Curriculum Committee Meeting Information – April 26, 2017

Faculty and staff interested in attending Curriculum Committee meetings should contact the Committee Secretary, Candace Miller (candace.miller@queensu.ca), for information relating to agenda items and meeting schedules.

A meeting of the Curriculum Committee was held on April 26, 2017.  To review the topics discussed at this meeting, please click HERE to view the agenda.

Faculty interested in reviewing the minutes of this meeting can click HERE to be taken to the Curriculum Committee’s page located on the Faculty Resources Community of MEdTech Central.

Those who are directly impacted by any decisions made by the Curriculum Committee have been notified via email.

Students interested in the outcome of a decision or discussion are welcome to contact the Aesculapian Society’s Vice President, Academic, Kate Rath-Wilson at vpacademic@qmed.ca.

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Teaching Einstein

How would you like to have been young Albert Einstein’s teacher? Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography, “Einstein. His Life and Universe” provides some intriguing glimpses of the great physicist’s early education that should be of interest to anyone involved in teaching gifted and naturally curious young people.

Popular myth holds that Albert Einstein was a poor student in early life. Apparently not so, but it appears he was certainly an uninspired and disengaged student. In fact, he failed to gain entrance to the Zurich Polytechnic on first attempt, failing to pass the general section of the entrance examination, which included sections on literature, French, zoology, botany and politics (as might be expected, he did well in the science and math sections).

As is the often the case, this apparent setback turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it caused him to decide to prepare for the entrance subjects by enrolling in a school in the village of Aarau, located in northern Switzerland. This school, as it turned out, embraced a very different educational approach based on the philosophy of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), a Swiss educational reformer who believed strongly in individual discovery and in encouraging students to use visual imagery in their learning process. He pioneered a number of approaches that might sound familiar to us because

Pestalozzi memorial in Zurich. “Founder of New Primary Education”.

they’ve strongly influenced pedagogy, particularly early childhood education, over the years. For example:

  • He stressed that instruction should be progressive, moving from the familiar to new concepts
  • He believed in making allowance for individual differences
  • He felt learning should be rooted in performance and lived experiences, thus emphasizing participatory activities such as drawing, writing, projects and field trips.
  • He advocated (shockingly at the time and perhaps still for medical schools today) formal teacher training in education

It appears young Einstein found himself much better suited to the approach at Aarau. Isaacson quotes Einstein’s sister Anna’s observations:

“Pupils were treated individually…more emphasis was placed on independent thought and punditry, and young people saw the teacher not as a figure of authority but, alongside the student, a man of distinct personality”

Einstein himself is quoted as remarking:

“it made me clearly realize how much superior an education based on free action and personal responsibility is to one relying on outward authority.”

The use of visual imagery in the learning process seemed to particularly resonate with Einstein. It was at Aarau that he first utilized visualized thought as a means of conceptualizing and actually trialing this theories. “In Aarau I made my first rather childish experiments in thinking that had a direct bearing on the Special Theory.”

As he went on to carry out the “thought experiments” that eventually led to the development of his most significant scientific contributions, he actually avoided the

Albert Einstein in 1904 (age 25) while employed at the Patent Office in Bern.

conventional academic university environment, which he found too restrictive and inflexible. Instead, he chose to take a fairly undemanding job in a patent office, largely because it provided him time alone each day to think and document his evolving theories. In a remarkable few months in 1905, while employed in that way, he developed no fewer than five remarkable papers that literally changed how we perceive the physical universe, including early works on quantum theory and special relativity. His doctorate was granted based on that work, as was his Nobel Prize.

Einstein, one might argue, is unique and it’s not reasonable to consider educational approaches for the masses based on such an example. It’s also very reasonable to observe that education, particularly at professional schools, must necessarily involve the learning of factual information and skills. Medical schools, in particular, have an obligation to ensure their graduates possess critical knowledge and can competently perform certain tasks. Consequently, a certain degree of pedantic delivery and directed instruction may be unavoidable.

Valid points, to be sure, but I would raise two further considerations. Although Einstein was clearly a remarkable exception in many ways, the drivers of his educational process were qualities that are not unique but, in fact, common in our students – curiosity, imagination and a pervasive desire to understand the world around them.

