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A long-overdue degree and hope for our future

[Bartholomew degree]
Dean Richard Reznick and Chancellor Jim Leech celebrate with members of the Bartholomew family. 

This article was first published on the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Blog.

On Thursday, May 23 the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine held their convocation ceremony, and those of us on the faculty had the joy of seeing our tremendous graduates receive their new degrees. Convocation is always a meaningful occasion, but this year’s stands out because we had the opportunity to grant a posthumous degree to Ethelbert Bartholomew.

Ethelbert should have been granted this degree 100 years ago, but the 1918 policy that banned Black medical students from Queen’s took away his opportunity to receive the degree he deserved.

You may remember that last month Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf and I signed a public letter of apology for this ban. Ethelbert’s son, Daniel Bartholomew, traveled to Kingston from Whitby to attend this apology ceremony, and I was grateful that he was able to be there.

Afterwards, at a dinner marking the occasion, Daniel looked at me and said: “There’s one more thing I’m wondering if you could do. Could you give my dad his degree?”

Now, this sounded like a great idea to me, but I was somewhat taken aback by this simple yet profound request. So, being a polite dean, I told him I would see what I could do. Granting a degree is a complicated process, and it isn’t something I could just do on my own. Even if it were possible, I was afraid that it might take a long time. Universities, you might know, don’t exactly move at lightning speed.

So that evening, I spoke to Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney and she said “we can do this!”

The next day I spoke to our Director of Diversity Mala Joneja and she said “we can do this!”

To my great thrill, everyone at Queen’s jumped into action with great commitment to granting this degree. Processes that would normally take us a year got finished within a month. Daniel Bartholomew asked for this degree in April, and we were able to confer it in May.

Dr. Maria Bartholomew and Rosalind Bartholomew accept the Doctor of Medicine degree for Ethelbert Bartholomew from Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Rector Alex Da Silva. (University Communications)

Conferring this degree was made all the more meaningful by the fact that Daniel and other members of Ethelbert’s family came to Kingston to attend convocation. Two of Ethelbert’s descendants even agreed to accept the degree on his behalf: Dr. Maria Bartholomew, his great niece, and Rosalind Bartholomew, his granddaughter.

I am so grateful to all the members of the Bartholomew family who joined us for convocation. Handing Ethelbert’s long-overdue degree to Maria and Rosalyn will stay with me as one of the most meaningful moments in my time as dean. I am also grateful to PhD candidate, Edward Thomas, for his incredible and diligent work in unearthing many of the details of this story through his research.

The ban of 1918 is certainly a sad moment from our past, but, as I stood in front of our new graduates, I felt immense hope for our future. When it comes to embracing diversity, the class of 2019 is light years ahead of where we were, as a society, in 1918. Undoubtedly, they are even light years ahead of my generation.

It’s thrilling to see the ways in which they have all embraced inclusivity in the classroom, around campus, and in the hospital. For this generation, the drive to promote equity and diversity is part of who they are as people. And I know that they will all continue to work to make Canada a more equitable society as they embark on the next stage of their careers.

Dean Reznick thanks Andrew Willson for his assistance in preparing this blog.

Castle campus marks 25 years

Queen’s Bader International Study Centre to celebrate milestone with alumni reunion.

Queen's Bader International Study Centre
Queen's Bader International Study Centre (BISC) celebrates 25 years.

Inside the walls of a nearly 600-year-old English castle, Queen’s alumni, faculty, staff, and friends will soon gather to mark the 25th anniversary of the Queen’s Bader International Study Centre (BISC) housed there. Among them: a NASA astronaut, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, leading academics, Canadian expats, local community members, and those traveling from around the world – all of whom will be on hand from June 29-30, 2019 to celebrate the past, present, and future of the overseas Queen’s campus.

“For a quarter century, the BISC has been a temporary home to Queen’s students looking to further broaden the scope of their learning,” says Hugh Horton, Vice-Provost and BISC Executive Director. “Here, they are able to engage with scholars from across the world, in a close-knit, interdisciplinary academic environment to not only enhance their education, but give it a truly global dimension.”

Visionary philanthropists and Queen’s alumni Alfred and Isabel Bader gifted the BISC, located on the Herstmonceux Castle estate in East Sussex, UK, to Queen’s University in 1993, and it opened doors to students in 1994. It has since provided innovative, international undergraduate and graduate programs to over 7,000 Queen’s students, across disciplines as diverse as archaeology, music, international law and politics, global health, international project management, and astronomy. Program offerings continue to grow.

In 2017, the BISC accepted its first group of students from the Queen’s Concurrent Education Program, which prepares undergraduates to become educators. Students enrolled in this program complete local practicums at primary and secondary schools nearby the BISC campus, providing a hands-on comparative learning experience.

This year, programming for science students is set to expand with the opening of the BISC’s brand-new teaching science laboratory and innovation design space, allowing the campus to offer practical science subjects on campus for the very first time. The facility will be officially unveiled during the 25th anniversary celebrations.

The Bader International Study Centre
Queen's Bader International Study Centre.

“The Baders envisaged a learning facility that could take the Queen’s educational experience Alfred deeply cherished, and extend its reach internationally,” says Dr. Horton. “With 25-years of BISC alumni now living and working in countries across the world—many of whom are set to join us in celebration of this incredible milestone—and our ever-growing complement of programs, I think their vision has truly taken shape. In honour of their vision, and of Alfred, who passed away late last year, I look forward to continuing our momentum forward into the next 25 years.”

On June 29, 2019, BISC alumni and their families are invited to the first day of 25th anniversary celebrations. There, they will have a chance to reminisce during castle tours, have tea in the Elizabethan gardens, mingle with professors, and attend the unveiling of a commemorative garden honouring the Baders. NASA astronaut and Queen’s alumnus Drew Feustel, who returned from the International Space Station last October following a six-month mission, will also deliver a keynote address.

On June 30, the celebration will open to the public and take on a Canadian theme in recognition of the Canada Day weekend. Canadians living in England are encouraged to join alumni on the castle grounds for street hockey, tastes from home such as poutine and Nanaimo bars, falconry and archery demonstrations, and a symphonova performance by the BISC Musicians in Residence, featuring works by Dan School of Drama and Music Professor John Burge.

Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Vice-Principal (Advancement) Karen Bertrand will be among senior leaders there to help mark the milestone.

“In 1993, the Baders bestowed Queen’s with the BISC; an amazing gift that went on to play a foundational role in extending our university’s global horizons,” says Principal Woolf. “The unique, experiential learning prospects that the facility provides helped inspire us to chart educational linkages with many other institutions and organizations internationally – opening a world of opportunities for our students.”

Those interested in attending the festivities can register on the website.

Queen’s rights a wrong as Spring Convocation kicks off

  • Daniel Bartholomew listens to Richard Rexnick
    Daniel Bartholomew, the son of Ethelbert Bartholomew, who was affected by the 1918 ban on admission of Black students to the medical school at Queen’s, listens to Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences.
  • Bartholomew family look at degree
    Dr. Maria Bartholomew and Rosalind Bartholomew hand the posthumous Doctor of Medicine for Ethelbert Bartholomew to his son Daniel, during Thursday's convocation ceremony in Grant Hall.
  • Presentation of degree to Bartholomew family
    The family of Ethelbert Bartholomew take to the stage at Grant Hall to receive his Doctor of Medicine from Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech, and Rector Alex Da Silva.
  • Bartholomew family members
    Dr. Maria Bartholomew, Daniel Bartholomew and Rosalind Bartholomew hold the Doctor of Medicine conferred posthumously to Ethelbert Bartholomew, who was affected by the 1918 ban on admission of Black students to the medical school at Queen’s
  • Daniel Bartholomew
    Daniel Bartholomew gives a thumb's up as he reaches out to Edward Thomas (Sc'06, MASc'12), who researched the expulsion of Black medical students in 1918.
  • Blanket awarding to School of Medicine student
    An Indigenous graduate of the School of Medicine receives a blanket from Laura Maracle, Indigenous Cultural Safety Coordinator, during Thursday's convocation ceremony.
  • Family celebrates PhD graduate
    Family members celebrate as a loved one receives her doctoral degree during the convocation ceremony for the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing at Grant Hall.
  • Parents hood School of Medicine graduate
    A graduate of the School of Medicine is hooded by her parents as Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, and Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, look on.
  • Jenny Medves
    Director of the School of Nursing and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences Jenny Medves speaks to the graduands and their families and friends at Thursday's convocation ceremony.

Spring Convocation started on Thursday with the first ceremony being held at Grant Hall.

The afternoon event saw graduates of the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing cross the stage, as their friends, families, and loved ones looked on.

