By Harriet Feilotter

If the world spun around any faster, we would all get whiplash- I don’t know where the time between summer and the winter holidays has gone, but here we are again, putting together the year end newsletter for OMPRN. I hope somewhere in the whirl of activity that the summer and fall has been, everyone did find time to stop and at least have a cursory sniff at the roses.

As we get ready to hunker down for a little holiday, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year’s activities. As OMPRN has continued down the path of becoming a first-class educational network, there is lots for us to be proud of. The last year saw us conclude the highly successful CAP Virtual Education Series, as well as offering interactive workshops through the Ontario Association of Pathologists, virtual molecular pathology rounds, EDI seminars, OICR resources seminar series, patient microlearning modules, CCMG e-learning modules, and of course, the first ever joint Networks meeting that saw members of OMPRN and OHCRN come together for two full days of interactive learning.

Behind the scenes, we were fortunate to attract Leigh-Ann van Strijp to work with us to help develop educational tools. Leigh-Ann holds a Masters in Medical Research, as well as an undergraduate degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Pretoria. Since she started as our Molecular Pathology Education Associate, she has been busily investigating new approaches for us to provide high-quality educational resources, including working hard with our patient partners (see more below), to great effect. We’d like to “officially” welcome Leigh-Ann to the OMPRN family, although it already feels like she’s been part of the team forever!

Our patient partners have been busy as well. Embarking on our microlearning project alongside Leigh-Ann and Kyster, Karen Haas and Terry Hawrysh have been instrumental in guiding decisions about topics for this important initiative and are helping to create the lesson content. If you haven’t already seen one of the microlearning modules, I encourage you to check them out on our website. We look forward to many more “micros” being developed in the coming year. (And just to toot our horn a bit more, many other programs within the Adaptive Oncology stream at the OICR are now hoping to emulate this learning approach in their own areas, so a great success for us!)

OMPRN is made up of volunteer members, and we hope that engaging with our network gives something of value to each of them. At this time of year, however, I want to note the value that our members give back to OMPRN itself. There is a long list of people who have volunteered their time, energy, expertise and passion to help us maintain a very high level of quality in our educational offerings. The list is surprisingly long- reflecting not only how busy we’ve been over the past year, but also the fact that so many members give freely of their time. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank each one of these people for their contribution to OMPRN: Dr Yvonne Bombard who presented a talk on diversity and equity in genomics; Drs Trevor Pugh, Philippe Bedard, Alison Cheung, and Martin Yaffe who presented at our Cancer Research and Technology Forum; Drs Anjelica Hodgson and Peter Sabatini who created and moderated an interactive workshop at the Ontario Association of Pathologists meeting; Drs Randy van Ommeren, Scott Davey, Jordan Lerner Ellis, Rola Saleeb and Nicole Park, as well as Muna Aden for facilitating sessions during the OMPRN-OHCRN joint meeting, and Drs Laszlo Radvanyi, Diana Mandelker, Mathhew Cecchini, Michelle Axford, Ian King, Christian Marshall, Trevor Pugh, Peter Sabatini, Andrea Vaags, Erica Tsang, Deborah Marshall, Jane Cooke-Lauder, Michael Rauh, Sagi Abelson and Laura Arbour, who presented during that same meeting. A special thank you to Karen Haas for presenting the patient perspective during that meeting. Thank you also to the organizing committee, made up of Michelle Downes, Kirsten Farncombe, Karen Haas, Lauren Hughes, Raymond Kim, Kyster Nanan, Nicole Park, Elif Tuzlali and Randy van Ommeren. Additionally, a thank you to our Steering Committee members, Drs Tracy Stockley, Chris Howlett, Bryan Lo, Amadeo Parassenti, Clinton Campbell, Jane Bayani and Bibianna Purgina for advice and guidance throughout the year. And finally, I want to thank Dr Kyster Nanan, whose excellence as project manager and education lead is evident in everything we have done this year. OMPRN is truly where it is today because of Kyster’s energy and professionalism.

I feel privileged to have worked with my wonderful team here at Queen’s and at OICR over the past year, and I am looking forward to the next phase of OMPRN. I believe 2024 is going to be a time of transition, as we consider how best to enhance and share our educational offerings, and also begin to think anew about the potential for research activities through new collaborations we are starting to grow. Hopefully, those new collaborations will flourish in the new year to take us in new directions and breathe some new life into our activities. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday, with enough time to reflect, rejuvenate and restock brains and bodies for the year ahead.


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