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Dean recognized for outstanding achievement

Dr. Ian Bowmer and Dr. Karen Shaw of the Medical Council of Canada present Dr. Richard Reznick with his award.
Dr. Ian Bowmer and Dr. Karen Shaw of the Medical Council of Canada present Dr. Richard Reznick with his award. (Supplied Photo)

Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has been named the recipient of the Medical Council of Canada’s 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award in the Evaluation of Clinical Competence. The award is given to an individual who has made a significant and vital achievement in the field of assessment and evaluation of clinical and professional competence in the health professions.

“The Medical Council of Canada has been pursuing its vision to strive for the highest level of medical care for Canadians through excellence in the evaluation of physicians for over 100 years,” says Dr. Reznick. “So to be recognized by an organization that has contributed so much to the excellent standards of health care we have in Canada is truly an honour.”

The international jury responsible for selecting the recipient chose to recognize Dr. Reznick for his leadership within the Medical Council of Canada and at Queen’s University, along with his innovative educational approaches.

Dr. Reznick notes that it was the Medical Council of Canada that gave him his first big break as a young surgeon who was interested in medical education. It was there that he led a national committee to develop the first objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) for national licensure in Canada (and in the world) – an examination that is still used to demonstrate competence in thousands of medical trainees each year.

At Queen’s, Dr. Reznick has overseen the development of new educational programs, such as the Clinician Investigator Program, an intensive, research-based postgraduate medical education program which aims to develop the next generation of Clinician Scientist research leaders; the Queen’s combined MD/PhD program; the Queen’s University Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS); and a fully-online Bachelor of Health Sciences. Recently, he led the charge for competency-based medical education, making Queen’s the first university in Canada to fully deploy this new methodology across all of its specialty programs. Dr. Reznick has also deepened the Faculty of Health Science’s focus on research.

“We are delighted to award Dr. Reznick with the Outstanding Achievement Award,” says Dr. Ian Bowmer, Executive Director and CEO of the Medical Council of Canada. “Richard has made tremendous contributions to medical education and assessment. We are very pleased that this year’s award recipient has such deep roots within the Medical Council of Canada, including as the Chair of the Examination Development Advisory Committee for many years. As a father of the MCC’s Qualifying Examination Part II, Richard has had a tremendous impact on how we assess clinical skills for licensure in Canada.”

In addition to serving as Dean, a position he has held since 2010, Dr. Reznick is Chief Executive Officer of the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Association, a professor in the Department of Surgery, and a member of the boards of Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care.

The award was presented to Dr. Reznick Sunday night at the Medical Council of Canada’s annual general meeting in Ottawa.

Canadian research leaders elected to College

Early-career Queen’s researchers honoured by the Royal Society of Canada.

See also:
A Royal Honour
Royal Society of Canada recognizes three Queen’s University faculty members as RSC fellows. (September 7, 2016)

Two Queen’s University faculty members have been named to the Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists program. The Members of the College are research leaders who, at an early stage in their career, have demonstrated a high level of achievement these elections are indicative of the research excellence fostered at Queen’s.

Katherine McKittrick’s (Gender Studies) research focuses include black studies, gender studies, history and literature while Karen Yeates (Medicine) is focused on bringing healthcare expertise to impoverished areas of Africa including Tanzania.

The New College program recognizes an emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership and seeks to gather scholars, artists and scientists at a highly productive stage of their careers into a single collegium where new advances in understanding will emerge from the interaction of diverse intellectual, cultural and social perspectives.

Karen Yeates

“The College opens the doors of the RSC to early and mid-career scholars and researchers, and provides them an opportunity to contribute to the promotion of learning and research,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “The researchers elected as part of the 2017 Membership are great representatives of the diverse range of leading edge and innovative research being undertaken by our younger colleagues on campuses across Canada.”

Dr. Yeates’ implementation science research program brings healthcare expertise to Tanzania and other nations using mobile phone technology. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mobile health research, and she has been praised internationally for her contributions to disease screening and prevention.