The ceremony was also a special event for the university, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the family of Ethelbert Bartholomew.

An upper-year student whose medical career was abruptly ended in 1918 by a ban on admission of Black students to the medical school at Queen’s, Bartholmew was posthumously conferred a Doctor of Medicine degree on Thursday, which was accepted by members of his family.

In April, the university signed an official letter of apology, acknowledging the institution’s past racist actions and repeated failures to hold itself accountable.

Three more ceremonies will be held on Friday at 10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm. At the 4 pm ceremony, award-winning Canadian broadcast journalist and Chancellor of the University of Victoria, Shelagh Rogers, will receive the first of seven honorary degrees being handed out by Queen’s at convocation.

Overall, a total of 18 ceremonies are being held for Spring Convocation, with the final one being held Wednesday, June 12. The first 14 will be held at Grant Hall, while the final four will be hosted at the Athletics and Recreation Centre Main Gym.

Live ceremony feeds will begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of each ceremony. The full schedule of the ceremonies is available online.

More information about Convocation at Queen's is available on the website of the Office of the University Registrar.

More photos can be viewed at the Queen’s University page on flickr.

Integrating Western and Indigenous care

Jung Lin
Jung Lin works as an occupational therapist in a Cree community in northern Quebec and enrolled in the Queen's Faculty of Health Sciences' DSc in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership (RHL) program. (Supplied Photo) 

This article was first published on the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Blog.

Working as an occupational therapist in a Cree community in northern Quebec, Jung Lin was very far away from Queen’s when she heard about the DSc in Rehabilitation and Health Leadership (RHL) program - but the timing could not have been better.

Jung learned about the program through an informational email from the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, where she’d earned a master’s degree ten years before. Just a few days before she received this email, she had been having a conversation with her manager about whether or not she’d be interested in taking a larger research and leadership role within their organization.

When the message about the RHL program reached her, then, it seemed almost like a sign.

The DSc RHL program is one of our newest offerings in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and it is designed for people, like Jung, who already have careers in health care but want to develop their skills in order to take on bigger challenges and larger responsibilities.

Jung’s goal in earning her doctorate is to put herself in the position to help rehabilitation professionals work more closely with Indigenous care providers. For her dissertation, she is conducting a mixed-method study to develop training modules that can help practitioners learn how to integrate Western and Indigenous methods of care. Her goal is to use her findings to develop better training systems for Indigenous paraprofessionals and to enhance service delivery.

“While I greatly enjoy providing care to my patients, I’m also looking to make bigger changes,” Jung says. “The Rehabilitation and Health Leadership program is teaching me how to make the larger impact I’m aiming for.”

Originally from Taiwan, Jung has been making connections across cultural divides her entire adult life. After earning her degree in Occupational Therapy in her home country, she worked there for several years at a mental health facility before moving to Canada with her family.

When she and her parents came to Canada, they settled in Montreal, which they chose because Jung’s older sister was working toward her PhD at McGill. After a few months, though, Jung decided on a change of scenery and to get started on earning her master’s degree.

She found her way to the Master’s in Rehabilitation Science program at McMaster University, where she developed a greater understanding of Canadian healthcare.

After finishing this one-year program, however, she felt like she had more to learn and explore in order to enter the workforce with a greater sense of confidence and mastery. Ultimately this desire led her to enroll in the thesis-based Master’s program in Rehabilitation Science at the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy.

At Queen’s, Canada truly started to feel like home for Jung. She gives a lot of credit to her supervisor, Dr. Rosemary Lysaght, for supporting her with her transition to Kingston and for helping her develop a professional network.

From Kingston, Jung returned to Montreal to be closer to her family, and she worked as an occupational therapist in the city. When she saw the job advertisement for her current position with the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, she was immediately intrigued. She viewed it as an opportunity to provide useful services to a part of Canada that she wouldn’t get to know otherwise.

Jung says there are some challenges to working in the north. Her family still lives in Montreal, so every two months she drives nine hours (each way) to spend time with them. The community she lives in is over an hour and a half away from the nearest grocery store, which means she has to plan her shopping trips much more carefully than she was used to before working there. And, of course, the weather can get extremely cold.

But Jung finds the experience highly rewarding despite any challenges.

The DSc RHL program is fitting in to her work and life commitments just as she’d hoped it would. The online nature of most of the coursework allows her to integrate studying into her busy schedule without much trouble.

