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About Us

History

In June 2011, the Board of Directors of Associated Medical Services (AMS) announced an innovative multi-year initiative that focuses on making a positive and lasting difference in how health professionals develop and sustain their abilities to provide humane care to patients and the population at large.

The AMS Phoenix Project: A Call to Caring is based on the premise that health professionals provide the best care when they are able to balance human compassion and technical expertise. AMS will act as a catalyst for change by making strategic investments and working with educators, health professionals, workplaces and other partners to nurture and sustain education and workplace environments that support this balance. The Project is focused on three (3) goals:

  1. To identify and support champions for caring relationships, through the development of contemporary and future healthcare professionals, who will model compassionate care in their everyday work.
  2. To promote creative strategies for caring in both education and clinical practice to be developed, investigated and shared with the wider community.
  3. To cultivate communities of practice, both face-to-face and virtual, building on existing groups and developing new networks in order to advance compassionate healthcare.

Our Genesis

The AMS Phoenix Project: A Call to Caring emerged after over a year of consultations by former AMS CEO Dr. William Shragge and the AMS Board, as well as from a series of successful summits focused on narrative teaching, the hidden curricula and toxic practice environments.

2010-11 Summits & Workshops (Stage 1)
Exploring the Hidden Curriculum in Nursing: A Preliminary Brainstorming Session (January 22, 2011)

Objectives:

  • To explore the concept and elements of the hidden curriculum in nursing
  • To guide the development of a larger summit on nursing education (held in the Spring of 2011).

The primary focus of the session was to explore and acquire a better understanding of the meaning of the hidden curriculum in nursing education (i.e., the unique characteristics, cultures and issues within nursing that impact on teaching and learning, education of nurses and their experiences in the workplace).

Narrative Teaching in Medical Education: A Workshop on Practical Tradecraft (February 23-25, 2011)

Objectives:

  • To sponsor an event solely dedicated to professional development for medical educators using narrative methods. Specifically, to allow Ontario colleagues direct engagement with five international leaders in narrative teaching.
  • To facilitate contact between Ontario medical educators and leaders (and future leaders) from other provinces.
  • To lay the groundwork for a network of medical educators concerned with narrative teaching methods specifically and more generally with fostering humanistic medical education and patient-centered care.
  • To hear from medical educators how the broader AMS initiative of which this event was part could best serve them: what do they need to enhance their work?

For this event, Deans of undergraduate medical education at the six Ontario medical schools were invited to designate teams of three to represent their schools. In addition, invitations were sent to specific colleagues across Canada who either represents groups with which AMS had some partnership, or who have established reputations in narrative pedagogy, or who are anticipated to be future leaders in this area.

Attendance included 19 team members from Ontario medical schools and 20 invited guests. In advance of the conference, each team was asked to provide a brief statement of the teaching in their school that utilized “narrative” methods, with the definition of what that includes left to the teams. These reports were included in the conference binder. The conference agenda was structured into presentations by the five international guest speakers, a session in which each medical school team offered a brief presentation of its program, and a final session in which ideas for future directions were solicited. The five international speakers were: Rita Charon (Columbia University), Hedy Wald (Brown University), John Launer (London Deanery), Catherine Belling (Northwestern University), and Therese Jones (University of Colorado, Denver).

The Hidden Curriculum in Medical Education – An Invitational Summit (March 2-4, 2011)

Objectives:

  • To develop a network/community of scholars concerned with understanding and addressing the hidden curriculum.
  • To begin an ongoing provincial dialogue on the hidden curriculum among health professional education schools and health care institutions to bring the hidden curriculum “into the light”, and to commit to the ongoing development of specific, feasible solutions and strategies.
  • To make concrete plans to move forward in the areas of educational interventions, awareness of the issue (both professional – educational and healthcare institution – and public), research and innovation.
  • To begin assembling resources related to the hidden curriculum including a review of literature, description of innovations and evaluations.

The event involved representatives from the six university medical schools in Ontario and selected guests (40 people participated in total). The Summit Organizing committee consisted of Bill Shragge, Joann Trypuc, Bev Nickoloff, Ayelet Kuper, Tina Martimianakis, Art Frank and Brian Hodges.

Over 2.5 days, four international experts presented talks on the hidden curriculum in medicine as a means of stimulating the discussion and to propel the intensive working sessions that made up the bulk of the conference. Professor Fred Hafferty (Mayo Clinic, USA) presented an overview of the concept and origin of the term “hidden curriculum”. Professor David Hirsh (Harvard University) presented a way in which curricula can be reformed with the hidden curriculum in mind. Professor Chloe Atkins (University of Calgary) addressed the hidden curriculum and its effects on patient experience, and Professor Charlotte Rees (University of Dundee) examined the issue from the perspective of students.

These talks were followed by a series of small group working sessions to address the question: What are priority solutions and strategies in relation to the hidden curriculum with respect to pedagogy (formal and informal), the nature of clinical learning contexts, and evaluation (students and teachers)? The small groups presented some key priority solutions and strategies and discussed ways to move forward.

The Toxic Work Environment: A Round Table Discussion (April 21, 2011)

Objectives:

  • The objective of the session was to begin to acquire a better understanding of the meaning of the “toxic environment” by:
  • Exploring the concept and elements of the “toxic environment” for medical, nursing and other students, and

Advising AMS on priorities for action, tangible initiatives and next steps.