“I thought my research program wouldn’t really fit the metric of the scientist but this honour gives me motivation to keep pushing forward,” says Dr. Yeates.

Katherine McKittrick

Dr. McKittrick’s scholarly work looks at the links between the theories of race, liberation and creative texts in relation to the fields of geography, cultural studies, black studies and gender studies where her work on interdisciplinary and anti-colonial intellectual thought is widely recognized.

“I’m still very early in my career so this award is a deep honour,” says Dr. McKittrick. “To have a scholar who works on questions of black liberation recognized by the RSC is very exciting.”

For more information on the New College visit the website.

Investigating the genes and proteins behind bleeding disorders

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research awards substantial funding to professor David Lillicrap.

Queen’s University professor and one of the leading researchers in common inherited bleeding disorders David Lillicrap has received a $3.55 million Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation Grant.

“This funding will be used to support our program of research focused on the molecular science of the two most common inherited bleeding disorders – hemophilia and von Willebrand disease,” says Dr. Lillicrap (Pathology and Molecular Medicine). “These studies involve the application of a range of molecular approaches to understand the pathological basis, enhance the detection and improve the treatment of these conditions.” 

David Lillicrap has earned a Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr. Lillicrap’s research focuses on the genes and proteins that are deficient or defective in hemophilia and von Willebrand disease. Both conditions are lifelong bleeding disorders in which blood doesn’t clot correctly. Until recently, the treatment of these disorders has involved frequent injections of the missing clotting factor protein, but work conducted by Dr. Lillicrap’s group has shown that gene therapy is a feasible approach to deliver long-term benefits and a possible cure of the bleeding problem.

“Dr. Lillicrap’s research has led to innovative strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of the world's most commonly-inherited bleeding diseases,” says Dr. John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research).  “His novel findings, now being applied to clinical care worldwide, are improving the quality of life for patients with inherited bleeding disorders, and this significant investment from the CIHR will help to further this work.”

Dr. Lillicrap says the funding is the most significant operating grant his laboratory has received and will allow him to establish and complete more long-range goals. It will also enhance his work with the Queen's Clinical and Molecular Hemostasis Research Group, run by Dr. Lillicrap and Paula James.

“Many of our studies involve interactions between our two laboratories and include the exchange of knowledge, reagents and valuable research resources,” says Dr. Lillicrap. “We believe that our program is successful in part because we have complementary areas of research interest - the Lillicrap group is focused more on basic/molecular aspects of these diseases and the James group more on clinical and population based research.”

“Both groups share an overlapping interest in certain aspects of molecular and cellular pathology - one example being how blood vessel lining cells (endothelial cells) function in these bleeding diseases.”

He joins three other Queen’s faculty members who currently hold Foundation grants. The grants are designed to contribute to a sustainable foundation of established health research leaders.

For more information visit the CIHR website.

Researchers revolutionize cardiac procedure

Queen’s doctors first in Canada to successfully complete operation to treat patients who suffer from common heart condition.

Queen’s University researchers Gianluigi Bisleri (Surgery) and Benedict Glover (Medicine) became the first doctors in Canada to compete a hybrid cardiac ablation procedure. The procedure, which was completed at the Kingston Health Science Centre, is a treatment for patients who suffer from the heart condition atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate.

The new procedure will help patients heal faster, stop or reduce their use of medication, as well as reduce the number of future hospital visits that they require.

“No other centre or clinician has ever performed this hybrid procedure (combining a closed-chest surgical ablation with a transcatheter mapping) in Canada,” explains Dr. Bisleri. “Furthermore, the use of the Ensite Precision cardiac mapping system makes this procedure even more unique, since maybe only other one centre in the United States may have done this procedure so far.”

Ensite Precision technology provides highly detailed models and maps of the heart: Dr. Glover was the first cardiologist in North America to utilize this technology in late 2016.

