Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 25(1) April 2022 : 5-8.doi:10.12927/hcq.2022.26815
The Ted Freedman Award

The Ted Freedman Award for Innovation in Education 2021

Longwoods and our judges extend their congratulations to the 2021 recipient of the Ted Freedman Award:

submitted by the Michener Institute of Education at the University Health Network. This platform addressed a series of operational and human resource challenges that were worsened by COVID-19.

The 2021 winning team is headed by Maria Tassone, Karen Chaiton and Mohammad Salhia.

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Given the challenges of the varied and diverse clinical indications of the novel coronavirus and the daily and ongoing learning about the nature of COVID-19, the need for quick, accessible and just-in-time education was rapidly identified to support thousands of health providers across the province.

Soon after its launch, the project was poised to respond to an essential need to build capacity in the long-term care sector, given the stress COVID-19 placed on this system. In due time, the resource was recognized as a recommended and sought-after resource for care centres across the province, and was deployed provincially with the endorsement of the Ontario government to nearly 200 hospitals after its initial launch. The site now has more than 16,000 learners registered in Ontario. The innovative design allows for all practitioners, regardless of their training, to access resources for different professional groups. In the context of the pandemic, this was noted in our evaluations by users as a particularly helpful feature: some learning resources in, for example, respiratory therapy or physical therapy offered helpful resources and learning to, for example, physicians and nurses.

To learn more about this program go to:


Thank you to this year's esteemed panel of judges: G. Ross Baker, Professor Emeritus, IHMPE, University of Toronto; Helen Angus, Former Deputy Minister of Health, Ontario Ministry of Health; Dominic Giroux, President and CEO, Health Sciences North and Health Sciences North Research Institute; Dan Florizone, Executive in Residence at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina; and Rebecca Hart, Publisher, Longwoods Publishing.

In 2000, Ted Freedman was the surprised honoree of an annual award launched by Healthcare Quarterly in cooperation with Agilent Technologies.

Freedman was not only president and CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital, he was also an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Health Administration at the University of Toronto. He is a former chair of the Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration, Bridgepoint Health (now known as Hennick Bridgepoint Hospital), The Change Foundation and the Ontario Health Research Alliance and vice chair of Mount Sinai Hospital and Saint Elizabeth Health Care (now known as SE Health), all organizations committed to research and education.

The award recognizes those who inspire, advocate and enable education in healthcare.

Project Profile: -
University Health Network (UHN) and Michener Institute of Education at UHN

Project Leads

Maria Tassone, Executive Director, Education,

Karen Chaiton, Director, Business Operations,

Mohammad Salhia, Director, Continuing Education and International – (submission author and primary contact)

COVID-19 posed significant operational and resource challenges in all corners of the world, pushing organizations to the limits of their capacity. Ontario's health, long-term and community care systems were no exception to the sweeping impacts of the pandemic. Given the challenges of the varied clinical indications of the novel coronavirus and the daily and ongoing learning about the nature of COVID-19, the need for quick, accessible, reliable and just-in-time education was rapidly identified to support thousands of providers across Ontario.

The Michener Institute of Education at UHN is Canada's only post- secondary institution embedded in a hospital system and is solely focused on the education of healthcare professionals. Michener led an unprecedented educational collaboration of 60 people and partners from across hospital, long-term care, community care and post-secondary systems to build a customized education portal that curated the most current, relevant and emergent education content on COVID-19. was initially created in March 2020 in response to a regional need identified by a Greater Toronto Area hospital consortium that developed a new model of team-based care, around which the education platform was developed. The project leads identified numerous subject matter and digital experts to create education packages that were specific to the professions identified in the model of care. The platform also included a variety of resources that could be used by all professionals accessing the site for shared learning (e.g., infection control, team wellness and resilience). was conceptualized and launched in 10 days for five professions, leveraging respected subject matter experts in each of those clinical domains to curate the most appropriate learning. Soon after launch, the project responded to an essential need to build capacity in long-term care, given the rising cases and deaths in this sector. By mid-April 2020, was a recognized, recommended and sought-after resource for care centres across the province, and was deployed provincially to nearly 200 hospitals.

Today, boasts an impressive 16,000+ registrants, 49 educational packages (including resources for hospitals, pediatrics, long-term care), and a suite of resources related to vaccination, pandemic planning, COVID-related operational planning, compassionate care, post COVID-19 syndrome, bioethics, palliative care and team-based models of care. The innovative design allows all practitioners, regardless of their background, to access resources from different professional groups. In the context of the pandemic, this was noted in our user evaluations as a particularly helpful feature, as some learning resources in, for example, respiratory therapy or physical therapy offered meaningful learning to, for example, physicians and nurses.

