The Medical Psychiatry Alliance welcomes Dr. Christopher Kowalski, the new MPA Simulation Research Fellow collaborating jointly between the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), The Hospital for Sick Children, and the University of Toronto’ s MD Program.
In this unique fellowship, Dr. Kowalski will examine the use of simulation in the training of health professionals in the area of co-existing mental and physical health conditions among children and youth. His research in this area will aim to identify and develop complex cases for innovative training in the area of child and youth mental health, and explore new applications of simulation-based learning.
Simulation is the reproduction of something real by imitation, for the purposes of study, training or assessment*. In medical psychiatry, learning through simulation provides an opportunity to apply the skills and competencies required to screen, diagnose and treat complex patients.
“Simulation allows learners to practice through trial and error, reflection, and debrief, without risking negative outcomes for patients and their families,” says Dr. Latika Nirula, Director, Simulation and Teaching Excellence, CAMH. “There are unique challenges around doing simulation within the child and youth context – it is difficult to obtain young actors to play these complex roles in a live simulated context. We are very excited to have Dr. Christopher Kowalski contribute to the development of a program of research exploring novel approaches to interprofessional simulation training in child and youth mental health.”
Dr. Kowalski has been a leader in developing innovative simulation-based curricula for health professionals to understand the complexities of care for child and youth at the mental-physical interface. He has been a medical education fellow in the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust where he was working for Maudsley Simulation, the UK’s first simulation centre exclusively for mental health training.
Of note, Dr. Kowalski has been a lead and a well-recognized developer of a course in the area of child and youth mental health, specifically examining co-occurring mental and physical disorders among children and youth. This course has been delivered across a number of hospital trusts in South London, and is currently being rolled out to other sites in the capital as part of a pilot for the London Deanery’s specialist training programs in pediatrics and psychiatry.
In June 2016, CAMH and the MPA had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Kowalski in bringing this innovative course to Toronto, offering it for the first time in Canada. In collaboration with The Hospital for Sick Children and Trillium Health Partners, the Simulation Centre team at CAMH aims to offer a version of this course that has been uniquely developed to address training in child and youth mental and physical health within the Toronto health community, including residents and fellows, beginning in the summer of 2017.
*Bradley, 2006; LeBlanc et al, 2011