"Patients have historically relied on medication along with traditional cardiac ablation procedures to help restore normal heart rhythms. During a traditional ablation procedure, physicians create scars inside the heart which prevent abnormal electrical signals from moving through the heart tissue. This traditional approach is typically performed either by inserting long, flexible tubes with wires into the heart through the patient’s groin or by using more invasive surgical approaches that often require opening the chest and stopping the heart," says Dr. Glover.

With the new procedure, a cardiologist uses digital technology to map the inside of the heart while the surgeon performs ablation on the outside of the heart using another specialized device. This requires only three keyhole incisions to navigate to the heart, removing the need to open a patient’s chest.

“So far, we have performed two cases and we are planning to continue performing two cases per month during the early stages of this newly developed program. We obviously have plans to further expand our volumes in the near future, since a larger majority of patients could benefit from this innovative strategy,” says Dr. Bisleri. “The outcomes have been excellent to date.Both patients underwent the hybrid procedure successfully and without perioperative complications, with a restoration of normal sinus rhythm at almost two months of follow-up.”

According to Dr. Bisleri, this procedure will also help reduce wait times, especially for patients who have received unsuccessful treatments so far.

“We are committed to further expand our understanding of the mechanisms of atrial fibrillation and the effects of ablation on it. We will also analyze the mid-long term outcomes of this patient population, as we envision this procedure has the potential not only to benefit the single patient but the healthcare system overall by reducing the need for repeated hospitalization or the likelihood to develop heart failure in the long term.”

School of Rehabilitation Therapy marks 50th anniversary

Fifty years ago, Dr. David Symington proposed that Queen’s University establish the School of Rehabilitation Therapy in order to respond to shortages of occupational and physical therapists locally and nationally.

• Master’s program in Rehabilitation Science approved and accepts its first students, 1988.
• Director Malcolm Peat leads the creation of the International Centre for Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR), 1991.
• Admission criteria for BSc programs change, requiring a minimum of one year of university education with specific prerequisites, 1997.
• The School of Medicine and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy were joined by the School of Nursing to become the current Faculty of Health Sciences, 1998.
• PhD program in Rehabilitation Science implemented, 2000.
• DSc in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership (DSc RHL), a professional doctorate program, receives approval in 2017 for implementation in 2018.

This year, the School celebrates a 50 year legacy of contributing to the everyday lives of individuals and communities across the globe through the work of its graduates, students, faculty, and staff.

“The initial request to establish the School was sent January 9, 1967 to Dean Edmund Harry Botterell,” says Marcia Finlayson (Director, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Vice-Dean, Health Sciences). “The request was positively received, and it was decided to establish a School of Rehabilitation Therapy with two divisions - occupational therapy and physical therapy.”

By September of that same year, the school was accepting its first cohort of students into its three-year diploma programs in either occupational therapy or physical therapy.  When it launched, the school was located in Brockington House and Dr. Symington was its director.  Muriel Driver oversaw the occupational therapy program while Dr. Roy Walmsley oversaw the physical therapy program.

A lot has changed over 50 years. The School of Rehabilitation Therapy relocated to the Louise D. Acton Building in 1972, where it remains today. Incoming cohorts of occupational therapy and physical therapy students have grown from 20 to 148 students, and the credentials for each discipline have evolved from a three-year diploma, to a four-year Bachelor of Science (1972), to a Master of Science (2004).   

Additional programs have been developed and launched over the years including a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science (1988), a PhD in Rehabilitation Science (2000), a Graduate Diploma and Master of Science in Aging and Health (2015), and a PhD in Aging and Health (2016). In 2017, the School received approval to launch a Doctor of Science in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership, commencing in May 2018. The student population of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy has grown to over 350 and, since inception, over 3,500 students have graduated from the School. 

“The growth and evolution of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy is a testament to the quality of our educational programs, the growing roles of occupational therapists and physical therapists across the health care system, and our commitment to research that informs and advances rehabilitation practice,” says Dr. Finlayson.