The most significant impacts of relate to enhanced redeployment readiness, quality and safety and capacity-building of students and trainees across the province. At a system level, this project demonstrated highly effective stewardship of people and financial resources through the creation of a centralized resource for the Ontario healthcare community. This impact would not have been possible if not for the collaboration of the team that identified this work as an unparalleled, rapid and highly effective collaboration across education and practice.

Project Profile: Paediatric Project ECHO - SickKids Learning Institute

What Is Project ECHO?

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a widely adopted virtual education model that was developed at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, by Sanjeev Arora. The model has fostered global impact in the areas of healthcare, education, policy development and more.

Since its launch in 2017, Paediatric Project ECHO – operated by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Learning Institute – has been delivering case-based virtual health education to communities across Ontario in the areas of pediatric obesity management, complex care, pain management and palliative care (Lalloo et al. 2020, 2021).

Why Participate?

Research to date has identified positive impacts on key outcomes, such as knowledge, self-efficacy and practice change among interprofessional healthcare providers (Figure 1).

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Where Is Paediatric Project ECHO Headed?

While Paediatric Project ECHO has successfully adopted the original Project ECHO model, it also offers additional program offerings, including education events with simulation-based learning and online e-learning modules. Enhancing program offerings provides healthcare providers with convenient options to network, gain perspective and easily access new and up-to-date information on best-practice pediatric care at no cost.


Paediatric Project ECHO experienced increased uptake and reach resulting from the need for virtual solutions because of the global pandemic. In April 2020, Paediatric Project ECHO delivered a just-in-time session on COVID-19 and the care of children with medical complexity to over 500 healthcare professionals across Canada, in collaboration with Children's Healthcare Canada (CHC). In the following November, the continuous partnership with CHC allowed the program to strengthen the ECHO community and expand the repository of resources available to the existing community.

In February of 2020 and 2021, Paediatric Project ECHO partnered with the Kids Health Alliance to provide healthcare practitioners with the opportunity to attend the ECHO Education Event on managing pain in children and youth. This two-day interactive workshop featured a combination of didactic presentations, case-based learning and simulation-based learning, with community peers focused on the care of children with acute and chronic pain.

Similarly, in June 2021, Paediatric Project ECHO partnered with the Ontario Chronic Pain Network, bringing the two communities together to deliver a more advanced virtual workshop focused on chronic pain. These partnerships inherently extended the program's reach, growing the Paediatric Project ECHO community to over 2,500 interprofessional healthcare providers worldwide.

Paediatric Project ECHO is proud to have acquired a global reach but continues to focus on its mandate of providing quality education to healthcare providers in Ontario (Figure 2). Future partnerships aim to expand reach to underserved communities in Northern Ontario, with an emphasis on reaching healthcare professionals that serve Black, Black–Indigenous and Indigenous communities.

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Asynchronous Learning

The pandemic has created opportunities to provide innovative solutions to offer on-demand education. In January 2022, the Paediatric Project ECHO team launched new e-learning modules focused on core competencies in the four specialties (Figure 3). Modules are interactive, include case-based learning and provide resources that can be taken back to day-to-day practice. Topics were selected based on a comprehensive needs assessment and feedback from participants. Each module was developed by experts in the respective areas.

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What ECHO Participants Had to Say about the e-Learning Modules

To be able to do it at my own pace when I have time is huge and [to] not worry about my schedule …

These are exactly the type of case scenarios – kids that I deal with – in the clinic. It was just very relevant and very realistic.

Contact us

Paediatric Project ECHO at


Lalloo, C., C. Diskin, M. Ho, J. Orkin, E. Cohen, J.-A. Osei-Twum et al. 2020. Pediatric Project ECHO: Implementation of a Virtual Medical Education Program to Support Community Management of Children with Medical Complexity. Hospital Pediatrics 10(12): 1044–52. doi:10.1542/hpeds.2020-0067.

Lalloo, C., J.-A. Osei-Twum, A. Rapoport, C. Vadeboncoeur, K. Weingarten, S.V. van Zanten et al. 2021. Pediatric Project ECHO®: A Virtual Community of Practice to Improve Palliative Care Knowledge and Self-Efficacy among Interprofessional Health Care Providers. Journal of Palliative Medicine 24(7): 1036–44. doi:10.1089/jpm.2020.0496.


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