About

Spark Conferences is pleased to present the annual Communications in Health Care conference designed for the health care sector’s communication, public relations, and marketing professionals.

This event focuses on bringing together communication professionals working in the health care industry in Canada. It is a unique setting, allowing all attendees involved in different aspects of communications (digital media, social media, corporate communications, community engagement, public relations, patient relations, and other areas) to facilitate important connections and expand their knowledge base together.

We are proud to announce that the Communications in Health Care Summit is Patients Included. This means that we are committed to incorporating the experience of patients “while ensuring that they are neither excluded nor exploited.” For more information on Patients Included, please visit the website.

Spread the Word on Social Media #COMHealthCare

Sessions at a Glance
  • Health Communications During Covid-19: Best Practices From Around The World
  • Strategic Communication Solutions for Rural, Remote, or Digitally Challenged Patients
  • Developing Inclusionary Communications Approaches to Gender Diversity
  • Networking & Success and Strategy Information Sharing Session
  • Online Collaboration Tools to Heighten Learning Engagement for Health Care Providers
  • Internal Communication and Team Building: Strategies and Lessons Learned During Covid
  • How to Ensure Patients Understand How and Where to Access Services
  • Strategies and Solutions for Effective Social Media Communications
  • Case Study: Developing and Initiating a Mental Health Awareness Campaign During Covid-19
  • Crisis Communication Tools and Strategies
  • Case Study: Ornge #opremoteimmunity Communications Lessons Learned From A Large-Scaled Multi-Agency Coordinated Operation

Who Is This Conference For?

Communications Professionals (Internal & External)
Community Engagement
Government Relations
PR & Public Affairs Professionals
Patient Relations Professionals
Social & Digital Media Professionals

SESSIONS

CONFERENCE TRACKS

DAY

Agenda

All times below are Eastern Time

09:00 - 09:20 AM

Log In

09:20 - 09:30 AM

Opening Remarks From Your Chairs


Sudha Kutty
Vice President, Strategy and External Relations
Humber River Hospital


Philip De Souza
Director, Communications and Marketing
HIROC

09:30 - 10:15 AM
Opening Keynote

Health Communications During Covid-19: Best Practices From Around The World

Drawing on research of nine countries on five continents, we suggest the best principles for health communications during a pandemic. We show the wide variety of pandemic communications responses and evaluate which have seemed most effective in the long run. We also consider how pandemic communications interact with democracy and democratic health too.

Session Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will improve their understanding of different approaches to health communications around the world, particularly beyond Europe and North America.
  • Participants will receive concrete policy suggestions for how to improve health communications practices and infrastructures.


Dr. Heidi Tworek
She/Her
Associate Professor in International History and Public Policy
University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus
Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation
Non-Resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Non-Resident Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Co-Editor, Journal of Global History

10:20 – 11:05 AM
Session 1A

Strategic Communication Solutions for Rural, Remote, or Digitally Challenged Patients

Communicators have multiple tools to send critical information to patients, from digital channels to print and cable. However, it is a challenge to connect with populations in rural and remote areas with fewer services for receiving information, such as reliable broadband and cell service.

However, the same challenges occur in urban areas, particularly with older patients who are intentionally disconnected from the internet. To communicate critical information to these groups, communicators require a different strategy to achieve success.

Session Learning Objectives Include:

  • Establish best practices in connecting with patients and caregivers who can’t, or won’t, connect digitally
  • Create an action plan that can motivate patients and caregivers to engage across different platforms seamlessly
  • Build community engagement and reinforce your organization’s communication goals


Ashley Materi
She/Her
Senior Communications Advisor
Indigenous Services Canada, Ontario Region

10:20 – 11:05 AM
Session 1B

Communicating Gender: Developing Inclusionary Communications Approaches to Gender Diversity

With visibility for transgender (trans) communities increasing, the need for health care organizations to provide affirmative care has become more pressing. The lack of existing care has become increasingly apparent and organizations need to better understand and communicate the diversity of gender. This session will provide participants with an introduction to the diversity of trans patient needs in a variety of health care settings. Starting with an overview of key concepts around gender diversity, participants will develop an understanding of the journeys and challenges trans and gender diverse community members face in accessing health care. A key feature of this session will be practical advice on how to change communication practices at the individual and institutional level.

