CPD Updates

2020 - 2021 Program Updates

Message from the Associate Dean, Continuing Professional Development

Dr. Suzan Schneeweiss

The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Office has a long-standing global reputation for leadership and excellence in continuing professional development and medical education. Through research, program design and delivery, and management of accredited programs and conferences, our aim is to positively transform the way healthcare professionals work. We work in partnership with a network of leaders and directors across the Temerty Faculty of Medicine to promote lifelong learning and respond to the changing needs of practitioners and the health care system.

Throughout the pandemic, CPD worked to transition programming to digital formats to give our learners the flexibility to learn in the comfort and safety of their homes.  Innovative learning platforms and multiple interactive learning techniques allowed our learners to be highly engaged in programming. Overwhelmingly, our learners responded positively to this change. Over the past year, there were 247 U of T-accredited CPD programs and 47,200 learners from across the globe took part in our programs and conferences. As we look toward the future of CPD, transitioning to blended learning formats will integrate the best of online with in-person learning.

Through our scholarly and academic endeavours, we are building faculty capacity to advance the science of CPD. Our scholarship team revamped our research and developments grants to focus on three themes: building a resilient CPD system, building a compassionate CPD system, and building the evidentiary base for CPD. We are at the forefront of faculty development, including development of programming to qualify for new Certified Professional in CPD (Healthcare) credential, a formal designation for those engaged in the discipline of CPD.

CPD is committed to ensuring our learning environments are equitable, diverse, inclusive and accessible. We collaborated with the MD Program, Postgraduate Medical Education and the Centre for Faculty Development to create an innovative approach to building a faculty development resource for teaching and learning in online synchronous environments using the principles of universal design, equity, diversity and accessibility. CPD supported the biennial Indigenous Health Conference, which was held for the first time virtually and attracted more than 500 participants from across North America. We look forward to continuing our work with the CPD community and across the continuum of medical education.

Professor Suzan Schneeweiss
Associate Dean, CPD
Temerty Faculty of Medicine

COVID adaptations

COVID-19 Adaptations

The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges and opportunities for CPD programing at the University of Toronto. The entire CPD Office was focused on supporting the transition to digital programing:

  • The accreditation team advised on accreditation requirements in moving in-person activities online.
  • The education consultation team provided advice and support to program directors and conference chairs on best educational practices for delivering content digitally.
  • The teaching technology team developed a suite of resources that included videos for teaching online in a synchronous environment.
  • The scholarship team initiated a number of scholarly projects around the pivot to virtual CPD programing.
  • The business and program development team developed an entirely new service offering in digital event production.
  • The conference planning team re-tooled to become digital event experts and delivered over 182 digital sessions.
  • The marketing team developed custom digital conference and program platform interfaces that replicated a high-quality learner experience similar to a live in-person activity, and included integration of live-streaming of sessions, workshops, attendee networking, posters, and sponsor exhibit halls.

The work initiated in 2020 to support COVID-19 related education continued into the 2020-2021 academic year. Through support from the Dean’s COVID-19 fund and in-kind contributions from the CPD Office, the team:

  • held 89 individual education consultations to assist Program Directors and Conference Chairs to shift their CPD programing to digital format;
  • established a $70,000 grant program for research and scholarship around COVID-19 educational responses;
  • developed a COVID-19 website to serve as a hub for education and clinical resources. It received over 18,000 unique page views and at the peak of the first wave, the website was consistently in the top 10 globally of google search rankings;
  • published a newsletter that was sent regularly to the 55,000 health professions in the CPD database;
  • created a curated, searchable COVID-19 resource library with over 180 clinical and wellness resources;
  • initiated a research study to help understand the educational, logistical, budgetary and ethical challenges COVID-19 presented for continuing professional development activities across university and partner hospital communities;
  • supported delivery of 44 webinars, including a 7-part series on the EDI implications of COVID, that reached over 12,000 health professionals.

Program Innovations

Program Innovations

Over the past year, CPD worked closely with the Coalition for Physician Learning and Practice Improvement to support the launch of the Certificate Route of the new Certified Professional in CPD (Healthcare) credential. This new formal designation recognizes the achievement of those engaged in CPD as leaders, program developers, researchers and administrators, and signals expertise and accomplishment in the field.

The certificate route allows health care professionals who have taken our CPD Foundations and Leading and Influencing Change certificate programs to apply for the credential. These certificate programs are designed to help improve effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of CPD programs and offer the theory and training needed to create and lead CPD activities. Both programs are offered in digital interactive formats.

The digital format for the Certificate Program in CPD Foundations includes 10 interactive webinar modules that run from October 2021 to June 2022. Over the nine-month program, participants learn about program design, planning models and how to achieve results with their CPD programs. Fundamental theory and skill training are emphasized and mentors are available between sessions to support learning.

The Certificate Program in Health Professions Education, Leading and Influencing Change in CPD offered back-to-back boot camps in October 2021, followed by 11 three-hour modules that run until June 2022. The advanced program covers a range of relevant topics including Best Practices in CPD Design and Delivery, Partnerships and Collaborations Across Sectors, and Patient Engagement. The program aims to build leadership capacity by providing participants with the knowledge and tools to lead continuing education initiatives in our complex health care environment.

Since the launch of the new credential, 12 designations have been awarded to CPD practitioners across Canada.

Narrative-Based Medicine

In collaboration with Team Narrative, CPD launched a new digital certificate program in Narrative-Based Medicine in early 2021. The program is Canada’s only virtual intensive certificate program in narrative-based clinical practice and introduces learners to the theory and practice of narrative-based medicine. 

Over five months learners were able to improve their creative and reflective skills as writers and readers. Topics focused on reflective capacity, narrative competence, visual literacy and critical thinking, while emphasizing resilience and self-care. The program filled quickly before its launch in January and a total of 100 learners participated in four cohorts this year.

Learn about upcoming Narrative-Based Medicine programs, workshops and customized offerings.


The IDEAS Foundations of Quality Improvement program re-launched in 2021 as a digital offering for health professionals. The evidence-based quality improvement training program introduces health professionals to a common language and approach to quality improvement with the goal to improve patient care, experience and outcomes.

In the new digital format, learners participate in asynchronous self-learning eLearning modules followed by two synchronous half-day virtual learning workshops. Learners gain the tools, practical skills and knowledge to build capacity for quality improvement, change management initiatives, and adaptive leadership across all health care sectors.  Since the re-launch, learners in the program have commented that the program was “highly engaging” and “extremely well organized and delivered.”

Register your group or for an upcoming open enrolment session 

Education Scholarship

Education Scholarship

The Scholarship team has been well aligned with the societal need to address the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to explore and expand the domains of CPD Scholarship through granting opportunities and scholarly work.

Granting Opportunities

In response to COVID-19, the scholarship team rapidly created a framework for new granting opportunities through the CPD COVID-19 Response Fund in Spring 2020. CPD funded 7 projects that supported and strengthened the response to COVID through continuing professional development.

For the 2021-22 academic year, a new granting framework has been established. The CPD Advancement and Ideas Grants offer opportunities for funding in two streams – Advancing the Science of CPD (up to $10,000) and CPD Ideas (up to $5000). Thematic areas supported by this grant include building a resilient CPD system, building a compassionate CPD system, building the evidentiary base for CPD, and building an equitable, diverse, inclusive, accessible, and/or socially just CPD system.

Scholarly Work

Prof. David Wiljer, Academic Director, CPD, is engaged in a number of projects related to CPD:

  • The first is a scoping review and evaluation aimed at understanding how leadership is defined in CPD and what contextual issues shape its evolution. We are conducting a scoping review of the literature related to leadership and CPD, interviewing CPD leaders, and doing a longitudinal evaluation of the Leading and Influencing Change Program. Initial work was disseminated at the SACME Virtual Meeting in February 2021. (PIs: David Wiljer, Suzan Schneeweiss. Co-Investigators: Jerry Maniate, Victor Do, Walter Tavares, Paula Rowland, Jane Tipping, Marta Guzik-Eldridge, Tharshini Jeyakumar, Morag Paton)
  • The second project is a study of how North American CPD organizations make decisions about CPD strategy and operations during a health or societal crisis. Using a case-study approach, we are reaching out to individuals and organizations both locally and across North America to understand the CPD reaction to COVID and other crises. Research interviews are ongoing into Fall 2021. (PI: David Wiljer. Co-Investigators: Suzan Schneeweiss, Betsy Williams, Bita Zakeri, Walter Tavares, Paula Rowland, Morag Paton)

Wiljer, alongside Prof. Peter Slinger, published on the CPD By the Minute project. Initially, the project was funded through the CPD Research and Development Grant. It received further support from the Academic Health Science Centre Alternate Funding Plan (AHSC AFP) Innovation Fund. The project created a mobile-based platform for learners to answer a series of MCQs. The innovation allows for the testing and spaced repetition of clinical material as a way to increase recall and address barriers such as lack of time and self-assessment. 