Even more important, she strongly believes that the program is helping her to meet her goals.

“I think I’ve gone through a transformation since starting the program,” she says. “I am more capable of making long-term plans for my work, and I have grown more confident as a leader. The classes ‘Leadership Development Seminar’ and ‘Applying Theory to Enable Change’ have had an especially strong impact on me.”

Jung felt confident in her decision to enroll in a second degree program at the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy because, as she worked toward her master’s, she thought it was an environment where the faculty truly care about students and their needs.

“After 10 years,” she says, “I think Queen’s is just as student-centred as I remember it.”

Dr. Reznick thanks Andrew Willson for his assistance in preparing this blog. 

Funding new scientific frontiers

New Frontiers in Research Fund fuels Queen’s research in topics ranging from Lyme disease to climate change.

Early-career researchers are the backbone of Canada’s research infrastructure. Recognizing this area of research strength and its potential, the Government of Canada has launched the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) to support early-career researchers as they pursue the next great discovery in their fields.

[Minister Kirsty Duncan]
Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Seven Queen’s University projects earned a $1.72 million portion of the $38 million in NFRF funding announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, earlier this week. The successful Queen’s researchers are: Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) and Mark Ormiston (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences), Robert Colautti (Biology), Samuel Dahan (Law), Lindsay Morcom (Education), Jessica Selinger (Kinesiology and Health Science), Kevin Stamplecoskie (Chemistry), and Laura Thomson (Geography and Planning).

“I am pleased today to celebrate the very first researchers to benefit from the New Frontiers in Research Fund. Our government’s vision is for our researchers to take risks and be innovative,” says Minister Duncan. “We want our scientists and students to have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, and we want the halls of academia to better reflect the diversity of Canada itself. This new fund will help us achieve that vision.”

Drs. Capicciotti and Ormiston are studying how cancer cells change the sugars that they express on their surface to avoid detection by the immune system. The researchers will work to develop technology to screen hundreds of sugar structures, with the ultimate goal of creating new cancer therapies that function by boosting an individual’s immune response.

As a member of the Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network (CLyDRN) based at Queen’s, Dr. Colautti is leading a diverse and multidisciplinary group of researchers to disrupt the way that tick-borne diseases are identified and managed in Canada. Their approach includes the use of handheld DNA sequencers and cloud computing for rapid detection of known or potential tick-borne pathogens, summarizing this information into a risk assessment framework for medical practitioners, public health officials, and the general populace.

Professor Dahan, in collaboration with Xiaodan Zhu (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and a team of 25 data scientists, Artificial Intelligence researchers, and law students, is working on an open source AI-tribunal for small claims in Ontario. This digital dispute-resolution platform will provide predictive legal services and negotiation support for self-represented plaintiffs. The NFRF funding will help develop the first stage of the product, focusing on severance pay and termination negotiation.

Using the skills of an interdisciplinary team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and visual and digital media artists, Dr. Morcom and her team will work to create a network of virtual reality spaces across the country. The newly-created spaces will be used to stage cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and cross-generational encounters.

Dr. Selinger has formed an interdisciplinary team that combines expertise in fundamental human biomechanics, clinical rehabilitative medicine, and applied robotic control. The research has the potential to revolutionize the next generation of rehabilitation strategies by focusing on how people re-learn to walk after a stroke.

Focusing on a new area of research, Dr. Stamplecoskie and partner Guojun Liu (Chemistry), are researching new electrochemical devices, capable of capturing the tremendous amount of energy available in rainfall, waves, and evaporating water. The research is working to create new devices capable to meeting global energy demands.

Dr. Thomson has amassed an interdisciplinary team that will integrate modern glacier research practices and inter-generational perspectives on climate, to improve environmental monitoring in Canada’s high-Arctic. This initiative will provide open-access, real-time climate data for the first time in this part of the Arctic, and provide public access to rare historic data.

All of the Queen’s projects are funded under the Exploration stream of the NFRF program. The second stream is the Transformation stream that provides large-scale support for Canada to build strength and leadership in interdisciplinary and transformative research. The third stream, International, will come online later, according to Minister Duncan.

“Through the NFRF program, early-career researchers at Queen’s are bringing new ideas and methodologies to critical issues from Lyme disease to climate change,” say Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Importantly, they are increasing the potential impact and application of their work by collaborating across disciplinary boundaries.”

For more information, visit the NFRF website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities listserv.