Over the anniversary year, members of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, along with a committee of alumni, have been collaborating on a variety of celebratory activities in honour of this important milestone, culminating with a Gala taking place in Kingston on Saturday, September 23rd.

The Gala is an evening event with dinner and music that celebrates the School’s five decades of academic achievement.  Guests will be treated to a proclamation by Kingston’s Town Crier, Chris Wyman, musical entertainment, a retrospective slideshow and a collection of donated artifacts and memorabilia including the graduation gown worn by Muriel Driver when she received her BSc degree from Queen’s. In addition to alumni attendees from across the School’s 50 years, invitees will include current and former directors, faculty, and staff.

For more information on the School’s 50th Anniversary and the upcoming Gala dinner event, please visit the website.

Helping post-graduate residents become better teachers

The way students learn is constantly evolving and ensuring that the School of Medicine’s residents are prepared for their teaching responsibilities is the ongoing focus of a blended learning program.

Developed by the team of professors from the School of Medicine, Lindsay Davidson, Michelle Gibson, Stephen Mann, along with Lynel Jackson, Instructional Design and Training, Education Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, and Sheila Pinchin, Manager, Educational Development and Faculty Support, Faculty of Health Sciences, the program addresses one of the major challenges in medical education – ensuring that post-graduate residents are well prepared for their role as teaches and supervisors of undergraduate medical students in clinical settings.

"Faculty and staff from the School of Medicine receive the Educational Technology Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards."
A team of faculty members and staff from the Faculty of Health Sciences won the Educational Technology Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards. From left: Dr. Lindsay Davidson; Lynel Jackson; Dr. Michelle Gibson; Dr. Stephen Mann; Sheila Pinchin; and Principal Daniel Woolf. (University Communications)

The result is a “backbone” of four online modules that provides first-year residents, who have only recently graduated from medical school themselves, with the tools and background they need to succeed as teachers and mentors for undergraduate students. The modules are linked with a two-day symposium that provides some “face-to-face teaching,” that reinforces the materials, Dr. Davidson explains.

For their work on the program, the team received the Educational Technology Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards. The award recognizes the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning at Queen’s. An award is available both for faculty and/or staff.

“I think that people are recognizing more and more that medical education starts in medical school but it continues right through into practice,” Dr. Davidson says, adding that residents do an enormous amount of teaching and supervision of undergraduate students in the clinical setting. “What we are recognizing more than anything is that relationship is a really important influence and can really impact on the student’s experience. Yet, before this program was introduced, when you graduated from medical school you really hadn’t learned much about teaching and supervising junior learners. So really this was an initiative to solve that problem.”

By completing the modules residents gain information on wide range of topics including  medical student course objectives, best practices in supervising trainees, effective ways of providing feedback as well as other tips to succeed as a clinical teacher.

Once the program has been completed the modules remain accessible to the residents so they can review the modules throughout the residency, which can last from two to five years.

Building upon the success the modules have been reused and repurposed for faculty members, says Dr. Davidson.

“We have regional faculty members because we have students who are placed in hospitals all over the province and those faculty members” she says. “So we are reusing the modules with some small revisions to introduce those faculty to ‘this is what the Queen’s medical program is like, this is what the objectives are, this is what we expect students to do,’ those sorts of things.”

The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus. The awards are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The Educational Technology Award is sponsored and coordinated by Information Technology Services. Nominations for the 2017 are currently being accepted. All nominations should be sent electronically in PDF form to the chair of the selection committee via stacey.boulton@queensu.ca no later than Tuesday, Aug. 1, by 4 pm.

For more information about the award and the nomination form and process, visit the CTL website.

