a prior Q-methodology paper on course evaluation won the Best Student and Postdoctoral Presentation at Experimental Biology 2017.19,25 Specifically, in the Mackinnon paper, Q-methodology uncovered three major viewpoints on an interprofessional anatomy dissection course, supporting its utility and development as a mastery-level interprofessional experience.

In the Brewer-Deluce paper, we outlined the methodological steps necessary for using Q-methodology for course evaluation and demonstrated how this novel application uncovered previously unknown areas for course improvement in a long-standing, positively reviewed course.18 Critically, these publications not only made our methods accessible to the wider academic community but enabled our course instructors to refine course components, promoting a better student learning experience.

To date, our work has focused on evaluating a relatively homogeneous cohort of individuals (e.g., students from a single program), participating in a single experience (e.g., one course) at a single time point (e.g., one cohort). Through this proposal we look to expand upon these previous successes and offer a three-tiered approach to expand each of these three aspects -- cohort, course, and chronology. Critically, we see this line of research as a continuation of our already strong research program offering a means toward systematic improvement of course evaluations.

Education Scholarship Fund 2020

Dr. Lawrence Grierson

Retrospective observational analyses of the associations between the geographical disposition of McMaster-graduated physicians before medical school, in training, and eventual practice

Grierson, Lawrence; Agarwal, Gina; Johnston, Neil; Bakker, Dorothy

Education policies around trainee selection and distributed training sites are purported to influence the distribution of graduating physicians into practice locations that best serve the diverse needs of the Canadian population. At the heart of these interventions is the central idea that people will choose to work and live in places with which they have had experience. While previous work in this area has focused primarily on geographic markers of rurality and population density, we recognize that each geographic location can be described according to different indices of population health need or ‘underservedness’. Moreover, because previous work has predominantly considered the issue of mal-distribution with respect to primary care specialties, we recognize an opportunity to develop more robust evidence as it pertains specifically to the geographical disposition of Family Physicians.

Accordingly, the objective of this study is:

To describe the degree of association between the places from which McMaster University medical trainees apply to medical school, the location of their under-graduate medical school assignments, the location of their post-graduate residency experiences, and the geographic disposition of their physician practice with specific respect to indices that describe geographic areas with respect to markers of socio-economic determinants of health and high physician need

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