Patient safety issues highlighted in innovative stage play

Researchers at York University’s Faculty of Health have come up with a pioneering way to convey their evidence-based research on what can happen when health-care mistakes are made – they are putting on a play about it, wrote Nora Gubins, director of communications & external relations in York’s Faculty of Health, in a story for the Hospital News Nov. 3.

Seeing the Forest is inspired by a true story about what happens when a patient is not heard. As part of Canadian Patient Safety Week programming, the play runs from November 1 to 5, and is being performed as part of a symposium at various health care sites across the Greater Toronto Area.

York Professors Deborah Tregunno and Liane Ginsburg, of the Faculty’s School of Nursing, are leaders in the field of patient safety culture. They collaborated with their colleague, Professor Gail Mitchell, who has experience with conveying research findings through the arts. This dramatic approach presents research from their studies conducted in four provinces, in cooperation with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.

The play’s development was financially supported by the York’s Faculty of Health Inter-professional (IPE) Education Fund. IPE programming is shared with the health-care community through the Faculty’s innovative Health Leadership & Learning Network (HLLN).

Written by professional playwright Julia Gray, Seeing the Forest is being performed during National Patient Safety Week in collaboration with six organizations, including the Central Community Care Access Centre, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Credit Valley Hospital, North York General Hospital, Sunnybrook Hospital, and Unionville Home Society.

As healthcare becomes more complex, the job of keeping patients safe is becoming more difficult, the researchers say. The York professors focus their research on patient safety beyond traditional clinical safety concerns, addressing the systemic and cultural aspects of patient safety.

“This play is a great example of the innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to health care led by York University’s Faculty of Health,” says Professor Lesley Beagrie, associate dean, professional & global programs. “Instead of tailoring health care programs to individual silos within the health profession, we aim to keep the focus on the end user – the patient. Patient Safety Week reminds us of the vital need for inter-professional health professionals to work together so that the focus remains patient centered. This same approach is at the core of what the Health Leadership & Learning Network aims to do. “

Former York president Marsden to receive honorary degree at her alma mater

The University of Victoria will award honorary degrees recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of five individuals, including York President Emerita Lorna R. Marsden, wrote the University of Victoria in a media release Nov. 2.

Raised in Sidney and a former student of Victoria College, Marsden earned her PhD at Princeton before launching an academic and political career that led her to the presidencies of two Canadian universities and an appointment to the Canadian Senate.

Marsden joined the University of Toronto in 1972 where she taught economic sociology. She was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1984 and resigned her seat in 1992 to return to academic life, becoming president of Wilfrid Laurier University that year. In 1997 she accepted the position of president and vice-chancellor of York University, a role she held for 10 years.

Glendon expansion bon for students

Francophone learners can prepare to say bonjour to new facilities at York University’s Glendon campus on Bayview, wrote the Town Crier Nov. 2.

The Ontario government is investing $20 million towards improvements at the Bayview Avenue campus in an effort to strengthen the delivery of French-language university and college programs in Toronto.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place in late September at the campus. The funds will be used to construct a new building attached to Glendon’s York Hall. It will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, student study space and a 250-seat amphitheatre. Money for the project is coming from a $1.4 billion strategic infrastructure investment announced by the Ontario Government in 2008.

The need in southern Ontario for French-language and bilingual post-secondary education is greater than ever, Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts said in a statement released by the university.  “Since 2001, our enrolment has risen from 1,700 to 2, 700 students. This represents the largest enrolment in Glendon’s history.”

Patois Bible launched at Glendon

The Bible Society of the West Indies has launched a Patois version of the Gospel of Luke, one of the books of the New Testament, wrote the Government of Jamaica’s Jamaica Information Service Nov. 2 in a story about the Bible’s launch at York University’s Glendon campus in September.

Called ‘Jiizas – Di buk weh Luuk rait bout im’, the launch took place recently at York University’s Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean (CERLAC).

Translator Jodianne Scott said the complete New Testament Bible in Patois will be ready in 2012 to coincide with Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. The complete Bible in Patois is expected to be completed by 2020.

Campus torn in dispute over PhD

A former child prodigy who became a math professor at age 24 has been suspended from the University of Manitoba for protesting its decision to award a PhD to a student who failed to meet the formal requirements, in part because of an anxiety disorder, wrote the Vancouver Sun Nov. 3.

In a test case for how universities accommodate the diagnosis of “extreme examination anxiety,” Gábor Lukács (PhD ’03), now 28, will be in court later this month, arguing that the school disregarded its own policies and undermined the value of a U of M doctorate by waiving the written exam after the student failed it twice.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for an administrator to overrule a panel of academic experts,” said Lukacs, who was born in Hungary and grew up in Israel before moving to Toronto for a PhD at York University.

In turn, the school accuses Lukacs of insubordination, harassment of the student, and violation of privacy, and has suspended him, without pay, for the remainder of this calendar year.

Howard Moscoe, 71, plans to go to law school

Councillor Howard Moscoe, retiring from his job representing Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence, wants to go to law school, wrote the National Post Nov. 3. Moscoe, who has served 31 years as a councillor in North York and Toronto, was known as one of the outspoken and witty pit-bulls who worked closely with Mayor David Miller. Now he has applied to York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, getting the application in by the deadline yesterday. "I still have to write the LSATs," he said.

Moscoe, 71, said, "Ever since I was 12 years old I wanted to be a lawyer, but I just never made it. I’m sure people will be scrambling to hire a 75-year-old lawyer." In the meantime, he is taking a job with Smart!Centres, the Vaughan-based company that develops shopping malls, normally anchored by a Wal-Mart.