Queen’s names first Distinguished University Professors

Recipients recognized for international research and teaching excellence.

2018-19 Distinguished University Professors
2018-19 Distinguished University Professors: (Left to right) Top row: Donald H. Akenson, Stephen Archer, Nicholas Bala. Middle row: Susan P. C. Cole, Cathleen Crudden, John McGarry. Bottom row: Ram Murty, R. Kerry Rowe, Suning Wang.

Queen’s University recently awarded its highest research-related honour to nine faculty members internationally recognized for contributions to their respective fields of study. Each recipient was named a Distinguished University Professor for exhibiting an outstanding and sustained research record, teaching excellence, and significant and lasting contributions to Queen’s, Canada, and the world.

“The work being done here at Queen’s in many different academic disciplines is contributing to our understanding of the world and the overall global body of knowledge in many fields,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “To celebrate this level of world-class excellence in research and teaching, it is my pleasure to designate nine of our most accomplished faculty members as Distinguished University Professors.”

The group of individuals chosen are the first to receive designations under the Distinguished University Professor Program, which was made official by the university’s Senate in 2017-18. Each year, the program’s advisory committee will invite nominations from the campus community, review the submissions, and make recommendations to the principal, who then determines successful nominees.

“Choosing this year’s recipients, from what was an impeccable pool of nominees, was no easy task,” says Principal Woolf. “That said, it served as a wonderful opportunity for me to learn even more about the breadth of work taking place here at Queen’s, and the incredible faculty driving it forward.”

Each recipient will soon add an honorific name to their title, to be selected from a list of Senate approved names. For the first set of designates, this process will take place shortly.

The inaugural group of Distinguished University Professors includes:

  • Donald H. Akenson, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History
  • Stephen Archer, Distinguished University Professor, School of Medicine
  • Nicholas Bala, Distinguished University Professor, Faculty of Law
  • Susan P. C. Cole, Distinguished University Professor, Queen’s Cancer Research Institute
  • Cathleen Crudden, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Chemistry
  • John McGarry, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Political Studies
  • Ram Murty, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • R. Kerry Rowe, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
  • Suning Wang, Distinguished University Professor, Department of Chemistry

Visit the Principal’s website to learn more about the Distinguished University Professors Program, its advisory committee, and selection of honorific names.

A Hall of Fame career

This article was first published on the Faculty of Health Sciences Dean’s Blog.

On May 2, I had the thrill of attending the induction ceremony for the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. This is one of my favourite annual events, and this year’s ceremony was especially meaningful because I was able to see a true legend of the Queen’s School of Medicine get inducted: Dr. Jackie Duffin.

From 1988 to 2017, Dr. Duffin was the Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at Queen’s, and in this role she taught all of our medical students to place our profession in a broader historical context and also to think critically about the ways in which medical knowledge is produced.

A number of the lessons she created for our curriculum became rites of passage for our students. I think almost everyone who studied here while Dr. Duffin taught for us has vivid memories of reading the original Hippocratic Oath with her during orientation and thinking hard about the concepts of “heroes” and “villains” in medical history during their first semester. Many students also traveled around Canada and the United States with her, as she arranged yearly field trips to medical museums in both countries.

Dr. Duffin’s students were so devoted to her that some of them created a conference in her honour the year after she retired. The Jacalyn Duffin Health and Humanities Conference has now run for two years, and it has been an outstanding success both times.

In its citation for Dr. Duffin’s induction, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame says, “A haematologist and historian, her enduring contributions to medical research and education deepen our understanding of how the humanities inform balanced, effective medical training.”  

[Dr. Jackie Duffin]
Jackie Duffin, seated, front row, last on right, was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame on May 2. (Supplied Photo)

It is so terrific to see Dr. Duffin honoured for the way in which she has so effectively brought the humanities into medical education because, at Queen’s, we’ve been seeing for decades the positive effects that this kind of teaching can have on students.

Because I know how beloved she always was by our students, I reached out to a few to ask for their thoughts on Dr. Duffin and what she has meant to them. Here’s what they had to say.

“Dr. Duffin’s History of Medicine curriculum has provided an essential building block to the medical education of thousands of medical students,” Kate Rath-Wilson says. “She provided us with the critical reasoning tools to be skeptical when necessary and righteous in our advocacy. Learning about the history of our profession, its triumphs and tragedies, through Dr. Duffin’s critical lens was at once humbling and empowering. Her teaching discouraged us from becoming complacent in our responsibilities as health care advocates in our future careers.”

