The Wilson Centre
is an academic unit engaged in theoretical and applied research dedicated to advancing the understanding and practice of education in the health professions. The unit is collaboratively sponsored by the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, the University Health Network, and a number of other health professional programs and units in the Greater Toronto Area. Physically, the Wilson Centre is located in 6,000 square feet of office space at the Toronto General Hospital, Ontario, Canada. This facility houses a core staff of 8 PhD scientists, 1-2 international visiting professors, 15-20 full time graduate students and research fellows, approximately 10 research assistants, and 5 administrative staff. In addition to these individuals who are physically housed at the facility on a full time basis, the Wilson Centre includes a core group of approximately 10 Clinician/Educator Researchers with active research programs in health professional education, as well as larger membership of 160 individuals from the health professional education community who are more peripherally involved with the unit’s activities.
The eight full time PhD scientists are drawn from academic disciplines such as cognitive psychology, bio psychology, kinesiology, sociology, socio history, rhetoric, and measurement. Because the Wilson Centre is an extra-departmental unit, each of the scientists is appointed as a University of Toronto faculty member through one of the clinical departments in the Faculty of Medicine. Additionally, each is cross appointed to the School of Graduate studies through several graduate departments. The Clinician/Educator Researchers are drawn from many health professional faculties and departments such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, rehabilitation sciences and social work and, in addition to their clinical training, have obtained masters or doctoral level training in education research. The Wilson Centre also supports a growing cadre of visiting professors and scholars from around the world, including the Netherlands, Australia, France, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Brazil, Argentina and the United Kingdom. Together, these scientists and researchers are engaging in programs of research that address topics ranging from the training and evaluation of basic surgical skills and clinical knowledge to the acquisition and understanding of professional competencies such as communication, self-regulation and inter professional practice.
The Wilson Centre is also dedicated to developing new researchers in this vital and growing field of study. The Wilson Centre Fellowship Program is a 2 5 year full time residency based educational experience. Fellows are provided with a place to work and learn where they receive not only a Masters or PhD degree through one of our affiliated academic programs, but also intensive mentoring in our multi disciplinary and multi professional Wilson Centre community. This level of mentoring and breadth of interaction develops scholars who are well prepared to engage in their own program of high quality research, to collaborate with a diverse set of research colleagues, and to train the next generation of researchers into this field. The diversity of our Fellows’ backgrounds has expanded impressively in recent years to include clinical fields such as medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, nursing, and nutrition sciences, and academic fields such as psychology, English, kinesiology, education, political science, literature and theatre. Further, the life experiences of these individuals are rich and varied, adding still more to the diversity of the health professional education research field. Over 50 fellows have graduated from the program to date.
In its ten years of existence, the Wilson Centre has grown to be recognized internationally as a leader in health professional education research. Research from its members is published widely in major international journals and has received awards from several international organizations. The scientists and researchers of the Wilson Centre are invited around the world to give talks both on the results of their research and on how to engage in world-class research in the health professional education field. And the Wilson Centre itself has been highlighted as a model of such research units in both Academic Medicine and Medical Teacher.