Session Learning Objectives Include:

  • Critical introductions to the diversity of trans and gender diverse identities
  • Recognition of best practices in communicating about gender identity
  • Strategies for changing communications practices at the individual and institutional level
  • Tactical resources to becoming trans affirmative


Kirk Furlotte
He/Him
Regional Manager, Atlantic Canada
Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC)


Garry Dart
CATTC, HBSc, HBA
He/She/They
prideHealth Coordinator
Primary Health Care & Department of Family Practice


Moderator:
Brian Sankarsingh
Performance/Information Management Communication and Engagement Liaison | Communications GP
Alliance for Healthier Communities

11:10 – 11:35 AM
Session 2

HIROC – Exclusive Networking & Success and Strategy Information Sharing Session

If you would like to showcase one piece that you or your team has created, that you are proud of please do so by December 1st. Each registrant will be in groups to discuss these pieces and ask questions about them. Send the piece by December 1st and be ready to speak on it in smaller groups.

Those who send something by December 1st will be entered into a draw for one of three $25 visa gift cards. These will be posted on the conference hub for all registrants to learn from.


Philip De Souza
Director, Communications and Marketing
HIROC

11:40 – 12:25 PM
Session 3A

Successfully Deploying Online Collaboration Tools to Heighten Learning Engagement for Health Care Providers

Effective collaboration among health care providers is essential for knowledge transfer and improving patient outcomes.

Covid-19 forced many to shift to digital options, but historically this is not that unusual for many collaborative relationships, in part due to geographic distances and time constraints.

However, the concerns around stakeholder engagement, especially in a digital realm is often a challenge. Improve your stakeholder engagement and collaboration through examples from ECHO. Learn how they forged a humorous, and educational learning event that brought together physicians, specialists, administrators and others.

Session Learning Objectives Include:

  • Priming your audience to the event ahead of time to heighten motivation
  • Creating substantive and engaging learning objectives and outcomes, including learning credits
  • Structuring the event to ensure it is fun, engaging, and relevant to your audience


Deiren Masterson
Digital Specialist
SickKids Learning Institute | Project Echo, Paediatric Project ECHO & ECHO Epilepsy Across the Lifespan

11:40 – 12:25 PM
Session 3B

Internal Communication and Team Building: Strategies and Lessons Learned During Covid

Delivering timely and powerful communication among team members became even more important during Covid-19. While it has always been a challenge to engage with physicians and other front-line staff, Covid certainly heightened the challenges all health care communicators faced.

Join us for this exclusive discussion as we highlight the initiatives and successes your peers have implemented in their organizations.

Session Learning Objectives Include:

  • How to better engage physicians and the positive role huddles can play in communications
  • Overcoming the gossip pathway to deliver timely and accurate information
  • Deliver customized content through blog-styled post that address new directives
  • How to change the narrative to highlight the positive
  • Create positive content to address psycho-social needs of staff
  • How to incorporate humour into your messages to combat mental health issues and staff burn out

Andrea Lucas
Vice President, Clinical Services/CNE
Haliburton Highlands Health Services


Brenda Catchpole
Chief Administrative Officer (Retired)
Victoria General Hospital (Winnipeg)

12:25 – 01:00 PM
Lunch
01:00 – 01:45 PM
Session 4A

Patient and Family Communication: How to Ensure Patients Understand How and Where to Access Services

Patient communication requires careful consideration. Patients often lack the expertise to fully understand diagnoses and treatments, leaving them and their care givers confused.

It is therefore vital for health care organizations to have handbooks that help patients, families, and caregivers navigate their own care journey and to empower them to be more active and involved in their care.