Queen’s student joins Canada 150 sea expedition

"Queen's student Thomas Dymond explains the Canada C3's route through the Northwest Passage"
Thomas Dymond makes a presentation on the Canada C3 project, a 150-day excursion aboard a refitted icebreaker from Toronto to Victoria through the Northwest Passage. Mr Dymond will be aboard the ship July 22 to July 29. (Photo by Andrew Van Overbeke)

One of Queen’s own has been selected to take part in a high profile expedition this summer as part of the Canada 150 project.

Thomas Dymond, a second-year student at the School of Medicine, says he is excited for the opportunity to work with the Canada C3 project, a 150-day excursion aboard a refitted icebreaker, as it sails from Toronto to Victoria through the Northwest Passage.

 The journey, Mr. Dymond says, is about engaging Canadians from coast to coast to coast: the three Cs which give the expedition its name.

“It’s about bringing people together and exposing different people to different parts of Canada, parts they wouldn’t otherwise get to see,” he says.

Mr. Dymond will be boarding the expedition from July 22 to July 29 as it travels its sixth leg from Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador, to Iqaluit, Nunavut. He will be joined by youth ambassadors like himself, as well as scientists, artists, and Indigenous elders, among others, each with a different representative role to play.

Of Mi’kmaq heritage and the recent recipient of a national Indspire Award for outstanding Indigenous youth advocacy, Mr. Dymond sees his role, first and foremost, as being a positive representative of his diverse identities.

“Regardless if I intend to only represent myself on this journey, I am still going to be looked on as an Indigenous person, as a youth, and as a medical student, and so I need to respect my representation of those identities,” he says.

As an Indigenous youth in particular, Mr. Dymond feels that his participation in the C3 expedition is an opportunity to promote conversation about the Canada 150 project and interact with the Indigenous resistance movement surrounding it.

“It will be challenging at times to go into places that may not be welcoming of the project. I am trying to go into this experience with an open mind and facilitate some of these difficult conversations,” he says, “We’re going into communities, many of which are Indigenous, to listen to their stories. We are not going there to shape those communities, but to learn from and be shaped by them.”

To Mr. Dymond, such a conversation means discussing the negatives of Canada’s colonial history, while also highlighting the achievements of the Indigenous population.

“I think it’s important for the conversation to include the movers and shakers, the people protesting Canada 150. But also to have the other side of it, the Indigenous population who believe that they can celebrate Canada 150 because it means that they are still present and thriving and are part of the movement towards reconciliation,” he says.

Mr. Dymond says it has been difficult for him to find positive representation of his community in the media. Ultimately, he hopes that by participating in this project he will be able to shed light on the prosperity of Aboriginal Canadians.

“I feel like most of the time, the media is so focused on the issues that Indigenous communities face,” says Mr. Dymond, “My hope for this project is to have positive experiences that I can then share at home and with Canada.”

As a part of this goal, Mr. Dymond will be broadcasting his Canada C3 experience through his personal social media accounts. To stay updated on his journey, visit him on Twitter and Instagram at @tdymond91.

Learning for life

Principal Daniel Woolf presents a Teaching and Learning award to (from left to right) Sandra Halliday, Sheila Pinchin, Dr. Melanie Walker, Dr. Heather Murray, and Suzanne Maranda.

When the School of Medicine at Queen’s initiated a curriculum renewal process for the MD program in 2009, Heather Murray (Emergency Medicine) saw an opportunity to enhance the education of medical students in evidence-based medicine and research skills training.

The study and practice of medicine is constantly evolving, and there is an endless amount of information and new knowledge being created through research and then being shared through studies and journals. Long after they’ve graduated, Dr. Murray explains, doctors need to be able to access new information and understand it before they can apply it.

“As our knowledge and understanding of human disease and how we treat it changes, the management of these conditions change,” Dr. Murray says. “So our students must graduate with a framework for understanding what they don’t know and finding valid answers. We can’t teach them a static body of knowledge that will apply anymore. We have to teach them a series of steps they undertake to educate themselves as they go forward because the target is always moving.”

