2024 UHN Summer Training and Research Program – Learning Sessions, Research Day and Certificate

1024 512 Office of Research Trainees
UHN Summer Training and Research (STAR) Program

UHN Summer Training And Research (STAR) Program

The UHN Office of Research Trainees cordially invites you to join UHN’s Summer Training and Research (STAR) program which includes learning sessions, a research day, and certificate of program completion. This program is an excellent opportunity to enhance your research and professional development skills while at UHN! The program is open to all UHN summer research students, including those in paid, co-op, and volunteer positions.

UHN STAR Learning Sessions

The 2024 UHN Summer Training and Research (STAR) program learning sessions are in- person, interactive learning opportunities covering a broad range of research and professional development topics.

Learning Session Dates and Topics: Click the date/time to add the Learning Session to your calendar!

May 17, 2-3:30 pm  Research Readiness: Strategies for a Productive Summer
May 31, 2-3:30 pm  Setting up For Success: Tips for New Researchers presented by Cynthia Chui, Information Specialist, UHN Libraries and Thomas Blennerhassett, Associate Librarian, Michener Institute of Education.
June 14, 2-3:30 pm Creating Connections: Essential Networking Skills
July 5, 2-3:30 pm Scientific Storytelling: Enhancing Your Communication and Presentation Skills with Dr. Nicole Woods, Senior Scientist and Director of The Institute for Education Research (TIER).
July 19, 2-3:30 pm Navigating Futures: Exploring Diverse Careers in Science and Healthcare
August 2, 2-3:30 pm  Advance Your Academics: Key Insights into Graduate School 

All sessions will take place at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (550 University Ave) and will be recorded for anyone who cannot attend live. See below for learning session descriptions and speaker bios!

To attend the STAR Program Learning Sessions, summer students must be registered with the ORT. By registering, you will gain full access communications for each learning session!

All attendees of STAR Program Learning Sessions must read and abide by the ORT Code of Conduct.

UHN STAR Research Day

A group of nine individuals is posing for a photo at what appears to be a certificate award ceremony. They are standing in front of a presentation screen that reads "UHN SUMMER TRAINING AND RESEARCH (STAR) PROGRAM Research." Each person is holding a certificate with the UHN logo, signifying some achievement or completion within the program.

The 2024 UHN STAR program also includes an opportunity for students to share their summer research with the UHN research community through an in-person poster session.

The UHN STAR Research Day will be held on August 13th from 1 to 4 pm in the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower (101 College St). Presenting students will be eligible to win prizes for the best poster presentations. Instructions on how to prepare the posters will be shared during the July 5th learning session on communications and presentation skills.

UHN summer research students who cannot present at the poster session in person will be provided an online alternative.

UHN STAR Certificate of Program Completion

UHN Research Students who attend or watch at least 4 learning sessions and participate in Research Day will receive a certificate of program completion.

Learning Session Recordings

Learning Session 1: May 17, 2024
Research Readiness: Strategies for a Productive Summer

Did you miss an in-person session but still want credit towards the Certificate of Program Completion? Fill out the missed session attendance form after you have watched the recording to record your participation!

Learning Session Descriptions

Research Readiness: Strategies for a Productive Summer

  • Learn strategies to enhance your research productivity and professional development this summer at UHN. The session will explore a range of topics including best research practices, time management, effective career planning, and the training and professional development opportunities available at UHN.
  • The session will include a hands-on career planning activity – participants are encouraged to bring a computer or mobile device to participate.

Setting up For Success: Tips for New Researchers

  • Are you new to research? In this session Cynthia Chui from UHN Library and Information Services and Thomas Blennerhassett from the Mitchener Institute of Education will show you some tools to help you:
    • Develop research questions
    • Choose databases for literature searches
    • Get familiar with research data management
    • Make it easy to find your publications (ORCID)
    • Choose a journal
    • Manage and create formatted citations

    There will also be time for questions.

Speaker Bios:

  • Thomas Blennerhassett is currently the Associate Librarian for the Michener Institute of Education at UHN. He specializes in teaching and delivering information literacy and education programming across UHN. He also works extensively advising students, faculty, and staff on topics such as knowledge synthesis, knowledge management, and research data management. Thomas is also an avid fan of 3D printing and going on hikes with this two dogs.
  • Cynthia Chui is an Information Specialist with UHN’s Library & Information Services. In her role as information specialist, Cynthia supports staff, researchers, and learners of TeamUHN by providing literature search support, in-depth reference, and training sessions on the use of library resources, scholarship, and searching skills. Cynthia is a member of the interprofessional team of UHN’s Project ECHO Chronic Pain & Opioid Stewardship.

Creating Connections: Networking Essentials

  • Master networking skills that can transform your personal and professional development. In this session, you’ll gain practical strategies for effective networking, including how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, conduct impactful informational interviews and craft compelling elevator pitches.
  • The session will include an interactive networking activity that will help you to put the theory into practice.

Scientific Storytelling: Enhancing your Communication and Presentation Skills

  • Prepare to ace the UHN STAR Research Day! Dr. Nicole Woods, cognitive psychologist and senior scientist at the Institute for Education Research, will share evidence-based strategies for creating memorable research presentations.
  • The session will also provide a comprehensive overview of the UHN STAR Research Day, including how to register, how to prepare your posters, and what to expect.

