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Beth-Ann Cummings receives 2024 IHSE Research and Scholarship Catalyst Award

Nominated by her peers at the Institute of Health Sciences Education, Dr. Cummings has been recognized for her longstanding commitment to supporting and facilitating research and scholarship in health sciences education.

Beth-Ann Cummings, MDCM, MSc (HPE), is the 2024 recipient of the Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE) Research and Scholarship Catalyst Award.  

The award recognizes IHSE members who have shown a commitment to catalyzing, supporting and facilitating research and scholarship in health sciences education. 

An Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University and a member of the IHSE, Dr. Cummings was nominated for the award by her peers.  

She was presented with the honour at the Richard and Sylvia Cruess Symposium on Scholarship in Health Sciences Education: Insights and Innovations, which took place at the McGill Faculty Club and Conference Centre on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.  

“I am overwhelmed with a sense of surprise and gratitude,” said Dr. Cummings. “Receiving this award feels particularly meaningful, because it represents what I do and who I am, rather than a single accomplishment.” 

Meredith Young, Associate Director, Research at the IHSE, said: “Dr. Cummings is an unparalleled and invaluable collaborator and a very deserving recipient of this award.” 

“Having worked with Beth and having seen her work with others over the years, she has an uncanny ability to balance good scholarship, good practice, and how work can be communicated effectively to a variety of audiences,” she added. “She always has ideas as to how to improve a piece of scholarship, other angles to consider, and how to ensure innovations are woven into practice. I’m so pleased that she has been recognized by her peers though this award – she is a try catalyst for research, scholarship, and all those involved in it.” 

Elizabeth Anne Kinsella, Director of the IHSE, said: “We initiated this award to recognize people who are exceptional team players and catalysts for the advancement of medical and health sciences education research. Beth is a truly deserving recipient. She is catalyzing research and fostering networks at McGill and across Canada, and making an important difference in our ecosystem and in the field.” 

Generous, creative and thoughtful 

Nominating Dr. Cummings, Robert Sternszus, MDCM, MA (Ed), Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Faculty Member at the IHSE, said: “As I look at the ‘key words’ used to describe this award, namely generosity, enthusiasm, initiative and creativity, I can’t help but think about Beth.” 

“She has been a valued mentor to so many and has helped countless people develop their careers as medical educators,” he added. “Beth takes great pride in the success of others and is always prepared to try and contribute to it in any way that she can.” 

In her nomination letter, former Vice-Dean, Education, Annette Majnemer, OT, PhD, recalled her time working with Dr. Cummings when she held the role of Assistant Dean, Health Professions Education. She commended Dr. Cummings for her “ongoing commitment to catalyzing and supporting research and scholarship in health professions education”.  

 “Her enthusiastic work in community building as a context in which to support scholarship and evidence-based educational practices has been critical to our Faculty’s educational excellence,” she added.  

In another nomination letter, Deborah Danoff, MD, Affiliate Member of the IHSE, praised Dr. Cummings’s thoughtful feedback and support to her colleagues and students at the IHSE’s weekly meetings.  

“I am constantly impressed by her validation of the presenter at the same time as she extends the discussion in depth and new directions,” she wrote. “As novices present their ideas, she is never pedantic and offers positive meaningful suggestions.” 

Asked about her philosophy of supporting others, Dr. Cummings paid tribute to the many individuals in the IHSE, McGill and beyond who have acted as catalysts for her in every aspect of her career. 

She also highlighted the IHSE as a place where health sciences education researchers and scholars can find guidance and encouragement from peers across disciplines.  

“The IHSE is a really special place that is about community, sharing and mutual support,” she said. “It’s a space where people can bring ideas and explore them, and you can only do that when you have people who are generous with their thoughts, time and spirit.” 

“Calling this place a community of practice is so important. The philosophy of paying it forward and more senior people recognizing potential in others who don’t have opportunities yet really fosters that sense of community.” 

Congratulations, Dr. Cummings! 

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Richard and Sylvia Cruess Symposium on Scholarship in Health Sciences Education: Insights and Innovations over the coming weeks.

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