"There are few generalizations that are true in life but I can say without any reservation that Dr. Jacalyn Duffin is loved and cherished by ALL her students,” says Hissan Butt. “That's why Meds 2015 established the Jacalyn Duffin Student Award and students from Meds 2020 and 2021 started an eponymous health humanities conference. It's been an absolute privilege to learn from her and ask important questions about medicine and society."

I’d also like to point out that Hissan was also in Montreal for the induction ceremony, as he was receiving a Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award. These awards recognize terrific work being done by a student at each medical school in Canada, and all of us in the School of Medicine are very proud of Hissan for being this year’s recipient from Queen’s.

“I always cherish moments in the lecture hall with Dr. Duffin,” Yannay Khaikin says. “She teaches with a kind of energy and honesty that reverberates for decades in the minds of medical students, residents, and faculty who have been fortunate to hear her speak. Her commitment to preserving the study of philosophy and history in medicine is relentless, unapologetic, and utterly unique.”

“Dr. Duffin has been the most influential and impactful teacher in both my medical and non-medical education,” Chantal Valiquette says. “She is a resilient, passionate, and brilliant historian/physician who is a constant source of inspiration to her students. Her dedication to her students is unparalleled, and her support for history of medicine has inspired generations of students to realize the impact our history has on our present day understandings of medicine and medical education. There is no one more deserving of an induction to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.”

“Equipped with a colourful scarf, her signature round glasses, a pair of neon sneakers and an exuberance that knows no bounds, Dr. Jackie Duffin is unlike any other professor I have ever had,” Harry Chandrakumaran says. “It is obvious to even the least attentive student that she is unapologetically in love with her job. I cannot imagine a more deserving candidate for induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Many doctors have testified in court. Rarely have they had their testimony result in the canonization of a saint. Even more impressive than meeting the Pope, Dr. Duffin manages to engage a hundred medical students while discussing the intricacies of 16th century anatomical illustrators. Perhaps that is why she is so fondly remembered by a generation of physicians.”

 The Hannah Chair is funded by a program that was established by Associated Medical Services (AMS) to promote the history of medicine in curricula at medical schools across Canada. AMS funds eight Hannah Chairs at Canadian universities: six in Ontario, one in Alberta, and one in Quebec.

The Hannah Chair program is a fantastic contribution to Canadian medical education, and, at Queen’s, we have always been proud to host a Chair. While Dr. Duffin no longer teaches our students, they are still learning just as much about the history of medicine through our new Hannah Chair: Dr. Jenna Healey.

As I said, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame induction ceremony is a tremendous event every year. I have fond memories of hosting the event in Kingston in 2014, and this year had the pleasure of sitting with Dr. Duncan Sinclair, a former dean at Queen’s and a 2015 inductee into the Hall of Fame. Thanks to everyone at the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for hosting a wonderful evening in Montreal and for all of the work you do to recognize medical achievements in Canada.

If you're curious to read Dr. Duffin's thoughts on being inducted, please check out her most recent blog entry.

Dean Reznick thanks Andrew Willson for his assistance in preparing this blog. 

Interactive sessions focus on Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

In support of Queen’s University’s ongoing effort to help answer to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Faculty of Health Sciences is hosting a series of interactive sessions from May 15-17, led by Barry Lavallee, a member of Manitoba First Nation and Métis communities and a University of Manitoba-trained family physician specializing in Indigenous health and northern practice.

“We are so pleased to have Dr. Lavallee on campus to host three sessions with staff, faculty and students,” says Leslie Flynn, Vice Dean, Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, “I know that his time here will bolster our efforts to meet our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action as they apply to healthcare and health professions education. We are engaged in a process of fostering inclusion in the Faculty of Health Sciences and hosting important conversations about Indigeneity, cultural safety and our healthcare system.”

A dynamic presenter, Dr. Lavallee speaks articulately, practically, and passionately on issues of social justice in medicine across Canada. Dr. Lavallee’s clinical work has focused on the health and healing needs of First Nation and Métis communities. He has a Masters of Clinical Sciences from the University of Western Ontario and his research and clinical areas are chronic diseases, transgenerational trauma, impact of colonization on Indigenous communities and international Indigenous health. 