Speaker Bio:

  • Dr. Nicole Woods is a cognitive psychologist who received her PhD at McMaster University (2005). Her work examines the role of basic science knowledge in clinical reasoning and the development of medical expertise. Applying principles of memory and human cognition to education across the health professions, her research program focuses on the mental representation of categories and instructional design that supports cognitive integration of basic and clinical sciences. Working with her research collaborators and graduate students, Dr. Woods is building a theoretical model of knowledge acquisition and integration in the health professions. Although most closely linked to undergraduate education, her work has implications for the development of expertise along the entire spectrum of professional education.

Navigating Futures: Exploring Diverse Careers in Science and Healthcare

  • Discover the expansive array of career opportunities available in science and healthcare beyond the traditional roles of scientist and doctor. Join us for a panel discussion and interactive Q&A session featuring four distinguished UHN professionals from diverse areas of research and healthcare. Learn firsthand about their different roles at UHN, unique career journeys, and their advice for the next generation.

Panelist Bios:

  • Natasha Vitkin is a science communicator specializing in health projects. She is currently the Analytics Lead, Social Medicine at University Health Network, and the Knowledge Translation Lead at Designs that Cell, a scientific illustration company specializing in creating accurate, engaging, and accessible graphics for scientists, clinicians, and trainees. She is passionate about creating data visualizations and knowledge products that mobilize action. Natasha has an MSc in cancer immunology from Queen’s University and an MPH from Simon Fraser University. She is also a Credentialed Evaluator and an alumna of UHN’s STAR program.
  • Nykema Ramsay has over a decade of diverse experiences in care, professional practice, and education at UHN. Holding a Bachelor of Health Sciences from Western University and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (OT) from the University of Toronto, Nykema gas consistently demonstrated her commitment to enhancing patient care pathways and advancing practice. As an OT, Nykema has contributed to the growth of her profession within the Brain Program and more broadly at UHN. Noteworthy achievements include her tenure as the OT Professional Practice Lead for Acquired Brain Injury OTs, where she led impactful quality improvement initiatives and served as a mentor to numerous students and colleagues. In her most recent tole as OT discipline Coordinator at UHN, Nykema played a pivotal role in supporting professional development needs of OTs and OT Assistants/Rehabilitation Assistants across the organization. She provided invaluable mentorship, facilitated the integration of UHN’s new health information system into OT practice, and organized engaging educational opportunities, such as courses and lunch and learn sessions. In June 2024, she transitioned to her newest role of Education Development Lead, Professional Development and International Centre for Education at UHN.
  • Matthew Clifford is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant. He graduated from the University of Toronto Physician Assistant Program in 2022 and prior to this completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences with Honours at Carleton University. He currently works at Toronto Western Hospital in the Cardiology Department where he helps manage and run the inpatient ward and completes new and follow-up consultations throughout the hospital.
  • Ruby Shanker is a Clinical & Organizational Ethicist for the University Health Network Toronto Rehab and Women’s College Hospital. As Adjunct faculty, she co-directs the Foundations in Teaching Bioethics course within the University of Toronto (U of T) Joint Centre for Bioethics’ Master of Health Sciences in Bioethics program. She comes with former clinical experience in general and community medicine practice, including surgical training. Within healthcare ethics, her areas of practice and experience span widely from acute and critical care to post-acute and rehabilitation care ethics, especially in response to ethical issues arising in care at the beginning and end of life. Ruby employs anticolonial and anti-oppression approaches for reflexive practice within healthcare ethics. She is passionate about uncovering ways of being, doing and thinking within clinical and organizational contexts that perpetuate coloniality. Her clinical and scholarly orientations are towards disrupting, transforming, and re-imagining futures for inclusive and affirming healthcare models. Ruby is also currently pursuing doctoral studies in the Health Professions Education Research Program offered by the U of T’s Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation in collaboration with The Wilson Centre (Toronto General Hospital). Her doctoral research utilizes critical and interpretive social sciences methodologies to focus broadly on exploring relations of power and hidden curricula effects within learning healthcare environments. In particular, she seeks to trace the evolution of professional identity in healthcare ethics practice with the aim of uncovering discursive influences of the practicing healthcare ethicist within inter-professional learning environments.

Advance your Academics: Key Insights into Graduate School

Are you considering graduate school? This interactive session is designed to give you a deeper understanding of the graduate school experience. The session will feature a panel of UHN graduate students from various stages and departments at the University of Toronto, who will share their personal journeys, challenges, triumphs, and advice. Prepare your questions to ask in the interactive Q&A!


Panelist Bios:

  • Megan George is a graduate student at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/Institute of Medical Science at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. She was recently awarded the prestigious Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Canadian Graduate Scholarship – Master’s (CGS M). With a profound passion for oncological research, Megan’s research endeavors revolve around a novel psychotherapeutic intervention tailored to alleviate distress among individuals grappling with advanced ovarian cancer. Beyond her academic pursuits, Megan plays a pivotal role as Research Coordinator and co-leader of Canada’s inaugural World Health Assembly Simulation hosted at York University. This initiative is aimed at empowering students to tackle complex global health challenges through practical learning experiences.


If you have any questions or concerns, please email the Office of Research Trainees at ortadmin@uhn.ca.