Found In Translation: Picture this: Using free and open-source images in science communications

Found In Translation: Picture this: Using free and open-source images in science communications

by Carey Toane

Images are often an afterthought when sending our translational research communications out into the world. That perfect picture of a patient or a researcher in a lab you grabbed off a Google image search might be perfectly acceptable for a course assignment, but posting it in a public forum is less than ideal.

Why, you ask? Images are subject to copyright, and breach of copyright is arguably illegal and certainly unprofessional in most contexts. So, if you wouldn’t use content from an academic article or textbook without citing your source, don’t use images unless you have permission*.

Never fear. Thanks to the open source movement, there are plenty of options for free and open source images you can use, if you’re not able to create your own image or infographic. Let’s start with the gold standard, Creative Commons Image Search. Do yourself a favour and just save that link into your browser toolbar right now. Working under a mandate to make the world’s content more equitable and accessible, Creative Commons search isn’t a search engine, but rather a one-stop platform for you to search a range of other sources you may have heard of, like Google, Flickr, and Pixabay.

Using the search is straightforward. Select a platform, search using keywords, and set parameters based on your needs. For instance, if you want to adapt images or use them as-is, select the box that says “modify, adapt, or build upon.” If you need an image for content you’re being paid for, or for a publication that makes a profit, select “use for commercial purposes.” This aligns your needs as a user with the conditions that the content creators have set for its use.

This agreement is laid out in the Creative Commons licence attached to the image. These are often abbreviated into something like “CC BY 4.0,” which means you can freely share or adapt the content, but you must give attribution to the creator, and you can’t put any restrictions on its use by anyone else. This is easily and neatly done in a link in a caption beneath any image. Seems fair to me.

It’s not a fail-proof system. Because it doesn’t create the content, Creative Commons urges users to follow the link to ensure that the content is indeed covered under a CC licence. It takes a bit of clicking, but when you consider that paid stock images can run hundreds of dollars, it’s worth a bit of effort to enjoy the advantages that open source has to offer.

If you’re looking for something specialized, it’s worth checking out the University of Toronto Libraries or your public library collections to see what they might offer. Many libraries and museums around the world are putting their image collections online for free use. And it’s not limited to photography: a search engine query for free or open source vector graphics or public domain artworks will bring back dozens of possibilities as well. You’ll never need to steal an image again.

* If you absolutely need to use a copyrighted image and no other will do, you can ask for permission. Note however that this can be a long process, and may very well include paying for the right.

Feature image by Jon Tyson from Unsplash

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory

Before Fran left the TRP student partner presentations on the Thursday before her passing, she announced “That’s a great project.  If you need a partner, I’m interested”.  She was always interested and generous with her time.  She was always willing to help and to engage with students and projects that would help others. That was the kind of woman she was, curious, humble, kind and always there to help.

When we first met, Fran and I spent three hours sharing stories and towards the end of our chat, she said, “Maybe I should take the program instead of being a Mentor”.  And in a way, she was both a student and a mentor.  She attended every presentation, classes and socials, she sat during her summer mentor hours talking with every student who was looking for advice or guidance—about their projects, careers or personal lives.

Fran had to fight to get to where she was, it wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always pleasant.  When she was applying for her Ph.D., Fran told me during our very first conversation, her supervisor refused to support her.  He told her that investing in her education was a waste of time and effort, that she would just end up meeting some guy and having kids, that she would never become an academic.  Maybe that’s what made her so kind and giving, and so devoted to students and mentorship—she even apologized (more than once) for planned vacations that conflicted with her mentorship activities.

Fran did get accepted into her Ph.D., and she did meet ‘some guy’ and she did have kids, but she also became a professor, a researcher, an academic and a role model.  And she became part of our community, a mentor and a friend.

Thank you for all your kindness and devotion.  I’m sorry we didn’t have more time together, Fran.  Let’s grab that coffee next time we meet.


Found in Translation: TRP: Reflections in a Looking Glass 

Found in Translation: TRP: Reflections in a Looking Glass 

By: Joseph Ferenbok

The Translational Research Program is not a typical graduate degree, it is a mind-set with a specific approach to training.

The TRP is a platform; a set of tools that, when applied, allow its graduates to define their own trajectory, to chart their own direction, and to decide their own path.  The TRP does not teach established ‘facts’ from textbooks that are intended to be recited on tests.

Although not universally true, it is generally accepted that, in medicine, health and care, the processes and contexts for data collection, diagnosis and interventions are undergoing fundamental shifts.  Whether it’s because of the high-costs of the current practices, the technological shift being driven by the Internet of Things, or promise of genetically-driven precision medicine, the pressure to innovate, to do things better and or differently is growing exponentially.

