Lab news

Remembering Lucas

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Lucas Murnaghan. Lucas was a mentor, frequent collaborator and friend to the lab. Over the years, he has guided our fellows and students on projects in surgical education and shared many conversations about life and work. Our thoughts and condolences to his family and colleagues in the medical community. We cherish and remember all that he has shared with us.


As it became apparent that the Covid-19 pandemic was going to result in city-wide lockdowns, the hospital limited research activity and The Wilson Centre closed. We quickly transitioned to working from home. Our lab meetings soon went virtual as well. Though the discussions were not the same as in-person, we managed to stay connected over pizzas and conversations. Distanced in front of our computers, we worked on papers and secondary research; getting a few publications in.

At the start of the summer, we penned this Surgical Perspectives on the opportunity for change amidst it all. (The Person Behind the Personal Protective Equipment, Annals of Surgery, September 2020; 1(1): p e004)

Good patient care requires an understanding for patients’ feelings and fears, their financial situations, and social supports. In the same way, good health systems appreciate the multidimensionality of their health care workers. They look beyond the white coat, or the N95 and face shield, to see our humanity.


As we begin to build post-COVID-19, together, and in earnest, let us leave the unhealthy ways behind. And dear colleague, please “Stay Safe.”

Thank you health care workers. Thank you essential workers.

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Cognitive Flow award

The study on cognitive flow in surgery received the Best Poster Award at the CSCI-CITAC Young Investigators Forum in Toronto.

McQueen, S., McParland, A., Hammond Mobilio, M. & Moulton, C.A. More than cognition: The experience of cognitive flow in surgery.  CSCI-CITAC Young Investigators Forum. Toronto (Virtual), ON, Nov 12th, 2020. (Poster).

Congrats Sydney and Aidan!

Reznick Day went virtual this year

The Richard K. Reznick Wilson Centre Virtual Research Week 2020 took place October 28-30th. Unlike our usual foray to The Estates at Sunnybrook, we gathered online over three days. The program was stellar as usual and we would like to thank the research day committee for putting together such a well-organized and engaging experience.

This year, we had the opportunity to present three of the lab’s latest work:

Podium Session 1: Old spaces, New Views.
Safe is as safe does: A study of the SSC using a Safety II approach. Melanie Hammond Mobilio, Sydney McQueen, Elise Paradis & Carol-anne Moulton

Podium Session 2: Aiming for Excellence.
Aim for the peak: A scoping Review of Cognitive Flow in Clinical Practice. Stephanie Jiang, Sydney McQueen, Aidan McParland, Melanie Hammond Mobilio & Carol-anne Moulton

Understanding Surgeons’ Experience of Flow. Sydney McQueen, Aidan McParland, Melanie Hammond Mobilio & Carol-anne Moulton

Sydney received the Outstanding Research Paper, Richard Reznick Award for:
McQueen, S., Mobilio, M. H., & Moulton, C. A. (2020). Fractured in surgery: Understanding stress as a holistic and subjective surgeon experience. American journal of surgery, S0002-9610(20)30212-9. Advance online publication.

Varsity Interview:

Our recent publication, was featured in The Varsity, University of Toronto’s Student Newspaper. The article included an interview with Sydney, one of the co-authors on the paper.

“I think, more and more, we’re really looking at the surgeon as this holistic person, and what really needs to go into that to be that expert-level performer”

Why you want your surgeon to practice mindfulness: U of T lab investigates new ways to train surgeons for the operating table, by Sarah Kronenfeld

Richard Reznick Research Day 2019

Another beautiful day was had at Vaughan Estates where we attended The Richard Reznick Research Day, an annual event by The Wilson Centre.

We had two podium presentations this year:
Reconceptualizing Stress in Surgical Practice
Sydney McQueen, Melanie Hammond Mobilio, Carol-anne Moulton

Thinking Outside the (Check)Box: The Surgical Safety Checklist as Solution To—or Symptom Of—an Overloaded Healthcare System?
Melanie Hammond Mobilio, Elise Paradis, Carol-anne Moulton

We were also very honoured to receive the Wilson Centre Award for Highest Rated Presentation at the Wilson Centre Research Rounds 2018-2019 for the presentation entitled “The Surgical Safety Checklist as Myth and Ceremony” from Carol-anne Moulton, Melanie Hammond-Mobilio, Elise Paradis.

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New publication in Annals of Surgery

What mental skills do elite trained performers apply to surgery? In this study, we interviewed musicians, athletes and military personnel that have gone on to a career in surgery. We examine what specific mental skills training they received and have successfully applied to their surgical performance.

Mental Skills in Surgery: Lessons Learned from Virtuosos, Olympians, and Military.
Deshauer S, McQueen S, Hammond Mobilio M, Mutabdzic D, Moulton CE. Ann Surg 2019 Aug 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Pubmed, DOI

Stress in Europe

Sydney will be presenting her latest research on Stress in Surgery at some upcoming conferences in Europe:

Physician Stress, Wellness & Performance: Time for a Holistic Approach?
Rogano. Vienna, Austria. McQueen, S. (Podium)

What Do We Mean by “Stress”?
Reconceptualizing Stress in Surgical Practice.
The Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Annual Meeting. Vienna, Austria.
McQueen, S., Hammond Mobilio, M., McParland, A., Seemann, N., Sonnadara, R.R. & Moulton, C.A. (E-Poster)

Stress in Surgery.
Health, Care and the Emotions. London, UK.
McQueen, S., Hammond Mobilio, M. & Moulton, C.A. (Oral Panel Presentation)

We wish her good food, fun times and safe travels ahead!


Welcome Stephanie!

We are delighted to have Stephanie Jiang joining us in the lab this summer. She will be involved in a few of our new projects. Stephanie is a second-year medical student at Queen’s University. She studied psychology in her undergraduate program, and is currently exploring the topic of identity in aging surgeons and the presence of cognitive flow in healthcare workers. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drawing, and playing the piano.

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