Session Learning Objectives Include:

  • Convey clear and easy to understand patient journey expectations
  • Educate patients and care givers on how to take control of their health
  • Focus on the goal of improving both patient healthcare experiences and outcomes
  • Ensure better utilization of health care resources by directing them to the correct services


Mark Weir
Director of Strategic Planning and Community Engagement
Woodstock General Hospital

01:00 – 01:45 PM
Session 4B

Case Study: Ottawa Public Health Breaking Through the Noise: Strategies and Solutions for Effective Social Media Communications

Social media is full of noise, especially in a pandemic. The first step towards engaging with an audience must always be capturing their attention. Our entire social media strategy is audience-first. We listen, then we talk, and then we listen again. Join Kevin Parent and Amanda Higginson from the Ottawa Public Health social media team to discuss strategic health communication solutions that will break through the noise and reach your target audiences.

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Deliver accurate and transparent health information using crisis communication strategies
  • Deploy social media more effectively to engage your targeted community
  • Develop your own brand and voice on social media to demonstrate authenticity


Kevin Parent
He/Him
Public Health Program & Project Management Officer
Ottawa Public Health


Amanda Higginson
She/Her
Public Health Project Officer
Ottawa Public Health


Moderator:
Brian Sankarsingh
Performance/Information Management Communication and Engagement Liaison | Communications GP
Alliance for Healthier Communities

01:50 – 02:35 PM
Session 5A

Case Study: Mental Health Developing and Initiating a Mental Health Awareness Campaign During Covid-19

With a mandate for health care providers to help more people living with mental illness and addiction, Covid-19 presented serious and challenging circumstances for many health care providers in their community. With lockdowns and the social isolation they entailed, there was not only a need to raise awareness for those at higher risk, but also important to raise awareness for those who hadn’t considered themselves at risk.

Session Learning Objectives Include:

  • Build robust awareness campaigns alerting the public about risks and services
  • Lessons learned on targeting messages for those who may not understand they are at risk
  • Create supportive messaging for partners to expand access to care
  • Best practices for developing communications partnerships within the community to extend your reach

Speaker TBA

01:50 – 02:35 PM
Session 5B

Case Study: CIHI - Communicating Effectively With Health Care Stakeholders During COVID-19

How do you communicate to stakeholders like hospitals, health ministries, media and Canadians who are in crisis-mode during a pandemic? This session will explore how the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) effectively segmented its stakeholders and used various approaches to communicate with audiences across the country who were all facing different COVID-19-related challenges and looking for a trusted source of health data.

Session learning objectives include:

  • Learning strategies to cut through the noise and effectively reach stakeholders, while also acknowledging their unique pandemic challenges
  • Tailoring messages appropriately to various and diverse audiences
  • How to assess whether to contribute to the conversation or to take a step back as a communicator in the health field during a pandemic


Julie Bortolotti
She/Her
Communications Specialist
Canadian Institute for Health Information


Ramon Syyap
He/Him
Digital Content Specialist
Canadian Institute for Health Information

02:40 – 03:25 PM
Closing Keynote

Case Study: Ornge #opremoteimmunity Communications Lessons Learned From A Large-Scaled Multi-Agency Coordinated Operation

With extensive expertise in Northern Ontario, and the ability to fly into 31 remote communities, Ornge was tasked with delivering and administering the vaccination program for Ontario’s northern and remote communities, not to mention building trust through strong communication.

To accomplish this, Ornge needed to coordinate between multiple organizations, health care providers, government agencies, the communities themselves, as well as internal teams. It was a monumental task that required careful planning and execution.

Key Session Takeaways Include:

  • Lessons learned from communicating with multiple partners over a vast area
  • Creative solutions to reaching out to community members to establish and execute a game plan
  • Best practices in helping communities build vaccine confidence
  • Prepare for success by incorporating storytelling and incorporating the youth into your plans
  • Keeping the lines of communication open, transparent, and informative


James MacDonald
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Ornge

Speakers

Philip De Souza

Director, Communications and Marketing
HIROC

Sudha Kutty

Vice President, Strategy and External Relations
Humber River Hospital

Kirk Furlotte

He/Him
Regional Manager, Atlantic Canada
Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC)

