Cohort 3 Action Learning Projects

Cohort 3 Action Learning Projects

The third cohort of the PLDP completed the program in the winter of 2021. A significant portion of their work was on action learning projects.

PLDP Cohort 3 group photo
  • Dr. Colin Audain, Anesthesiology, Halifax
  • Dr. Christy Bussey, QEII Hospitalist Site Lead, COVID-19 Unit Lead, Halifax
  • Dr. James Clarke, Chief and Head, Diagnostic Imaging, Halifax
  • Dr. Cathy Connell, Family physician with obstetrics, Halifax
  • Dr. Lori Connors, Associate professor, Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Halifax
  • Dr. Ashley Cox, Associate professor, Urology, Halifax
  • Dr. Dafydd Davies, Division Head, Pediatric Surgery; Trauma Director, IWK Trauma Program; Pediatric Trauma Director, N.S. Trauma Program, Halifax
  • Dr. Janneke Gradstein, Family physician; Site lead, Amherst
  • Dr. Babar Haroon, Director of Medical Education, Department of Critical Care, Halifax
  • Dr. Abir Hussein, Family physician; PG Site Director, Yarmouth
  • Dr. Stephanie Langley, Family physician, North Sydney
  • Dr. Zaiping Liu, Head, Division of Clinical Biochemistry and The Maritime Newborn Screening Program, Halifax
  • Dr. Osama Loubani, Emergency medicine and critical care, Halifax
  • Dr. Joshua MacNeil, Emergency Department Site Lead, Kentville
  • Dr. Shelly McNeil, Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Halifax
  • Dr. Jessica Mills , Assistant professor, Pediatric surgery, Halifax
  • Dr. Allana Munro, Anesthesiologist, Halifax
  • Dr. Tiffany O'Donnell, Family Medicine/Addiction Medicine/Hospitalist, Halifax
  • Dr. Susan M Ripley, Hospitalist, Halifax
  • Dr. Lana Saciragic, Gynecologic oncology, Halifax
  • Dr. Christine Short, Department of Medicine, Head Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine and Central Zone, Nova Scotia Health
  • Dr. Thomas Skinner, Transplant urology, Halifax
  • Dr. Vanessa Sweet, Anesthesiology, Halifax
  • Dr. Andrew Warren, Associate Dean, PGME, Halifax

Action learning projects

Each group was tasked with an action learning project, which called on participants to create solutions to a real-life issue in the health-care system.

1. Identifying Effective Recruitment Strategies for Enhancing Faculty Diversity at Dalhousie Medical School

Project sponsor: Dr. David Anderson, Dean, Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine

Group members: Drs. Colin Audain, Lori Connors, Ashley Cox, Babar Haroon, Abir Hussein, Shelly McNeil

About the project: This group was tasked with developing a framework for evaluating and improving hiring strategies, including goal-setting and monitoring progress, to support enhanced faculty diversity at Dalhousie Medical School.

Outcomes: After a literature search of best practices, the group identified best practices in equity, diversity and inclusivity in the hiring processes. Through a series of focus groups, the group developed five recommendations:

  1. Recruitment and retention: Do a better job of accommodating new hires.
  2. Improve mentoring and providing leadership training for new hires.
  3. Candidates are less likely to apply for positions where they don’t see themselves represented. This will require champions and allies across the departments.
  4. All clinical departments must work to hire based on equity, diversity and inclusion best practices.
  5. Exit interview and a demographic baseline to maintain perspective on diversity across departments.

See the full action learning project here.

2. Improving food security for children in Nova Scotia during the COVID-19 Pandemic - Cross Sectoral Advocacy

Project sponsor: Dr. Doug Sinclair, VP Medicine/Quality/Safety, IWK Health

Group members: Drs. Christy Bussey, James Clarke, Stephanie Langley, Joshua MacNeil, Jessica Mills, Christine Short

About the project: Completion of report with specific deliverables for the IWK, Office of Public Health, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Department of Community Services, and/or other organizations, to improve food security for Nova Scotia families.

Outcomes: The group developed one overarching recommendation plus three areas of focus:

  1. Government of Nova Scotia – Create the position of Child and Family Advocate with a whole-government mandate to address and mitigate the impacts of poverty on Nova Scotians
  2. Raise awareness of issue amongst physicians
  • Faculty of Medicine:
    • Highlight and increase UGME and PGME curriculum content
    • Develop longitudinal theme on poverty for UGME curriculum
    • Develop PGY-1 module on poverty in Nova Scotia for new residents
  • Doctors Nova Scotia: 
    • Work with PLDP team to publish article for DNS magazine to raise awareness amongst practicing physicians.
    • Choose poverty as the social determinant of health to focus on in the strategic plan
  1. Identify patients impacted by poverty
  • IWK Health/Nova Scotia Health:
    • Add poverty screening question to all patient contact forms – ED triage notes, admission forms, ambulatory clinic forms etc.
    • Place posters/pamphlets in patient waiting areas modelled on Food First NL posters
    • Develop and support champions at each site
  • Doctors Nova Scotia:
    • Redistribute 211 resources to community-based physician and NP practices
  1. Help physicians connect patients with resources
  • Doctors Nova Scotia:
    • Distribute 211 information, publication of article
  • IWK Health/Nova Scotia Health:
    • Develop and circulate inventory of internal and community resources for patients that can be shared before they leave the health care facility
  • Faculty of Medicine:
    • CPD resources for practicing physicians on addressing poverty in a culturally safe way

See the full project here.

3. Human Organ and Tissue Donation (HOTD): Physician relationships with patients’ Substitute Decision Makers

Project sponsor: Katie Mallam, Director, Policy and physician wellness initiatives, Doctors Nova Scotia

Group members: Drs. Cathy Connell, Zaiping Liu, Osama Loubani, Allana Munro, Thomas Skinner, Vanessa Sweet

About the project: The purpose of this action learning project was to develop a toolkit for end-of-life planning and HOTD consent conversations with substitute decision makers, to be shared with the CPSNS.

Outcomes: One of the key findings is conversations must take place in advance of life-ending events and patients/providers need support to do so. This group developed a framework for a toolkit (and a rollout plan) that includes posters, pamphlets, an EMR template, a conversation guide, toolkit website and learning links.

See the full project here.

4. Physician Leader Onboarding

Project sponsor: Dr. Nicole Boutilier, VP Medicine and Integrated Health Services, Nova Scotia Health

Group members: Drs. Dafydd Davies, Janneke Gradstein, Tiffany O’Donnell, Susan Ripley, Lana Saciragic, Andrew Warren

About the project: This group was tasked with developing for Nova Scotia Health a comprehensive outline for a 12-month physician executive/leader onboarding framework/program.

Outcomes: The framework the group developed included onboarding delivery activities such as individual meetings/tours, assigning a mentor to the new leader, coaching and social activities. Tasks are assigned to specific individuals to carry out, particularly an onboarding navigator and activities begin in the preboarding stage and are carried out over the course of a year.

See the full project here.


Katie Mallam
Director, policy and physician wellness initiatives
1-800-563-3427 ext. 4919