MaRS Innovation


Joseph Ferenbok

Helping translate research into commercialized ventures.

Helping translate research into commercialized ventures.

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A Transformative Education

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.

TRP Heroes Spotlight: Dr. Chris Klinger

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how important frontline healthcare workers are for the normal functioning of our worlds. To support and celebrate these brave hearts, the Translational Research Program launched "TRP Heroes", an initiative to...

Helping translate research into commercialized ventures.

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 2021 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.

TRP Up-Close: Knowledge Translation In The Time Of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it unprecedented challenges. We, at the TRP, have adapted swiftly to ensure that the program continues to be delivered smoothly. This is a personal memoir by our sessional instructor Christopher Klinger, shedding light on how COVID-19 has affected knowledge translation. 

Christopher A. Klinger, TRP Translator & Sessional Instructor, May 2020
Yes, these ARE difficult times –
and while the focus needs to remain on (health) care/service provision at the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, the Translational Research Program team itself immediately rose to the challenge. Under the strong leadership of Drs. Ferenbok and Foty, it almost seamlessly created a new, online environment for knowledge facilitation and transfer alongside (community) service, empowering student-led initiatives such as Project Northern Lights.
With the LMP 2320H Methods in Practices and Contexts course and LMP 2310E Student-led Work and Research Module (SWARM) module successfully moved online for the remainder of the Winter 2020 term, my focus shifted to knowledge translation for one of the ongoing projects conducted in my other role as Chair of the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s (NICE) End-of-Life Issues Theme Team: A scoping review of the literature toward knowledge gaps regarding informal caregiving at the end of life.
Commissioned by the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada (QELCCC) as the largest stakeholder coalition in the field, the actual review had been completed with second-year TRP students Andrew Wan, Ankita and Zoey Li. Strategies/distribution channels for knowledge translation had to be adapted, and posters and presentation materials adjusted for the COVID-19 landscape to be created in a timely fashion.
In mid-March 2020, Andrew Wan co-presented on research findings at a caregiving webinar hosted by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and a knowledge synthesis piece was pre-recorded for the Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA) / Carers Canada as part of National Carers Day activities (April 07, 2020). It is now available for download as part of the Caregiver Resource Expo at:
Furthermore, with the Ontario Hospice Palliative Care Conference going virtual, an online presentation was prepared for oral presentation at the end of April 2020 and a scientific poster for viewing via the conference website was designed.
The scoping review itself, following Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, identified 33 peer-reviewed and grey literature sources for inclusion and specifically acknowledged informal caregivers as important members of the hospice palliative care team. In line with the TRP’s mission to drive change, a better understanding of the physical, psycho-social and financial challenges faced by informal caregivers was gained and will inform and advance future practice, policy, and research – i.e., moving swiftly from the current to the future desired state via the Toronto Translational Framework (TTF).
Next steps include the preparation of a manuscript for publication in collaboration with TRP Translator Dr. Raza Mirza (), the development of an infographic and the creation of an evidence-based caregiver tool to be distributed as part of the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s catalogue of tools in both a hard copy and electronic format. It is hoped that these multi-channel activities (as emphasized during the LMP 2310E Knowledge Translation and the Community module, co-facilitated with Dr. Mirza) will help to bridge the knowledge gap and enable caregiver-centric innovations that improve medicine, health, and care during COVID-19 and well beyond.
For the TRP students’ perspective on the work (Andrew Wan and Zoey Li), please also visit
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Christopher A. Klinger, Ph.D. is a Sessional Instructor I with the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Research Scientist with Pallium Canada – a national non-profit evidence-based organization focused on building professional and community capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care. His research interests are in health systems and policy, with a focus on hospice palliative/end-of-life care. He also chairs the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s (NICE) End-of-Life Issues Theme Team, a knowledge transfer network dedicated to enhancing the care of older adults both in Canada and abroad, and the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada’s (QELCCC) Research and Knowledge Translation Committee, a group of national stakeholder organizations concerned about quality end-of-life care. Furthermore, Christopher is a frequent presenter at aging, hospice palliative care, and public administration conferences.

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