November 2020
Dear FER Alumni,

Understanding your ongoing needs as parents and researchers is an important subject for us. I have been working at getting a little creative in a landscape that now involves a pandemic and a growing global representation of FER course grads from around the world.

I decided to conduct a little bit of an ongoing experiment by hosting an online check-in for FER students and grads utilizing video conferencing. The results were quite inspiring!!

I hope that we can continue these conversations and wanted to offer the same opportunities for those of you in other countries. So if you aren’t from Canada but interested in connecting at a community level, please get in contact with me at and we can plan something!

Next event will be Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 6 PM MT (Alberta Time)
(FER Course Check-In details below)

Take care,

Rachel Martens
Research Engagement Strategist
Kids Brain Health Network and CanChild
FER Course check-in
You're invited to join a Microsoft Teams meeting!
Join the meeting on your computer or mobile app:
Kids Brain Health Network: Upcoming virtual conference!
Kids Brain Health Conference is coming up quickly! This year’s conference is fully online and goes from November 9-13th.

As an FER course alumni, you are entitled to a conference registration discount making it only $25 for the entire conference. Please get in contact with Rae Martens at for the discount code.

Please consider joining us for the conference!

Highlighted sections featuring FER Alumni, students, and course instructors:
MONDAY - November 9th, 12:30pm EST
Trainee Lightning Talks Part 1
Featuring FER Alumni: Samantha Micsinszki and Erin Klein.
THURSDAY - November 12th, 1:00pm EST
Ask an Expert
Featuring co-Instructors: Andrea Cross, Donna Thomson, and Connie Putterman.

THURSDAY - November 12th, 3:00pm EST
Challenges presented by COVD-19: Perspectives on implementing innovative solutions
Featuring FER Alumni: Vivian Lee and Vanessa Fong

THURSDAY - November 12th, 4:00pm EST
Challenges of Moving Research Online
Featuring FER student: Fakhri Shafai

THURSDAY, November 12th, 5:30 - 5:50pm EST  
Growing Together: The Process and Initial Outcomes of Partnering with Siblings in a Doctoral Patient-Oriented Research Study on Transition.
Featuring FER Alumni: Linda Nguyen and Samantha Bellefeuille
TUESDAY - November 10th, 3:00pm EST
Being a family research partner: What does this mean for families, research, and the larger childhood disability community? Luke’s Legacy Lecture
Moderators: Donna Thomson, Connie Putterman
Speakers: Rachel Martens, Ali Martens, Jaime Winkler, Francine Buchanan
FRIDAY - November 13th, 11:15am EST
Integrating Rights-Based Frameworks into Policy and Practice
Featuring: Vanessa Tomas (co-moderator) and Rachel Martens (speaker)

FRIDAY - November 13th, 3:00pm EST
The Road to Canada’s National Autism Strategy: The Policy Development Process and Learnings from Community Stakeholders Collaborations
Featuring FER Alumni: Vanessa Tomas and Stephen Gentles
Register for the FREE upcoming Bloorview Research Institute Symposium!
The theme of the Bloorview Research Institute Symposium is Lab 2 Life: Impact of families on childhood disability research. The symposium is online and will be held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm EST

The virtual symposium highlights how clients and families are supporting researchers in forging new frontiers in childhood disability research and creating personalized and evidence-based interventions.
Funding opportunity: Training Innovation Fund
This is a great opportunity to apply for funding to support dissemination of your KT tools from the course!
What's it all about?
The purpose of this initiative is to provide a maximum of $10,000 per project to facilitate innovative training that will foster patient-oriented research activities:
  • Tools to improve cross-stakeholder comprehension and communication on interdisciplinary research teams.
  • Training to explore the ethical engagement of youth as partners on patient-oriented research teams and/or subjects in POR projects.
Who can apply?
Any patient-partner, trainee, health care provider, health system decision-maker, or researcher involved with a research project focused on either:
  • Childhood brain-based developmental disabilities; or,
  • Patient-oriented research in the province of BC.

Deadline: November 30th, 2020
Watch the following webinar!
Learning from Youth: Engagement Strategies for Patient-Oriented Research Projects, Committees, and Councils
In Linda Nguyen’s (FER Alumni) doctoral studies, she has been partnering with the Sibling Youth Advisory Council (SibYAC) to understand the experiences of siblings who have a brother or sister with a disability and is in the process of preparing for health care transition. 

SibYAC members shared their partnership experiences, as well as strategies for engaging with young people in research in this webinar hosted by the CHILD-BRIGHT Network in collaboration with CanChild. The webinar was co-facilitated by CanChild's SibYAC members Linda Nguyen, Hanae Davis, Samantha Bellefeuille and Jessica Havens, together with CHILD-BRIGHT's National Advisory Youth Panel members Gillian Backlin, Julia Tesolin, and Corinne Lalonde.
Read the following articles!
Lucy Lach and FER course Co-Instructor, Donna Thomson, published an article in Quoi Media titled "Children with disabilities disproportionately affected during COVID-19." The article highlights how families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic and the challenges this poses on families.   
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital has published an article in the BLOOM Blog about FER Alumni, Marie Hooper, and her impact as a parent partner in a study on a virtual, six-week psychosocial intervention for siblings aged six to 16.  
Congratulations to Kristina McGuire and Heather Shearer (FER Alumni) for their Best Demonstrative Poster Award at the AACPDM 74th Annual Meeting! The poster features their KT tool from the FER course and was titled, "A novel checklist to promote collaborative stakeholder partnership in pediatric research"
Linda Nguyen (FER Alumni) was recently awarded the CHILD-BRIGHT Graduate Fellowship in Patient-oriented Research to continue to build partnerships with the Sibling Youth Advisory Council. Congratulations! 
Donna Thomson (FER course co-instructor) will receive a teaching award from McMaster Continuing Education this month. Well done!
New Patient and Family Engagement in Research
*NEW* PORCCH Modules
Interested in learning more about patient-oriented research in child health? The wait is over!!! The PORCCH Modules are live. Register for free below and get certified today!

CIHR Ethics Guidelines
The CIHR Ethics Guidance for Developing Partnerships with Patients and Researchers supports patients and researchers to develop partnerships in the design and to conduct research.
Want to Contribute to the FER Newsletter? 
Inviting all graduates to share with the FER community!

Have something interesting you wish to share with the FER community? Recently published a paper? Know of an upcoming online conference? Recruiting for a research study? Received an award? Add it to our next newsletter and/or Facebook page!

Fill out this form or email us at to have it considered for the newsletter and/or Facebook page!
Stay in Touch!
As a graduate of the FER course, you are part of our FER Alumni community. We hope you will stay in touch with us through joining the FER Course Fellows Group on Facebook (contact Rachel Martens at if you wish to join).
Stay Connected!
We have so very much appreciated the continued conversation you've started on social media about the course. Your experiences shared on Facebook and Twitter help build the community of course grads ensuring best starts in family partnerships in research. Talking about family engagement in research online? Consider tagging us at: @FERCourse
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