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

A Transformative Education

A Transformative Education

At the TRP our goal is not to teach. Our goal is not to lecture or have you memorize some datum likely to change before you finish your degree, or that a search engine can find faster than you can formulate the question.

The TRP is a community and a mindset of people who are resources, facilitators, mentors, peers, guides and catalysts whose aim is to help those, who are looking to learn, to explore, to push the boundaries of their experience to seek knowledge.

The TRP is not intended to be divided as a degree of teacher-task-masters and students–those who know one truth and those hoping to memorize that truth. Instead, the program strives to be a community of people motivated to learn, to seek knowledge, to help others to be more and do more. In this community, the focus is not on the content but on understanding the processes, the mechanisms of creative problem-solving and innovation.

Students learn alongside the faculty–we learn together and from each other. We learn from real-world contexts and from failure–not from arbitrary grades or standardized testing–because our collective goals are not to pass a test or earn a grade but to improve lives, to learn to champion change that will improve the lives of others.

Now, we are starting to seek people join our 2019 cohort. Those motivated to learn, those seeking to move beyond their comfort zones, to challenge ambiguity, who want to focus on the processes of innovating of generating new ideas and championing change for positive impact are the kindred spirits we seek–these are the people we seek to join our ranks.

If you, or someone you know, is interested in a different kind of graduate program, who is motivated to learn by doing and is seeking a transformative education, then we need to talk. Come to an information session, read the website, arrange a consultation with someone from our team.

One day soon, we, trainees, mentors, facilitators, students, residents, PI’s, researchers, clinicians, healthcare professionals, and many others, will form a global network of professional translators, who think globally but work locally to improve the health and well-being of people in our communities. And together we will transform health, care and medicine.

Join us.

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.

Fare Thee Well

Fare Thee Well

To the Graduates of the second TRP Cohort,

I wish to say that I hope you will never be too far away.

When you started the program, we kept telling you that this was not intended to be a typical masters experience.  That we wanted you to concern yourselves with learning to learn, learning to listen and learning to lead where your passions drove you.  We repeated many times that you had a home at the TRP and that you were part of a growing community.  It is my hope that you found those words to resonate during your degrees, and it is my wish that they continue to resonate with you as you move forward on your personal journeys.

I have always believed that grad school should be about personal growth, about personal development, about challenging yourself to be more of who you want to be and then applying those lessons to improve your life and the lives of others.  I hope that this is what you learned while at the TRP and I hope that this is what you will continue to learn as you return to the TRP.  You should always remember that you are a part of the community and that you will always have a role in it.

I hope to see you leading case-studies, consulting on new challenges with future students, sharing your insights and curiosity with those who are yet to be, TRP.  Moving forward, our strength is in our community, our networks and our family.  You will always have a safe space here, you just need to take the time to come back.