Joseph Ferenbok, Ph.D.,
Translational Research Program
University of Toronto
The Translational Research Program was designed to be a different type of graduate education—focused on impact, not impact factors. On one level, the idea was to build a mechanism where students could learn to develop the skills and competencies, they needed to achieve their goals. On another level, the program was intended to help train the kind of students who were able to adapt, problem-solve, and figure out ways to improve the quality of life for people. The kind of student who was open to thinking outside the box, open to trying new initiatives, and able to strategize when faced with uncertainty or ambiguity. The kind of highly qualified personnel who would seek help finding answers and find ways to collaborate across professions and silos.
Last year, independent external reviewers examined the Translational Research Program, its curriculum, student experience, outcomes, and impact. Their review stressed “the value, uniqueness, and innovation of this exciting and visionary Program”.
We have come a long way in five years, but it remains as true today as when the TRP was launched, that the production of research is outpacing its tangible application; that thinking strategically to more effectively initiate innovation is (statistically) better than blind luck or trial and error; and it has become increasingly true that creativity, collaboration, networking, multidisciplinary team-work and personal initiative are competencies required to future proof our graduate students today for the careers and challenges of tomorrow.
What has changed is that we have a history, a record, a community, examples of what our students can do and how we can impact our community. We have learned over the last five years: TRP is about people. We are about patients, we are about community, we are about mentorship, we are about patients and most of all we are about students. As the program grows and becomes more than the sum of a graduate degree we will continue to look forward, to grow to change and to improve. And we will continue to look for people who want to shape the future of health innovation. If that’s you, reach out to us: JOIN US!