In 2011, Dr. Catherine Whiteside, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, asked Dr. Avrum Gotlieb, Interim Vice-Dean Graduate Life Science Education (GLSE), to explore graduate education in health sciences translational research.
It was decided that a two-year professional graduate master’s program should be developed and the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) agreed to provide seed money to develop the proposal and fund the required infrastructure including space renovations to create the office and teaching spaces, salaries for faculty and administration, equipment and office supplies to get the program initiated.
The then Director of the IMS, Dr. Allan Kaplan, enlisted Dr. Joseph Ferenbok to develop a draft proposal for a new graduate degree program in translational research in health science. The document included both academic and business plans for the proposed program. After much consultation with stakeholders, including external experts knowledgeable in translational research, and co-development with the Graduate Life Sciences and Education (GLSE) office, a proposal was put forward for review by the Provost.
The mission of the program was established to provide transformative experiential educational opportunities through training, support, and mentorship for innovators who catalyze the transformation of (scientific) discoveries into problem-solving designs with tangible benefits for human health. The program was designed to enable students to integrate their domain expertise to carry out projects that emphasize experiential learning and translational thinking. The proposal focused on breadth (looking at the larger translational landscape), deployment (skills around the implementation of projects and prototypes), and integration (processes around combining individual domain expertise with practical projects and case studies.
Following a successful external review and Governing Council support, the proposal was submitted to the government for review and authorization. In November 2014, the Masters of Health Science in Translational Research in Health Science (MHSc) was approved by the Quality Assurance Council of Ontario in the Ministry of Universities, Colleges, and Training. The first cohort of 17 students began in September 2015.
In October of 2018, the TRP had an external review and the reviewers wrote “There is no question in the reviewers’ minds as to the value, uniqueness, and innovation of this exciting and visionary program. In every meeting concerning this new program, there was high energy, and positivity regarding its format, content, and especially so the dedication, visionary perspectives, and ability of its director. The rapid increase in applications and admissions since its inception in 2015, places it on a trajectory where it truly represents a rapidly emerging standalone program. The ability to support this growth appropriately will require substantially increased operating funds, space and support personnel.”
In response to the external review the Dean, Trevor Young, in May of 2019 officially moved the TRP into the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, where the program currently resides.