The landscape of careers and professional disciplines is therefore also in radical flux.  So much so, that in most careers, “facts” established today–ways of doing things that are considered standards of care or unquestionable gold-standards of protocol–are likely to look very different in the next 3-5 years.  The days of “teaching” students like assembly-line workers to follow processes and checklists for standardized achievement are increasingly under fire from digitization, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI)—this is increasingly an outdated model of education.

Our mind-set is different.  We are not here to lecture and affirm educational hierarchies of facts and fiction.  Instead, we are united by a belief that our role is to help challenge students so that they may champion positive changes to medicine, health and care.  Our approach is not to “teach” but to facilitate learning that challenges students to drive innovation—to think and problem-solve instead of memorizing and recall.

Rather than try to impose content, we try to facilitate learning.  The process of learning to learn, learning to think, learning to problem-solve; to be flexible and adaptive, to navigate the uncertainty and ambiguity of a rapidly changing economic, cultural and technological milieu.  These competencies, the abilities to observe, reflect, abstract, test, fail and iterate, are at the heart of experiential learning—learning by doing; and they form the bases of an approach in graduate training that rather than focusing on training an individual to fit a specific career path, we focus on helping students develop their own.

You are what you learn to think you are, so shape YOUR potential!

Joseph Ferenbok

Feature Image from Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Farewell but not Goodbye: Fall Convocation 2018

Farewell but not Goodbye: Fall Convocation 2018

As we welcome one cohort of students to the program, we say goodbye to another. Last week, the University of Toronto had its Fall Convocation, recognizing the accomplishments of its graduates. We had several graduates come together on this overcast November Tuesday, to celebrate and reflect on their time at the Translational Research Program.

Julia Antolovich, Razan Bouzieneddine, Craig Madho and Kathleen Mounce were among the TRP alumni at convocation. They worked on their capstone project entitled ICONS, Improving Cancer Outpatient Nutrition Status. Their research examined why the current tools and resources to improve nutrition in cancer outpatients weren’t working. From this, they identified barriers to be addressed in redesigning current initiatives. You can read more about their project here.

Catherine and Haley were also at the fall convocation. Their capstone project, Fall Risk Assessment at a Geriatric Rehab Hospital, sought to evaluate the current methods of fall risk assessment being used and how they can be improved. You can read more about their project here.

Also at the ceremony was Kate Kazlovich, representing her capstone team: Invasive Placentation. With team members Connor Janeteas, and Dr. Julia Kfouri, they understood invasive placentation as a medically and surgically complex condition, and recognized the opportunity to improve the sharing of knowledge between physicians in the medical community. For their capstone project, the team created a 3D printed simulation of invasive placentation that could be used to facilitate training of physicians on the intricacies of interventions. You can read more about their project here.

Dr. Joana Dos Santos was also there to represent her capstone team: Refractory Incontinence in Children: Is There Hope? With team members Dr. Reza Vali and Edyta Marcon, they sought to understand what treatment options patients and parents were interested in, and to learn what it takes to bring a treatment used in adults to the paediatric setting. Their final milestone was the initiation of a pilot project at SickKids to test the efficacy of an adult treatment in children. You can read more about their project here.

We at the TRP are proud of the hard work that our students put into these projects and all they learned along the way. Over two years, the faculty has seen these students grow, in their thinking, their skillset, and their passion to fostering an innovative healthcare system. We offer our sincere congratulations to all our alumni who’ve graduated this year. We’re excited to see you move forward as Translational Researchers and follow the amazing work you’ll spearhead.

Where our 2018 graduates are now:

Ahlexxi Jelen: Laboratory Manager, The Hospital for Sick Children; Co-Founder HIIO
Catherine Rivers: Project Coordinator, Think Research
Connor Janeteas: Medical Applications Specialist, Cimetrix Solutions Inc.
Craig Madho: Research Analyst, OpenLabs; Knowledge Broker, NICE
Edyta Marcon: Senior Research Associate, Donnelly Centre, University of Toronto; Course Instructor, Translational Research Program, University of Toronto
Hayley Roher: Health Data Analyst, Ontario Internship Program MOHLTC
Joana Dos Santos: Medical Urologist Urology, The Hospital for Sick Children; Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto
Julia Antolovich: Project Assistant, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Sinai Health System
Julia Kfouri: Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, Sinai Health System, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Kate Kazlovich: Junior Creative Innovation Associate, INVIVO Communications Inc.
Kathleen Mounce: Field Case Manager, AmerisourceBergen
Marcos Silva: Staff Anesthesiologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Lecturer, Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto; Medical Director, Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS), The Michener Institute
Megan Lofft: pursuing opportunities that will combine her experience in the fitness industry with health research, education and translational research skills.
Razan Bouzeineddine: pursuing further studies in health services research
Robby Spring: Laboratory Manager, Baycrest; Co-Founder HIIO
Vaishnavi Batmanabane: Clinical Research Project Coordinator, The Hospital for Sick Children

Interested in hearing about the TRP from one of our alumni? Craig Madho wrote a blog post on what drew him to the program and what he learned along the way, that you can find here.

