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Queen’s University professor recognized for innovation in medical education.

Sanjay Sharma, a professor of ophthalmology and epidemiology at Queen’s University, has received the John Ruedy Award for Innovation in Medical Education from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

Dr. Sharma was recognized for spearheading the development of MEDSKL, a free, open-access platform for medical students that uses video to deliver clinical education from leading physicians around the world. MEDSKL was designed for medical school students and practicing physicians to learn and review the fundamentals of clinical medicine.

“Being a doctor requires the ability to apply knowledge and theory in often unpredictable circumstances. Yet today’s medical students still receive their core education primarily through textbooks and lecture halls. Students need earlier access to clinical knowledge and case studies that bring the fundamental aspects of practicing medicine to life,” says Dr. Sharma.

The John Ruedy Award, named after the former Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, recognizes physicians who have developed innovative digital or materials that support undergraduate, postgraduate, or continuing medical education.

“Queen’s University and the School of Medicine are proud to recognize Dr. Sharma for the work he’s done in innovating medical education,” says Dean Richard Reznick. “His contributions will provide students with yet another opportunity to enhance their medical training.”

When starting his medical career, Dr. Sharma says he chose Queen’s for his residency due to the amount of surgery performed, which fit his interests perfectly. He arrived at Queen’s in 1991 and has continued to work to change the care and treatment of patients with eye conditions ever since.

“In 2007 eye injections using new medicines were proven to have remarkable benefits in patients with wet macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and other retinal conditions,” says Dr. Sharma. “To achieve these benefits, frequent eye injections called intravitreal injections are often required. Through our work at Hotel Dieu Hospital we realized that one of the barriers to quality health care was easy access to a clinic where these procedures are provided.”

To address these location issues, Dr. Sharma opened his first part-time intravitreal clinic in Belleville in 2011. After positive feedback, he opened a number of new clinics in Brockville, Smiths Falls and Port Hope. He always does the first assessment of patients at his Hotel Dieu clinic but is now able to provide injections at four different sites.

“In the clinics we feature some of the best young medical minds in the country, including medical students, residents and fellows,” says Dr. Sharma.

It’s this interest in students and their education that led Dr. Sharma to present a new way for medical students to learn. He created the open access website Medskl.com, which features more than 100 TED talk-style on dozens of clinical topics, from general surgery to public health and the legal and ethical aspects of medicine. Each learning module includes a two-minute whiteboard presentation, a 15-minute lecture and a 1,000 word written document.

The award will be presented at the end of April at the 2017 Canadian Conference on Medical Education, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Queen’s distinguishes itself as one of the leading research-intensive institutions in Canada. The mission is to advance research excellence, leadership and innovation, as well as enhance Queen’s impact at a national and international level. Through undertaking leading-edge research, Queen’s is addressing many of the world’s greatest challenges, and developing innovative ideas and technological advances brought about by discoveries in a variety of disciplines. Queen’s University is a member of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities.