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Biography

Many older adults face physical and mental barriers to enjoying a good quality of life. Often, a lack of understanding on how to best manage their overall health, limits their physical activity, social engagement, and independence, which can be debilitating and isolating for this population. An expert in gerontology and community health nursing, Winnie Sun, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences focuses her research on patient safety in home care, self care in chronic disease management, and the use of information communication technologies, particularly among older adults whom she is passionate about helping them live independently at home for as long as possible. While mobile technology and social media have helped connect millions of people, for many older adults it can seem overwhelming to navigate. Dr. Sun’s latest research examines the perspective of older adults in using technology to improve social isolation and community engagement, and investigates how caregivers can support older adults in staying connected. She is also collaborating on the development of simulation training for nursing students that focuses on empathy in patient care, and addresses opioid overdose. As a research collaborator at the Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life (AGE-WELL) Network Centres of Excellence, Dr. Sun has received awards for her work including the 2017 Early Professional, Inspired Career (EPIC) Innovators of Tomorrow Award, and the 2016 ACCESS Award. She also earned the 2015 Emerging Scholar and Professional Award from the Gerontological Society of America. Before joining UOIT, Dr. Sun spent six years teaching in the Collaborative Trent University/Fleming College Bachelor of Nursing Program. Dr. Sun previously held a post-doctoral fellowship at the Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab at the University of Toronto. In 2014, she received her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science from the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto (U of T), and a Collaborative Graduate Program Doctorate in Health Services and Policy Research from the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, School of Graduate Studies at U of T. She earned her Master of Nursing – Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Honours) from the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at U of T.

Expertise


Early Professional, Inspired Career (EPIC) Innovators of Tomorrow Award

January 1, 2017

Awarded to Dr. Sun by AGE-WELL (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life).

2016 ACCESS Award

January 5, 2016

Awarded to Dr. Sun by AGE-WELL for her national research into the barriers facing older adults in staying connected and engaged in society through technology.

2015 Emerging Scholar and Professional Award

January 11, 2015

Award to Dr. Sun by the Gerontological Society of America for doctoral and post-doctoral research contributions to her field.

Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

2014
PhD - Philosophy in Nursing Science

Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto

2014
PhD - Collaborative Graduate Program in Health Services and Policy Research

Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

2002
MN - Administration

Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto

1995
BScN (Honours) - Nursing
  • A Scaling-Up Approach to Educating Home Care Nurses About De-Prescribing to Promote Active and Independent Living of Frail Older Adults at Home

    $15000  | June 1, 2017

    Awarded by: SSHRC Small Partnership Grant
    Dr. Sun is principal investigator on this one-year research project to better understand how to educate home care nurses about de-prescribing approaches to manage the issues of polypharmacy, and to promote health and wellness of older adults in home care settings.

  • Development of Empathy in Helping Relationship

    $8000  | May 1, 2017

    Awarded by: University of Ontario Institute of Technology Teaching Innovation Fund
    Dr. Sun is principal investigator on this one-year research project to develop simulation-based training modules on empathy in patient care for nursing students.

  • Evaluation of ‘Living Well with Dementia’ Project

    $18000  | September 1, 2016

    Awarded by: Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant
    In partnership with the Alzheimer's Society Durham Region, this two-year research project explores ways of using social and recreational programs to help support older adults with cognitive impairments in reducing isolation and engaging with the community.

  • Simulations and Standardized Patient Innovation for Year Three Community Health Nursing Students

    $14000  | September 1, 2016

    Awarded by: University of Ontario Institute of Technology Teaching Innovation Fund
    Dr. Sun is a co-investigator on this one year research project to develop community health nursing educational program using simulation activities and standardized patients.

  • Perspectives on Information and Communication Technology for Daily Activities and Social Inclusion Among Older Canadians with Cognitive Impairments and Their Caregivers

    $30000  | June 1, 2016

    Awarded by: SSHRC Insight Development Grant Award
    Dr. Sun is co-investigator on this two-year research project to better understand how older adults view the use of technology in improving social isolation and community engagement; and how caregivers can support older adults in staying connected.

  • Aging, Disability and Technology: A Framework for Research, Implementation and Policy

    $50000  | October 1, 2015

    Awarded by: Network Centres of Excellence, Canada
    Dr. Sun is a collaborator on this three-year research project which examines the equitable access and barriers to assistive technologies. This project is in partnership with Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life (AGE-WELL) University of Toronto and McMaster Health Forum.

  • Tackling the Opioid Abuse Epidemic with Simulation-Based Learning for Nursing Students

    $8000  | May 1, 2017

    Awarded by: University of Ontario Institute of Technology Teaching Innovation Fund
    Dr. Sun is co-investigator on this one-year research project to developing simulation-based learning for nursing students in dealing with opioid overdose.

  • Assocation of Gerontology of Higher Education

  • American Geriatrics Society

  • Canadian Association of Gerontology

  • Gerontological Society of America

  • Nursing Research Interest Group

  • Nursing Leadership Network of Ontario

  • Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Involvement


  • Past speaking engagements
    • Poster Presentation: The Importance of Therapeutic Self-Care in Promoting the Safety of Older Adults in Home Care

      Miami, Florida
      March 9, 2017

      The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education 43rd Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference

    • Poster Presentation: Therapeutic Self-Care is an Enabling Factor that Promotes the Safety of Older Adults in Home Care

      New Orleans, Louisiana
      November 16, 2016

      The Gerontological Society of America 69th Annual Scientific Meeting

    • Poster Presentation: Safety in the Home: Exploring the Experiences of Self-Care and Caregiving for Older Home Care Clients and Their Caregivers

      Montréal, Québec
      October 20, 2016

      Canadian Association on Gerontology 45th Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting

    • Poster Presentation: A Scoping Review Protocol: Ethical Concepts and Challenges related to Assistive Technology Access

      Montréal, Québec
      October 18, 2016

      AGE-WELL’s 2nd Annual Conference & Annual General Meeting

    • Poster Presentation: Using RAI-Home Care Data to Examine the Occurrence of Adverse Events among Home Care Clients

      Toronto, Ontario
      April 11, 2016

      2016 World interRAI Conference

    • Poster Presentation: A Mixed Methods Study: The Importance of Therapeutic Self-Care in Promoting the Safety of Older Adults in Home Care

      Washington, DC
      March 20, 2016

      American Society of Aging Annual Aging in America Conference

    • Focus on Safety: Understanding the Relationship between Therapeutic Self-Care Ability and the Occurrence of Adverse Events for Older Home Care Clients

      Nashville, Tennessee
      February 26, 2015

      The 41st Association for Gerontology in Higher Education Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference

    • Aging, Disability and Technology: Understanding and Advancing Canadian Policies to Enhance Access to Assistive Technologies

      Calgary, Alberta
      October 21, 2015

      Ageing Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life (AGE-WELL) 1st Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting

    • Poster Presentation: Improving Gaps in Home Care: Examining the Role of Therapeutic Self-Care in Supporting Home Care Safety for Older Adults

      National Harbor, Maryland
      May 15, 2015

      American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting 2015

    • Focus on Self-Care: An Important Priority for Safety at Home for Older Adults

      Montréal, Québec
      May 25, 2015

      Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research Conference 2015

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