Secondly, it’s entirely possible to deliver factual information and have high performance expectations without stifling those critical personal drivers. Einstein’s teachers at Aarau obviously succeeded, not by diminishing the standards expected of him, but by additionally providing the latitude and encouragement to explore personal interests and learning. This required, on their part, a certain degree of open mindedness to novel and unconventional ideas, a willingness to engage the student as an individual with valid and fresh thoughts, and the humility to concede that their approaches may require individual modification.

In medical education, we face these educational challenges on a regular basis. Our students, without question, need to acquire considerable factual information and technical skills. They understand and accept that responsibility. As their teachers, we share with them the responsibility to ensure they meet certain minimal standards of competence. However, they are multi-dimensional, highly-motivated and thoughtful young people who develop interests and ambitions beyond these minimal standards, and we need to support them in those pursuits as vigorously as we support the core curriculum.

In educational parlance, this is termed “Independent Student Learning”, but if expressed simply as provision of unscheduled time students are free to use as they wish, the essence and potential of the concept is poorly served. It requires openness to new and innovative approaches to learning, even if outside standard curricular objectives. It requires institutional support and even encouragement for what might be termed “personalized” learning. It requires a (sometimes uncomfortable) engagement of what might be considered “destructive” innovation.

At Queen’s we have a number of examples of student initiated learning that illustrate nicely the potential advantages that can arise from such innovations for both students and the school. The Barry Smith Symposium, now in its third year, was conceived by two students (now graduates), Drs. Adam Chruscicki and Steven Hanna. Dr. Alyssa Lip, also a recent grad, was instrumental in the development of our wellness curriculum and Wellness Week, which has been embraced by other schools. The Queen’s annual Global Health conference which has been running now for many years by successive classes arose from student interest, supported by engaged faculty. This past week, Maggie Hulbert and Ashna Asim of the first year class have come forward with an idea to develop an event to explore the role of the humanities in medical education that we’ll be jointly exploring, likely as a new symposium event available next academic cycle.

For their part, students must accept the reality that medical education will require them to learn considerable material and demonstrate they have done so effectively. As faculty, we should support them in doing so, but also welcome support broader pursuits that both stimulate their genuine interests and can bring benefit to our school.

By doing so, we’ll hopefully avoid driving imaginative and motivated young people to the Patent Office.

 

Anthony J. Sanfilippo, MD, FRCP(C)

Associate Dean,

Undergraduate Medical Education

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Queen’s UGME well-represented at CCME

Queen’s UGME was well-represented in the oral and poster presentations at the recent Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) held in Winnipeg, MB.

Four oral presentations showcased UG work with another oral highlighting a teaching innovation in the QuARMS Program while a dozen posters featured Queen’s UG research and innovations featuring work by faculty, students, and staff.

As explained on the CCME website, “the purpose of the CCME is to highlight, and allow participants to benefit from, 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.”

The Queen’s oral presentations included:

  • The Next SSTEP: The Surgical Skills and Technology Elective Program decreases cognitive load during suturing tasks in 2nd year medical students by Henry Ajzenberg, Peter Wang, Adam Mosa, Frances Dang, Tyson Savage, Peter Thin Vo, Justin Wang, Stephen Mann, Andrea Winthrop
  • The Newborn Book – An evaluation of an interactive eBook as course material by Lauren Friedman, Jonathan Cluett, Bob Connelly
  • Altering the scoring of global rating scales on an Undergraduate OSCE: Does it affect the identification of candidates with borderline performance? By Michelle Gibson, Eleni Katsoulas, Stefan Merchant, Andrea Winthrop
  • Sampling Patient Experience to Assess Communication (SPEAC): A Targeted Needs Assessment by Adam Mosa, Andrea Winthrop, Sachin Pasricha, Eleni Katsoulas
  • Fireside chats – High Impact Informal Learning by Jennifer MacKenzie, McMaster University, Theresa Nowlan-Suart, Anthony Sanfilippo

Posters, presented both during facilitated poster sessions and the new, dedicated poster session, included:

  • An Inter-professional, Cross-cultural Service Learning Project: Development of a Nutrition Education Program in Rural Tanzanian Schools by Jenn Carpenter, Queen’s University, Donna Clarke-McMullen, Renee Berquist, Saint Lawrence College
  • Pathways to community service learning: The Queen’s Service-Learning Framework by Lindsay Davidson and Theresa Nowlan Suart
  • Introducing Medical Students to Stories of Indigenous Patients by Lindsay Davidson, Melanie Walker, Steven Tresierra, Jennifer McCall, Michael Green, Laura Maracle,
  • Predictors of medical student engagement in an e-Portfolio for intrinsic CanMEDS roles by Steven Bae, Danielle LaPointe-McEwan, Sheila Pinchin, Anthony Sanfilippo, John Freeman, Queen’s University Ulemu Luhanga, Emory University Jennifer MacKenzie, McMaster University
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the First Patient Program’s use of resources in achieving learning objectives for medical students by Stephanie Chan, Vincent Wu, Sheila Pinchin, Phillip Wattam, Leslie Flynn
  • Evaluation of a multi-modality nutrition program for first year medical students by Andrea Guerin, Theresa Nowlan Suart, Shannon Willmott, Karen Kaur Grewal
  • Assessing the Effect of the Eye Matching System on Clinical Competency with the Ophthalmoscope in Medical Students by Etienne Benard-Seguin, Jason Kwok, Walter Liao, Stephanie Baxter
  • Curriculum to Cookbook by Moncia Mullin, Meghan Bhatia, Renee Fitzpatrick, Shelia Pinchin
  • The CFMS National Wellness Challenge: evaluating a new initiative to promote development of healthy habits in medical professionals by Alyssa Lip, Renee Fitzpatrick
  • Ontario Medical Students Association Wellness Retreat: A Program Evaluation by Shannon Chun, Renée Fitzpatrick, Queen’s University, Christine Prudhoe, University of Ottawa
  • Evaluating Student’s Perspective of Team-Based Learning In Undergraduate Medical Education by Kate Trebuss, Vincent Wu, Jordan Goodridge, Gemma Cramarossa, Lindsay Davidson
  • Preclerkship Interprofessional Observerships: What I Know Now by Shannon Willmott, Ameir Makar, Etienne Benard-Seguin, Sarah Edgerley, Lindsay Davidson

Next year’s conference is set for April 28 – May 1 in Halifax, NS. The abstract submission portal is already open. Find it here.

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Recognizing Outstanding Contributions to the MD Program

 At the end of each academic year, the graduating medical class selects faculty it wishes to recognize for outstanding contributions to their educational experience. This is always a difficult task for them, given the number and quality of the teaching faculty they encounter during the four-year curriculum.

 

The most prestigious such recognitions are the Connell Awards. Named in honour of two former heads of Medicine and outstanding teacher/role models, these awards recognize three individuals who have, in the view of the graduating class, made outstanding contributions in classroom teaching, clinical teaching and mentorship. This year, I know the class had particular difficulty coming to final decisions, but I’m very pleased to announce that the awards went to three very deserving individuals who are all relatively early in their careers, already making tremendous contributions to our program.

 

The 2017 Connell Award for Classroom Teaching:  Dr. Gordon Boyd

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Dr. Boyd received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Lakehead University and his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta, where he studied the role of growth factors in peripheral nerve regeneration.  In 2001 he moved to Kingston to do a post-doctoral fellowship in the Queen’s Department of Anatomy and Cell biology, examining the potential of glial cell transplantation to treat spinal cord injury.  He stayed in Kingston to do his undergraduate degree in Medicine, which was followed by his residency in Neurology and fellowship in Adult Critical Care.  He has been on Faculty at Queen’s University since 2013 as a clinician-scientist.  His research interests are focussed on the neurological consequences of critical illness, cardiac surgery, and kidney disease. He also teaches at all levels of graduate and post-graduate medical education, on topics ranging from neuroanatomy to organ donation and has developed a well-earned reputation as a gifted teacher and mentor to students, both in the clinical and research settings.

 

The 2017 Connell Award for Mentorship:  Dr. Jason Franklin

Dr. Franklin is also a Queen’s MD program grad (1998) having previously graduated with high distinction from the U of T HBSc program as an Immunology Specialist. He undertook his residency in Otolaryngology at Western University and went on to do a fellowship in head and neck oncology and microvascular reconstruction at U of T. He returned to Queen’s in 2013 to take on a lead role in head and neck surgical oncology. He and his wife, Kristina Polsinelli have three children, Nicolas (8), Alexander (7) and Talia (3) who Jason describes as his “claim to fame”. He describes his role as a Wellness Advisor in the undergrad program as his “most gratifying work”. Jason took on the role with great dedication and commitment. He has been a terrific advocate for our students individually, and participated effectively in our evolving Wellness curriculum.

 

The 2017 Connell Award for Clinical Teaching:  Dr. Laura Milne

Dr. Milne is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Queen’s University. She is originally from Durham, a small farming and industrial town in Southern Ontario. Prior to admission to medical school, she completed three years of undergraduate studies in physiology at the University of Toronto.

She studied undergraduate medicine at Queen’s University graduating in the class of 2008. She went on to pursue post-graduate medical studies in Internal Medicine at Queen’s University and graduated with a Fellowship in General Internal Medicine in 2012. Immediately after graduating, Dr. Milne worked as a general Internist in the community at Belleville General Hospital. She returned to Kingston General Hospital in early 2013 as a fulltime GFT faculty member in the Department of Medicine.

Since returning to Queen’s she has pursued her clinical interests in General Internal Medicine, Resistant Hypertension, and Stroke Prevention. She enjoys her work in the Undergraduate Medicine Program initially as a tutor for the Term IV Clinical Skills Course and, subsequently, as course director. She is currently course director for the Core Internal Medicine Clerkship Course. She also organizes the Internal Medicine yearly OSCE exam for the Postgraduate Medicine Program.

Dr. Milne brings that quality of “common sense competence” to her clinical, teaching and administrative roles. In a short period of time, she has earned tremendous credibility among the students and respect of the curricular leadership.

 

The Inaugural D. Laurence Wilson Award:  Dr. Christopher Smith

I’d also like to introduce a new recognition being awarded for the first time this year. The D. Laurence Wilson Award was conceived and developed by the class of Meds ’66 on the fiftieth anniversary of their graduation. The award is named in honour of a distinguished clinician, teacher, role model and leader in the university and broader medical community who they feel exemplified the qualities of medical professionalism. To quote from the terms of reference of the award:

“Professionalism is the cornerstone of doctors who provide health care. The award with be provided annually to a faculty physician who best exemplifies the attributes of the profession that graduating class members aspire to emulate.”

Dr. Smith graduated from medical school at the University of London in 1990 and worked in the UK for several years before moving to the United States. He completed a 3-year residency in internal medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a Chief Resident year before transferring to Cook County Hospital / Rush University for a fellowship in general internal medicine. He was an Attending Physician at Cook County Hospital for over 10 years and was intimately involved in the residency training program as an Associate Program Director. He was recruited to Queen’s in 2008 as the Program Director for the Core Internal Medicine program. He recently accepted a position as Head of the Division of General Internal Medicine. He performs most of his clinical duties on the clinical teaching units (CTU’s) and on the GIM consult service. His main interests are in medical education, evidence based medicine and clinical skills. He is widely regarded for his teaching, patient advocacy and mentorship to students.

 

Please join me in congratulating these four outstanding medical educators.

 

Anthony J. Sanfilippo, MD, FRCP(C)

Associate Dean,

Undergraduate Medical Education

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100+ Medical Students Who Care

By Dr. Melanie Walker, Course Director, Population & Global Health

Each first year class in Queen’s UGME embarks on the ‘Community Based Interventions Project’ (CBIP) as part of their Population and Global Health (PGH) course. The project provides students with an opportunity to gain insight into social and health services that serve patients in the greater Kingston community. The students learn about the importance of social determinants of health and patient context through the eyes of a special population that they are interested in exploring. This experience provides them with better insight into supports which affect the health and management of their future patients.

Outside of the medical school, I am a member of a local charity: 100+ Women Who Care Kingston. This organization consists of a group of Kingston-based women who meet four times a year to support non-profit and charitable organizations in our community. The principle is simple – any member is permitted to nominate one local organization per meeting. If this organization is chosen as one of three picked at random, the nominating member is allotted five minutes to speak to the membership to express why their particular organization is worthy of the group’s charitable donation and what that organization would do with the funding if received. The three nominees are then put to a vote by the membership and the majority wins. Over one hour, one worthy local organization receives a financial ‘boost’ of approximately $20,000. Simple…yet powerful.

In light of this, last year we initiated a new advocacy component to the PGH course through the CBIP – the opportunity, as a class, to nominate one of the researched organizations that they thought could benefit from an infusion of funding to address a gap in service identified by the organization. The class vote would become my vote at 100+ Women. Both the 2019 class and, just recently, the 2020 class overwhelmingly voted for the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK) to be brought forward to 100+ Women.

SACK is a “not-for-profit, charitable organization committed to free, confidential, non-judgemental support for all survivors of recent and/or historic sexual violence in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A).” While it may not be surprising to learn that girls and young women between the ages of 15-24 are the most likely victims of sexual assault it was eye-opening to learn from our students that Kingston has the highest rate of sexual assault per capita in Canada. The majority of funding received by SACK is thus, understandably, directed at the support services with little left over for education and prevention. In fact, the Kingston Youth Sexual Violence Prevention Assessment put out a report in May of 2015 that stated “the Kingston community needed to engage youth before sexual & dating violence occurs. Organizations need to explicitly address important concepts including consent, healthy sexuality, healthy relationships, rape culture, alcohol & drug-facilitated sexual assault, and sexual violence.”

After six 100+ Women Who Care Kingston meetings and six attempts (between last year and this), the stars aligned on Feb 23, 2017 and SACK was the 3rd random pick of the night of the 30+ nominated charities.  The end result was an overwhelming majority vote of the 100+ women in the room to support this organization.  Two of the students from the class of 2019 that had an instrumental role in getting SACK nominated by their classmates, Tiffany Lung and Kate Liu, were present with me at the recent cheque-presenting ceremony by the leading ladies of 100+ Women Who Care Kingston to SACK on March 31st. The donation of $20,000+ will be directed at the development of a much-needed youth prevention program across the greater Kingston area which will include sexual assault resistance programming – the only evidence-based program that has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of rape and other forms of sexual assault.

The night that SACK was voted to receive this donation I was approached by many community members who were not only impressed with the important work that SACK does but by the School of Medicine’s investment in teaching our physicians-in-training about the importance of population health and health advocacy. Amazing what can be accomplished when 100+ medical students who care connect with a local group of women who care to create an opportunity for change in our community.

The recent Whig Standard Article can be found here.

Many thanks to the following for making this possible:

  • Meds 2019 class (special thanks to Tiffany Lung, Kate Liu, Zoe Lau and Sallya Aleboyeh)
  • Meds 2020 class (special thanks to Alexandra Basden, Azraa Janmohamed, Denisha Puvitharan, Khatija Anjum, Sana Khan and Jagpreet Kaler)
  • 100+ Women Who Care Kingston and the leading ladies (special thanks to Lindsay Duggan)
  • Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (special thanks to Jennifer Byrd and Elayne Furoy)

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Curriculum Committee Information – March 23, 2017

Faculty and staff interested in attending Curriculum Committee meetings should contact the Committee Secretary, Candace Miller (candace.miller@queensu.ca), for information relating to agenda items and meeting schedules.

A meeting of the Curriculum Committee was held on March 23, 2017.  To review the topics discussed at this meeting, please click HERE to view the agenda.

Faculty interested in reviewing the minutes of this meeting can click HERE to be taken to the Curriculum Committee’s page located on the Faculty Resources Community of MEdTech Central.

Those who are directly impacted by any decisions made by the Curriculum Committee have been notified via email.

Students interested in the outcome of a decision or discussion are welcome to contact the Aesculapian Society’s Vice President, Academic, Kate Rath-Wilson, at vpacademic@qmed.ca.

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