“As physicians and health care providers our role in addressing reconciliation is to critically examine the role Indigenous specific racism plays as a determinant of health for Indigenous Peoples,” Dr. Lavallee says. “More specifically, what role do we play in addressing this form of racism in our profession?”

The three interactive events are:

May 15, 4 pm
Racism as an Indigenous Social Determinant of Health
Public Lecture – Britt Smith Lecture Hall, School of Medicine

May 16, 8 am
Teaching Methods for Addressing Cultural Safety: Promoting Indigenous Health
Faculty Development Workshop – University Club, George Teves Room

May 17, 8 am
Indigenizing Educational Research and Workforces in Healthcare: Struggles and a way forward
Heath Science Education Round – Richardson Laboratory, Room 104

Of special note, following Dr. Lavallee’s presentation on Wednesday, Laura Maracle, Indigenous Cultural Safety Coordinator for Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre, will lead attendees in the KAIROS blanket exercise, a participatory history lesson developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, and educators that fosters truth, understanding, respect and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

This series was developed collaboratively between the Indigenous Health Education Working Group, Faculty of Health Sciences Decanal Leadership, and the Office of Professional Development and Educational Scholarship.

To learn more or to register for the programs, visit the Faculty of Health Sciences website.

Input sought on future of Faculty of Health Sciences, search for next dean

Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris announced today that Richard Reznick’s term as dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Director of the School of Medicine and CEO, Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization ends on June 30, 2020.

Provost Harris will chair a committee to advise the principal on the future direction of the Faculty of Health Sciences, and on the selection of the next dean. 

“I encourage all members of the Queen’s community to provide input regarding the Faculty of Health Sciences, and to suggest individuals to serve on the advisory committee,” says Provost Harris.

Please send all submissions and advisory committee suggestions to the Office of the Provost, via e-mail, to provost@queensu.ca, by Tuesday, May 14. Respondents are asked to indicate whether they wish to have their letters shown, in confidence, to the members of the Advisory Committee.  

More information about the Faculty of Health Sciences is available in the faculty’s Strategic Planning documents, annual Dean’s Reports and the faculty website.   

Five strategies to improve medical training – to reduce stress and boost expertise

[Medical students]
Canadian medical students graduate with up to $200,000 in debt, and burnout rates are high. (Photo: Luis Melendez/Unsplash)

Recent changes in undergraduate medical education and postgraduate residency training in Canada are stressing trainee doctors, increasing their debt load and reducing their experiential learning.

Such changes include a perceived shortage of residency positions, a premature requirement to choose a career path early in medical school and a growing fixation on exam preparation.

Older doctors are largely unaware of these new challenges. For trainees, on the other hand, this is the only system they know. Patients simply expect us to produce “triple A” doctors — available, affable and able.

As a cardiologist and head of medicine at Queen’s University, I offer several suggestions to reduce trainee stress, debt and burnout. I believe these suggestions will also enhance the expertise of Canada’s newly minted doctors.

For a start, we should increase residency training positions to meet Canada’s medical needs, and simplify the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) process for allocating residency positions. We should also constrain the time trainees spend studying for qualifying exams, delay the selection of medical career tracks until internship and restore the rotating internship.

Loss of empathy and self-worth

Nearly half of medical residents report burnout — defined as a loss of empathy and sense of self-worth. Burnout is reported ever earlier in residents, despite legislated restrictions on work hours and increased pay.

A contributing factor is the increasing time residents spend studying for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) qualifying exams. Trainees are also impacted by funding decisions of provincial governments, which limit the size of medical schools and residency programs, and by hospital congestion, which impairs the learning environment.

The reasons medical students experience burnout are complex. They include worries about whether they will match to a residency program and about which career track to select during their second year. Students also worry about debt — the average medical school debt was over $70,000 in 2014. This number increased to over $158,000 in 2017 (and many students borrow up to $200,000).

While tuition (at around $20,000 per year) is an important source of debt, a new and avoidable expense relates to the cost of off-site electives and CaRMS interviews incurred in their search for future residency positions.

1. Increase residency positions

So, what if we increased residency positions 10 per cent while reducing off-site medical school electives?

Medical students and residency training programs rank each other through an online system, called CaRMS. Recently, the number of unmatched Canadian graduates has been increasing — from 11 in 2009 to 68 in 2017. While 68 unmatched students (from a national total of 3000) may sound like a small problem, it can have tragic consequences.

Medical school graduate Robert Chu ended his life in 2016, after twice failing to match. He wrote:

“Without a residency position, my degree … is effectively useless. My diligent studies of medical texts, careful practice of interview and examination skills with patients and my student debt in excess of $100,000 on this pursuit have all been for naught.”

Of course, we should only create more residency positions if we need more doctors. Provincial governments tend to believe there are too many doctors; however, OECD data show Canada (with two MDs per 1,000 population) ranks near the bottom of the pack.

 

In 2017, there were 2,967 residency positions available in Canada and 2,810 residents in the hunt. This scarcity is exacerbated by an influx of international medical graduates, many of whom are Canadian citizens, a net outflow of students from Quebec and fewer available positions in “popular” specialty programs, such as dermatology, emergency medicine and plastic surgery.

 

This means that there is just two per cent wiggle room between positions required and positions available, complicated by student geographic and specialty preferences.

2. Develop a ‘learn local’ strategy

To reduce the risk of being unmatched, medical students spend their time criss-crossing Canada performing electives to demonstrate their interest in a program, while serving as their own travel agent and paying for travel and accommodations.

This adds to their debt and stress and these brief sojourns often yield superficial clinical experiences. One budding dermatologist told me:

“I did six electives in dermatology (12 weeks total), and two electives in internal medicine… If I was to do it again, I probably wouldn’t have done so many dermatology electives - it’s just that I didn’t get the ones I really wanted until the end. I’m not sure I necessarily needed to do this many dermatology electives in order to match….I definitely felt the pressure to do the majority of my electives in this specialty to show my interest and build relationships at the programs I was interested in. … I can’t say exactly how much I spent. Certainly, in the thousands of dollars.”

Another student toured 12 universities across Canada to interview for surgery residencies. She ended up with her first choice of residency and stayed at her home university. Between external electives and the CaRMS interviews, medical students lose around four months of local clinical exposure.

A “learn local” strategy combined with a 10 per cent increase in residency positions would reduce expense, travel and stress and allow students to extend rotations at their own centres. The proposed changes would also right-size our medical work-force.

3. Delay specialty selection

What if we delayed the choice of career track until internship?

Some students struggle to choose a speciality. Family physician, internist, surgeon, pediatrician, obstetrician, radiologist, ophthalmologist, pathologist… there are many options. How can an informed choice be made after two years of relatively superficial exposure to the options?

A Queen’s student noted:

“It felt like there was an abrupt change when we went from exploring disciplines in medical school to when we needed to decide on our specialization. In first year, we were required to do observerships to promote variety. But midway through second year we needed to select our clerkship stream and then all of a sudden it seemed like decisions had to be made…. Midway through second year, by picking my stream, I had to decide that I was not going to pursue emergency medicine, anesthesia or a subspecialty surgery.”

By delaying specialty selection until internship, trainees could make more informed choices.

4. Reinstate the rotating internship

What if we reinstated the rotating internship?

A rotating internship gave doctors a broad experience. We abandoned the rotating internship in favour of a two-year family medicine residency in around 1990. However, rotating internships did not just train GPs, they also trained many future specialists.

During my rotating internship at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, British Columbia, from 1981 to 1982, I spent time in obstetrics (delivering more than 100 babies), pediatrics (caring for sick and premature babies), surgery (as first assist on all operations and primary surgeon for hernias and appendectomies), intensive care (placing arterial lines and managing ventilators) and internal medicine (running the ward).

I learned respect for each specialty by walking a mile in their shoes. These practical experiences alter the medical DNA of a young physician in a way no clerkship experience can. Re-establishing a rotating internship as the first year of residency would result in Canada’s doctors being more broadly trained.

5. Reduce preparation time for exams

Exams consume a trainee’s after-hours life for one month of medical school and nine months of residency, engendering stress and contributing to burnout. Studying too much may also distract trainees from clinical learning opportunities.

Objectively however, the success in the RCPSC exam has long been 95 per cent for Canadian graduates (likewise the LMCC exam for medical students).

Let’s recast medical school and residency as programs for adult learners and reset expectations for how much time a trainee can or should study to some reasonable duration — say one month for medical students and two months for residents.

The training of doctors is a joint responsibility of universities, provincial agencies, accrediting agencies and society. Together we should refocus medical school and residency training with the goal of producing triple A doctors who are more clinically experienced, less stressed and owe less money.The Conversation

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Stephen Archer is a professor and the head of the Department of Medicine at Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca.  

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