Bats, Blogs, and Story Ideas

While I was drafting this post, I had an unexpected visitor in my office in the form of a juvenile bat. Yep. A bat.

I followed the Queen’s Environmental Health & Safety bat protocol (yes, there is one. Find it here) and exited the room immediately, closing the door. I then had a colleague call to arrange for its removal.

Ok, there may have been some squealing-like-a-five-year-old while I was exiting the room, but since there was nobody here to see that, I can deny it happened (colleagues’ vacations and meetings were well-timed for my dignity). There may also have been some vocabulary that would earn a fine for the curse jar at my house.

Just a handful of people would know about my bat adventure… except I’m writing about it here.

My point is this: things happen all the time around the UGME offices, the medical building, and other places of importance for the UG program. Things for, to, or by our faculty, staff, and students; interesting things that are worth sharing. I’m not suggesting that we’re starting a weekly newspaper filled with notations of every bat sighting, or intramural sports scores. What I do know, however, is there are plenty of newsworthy things happening that go unnoticed.

Things like: innovative student activities or projects; research publications; special events; noteworthy field trips; students or faculty winning awards. If you’ve ever wondered why we posted about “X” but not about “Y” the simple reason most of the time, is we likely didn’t know about “Y” at all.

You may have noticed a bit of a pattern to our blog posts. Our associate dean, Dr. Sanfilippo posts roughly every other week. On the alternating weeks, members of the Education Team post, with the occasional committee update thrown in. I post under my own name, as well as curating those posted under the “Guest Blogger” ID.

Here’s where you come in. If you’re a member of the Queen’s UGME community and you have an idea or suggestion for a blog post, please feel free to get in touch. We could write something up with you as the source, or you could write the post yourself as one of our Guest Bloggers.

If your suggestion is time-dependent (like an event or something with a deadline), try to get in touch as early as you can.

I can’t promise that we’ll be able to follow-up on every suggestion with a published post, but a great starting point is letting us know. So, get in touch. Reach me by email (theresa.suart@queensu.ca ) or drop into my office on the 3rd floor at 80 Barrie. It’s currently bat-free.


Bat shown is for illustration purposes only… no pictures of my recent temporary office guest are available. 

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History of Medicine week highlights psychiatry

Dangerous Ideas in the History of Psychiatry is the theme of this year’s History of Medicine week here at Queen’s UGME.

Highlights for the week include a panel discussion with speakers from Queen’s, York University, and University of Toronto and an artifact showcase.

The Panel Discussion will take place on Wednesday, March 8 from 5 – 7 p.m. in Room 132 of the Medical Building on Arch Street; refreshments will be served.

Panelists will include:

Dr. Megan Davies, York University

  • “Messy History: Democratising the Story of Deinstitutionalization”

Dr. Edward Shorter, University of Toronto

  • Dangerous Ideas in the History of Psychiatry: ‘Hysteria’”

Prof. Steven Maynard, Queen’s University

  • Just Who Are You Calling a Dangerous Sexual Psychopath?: Psychiatry and the History of Homosexuality in Canada”

The Artifact Showcase will be found in the Medical Building Atrium on Thursday, March 9 from 9 a.m. – 3p.m. This drop-in exhibit will feature items from the history of psychiatry curated by the Museum of Health Care.

Both events are open to the public.

A student committee organized the week, supported by the School of Medicine and the Museum of Health Care. Student organizers included Ashna Asim, Yannay Khaikan, Harry Chandrakumaran, Chantal Valiquette along with executive members Daisy Liu, Hissan Butt and Laura Swaka. Dr. Jacklyn Duffin, Hannah Professor of the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at Queen’s, served as their faculty advisor.

 

 

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Pearls of wisdom, tearing up textbooks, and getting messy

We talk a fair bit about Pearls of Wisdom at the School of Medicine. The last class for the Class of 2016 ended with Pearls, presented by faculty selected by the class. Later this week, during orientation week, Pearls will be shared with our newly-minted class of 2020.

Pearls are succinct pieces of advice, aphorisms or other sage musings designed to guide, caution, or inspire.

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Artist Nancy Douglas (centre) offers suggestions to creative expressions participants at the first workshop in May.

Sometimes these pearls are explicitly stated as “here’s a pearl” as in those two learning events. Sometimes they are shared in a one-on-one feedback session during clerkship; or it’s that certain nugget of wisdom imparted during an FSGL session. Or the gem from an SGL case, or advice from a near-peer in a mentor group.

By their very nature, these Pearls of Wisdom are best experienced – in a true handing on of guidance in the moment, rather than as a bullet-list on a Post-it note. Given that medicine is both science and art, however (as made clear in many Pearls), we wondered if we could preserve these words of wisdom in a more permanent, concrete way while still maintaining the spirit of these fleeting sessions.

With this in mind, last spring, we started a different representation of these Pearls of Wisdom: a School of Medicine collage. Working with Kingston artist Nancy Douglas, participants selected images, situated them on a six-foot long canvass and used collage techniques to bring the images to life. The images came from old textbooks and journals — lots of tearing and gluing and hands-on creativity.

That first session in May was a start, but our collage is not finished!

FullSizeRenderThe second creative session for the collage will take place Monday, September 12 from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the Atrium of the School of Medicine building. Students, faculty and staff from all years of the program are encouraged to take part.

Bring your ideas about medicine, your journey in medical education, and the pearls of wisdom you’ve received from faculty (and others) along the way. Also, bring any old textbooks and journals you’re willing to rip up for the collage! This is hands-on, so be prepared to get your hands mucky. (Collage is a bit like casting – without a broken bone).

This is a drop-in event, so you don’t need to plan to be there for the whole four hours. Please come when you can. Refreshments will be served, too!

Creative Expressions of Learning is hosted by Dr. Lindsay Davidson (Director, Teaching, Learning and Integration), Vincent Wu (Meds 2018), Stephanie Chan (Meds 2019); and Sheila Pinchin (UGME Education Team Manager).

The event is funded by the Creative Expressions Grant from Queen’s Centre for Teaching and Learning.

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Five great reasons to attend medical education conferences

This weekend many involved in undergraduate medical education at Queen’s are heading to Montreal for the annual Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME). From faculty, to students, to administrative staff, we’re attending as presenters, workshop facilitators, and in several other roles.

As described on its website, CCME is the largest annual gathering of medical educators in Canada. Attendees include Canadian and international medical educators, students, other health educators, health education researchers, administrators, licensing and credentialing organizations and governments. The goal is to “share their experiences in medical education across the learning continuum (from undergraduate to postgraduate to continuing professional development).”

This year’s conference in Montreal from April 16-19 is hosted by the University of Sherbrooke (other partners are the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the Canadian Association for Medical Education (CAME), The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), The Medical Council of Canada (MCC), and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).)

With the theme is Accountability: From Self to Society, the program includes workshops, posters, oral presentations and plenary sessions designed “to highlight developments in medical education and to promote academic medicine by establishing an annual forum for medical educators and their many partners to meet and exchange ideas.”ccme theme

Here are five good reasons we take the time from busy spring schedules to take part in this conference:

  1. To present innovations in medical education at Queen’s: We’re doing some great things here at Queen’s and it’s great to share these successes. From early-adoption of the flipped classroom to our First Patient Program, to our Accelerated Route to Medical School – CCME gives a forum to celebrate what we’re doing well.

  2. To learn from colleagues from other Canadian and international medical schools. While we share our innovations, it’s equally beneficial to learn from our colleagues at other schools. We don’t always have to reinvent the wheel.

  3. To wrestle with common issues and gain comfort from being in the same boat. There’s a synergy in working together to sort out challenging issues in medical education.

  4. To network with colleagues from across the country and around the world – this is closely related to both #2 and #3 – networking may not be about a specific challenge at a specific time, it’s making connections with like-minded individuals involved in similar circumstances.

  5. And the food. OK, so this might not be a “good” reason to commit to attend a conference, but it’s certainly a fun part of it. Combining #4’s networking with colleagues with exploring local cuisine is an added bonus.

If you can’t attend this year, consider it for next time. Also, explore conference options closer to home. Our own Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences Celebration of Teaching, Learning and Scholarship is coming up on June 15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bollywood, gnomes and time travel, oh my!— 45th Annual Medical Variety Night promises an entertaining evening

Anyone wandering through the second floor of the Medical Building after hours some days this term could be forgiven for wondering if they’d accidentally ended up in a dance studio instead of a medical school.

What was actually happening was rehearsal for one of the dance numbers for this year’s Medical Variety Night (MVN). The show takes place Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at Duncan McArthur Auditorium at 511 Union Street West and will be hosted by Emily Kerr (MEDS2017) and Alessia Gallipoli (MEDS2017).

I set out to find out more about what’s in store at the 45th edition of MVN, “House of CaRMS” by emailing this year’s co-directors: Beverly Guan (MEDS2017), Jimin Lee (MEDS2017), Jordan Sugarman (MEDS2018) and Nathan Terrana (MEDS2018).

This year’s theme of “House of CaRMS” was selected by popular vote, inspired by the American political drama series, “House of Cards.”

“The television series features scheming, power-hungry characters doing everything it takes to climb the ladder of success,” Guan wrote back on behalf of her co-directors. “Naturally, we saw some potentially humorous parallels with the CaRMS process.”

Co-Directors’ Top 5 Reasons to Check out MVN:

Discover hidden talents of medical students at Queen’s

Find out what we have been doing with our spare time

Support everyone who has put their time and effort into MVN

Donate to great charitable causes

Have a great time!

The co-directors and performers are keeping as much of the program under wraps as possible (we have to go see the show to find out more), but they tease that we can expect hilarious class skits and videos—“featuring gnomes, time travel, CanMEDS competencies, and more!”—the largest Bollywood act in MVN history, the first ever QMed Qrew hip hop number, a concert pianist, and many talented musicians and singers.

MVN2015 Poster - AG

It’s that kind of enthusiasm and talent that has helped ensure MVN is an enduring QMed tradition.

“Whether students want to have their moment in the spotlight, film promotional videos, manage the show behind the wings, or even just bake for our bake sale, there is a role for everyone in MVN,” Guan wrote.

MVN is a significant time investment to create two evenings of entertainment. Why do so many medical students pitch in? “Perhaps it is because it is during these grueling hours of preparation and rehearsal that we learn something important about ourselves, something we don’t learn sitting in class,” Guan wrote. “We learn how to deal with our frustrations and manage our insecurities. We learn about the joy of striving for perfection but also the beauty of imperfection. And, most importantly, we learn that succeeding together, as a team, is just as fulfilling — if not more so, than succeeding as an individual.”

Each year, MVN proceeds support charities selected by the students. This year, they’ve chosen the Class of 2017 project, “Reads for Paeds” and Almost Home, a local Kingston charity.

“Given that a significant portion of the class in involved in the Reads for Paeds project, we wanted to collaborate with them in raising funds to print storybooks, written and illustrated by our class, to explain common chronic illnesses affecting children,” Guan wrote. “We also wanted to select a local charity that supports families with children who are receiving medical treatment, and Almost home fit this criteria perfectly.”

More information on both Reads for Paeds and Almost Home is available on the MVN website: www.houseofcarms.com

In addition to funds raised through ticket sales, there are other fundraisers at the show, including a bake sale, raffle tickets and a silent auction for one large MVN banner featuring pictures of the performers. Donations are also being accepted (all donations greater than $50 receive a tax receipt).

Tickets are sold for $12 online and $15 at the door. Online ticket purchases and online donations can be made here.

In the meantime, check out the MVN promo video here and see the hosts explain why they volunteered here. And we’ll see you at the show!

 

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Why should you be an FSGL Tutor?

This blog article is brought to you by Dr. Michelle Gibson, Year 1 Director, and Coordinator of our FSGL stream in pre-clerkship. gibsonm1@providencecare.ca

Why should you be an FSGL Tutor?

But first … what is FSGL anyway?

FSGL is Facilitated Small Group Learning, a modified form of Problem-Based-Learning (PBL), adapted for the curriculum at Queen’s University. In Terms 2, 3, and 4, students work in small groups of 6 or 7, with one tutor, over the course of the term, to learn from cases linked to their courses.

FSGL is like PBL in that the tutors are not there to be content experts, but rather as “facilitators” of student learning. In general, students receive the first part of a case, and they work together to identify what their learning needs are. The case is usually that of a patient with an as-yet undifferentiated presentation, and the students work through it together, gradually getting more information about the case. It is, in educational terms, enquiry-based learning, where the students are (mostly) driving the learning.

So what does an FSGL tutor do?

They are there to help the group really delve into the case, to probe student understanding, to help the students with their clinical reasoning, and, really, to help students understand what a doctor does. They are not teaching about the intricacies of interpreting ECGs, for example, but rather, to challenge the group about their approach to a differential diagnosis in a patient with syncope (with the help of a trusty written tutor guide…)

In addition, tutors are essential in observing individual student contributions to the group, and the group dynamic over the course of the term. They can help the group form a high-functioning team, and they provide feedback to individual students about their performance. Twice a term, the tutors will review peer-feedback and self-assessment data from their students, and provide mid-term and end-of-term feedback to the students about their progress that term.

Why do tutors like FSGL?

In the 5 years since I’ve taken over this part of the curriculum, I hear the same comments over and over. Tutors enjoy working with a stable group of students over the course of a term, and getting to know them. They appreciate watching their students grow in their skills, as they strive to become doctors. They even admit to enjoying the learning they do about material they don’t see everyday.

What is involved in being an FSGL tutor?

Tutors commit to at least one term (timelines below) for one afternoon a week, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. We understand that tutors have other commitments, so we accommodate tutors being away up to twice a term by providing substitute tutors, and 3 absences might be accommodated in certain circumstances. This includes participating in an orientation on the first afternoon of the term. You will receive a tutor binder, with all the cases and the tutor guides, and learn about how to be an effective tutor.

Tutors will learn how to provide constructive narrative feedback to students about students’ own learning goals and their progress over the term.

I might be interested, but I have questions – what should I do?

Email me at gibsonm1@providencecare.ca , and I’d be happy to chat.

Final words:
When I was asked to take over the old PBL by Dr. Sanfilippo, many people (myself included), really wondered if we should keep it in the curriculum. Through the helpful feedback provided by students and those they rated as excellent tutors, I have tried to keep what was working, and fix what was not. If you did PBL more than 5 years ago, I can assure you it’s a new creature now. While it’s not perfect, it is mostly fun, and the students really appreciate their tutors- they tell me so all the time. And, as one new tutor told me this year: “This is the best experience I’ve had in undergraduate medicine at Queen’s in 10 years.” I would be delighted if this would be the case for other new tutors too, so please feel free to email me with questions! gibsonm1@providencecare.ca

Timelines

Fall 2013:
Term 3, second year med students (experienced FSGL-ers) – cases are based on mostly cardio-resp, renal, and endocrinology material. Runs from September to the 1st week in December. Wednesday afternoons, from 1:30 to 4:30.

Winter 2014: (Two terms)
Term 2, first-year med students (novice FSGL-ers) – cases are based on therapeutics, pathology, immunology, hematology, geriatrics, MSK, and pediatrics. Runs from January to April or the first week of May. Monday afternoons, from 1:30 to 4:30, with many Mondays off, including Family Day, 2 weeks around March Break, and Easter Monday.

Term 4, second year med students (very experienced FSGL-ers) – cases are based on OB/Gyn, GI/Gen Surgery, neuro, ophthalmology, and psychiatry. Wednesday afternoons, from 1:30 to 4:30 with 2 weeks off around March Break.

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Looking for a Few Good People

We’re incredibly fortunate at Queen’s to be blessed with a faculty that engages educational leadership with enthusiasm, creativity and dedication.  When new positions emerge, or when people who have been key contributors come to the end of their terms or move off to other phases of their career or life, the program faces both challenges and opportunities.  The challenge is obviously to fill the position, which is particularly difficult when it’s been filled so capably in the past.  The opportunity, of course, is that it allows another faculty member to engage a new challenge, which allows them to influence medical education and advance their careers in new ways.   A number of such positions will become available by the end of this academic year.  I will describe them below and invite all faculty members to forward any enquiries or expressions of interest to me.  In all cases, there will be opportunity for a phase transition working with the incumbent, support from our Educational Team, and opportunities to develop individual faculty development plans to complement the role.

Curricular Lead for the Professionalism Role Competency

For the past 6 years, Dr. Ted Ashbury has been providing inspirational and creative leadership as we have refined and consolidated the Professionalism role within our new Foundations Curriculum.  Ted would now like to transition to reduced responsibilities and eventually retirement, and so we would like to identify a successor who could work with Ted for the remainder of this academic year, taking over the portfolio completely in September 2013.  Major components of this role:

  1. Facilitation and maintenance of all current curricular components that address the Professionalism competency.
  2. Opportunities to develop innovative curricular components as the vision of the role suggests, particularly with extension into the clerkship
  3. Teaching within the curriculum on Physicianship and Professionalism

Director, Clinical and Communication Skills (CCS)

Given the obvious importance of CCS within undergraduate education, this is a key role and responsibility within our curriculum.  Dr. Henry Averns has been filling this role with creative energy and unique panache for the past 4 years, enhancing the content and assessment within the program while guiding it through a particularly challenging time of curricular transition.  As he comes to the end of his term at the end of this academic year, we have opportunity to identify a successor who will work with Henry through next term, taking over the role independently in September 2013.  Key components of this role:

  1. Working with the CCS Co-Directors to ensure the component courses CCS 1,2 and 3 are well maintained.
  2. Fostering the elements of the over-arching CCS mandate.
  3. Ensuring integration of the CCS curriculum with other curricular courses
  4. Working with and coordinating the efforts of administrative staff who support or work closely with the CCS program, such as the CCS Curricular Coordinator, Standardized Patient Program Coordinator, and UG Operations Manager.

Course Director, Geriatrics, Oncology and Palliative Care

This course was newly introduced as a part of our curricular revision and is in its third iteration this year.  Dr. Michelle Gibson, Director for Year 1, has been capably filling in the Course Director role on an interim basis.  However, the maturity of the role and Michelle’s expanding responsibilities with the Curriculum Committee require us to appoint someone to take sole responsibility for the course.  Again, we have the opportunity for the person coming into this role to work closely with Michelle, who will continue to direct Year 1.  Key components of this role:

  1. Oversight of the curriculum of the course, including learning objectives, teaching methods, faculty assignments and assessment
  2. Teaching within the course

Course Director, Clerkship Curriculum 3

In distinction to the roles above, this course is a completely new assignment, since it is under development and will be offered for the first time, March 26 to April 13 2013.  The Clerkship Curriculum Courses are being provided as a part of our expanded two year clerkship and provide an opportunity for the students to engage advanced concepts and to consolidate their learning, particularly in areas that tend to lose focus during clinical rotations, such as critical thinking, comprehensive approaches to clinical presentations, and basic clinical skills.  CC3 will be the final such course in the series, offered at the end of clerkship, and will identify and consolidate key themes in preparation for the MCC examination and residency.  The overall Clerkship Curriculum is under the direction of Dr. Sue Moffatt, who has developed the first two courses in conjunction with Directors Dr. Armita Rahmani and Dr. Chris Parker.  The CC3 Director will join this team and benefit from their experience.  Key components of this role:

  1. Developing and supervising course curriculum, including learning objectives, teaching methods, faculty assignments and assessment.
  2. Teaching within the course.
  3. Working with the Curricular Coordinator responsible for the Clerkship Curriculum courses

Co-Director, Facilitated Small Group Learning

Facilitated Small Group Learning is an instructional methods (based on Problem Based Learning) used in Terms 2,3 and 4, where students work in small groups with a trained facilitator over the course of a term, on cases that relate directly to the material they are learning in their courses.  Dr. Michelle Gibson directs this program and is responsible for it’s overall structure and outstanding success.  Last year, she was assisted by Dr. Ellen Tsai who made significant further improvements.  This year, Dr. Brent Wolfram, who was a FSGL facilitator in Term 2 last year, has been working with Dr. Gibson to revise and improve the Term 2 cases.  We are looking for interested faculty to assist with case reviews and development in Terms 3 and 4.

Associate Director, Student Counseling

For several years, Dr. Jennifer Carpenter has been providing outstanding service to our students and our school as Director of Student.  She has also begun the process of building a Wellness program that will span all learners at our school.  It’s becoming clear that her role is expanding to such an extent that we should be identifying another faculty member to work with Jenn in further developing these programs.  Key components of the role include:

  • Providing personal counseling to students in need
  • Providing advice and support to faculty dealing with difficult student issues
  • Contributing to the development of our student wellness program.

Curricular Lead for Manager Role Competency

For the past two years, Dr. Ruth Wilson has not only chaired the Professional Foundations Committee, but she has been the lead for the Manager role and associated competencies. Ruth has pioneered the Manager Checklist for the Community Week and also introduced a new session on health care for the students.  However, as the Chair of the Professional Foundations Committee’s role increases, she must step aside from being the Curricular Lead for the Manager Role.  We would like to identify a successor who could work with Ruth for the remainder of this academic year, taking over the Curricular Lead completely in September 2013.  Major components of this role:

  1. Facilitation and maintenance of all current curricular components intended to address the Manager competency including careers, self-care, and time and study management, all of which currently have point people and faculty associated with them.
  1. Opportunity to develop innovative curricular components where the vision of the role suggests, especially into clerkship
  2. Some teaching within the curriculum on aspects of the Manager role.

All these positions will receive credit within our Workforce accountability system.  For information or further discussion regarding any of these positions, please contact me directly at ajs@queensu.ca.

Best wishes to all for a restful Christmas break and for continuing success in the new year.

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