Joanna Bates, Founding Director of CHES

It was the summer of 2008. The Faculty of Medicine had just graduated its first cohorts of trainees from the Distributed MD Program. Medical students were flying off to start residencies across the country. And back at UBC, a new Centre to support educational research and innovation was approved by the Faculty of Medicine. After three years of broad consultation and advisory group deliberations led by Dr. David Snadden and the Steering Committee, the Centre for Health Education Scholarship (CHES) was created in July 2008, following Faculty Executive approval in April 2008. The proposal for CHES stated that:

“The Centre for Health Education Scholarship is committed to enhancing health education scholarship by building capacity for educational scholarship across the Faculty of Medicine through collaboration, team-building, mentorship of new faculty, successful funding applications, and other activities.”

Sitting in my solitary office on the 11th floor of the Diamond Health Care Centre in July 2008, on the first day of my appointment as the founding director of this new entity, I wondered how on earth we would build such a centre.

But I wasn’t alone in this endeavour. The faculty was a fertile ground, a supersaturated solution of medical education scholars distributed across departments and sites, waiting for a seed crystal around which they could joanna bates full shot coalesce. An environmental scan revealed 65 faculty members who considered themselves educational scholars. The Medical Education Research Group (MERG) led by Rose Hatala and Leslie Sadownik attracted a solid cohort of participants to a monthly journal club and research rounds. Changes to the criteria for promotion and tenure at the University created opportunities for department heads to link their faculty members to the new Centre for mentorship and support. CHES was well supported by the Faculty of Medicine Leadership and the leaders of the educational programs, who saw CHES as forming and mentoring the next generation of education leaders who would become the future of their programs.

So off we went, with some help from serendipity. Dan Pratt, a Professor from the Faculty of Education joined to help, bringing with him the beginnings of the Clinical Educator Fellowship Program. Glenn Regehr, internationally-renowned medical education researcher and mentor, initially planned to provide advice on our development, but somehow found himself recruited to CHES after a chance conversation about Bowen Island piqued the interest of his wife. Kevin Eva, the internationally recognized editor of Medical Education was lured by a conversation over a drink at a conference in the UK, and soon followed. With Glenn and Kevin at CHES we had quickly entered the world arena. And before we knew it, we welcomed our first Postdoctoral Fellow and graduate student, with many more trainees following in subsequent years.

The Clinical Educator Fellowship Program was reconfigured by Ravi Sidhu from Surgery, and suddenly young clinicians from different disciplines, passionate about medical education, and with significant protected time filled our office, argued and investigated issues in medical education, and contributed innovative ideas to the MD Undergraduate Program. Renowned researchers in the field from all over the world visited CHES, and became friends and colleagues. New scholars eagerly followed the initial CHES Senior Scholars (Dan Pratt, Angela Towle, and Gary Poole) adding to the richness of the environment. CHES Research Rounds brought national and international leaders in health professions education research to the UBC community. Collaboration with the University of Maastricht led to a collaborative offering of their Master of Health Professions Education (MHPE).

Since those early days in 2008, CHES has developed within its short young life into an internationally recognized centre for educational research and innovation. Welcoming a new Director in 2015, Ian Scott, another core faculty member, Laura Nimmon, various Associate Director roles, as well as a variety of new seminar series, programs, and scholars, CHES has continued to flourish. And even with its international profile, CHES remains accessible to anyone in health professions education at UBC – everyone is welcome at CHES events, anyone can become a CHES Member, the doors of CHES faculty offices are open for conversation, and collaborations continue to develop with faculty and trainees across departments, faculties, and universities.

The following faculty comprised the Steering Committee whose efforts resulted in the establishment of CHES:

Dr. Bob Armstrong
Head, Pediatrics

Lesley Bainbridge
Associate Principal, Interprofessional Education
College of Health Disciplines

Dr. Joanna Bates
Senior Associate Dean, Undergraduate Program
Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Richard Cohen
Clinical Assistant Professor
Respiratory Medicine

Dr. Carol-Ann Courneya
Associate Professor
Cellular & Physiological Sciences

Jane Eibner
Executive Director, Education & Strategic Projects - Dean's Office
Faculty of Medicine

Dr. David Fairholm
Assistant Dean - Faculty Development & Educational Support
Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Sandra Jarvis-Selinger
Assistant Professor & Associate Director of Research

Dr. Niamh Kelly
Associate Professor & Distance Education Instructor
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Chris Lovato
Associate Professor & Director, Program Evaluation, Evaluation Studies Unit
School of Population and Public Health

Dr. Gordon Page
Division of Education Support & Development, College of Health Disciplines

Dr. Daniel Pratt
Educational Studies

Dr. Ravi Sidhu
Assistant Professor, Division of Vascular Surgery

Dr. David Snadden
Associate Dean, Northern Medical Program
Faculty of Medicine

Dr. Angela Towle
Assistant Professor, Associate Dean
Faculty of Medicine