The plan, in short, was to teach students how to be continual learners while, at the same time, the School of Medicine reduced the amount of lecture-based learning in the program. This meant teaching students how to approach the vast body of information, critically analyze it, and then, if deemed viable, apply it.

The result was an innovative new curricular plan for each year of the four-year program, developed by Dr. Murray and a multidisciplinary team including fellow faculty members Melanie Walker (Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology) and Linda Levesque (Centre for Health Services and Policy Research), Sheila Pinchin, Manager - Educational Development and Faculty Support, School of Medicine, as well as Suzanne Maranda and Sandra Halliday of the Bracken Library.

In 2015, the team received the Curriculum Development Award, one of six Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards. The award recognizes excellence in curriculum or program development through collaborative efforts by committees, teams, units or departments.

As the curriculum renewal progressed, so did the introduction to evidence-based medicine and research.

The initial step in 2009 saw Dr. Murray and Dr. Levesque develop a first-year course in evidence-based medicine, MEDS 112, also referred to as CARL – Critical Appraisal, Research and Lifelong Learning.  Throughout first year, further sessions would be held in a variety of courses to entrench the connections.

“We slowly evolved this curriculum over the years where the students would do this foundational stuff in the CARL course: they would learn how to read papers and how to interpret results, and the basic skill set was to be a literate consumer of medical evidence,” Dr. Murray says. “Then the students would do these practical application sessions where I would team teach with a faculty member in a clinical course and we would do a deep dive and read a paper and apply it to some case scenarios.”

This is followed by a second newly designed course: the critical enquiry course (MEDS 232) in second year. In small groups of three students with one faculty mentor, the focus is on developing a research proposal longitudinally over the year, building upon the skills they gained in first year.

“In this course they conduct a literature search, they do a bit of critical appraisal, and then they build their own research proposal,” Dr. Murray explains. “And many of the students use that course as a launch pad to actually do research in the summer after their second year.”

The curriculum continues in third and fourth years, as the students conduct their clinical clerkships, where they complete a written exercise of asking questions, finding and appraising evidence and then writing up an actual patient case they have been involved with for each rotation.

The Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus. The awards are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

Nominations for the 2017 Curriculum Development Award are currently being accepted. All nominations should be sent electronically in PDF form to ctl@queensu.ca no later than Tuesday, Aug. 1, by 4 pm. For more information about the award and the nomination form and process, visit the CTL website

Five Queen’s students earn Vanier scholarships

Five Queen’s University doctoral students have earned Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships designed to help Canadian institutions attract and retain highly qualified doctoral students. The five winners’ areas of study include breast and lung cancer, exercise training programs, pre-cancerous cells, emotions, and persistent genital arousal disorder.

The scholarships provide each student with $50,000 per year for three years during their doctoral studies.

“These are Canada’s most prestigious awards for doctoral students and they will put these young scholars on solid footing for future research success,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “Our five new Vanier Scholars have shown their tremendous research potential. They are also role models for other students at Queen’s, and will mentor their colleagues and peers. We congratulate them on their success.”

This year's recipients include:

Taha Azad

Taha Azad - Mr. Azad has developed a light emission-based biosensor tool to detect interactions between proteins involved in Hippo signaling. The Hippo signaling pathway is involved in restraining cell proliferation. The tool allows the discovery of regulators, which are capable of promoting cancer cell proliferation and metastasis. Mr. Azad is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Elina Cook

Elina Cook - Ms. Cook’s work aims to enable earlier surveillance and treatment for blood cancer development in the elderly. For Canada’s aging population, this may facilitate a shift toward more targeted, preventative medicine. Additionally, this means that aggressive, often unsuccessful cancer therapies could be avoided in an already frail population, which would improve individuals’ quality of life and the healthcare burden overall. Ms. Cook is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Kalee De France