This half-day session focused on a discussion of the “toxic work environment” and its impact on the education of – and clinical care provided by – health professionals. The toxic environment is integral to AMS’ broad goal to be a catalyst for change by working with partners to nurture and sustain learning and practice environments that balance scientific knowledge and high quality person-centred care. Hospital leaders who attended the meeting included:

  • Tom Closson, President & CEO, Ontario Hospital Association
  • Brian Hodges, Vice President Education, University Health Network
  • Tom Stewart, Physician-In-Chief and Chief Clinical Officer, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • AMS representatives were Arthur Frank, Beverley Nickoloff and Joann Trypuc, Consultants for AMS.

Beginning a Dialogue on the Hidden Curriculum in Nursing: An Invitational Summit (May 17, 2011)

Objectives:

  • To begin a dialogue on the hidden curriculum in nursing beginning with the university-based nursing schools and academic health science centres.
  • To develop a network/community of scholars concerned with understanding and addressing the hidden curriculum in nursing.
  • To confirm the need for ongoing dialogue and advise Associated Medical Services (AMS) on priorities for action, tangible solutions and practical next steps.

The Summit followed up on a preliminary brainstorming session hosted by AMS on January 21, 2011. The one-day event included representatives from university schools of nursing in Ontario and selected guests (40 participants in total).

AMS Phoenix Project Lead


Dr. Brian Hodges is the Project Lead for the AMS Phoenix Project. Dr. Brian Hodges, he is Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Education (OISE/UT) at the University of Toronto, the Richard and Elizabeth Currie Chair in Health Professions Education Research at the Wilson Centre for Research in Education and Vice President Education at the University Health Network (Toronto General, Toronto Western Princess Margaret and Toronto Rehab Hospitals). He is an internationally-renowned educator who completed his medical degree in 1989, psychiatry residency in 1994, a Master’s of Higher Education in 1996 and a PhD in 2007.

Brian D. Hodges
Brian D. Hodges MD, PhD, FRCPC
Vice-President Education, University Health Network
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Scientist, Wilson Centre for Research in Education
Richard and Elizabeth Currie Chair in Health Professions Education Research
Senior Fellow, Massey College
Project Lead, The AMS Phoenix Project

AMS Phoenix Project Advisory Committee


Dr. Dorothy Pringle is the Chair the AMS Phoenix Project Advisory Committee. A member of the AMS Board, Dr. Pringle is an accomplished nursing leader, educator and researcher. She is professor emeritus at the University of Toronto where she was the Dean of Nursing from 1988-1999. Dr. Pringle has five honorary degrees, is a recipient of the Jeanne Mance Award from the Canadian Nurses Association for lifetime contributions to nursing, and is an officer of the Order of Canada.

Membership on the Advisory Committee includes:

  • Debra Bournes
  • Gail Donner
  • Cathy Fooks
  • Abe Fuks
  • Geoffrey Matus
  • J.T. Murray
  • Dale Piner
  • Mary Ellen Purkis
  • Richard Reznick

AMS Project Management Committee


Dr. Brian Hodges, is the Chair of the AMS Phoenix Project Management Committee. The Committee is responsible for advancing the goals of the AMS Phoenix Project through oversight and direction of Project activities to enable and support the creation of sustainable and ongoing education and workplace practice changes to support a renewed interest in advancing person-centred care1

The work of the AMS Phoenix Project Management Committee is guided by the following terms of reference:

  1. To provide advice and direction to the Project Lead on strategies, broad directions, policy and practice implications, and other issues relevant to the Project.
  2. To establish working subgroups, as needed, to support the Project.
  3. To adjudicate competitions sponsored by the Project and make recommendations for funding to the AMS Board.
  4. To develop an implementation and evaluation plan for the Project and monitor progress.
  5. To account to the Board, through the Project Lead, and to the wider community for the execution of the Project.
  6. To consult, as needed, with external experts to meet any of the functions of the Project Management Committee. The Committee reports to the AMS Board through its Chair, Dr. Brian Hodges, Project Lead.
1 AMS has defined person-centred care as high quality health care that respects an individual’s preferences, needs and values, and is provided in an empathetic and compassionate way.

Membership of the AMS Phoenix Project Management Committee includes:

  • Susan Brown, B.A., M.A.
    Director, Strategy & Transformation
    Collaborative Academic Practice
    University Health Network
  • Rachel Ellaway.
    Assistant Dean and Associate Professor Education Informatics, Acting
    Director of Simulation
    Northern Ontario School of Medicine
  • Leslie Flynn, MD
    Interim Vice-Dean, Education
    Acting Director, Office of Health Sciences Education
    Queen’s University
  • Stanley J. Hamstra, PhD
    Acting Assistant Dean, Academy for Innovation in Medical Education (AIME)
    Research Director, University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre
  • Brian Hodges, MD, PhD, FRCPC (Chair)
    Vice-President Education, University Health Network
    Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
    Scientist, Wilson Centre for Research in Education
    Richard and Elizabeth Currie Chair in Health Professions Education Research
    Senior Fellow, Massey College
  • Tina Martimianakis, MA, MEd, PhD
    Director of Scholarship & Education Researcher, Dept. of Paediatrics
    Affiliated Scholar, Wilson Centre for Research in Education
    Academic Educator, Centre for Faculty Development
    Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
    Hospital for Sick Children
  • Jennifer Medves, RN, PhD
    Professor
    Director, School of Nursing
    Vice-Dean (Health Sciences)
    Queen’s University
  • Rob Whyte, MD, FRCPC
    Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education
    Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesia
    Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine
    McMaster University