Found in Translation: New PIPEDA Data Breach Reporting and Notification Requirements-What You Need to Know

Found in Translation: New PIPEDA Data Breach Reporting and Notification Requirements-What You Need to Know

Written By: Dr. Gabriella Chan

Is my information safe?

Do you remember every account you’ve ever created or every point of contact you’ve made online that required your personal email address or your mother’s maiden name to receive a “free” product? Probably not. The reality is that we don’t have any idea what kind of personal information about us is floating on the web, who has it, and what they can do with it. We either place our blind trust in these organizations to keep our information secure, or worse yet, we don’t even give it a second thought – until a data breach is publicized through the media.

Perhaps the companies in the health sector might be a slight exception. We tend to be more aware of the implications of having our personal health information fall into the wrong hands, so we have higher expectations that custodians of our health information safeguard it accordingly. Privacy regulation of personal health information is a provincial matter. In Ontario, the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) sets the rules around the collection, use and disclosure of individuals’ personal health information.

On a broader scale, to ensure adequate measures are taken to protect Canadians’ personal information, there is legislation in place. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) provides the privacy legislation framework for Canadian organizations in the private sector. PIPEDA requires organizations to protect the personal information they’ve collected about an identifiable individual. Ontario’s PHIPA has been declared substantially similar to PIPEDA.

On November 1st 2018, an amendment to PIPEDA came into effect that imposes certain obligations on organizations that experience a breach of the security protecting personal information in their custody. This amendment requires three points of action:

  1. Reporting the breach to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner
  2. Notifying individuals and other organizations affected by the breach
  3. Maintaining accurate records of every data breach

These added requirements reflect Canada’s respect for the privacy of personal information. Organizations will have to implement or update their handling practices to ensure compliance with the new legislation.

You can read my full post on what these changes mean for you, here. This is a comprehensive overview explaining what a breach of data is, when to report it, how to follow the notification obligations, and the requirements on record-keeping.

Found in Translation: Blue Roses – A Spotlight on Death and Dying in the Shadows

Found in Translation: Blue Roses – A Spotlight on Death and Dying in the Shadows

‘Knowledge Translation’ can take many forms, and local Ottawa documentary film makers Ed Kucerak and Dr. Danielle Rolfe have taken their craft to the next level with the recent world premiere of Blue Roses – an often difficult but endearing look at end-of-life care in the shadows of ‘traditional’ society.

Blue Roses headlined the Saturday program of the 29th edition of the One World Film Festival, the National Capital Region’s longest-running documentary film festival raising awareness on social justice, human rights and environmental issues. The film makers accompanied the hospice palliative care outreach team of Mission Hospice in Ottawa, with their unobtrusive camera documenting acts of resilience and a community finding strength in its members to bring care to those often suffering in silence.

Getting health and social care is a challenge for people living in rooming houses, who often face poverty, mental illness and addictions at the best of times – but these individuals are often completely invisible to the people who typically provide palliative and end-of-life care. As part of outreach activities, the Ottawa Mission, a champion of care for the homeless and marginally housed since 2001, provides all aspects of health and spiritual care, and works with several partner agencies in the National Capital Region to meet the needs of all patients. Their presence strengthens the community and brings meaning and dignity to people who may otherwise be forgotten.

Utilizing the power of the medium of film, the documentary provides a voice to patients and community members, highlighting the need to include lived experience into evidence-based decision-making/patient-centred care. The powerful shots showcase the size and depth of the issue – but also paint a hopeful and inspiring picture of the power of human contact and interaction in the face of obstacles (such as access to pain medication).

Received with a standing ovation at its premiere, the documentary deserves a broad audience – and will hopefully be picked up by mainstream distributors for TV and program cinema. In the words of an audience member: “Everyone deserves dignity – and society will continue to be judged by how it treats its poor and homeless.”

An abbreviated version of the documentary will be shown as part of the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s (NICE) Reel Aging series in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Institute for Life Course and Aging at the Bahen Auditorium (40 St. George Street, Room 1170) on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 from 6:30 PM.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day was on October 13th. This year’s theme was Palliative Care – Because I Matter!, providing the perfect opportunity to reflect and start thinking about your own values and (care) needs. You can find further information on advance care planning here.

Disclaimer: The author is a member of One World Arts, Box Office Co-lead for the One World Film Festival and chairs the End-of-Life Issues Theme Team for the NICE, a knowledge translation network dedicated to enhancing the care of older adults in Canada and abroad.

Written by: Christopher A. Klinger, PhD

Credit: Feature image was edited from a photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash.