Graduate Diploma in Health Research
The Graduate Diploma in Health Research (G.Dip.H.R.), will be offered by the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) in the Faculty of Medicine (FOM). Consistent with School of Graduate Studies requirements for graduate level studies, admission to this master’s level Diploma of 2.5 full course equivalents will require a four-year Bachelor's degree. The designation is an appropriate recognition of the academic level, duration and subject matter involved. Potential applicants will be registered students in good academic standing in the 4-year-long Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program of the FOM, University of Toronto. The entire Diploma curriculum will be completed within the MD timeframe. For 5 consecutive terms, Diploma students will be registered as part-time graduate students, beginning with the Winter term of the first MD year.
The purpose of the Diploma is to provide accepted applicants high quality training in health research in order to understand, interpret and apply the rapid changes in the scientific underpinnings of health care. The Diploma specifically targets those future physicians who will need the additional skills necessary to contribute to health-related studies in their future careers and the select group who will become leaders in health research. It will broaden the students' awareness of the scope and depth of health research, and provide them with skills and networking interactions to facilitate their career development. It will also address an identified need in the training of physicians, especially of physician-scientists, and will provide one possible pathway to a career as a physician-scientist.
Applicants will apply through a competitive process to the Diploma in the Fall of Year 1 of the MD and, if accepted, start in January of that year. Expected intake is 15 students per year.
All courses in all four years of the MD Program at the University of Toronto are evaluated using a credit/no credit grading scale, which is commonly referred to as ‘Pass/Fail’ at other institutions. The CR/NC approach to transcription of grades is congruent with our competency-based curriculum and approaches to student assessment. It is also in line with the trend in grading policy across Canada. Diploma students are expected to maintain CR status across all courses and not to be on academic probation for any part of the MD Program. Those who do not meet these criteria will not be eligible to apply or to remain in the Diploma program.
Acceptance of eligible medical students into the Diploma program will occur as follows. At the beginning of the fall term, all first year MD students will be notified about the Diploma Program and directed to resources including the Program’s website that will list constituent Faculty and areas of research activity. Any interested students will have until Oct. 20 to apply to the Program through the SGS Online Application Admission (OAA) system. They will need to submit the following documents:
• a Curriculum Vitae
• a personal statement explaining their interest in the Program
• a description of a research project they are interested in
• written confirmation of Good Standing in the MD Program (letter from the program, signed by the Registrar/Vice-Dean)
• undergraduate and/or graduate academic transcripts
Applications will be submitted to the Adjudication Committee for competitive selection. Adjudicators will assess each application for overall acceptability as well as provide a cumulative numerical score for rank ordering by November 25. By Dec. 7, the students with the top 15 applications will be informed of their selection. They will then approach faculty to ask if they will agree to supervise them in GDipHR. The program starts on January 1.
The requirement for concurrent enrollment in the University of Toronto Doctor of Medicine degree program throughout the registration in the Diploma is by definition central to the learning outcomes for the program. The MD Program office will promptly notify the Diploma program office should any GDipHR student's continuation in the MD be threatened for academic reasons. Withdrawal from the MD Program would automatically constitute withdrawal from the Diploma.
Our plan is to start in January, 2019. No offer of admissions will be made to the program pending final approval by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
The Diploma consists of 2.5 full course equivalents (FCE):
- MSC1991Y Supervised Research Project — mentored, supervised and experiential learning. The supervisor provides guidance as needed during the conduct of the project, during reflection upon what has been learned thereby and during the dissemination of novel results to target audiences. This classical form of research learning is considered essential to graduate level research training.
- MSC1992Y Research Skills for the Physician Scientist—consists of four Parts of equal (0.25 FCE) weight, with a blend of lectures, seminar discussions, project assignments and on-line material.
- Elective Graduate Level Half Course—chosen by students from amongst a list of courses offered by the Institute for Medical Sciences, the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation.
About Research Skills for the Physician Scientist (MSC1992Y)
This course is presented in four parts of equal weight (0.25 FCE), spread out over five consecutive terms. Students are introduced to advanced concepts pertinent to health related research. They are provided a basis for understanding approaches and methodologies applicable to the broad range of research fields included in the four pillars of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
Briefly, the four course Parts are:
- Preparing for Research
- Lectures by research faculty about specific approaches to bridging gaps in knowledge in their field; topical areas including ethics, problem-solving and decision-making.
- Presentations by students and group discussions of the plans for their projects in the companion Supervised Research Project (MSC1991Y) practicum course.
- Self-guided online teaching element on writing research grants.
- Translational Research Topics for Health Professionals
- Seminars by faculty experts on their areas of translational research.
- Approach to a research question and problem solving.
- Journal club critiques of assigned research papers by students.
- Special Topics in Health Research
- Faculty presentations illustrating the application of health research principles and techniques such as quantitative and qualitative techniques; statistical analysis / clinical epidemiology/ clinical research; basic biomedical / molecular / developmental / stem cell biology; public health/ education / health services / health economics research; knowledge translation / quality improvement.
- Journal club critiques of assigned research papers by students.
- Dissemination of Results
- Communicating the results of research to a variety of audiences
- Seminars on career development issues, including communicating with potential employers, the media (TV, radio, newspapers), trainees at all levels, the general public, publishers, funding agencies, peer reviewers, applicants for funding / training positions, university and hospital administrators, government, industry.
- Student oral presentations of the results of their research projects.
- Poster presentation at Medical Student Research Day.
PROGRAM SCHEDULING - relationship between MD and Diploma programs
All Diploma students must also be registered in the undergraduate MD program, which has Fall and Winter terms in each year, but not Summer terms in the first two years. The Diploma program will begin at the start of the second (Winter) term of the MD Program's first year. The Diploma students will be registered on a part-time basis program over 5 consecutive terms, proceeding with a registration sequence of winter /summer /fall /winter /summer. Therefore, Diploma students will also be registered concurrently as full-time MD students in the Winter term of the first MD year and during the Fall and Winter terms of the second MD year.
In order to limit the additional workload generated by Diploma-related activities during the regular MD program, the aggregate of Diploma activities will occupy at least 40 hours per week during the Summer sessions, but no more than 10 hours per weeks during the Fall and Winter sessions. The scheduling of MD for-credit activities early in the MD program provides the opportunity for MD students to pursue cognate academic activities, such as the GDipHR.
Student's stipend $15,000 for the 20 month (5 consecutive terms) period; 50% paid by the Diploma and 50% by the resources of the research project supervisor, who will also be responsible for covering the expenses of the student's research project.
Students will be required to pay tuition as part-time graduate students. The amount of the tuition remains to be determined.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you have any questions, please contact:
Coordinator, Graduate Diploma in Health Research
Neil Sweezey, MD
Director, Graduate Diploma in Health Research