Prof. Walter Tavares, Scientist at the Wilson Centre and CPD/PGME, has been active in three broad areas of research related to CPD. The first includes exploring the relationship clinicians have with clinical performance data (e.g., health records) as a source of information for the structuring of CPD. The second explores how the academic CPD and simulation communities are addressing the use of simulation as a CPD strategy. The third and most recent effort explores what new conceptual shifts might serve as positive disruptions (e.g., how we might re-think or re-position “assessment” of clinical performance in CPD) to the way CPD is studied and enacted in practice. This includes what long-standing conceptual assumptions we might need to let go of for progress in CPD to be made.

Prof. Paula Rowland, Scientist at the Wilson Centre and CPD/PGME, is interested in the places health professionals work, how those places are changing, and what those changes imply for the future of professional work and education. Her previous research focused on two substantive areas of workplace change: (1) patient safety initiatives and (2) patient engagement programs. Given her interest in how professionals work, learn, and teach in ever-changing clinical workplaces, she has an adjacent stream of research that is about knowledge mobilization more broadly. All three of these topic areas have been particularly salient as the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic. Prof. Rowland has been leading three projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential implications for professional work and education.

  • A case study of University Health Network’s rapid knowledge mobilization efforts in response to COVID-19. The protocol for this study has been accepted for publication in the Journal for Continuing Education in Health Professions. Results of the study have been shared internally with key stakeholders and the final manuscript is currently being written. This study will inform future rapid knowledge mobilization initiatives and the relationships of these knowledge mobilization efforts to CPD.
  • A qualitative study of the redeployment of health care professionals in response to Wave 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. This study examined the various governmental orders and associated organizational responses to redeployment of health care professionals. These redeployment efforts reveal both long-standing and emergent questions about scope of practice, boundaries of knowledge, and CPD requirements. This paper has been accepted for publication in a special issue of Organizational Behaviour in Healthcare, exploring international responses to COVID-19.
  • With the support of The Institute for Education Research (TIER @UHN), Prof. Rowland developed a speakers series, “The Sciences of COVID-19”, which invited speakers to discuss emergent topics in response to the developing pandemic. Topics included: ethical frameworks and decision making, health inequities, and implications for education research.

In addition, Rowland is a co-investigator in a Canada-wide study of patient engagement practices (PIs: Prof. Julia Abelson, Prof. Meredith Vanstone). One element of this survey-based study explores how patient engagement practices have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This CIHR funded study will have implications for the future of patient engagement practices, including patient engagement in CPD.

Morag Paton, Education Research Coordinator, has been engaged with a number of the projects related to CPD, and has been contributing to scholarship related to absences in health professions education research, equity and decolonizing health professions education, and bias in CPD. Morag received the Early Investigator Award from the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education in February 2021 for the presentation ‘Leading and Influencing Change in Continuing Professional Development: A Work in Progress’.

Prof. Heather MacNeill, the Faculty Lead, Educational Technology in CPD, is leading a project called Moving Toward Mastery in partnership with the scholarship team. The project is aimed at understanding CPD providers’ knowledge, comfort level, and learning needs for developing CPD programs using educational technology. We developed and deployed a survey tool to explore domains such as confidence related to transitioning and developing online programs, perceptions of online CPD, and knowledge of supports available. This work was presented at the SACME Virtual Meeting in February 2021 and at AMEE in August 2021. A manuscript is in preparation. (PI: Heather MacNeill, Co-Investigators: David Wiljer, Morag Paton)

Members of the scholarship team, led by the former Academic Director, Prof. Shiphra Ginsburg, recently published the findings of the CPD scholarship environmental scan project. The paper, “The Ontological Choreography of Continuing Professional Development: a mixed-methods study of CPD Leaders and Program Directors”, was published in the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions.

Wiljer, Rowland and Paton along with their co-authors each contributed book chapters to Without compassion, there is no healthcare (BD. Hodges, G. Paech, & J. Bennett, Eds.), a timely book on leading with care in a technological age.

Significant amounts of impactful and thoughtful scholarship related to CPD is also led by affiliated faculty, staff, and learners across Temerty Medicine.



Celebrating Excellence at CPD – 2019-2020 CPD Award Winners

CPD annually recognizes and celebrates faculty members who demonstrate excellence in research, teaching, scholarship, innovation, teamwork, and long term commitment to CPD.

We would like to thank all nominators, and offer our congratulations to the 2019-2020 CPD award winners for their impactful contributions. Review the complete list of awards and recipients.