Garry Dart

CATTC, HBSc, HBA
He/She/They
prideHealth Coordinator
Primary Health Care & Department of Family Practice

Brian Sankarsingh

Performance/Information Management Communication and Engagement Liaison | Communications GP Alliance for Healthier Communities

Amanda Higginson

She/Her
Public Health Project Officer
Ottawa Public Health

James MacDonald

Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Ornge

Kevin Parent

He/Him
Public Health Program & Project Management Officer
Ottawa Public Health

Ashley Materi

She/Her
Senior Communications Advisor
Indigenous Services Canada, Ontario Region

Deiren Masterson

Digital Specialist
SickKids Learning Institute | Project Echo, Paediatric Project ECHO & ECHO Epilepsy Across the Lifespan

Brenda Catchpole

She/Her
Chief Administrative Officer (Retired)
Victoria General Hospital (Winnipeg)

Mark Weir

Director of Strategic Planning and Community Engagement
Woodstock General Hospital

Julie Bortolotti

She/Her
Communications Specialist
Canadian Institute for Health Information

Ramon Syyap

He/Him
Digital Content Specialist
Canadian Institute for Health Information

Dr. Heidi Tworek

She/Her
Associate Professor in International History and Public Policy
University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus
Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation
Non-Resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Non-Resident Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Co-Editor, Journal of Global History

Call for Speakers

This is your opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with other health care professionals. The conference sessions are 45 minutes in length and include at least 20 minutes of audience participation in the form of questions and answers.

Please email us at info@sparkconferences.com to receive more information.

Presenters receive a free registration to the conference.

We look forward to receiving your submissions!

 

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Testimonials

What our past delegates have said

Great topics, engaging speakers and loved the ability to connect with others.
The conference was informative, engaging and interdisciplinary.
Great use of technology with breakout sessions. Lots of time for Q&A.
I appreciated the opportunity to gather with peers and discuss the hot-topic issues of our profession and our sector. I think the group thoroughly listed the top-of-mind concerns facing our profession thereby providing an excellent road map for future gatherings.
The event was great. I learned a lot from like-minded organizations and from some of my peers from other hospitals. It was great to hear what people are working on and how they’ve achieved success.
Krista BarnettTrillium Health Partners
I was very impressed with the roster of presenters, they were current on the subject matter. Professionals in the north are frequently contending with the lack of access to professional development because we work away from major city centers. By having this conference virtual this year, you have helped to level the playing field.
This event provided the space to conduct very niche, relevant, and stimulating discussions in the realm of health care communications. I haven’t seen an opportunity for this type of knowledge sharing before, and would definitely attend again!
I was very impressed by the organization and how the facilitators explained what was happening and how to participate. I was particularly struck by the on going effort of all the facilitators to get people involved in the sessions. That was very strong.

Early Bird Prices

Early Bird Deadline: November 09, 2021. Grab your tickets today!
Hot!
Individuals
$395
  • Access to all conference sessions
  • Network with delegates and speakers (microphone and camera required)
  • Access to speaker presentations
  • Access to all sessions on-demand after the conference
Register
Hot!
Groups
$373
  • Group rates available for 3 or more delegates at the same time
  • Network with delegates and speakers (microphone and camera required)
  • One-on-one or group chat
  • Get access to all presentations in electronic format
Register

Win A Free Ticket

Enter for a chance to win free entry to the conference. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via email up to December 1.
See our full terms and conditions for more details.

Partners

This conference is produced by:

In collaboration with:

Sponsors

Location

Event log-in and password details will be provided to all registered delegates by email closer to the date of the event.

Preferred Hotels

Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre: Delegates can make bookings at the special MaRS rate on the Holiday Inn website, or via email reservations@hitorontodowntown.ca
by quoting “MaRS Discovery District.”

Chelsea Hotel Toronto: Bookings at the special MaRSDiscovery District rate can be made on the Chelsea Hotel website. Delegates can make reservations and request the special MaRS Discovery District rate by phone (1-800-CHELSEA) or email cstor.reservation@chelseatoronto.com.