Kalee De France - Ms. De France is exploring emotions and how individuals learn to regulate emotions in order to operate in line with social norms and to prevent emotions from impeding social and academic functioning. She is exploring three questions: what are the differences in regulation across adolescence; what external mechanisms are responsible for this change; how do changes in adolescent emotion regulation relate to well-being. Ms. De France is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


Jacob Bonafiglia

Jacob Bonafiglia - Mr. Bonafiglia and his supervisor Brendon Gurd (Kinesiology and Health Studies) are exploring genetic responses to acute exercise, skeletal muscle responses to training, and the use of progressive statistics to characterize individual exercise responses and better understand the potential of non-responders. Mr. Bonafiglia is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


Robyn Jackowich

Robyn Jackowich - The main goal of Ms. Jackowich’s study is to improve our understanding of the complex nature of persistent genital arousal disorder by examining psychosocial function, sensory characteristics (including sensitivity to touch and heat), and blood flow processes in a controlled study framed by the biopsychosocial perspective. She is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


The Government of Canada awards up to 167 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships each year for highly qualified doctoral students who demonstrate academic excellence, research potential, and leadership. For more information on the awards and this year’s winners, visit the federal government’s website.

The evolution of medical education

The team behind competency-based medical education (CBME) at Queen's.

On a weekend when people across the country marked Canada’s 150th birthday, Queen’s University's School of Medicine celebrated the launch of something new in medical education. It’s called competency-based medical education (CBME) and Queen’s University is the first school in North America to implement it across all of its specialty programs for medical residents.

The CBME model was created in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Under this model, this year’s cohort of about 130 residents will be moved to their next rotation once they have demonstrated competency in the clinical tasks and activities expected of them at each stage. Previously, residents usually moved on once they had completed a certain amount of time in a set rotation.

“All the evidence points to using a competency-based approach as the fundamental and logical next step in medical education,” says Damon Dagnone, CBME Lead at Queen’s University. “Along the way, we will continuously study these changes, engage all stakeholders – including patients and families – and embrace co-production and a shared leadership model, use a systems-based approach, and commit to regular and gradual quality improvement. We’ve come so far in just two years, but this is really just the beginning.”

As an important next step, other hospital health care professionals will be able to share their feedback with every resident and their supervisors as part of CBME. The School of Medicine also aims to allow patients and families to contribute to the educational process in the future.

For the residents, this new model promises a rewarding learning experience as they will receive more timely feedback and mentorship from their faculty supervisors and academic advisors. This will help them identify their strengths and weaknesses at every stage. They will also have increased opportunities to pursue personal learning goals and desired areas of excellence.

While the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons has asked all Canadian medical schools to transition their specialty residency training programs to the new model by 2022, Queen’s opted to transition all 29 residency programs at once. The move caps over two years of preparatory work, and was led by an executive team of eight faculty and staff members in the School of Medicine.

“At Queen’s, we are constantly striving to provide our students with the best possible education and so we have made it a fundamental component of our strategy to develop and trial new models of training,” says Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s. “As such, we are very excited by the value of a system of competency-based education and are thrilled to take a national lead by transitioning all of our specialty medicine residency training programs at once; doing it this way gives us the ability to capture the hearts and minds of the entire medical school and I am very proud of what our team has achieved to get us to this point.”

The move to fully implement CBME at Queen’s has already attracted attention around the globe. Both Drs. Reznick and Dagnone have recently presented at multiple conferences, speaking of the mission at Queen’s to develop and test new models of training and to work closely with educational partners.

“On behalf of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, congratulations to Queen’s University on their successful deployment of competency-based medical education,” says Ken Harris, executive director, Office of Specialty Education, RCPSC. “We believe CBME is the future of medical education. This outcomes-based approach incorporates more feedback and ongoing observation of how knowledge is being applied and will contribute to a practice environment where learning itself is integrated into the day-to-day.”

To learn more about CBME at Queen’s, please click here. You may also visit the Royal College’s “Competence by Design” project website here.

Want to meet a few of our new residents? Check out these short video interviews from their orientation day!


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