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The Travill Debates

21st Annual Travill Debate – was held on November 6, 2019 at Ellis Hall Auditorium(58 University Ave)

Topic: The Electronic Health Record was a detriment to provision of patient care


For the Yea - Dr. Bob Connelly and Andriy Katyukha vs

For the Nay - Dr. Jay Engel and Sarenna Lalani

The Travill Debates are Held annually in fond memory of A.A. ("Tony") Travill, MB BS MRCS LRCP MSc

Dr. Travill came to Canada in 1957 after serving as aircrew in the RAF (WWII) and reading Medicine at the London Hospital Medical School. He did a residency year in Montreal and practised in Orillia with Dr. Philip Rynard (Queen's '26) before coming to Queen's to study Anatomy under Dr. John Basmajian. After two years at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Travill returned to Queen's in the Department of Anatomy in 1964, becoming Professor and Head from 1969-1978. His research interests were in embryology, teratology and education. Dr. Travill was a strict parliamentarian and noted Faculty Historian (Medicine at Queen's; 1854-1920, the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, 1988: Just a Few: Queen's Medical Profiles , 1991). He served the community as a Trustee of the Separate School Board and in 1964 was a founding member of the John Austin Society, the still thriving local history of medicine club. In particular, Dr. Travill had a passion for debate on current social, political and educational issues, and for many years he delivered a rigorous and challenging lecture to incoming first year medical students during orientation week.

The Travill debate began in 1997 and has been a popular event in the Faculty of Health Sciences ever since.  If you’ve stopped yourself to wonder how the debate come to pass, read the original proposal for the commemorative debate by Dr. Jackie Duffin.

Read The Original Proposal

The Travill Debates are Held annually in fond memory of A.A. ("Tony") Travill, MB BS MRCS LRCP MSc

Past Debates

20th Debate

Topic: Publicly funded hospitals should not be able to have religious affiliation

Debating Yea: Nathan Katz (Meds 2022) & Dr. Andrea Winthrop

Debating Nay: Sara Brade (Meds 2021) & Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick

Wednesday, November 7th 2018 at 5:45pm

  Audio Recording
18th Debate

The rotating internship should be reinstated

Dr. Michelle Gibson and Julia Milden (Meds 2020)
versus Dr. David Holland and Maximilien Boulet (Meds 2019)

2 November 2016

Audio Recording
17th Debate

Evidence-based medicine is an affront to clinical acumen

Dr. John Rudan and Thomas Krahn (Meds 2017)
versus Dr. Stephen Archer and Jennifer Fu (Meds 2018)

19 November 2015

Audio Recording
16th Debate

The law should allow physicians to assist people who wish to die

Dr. Chris Frank and Sophie Palmer (Meds 2017)
versus Dr. David Taylor and Fei Qu (Meds 2017)

22 October 2014

15th Debate

The Physical Examination is Obsolete

Dr. Dan Howes and Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif (Meds 2016) versus Dr Christopher Smith and Julia Baum (Meds 2017)

23 October 2013

Upcoming Fall 2014  
14th Debate

Compensation for Canadian Physicians is too high

Dr David Walker and Eve Purdy (Meds 2015) vs Dr Michael Adams and Mark Broussenko (Meds 2016)

8 November 2012, Etherington Auditorium

2012 Travill Debate  
13th Debate

Canada Deserves Canadian-trained physicians

Dr. Heather Murray and Joe Gabriel (Meds 2015) vs Dr Chris Parker and Shannon Fernando (Meds 2014)

2012 Travill Debate  
12th Debate

Because the pharmaceutical industry is leading medical discovery, it
should be a partner in medical education.

Dr. Henry Averns and Sarah Leonard (Meds 2013) (Yea) vs Dr. Michael Sylvester and Laura Narducci (Meds 2014) (Nay)

2011 Travill Debate  
11th Debate

The Feminization of Medicine is a Hazard to the Public's Health

Dr Lindsay Davidson and Adam Szulewski (Meds 2010) (Yea) vs Dr Peter ONeill and Emily Austin (Meds 2011) (Nay)

2008 Travill Debate  
10th Debate

A devastating influenza pandemic is imminent.

Dr. Dick Zoutman and Dr. Mohammad Zarrabian (Meds 2008) (Yea) vs Dr. Richard Schabas and Aaron Drucker (Meds 2009) (Nay)

2006 Travill Debate  
9th Debate

Professionalism can and should be taught to medical trainees

Dr. Ellen Tsai and Ahmed Kayssi (Meds 2009) (Yea) vs Dr. David Yen and Rachael Adams (Meds 2008) (Nay)

2005 Travill Debate  
8th Debate

For the benefit of the mother and baby, the majority of children should be born by Caesarean delivery

Shauna Johnston & Leo Sin (student in Meds 2007) (Yea) vs Greg Davies & Michel Shamy (student in Meds 2006) (Nay)

2004 Travill Debate  
7th Debate

Since effective expensive Medical Devices, Treatment, and Procedures are available, they should routinely be offered

Christopher Simpson (Yea) vs F. James Brennan (Nay)
2003 Travill Debate  
6th Debate

Natural remedies offer an effective, alternative approach to disease treatment, and that access to funding for these therapies should be equal

A. Ross Morton, Aaron Johnston (student Meds 2003) (Yea) vs William MacKillop & Nicola Matthews (student Meds 2005).

This debate was videotaped. A copy in Queen's Archives.
2002 Travill Debate  
5th Debate

A meal of genetically modified food is no more harmful than a meal prepared from traditional, home grown food

David Dennis, & Stephen Hunt, (Yea) vs Peter Aston, & David R. Hurley (Nay)

If anyone has photographs of this debate, please contact  
4th Debate

Increased private health care will improve the population's health.

Peter Ford & Gerald Evans (Yea) vs John Rossiter & Don Weaver (Nay)
2000 Travill Debate  
3rd Debate

The education of health science students as "sophisticated generalists" is an affront to the basic sciences

Robyn Houlden, Albert Clark (Yea) vs John Matthews & Elizabeth Eisenhauer (Nay)
1999 Travill Debate  
2nd Debate

All women over 50 should take hormones

Robert Reid (Yea) vs Christine Overall and Ruth Wilson (Nay)
1998 Travill Debate  
Innaugural Debate

You do not own your own genes

Marlys Koschinsky & Geoff Flynn vs David Lillicrap & Sandra Taylor

1997 Travill Debate  

Every year a committee made up mostly of former debators and representatives of student government advises the Dean on a proposition and chosen faculty debators.

Two faculty members each partner with a medical student to debate opposite sides of the chosen premise.

The debates run on a polite and rigorously timed schedule :

  • 10 minutes for each member of the team, alternating back and forth --Yea and Nay--until all four participants have laid out their arguments.
  • Then two minutes for summary from one member of each side.
  • The Travill Debate Gavel is banged very loudly when the time limits are reached.
  • No Power Point or technological aids.
  • Humour is welcome. Formal attire and costumes have also been used to good effect.
Decision over the winners has been left to a variety of options, such as a panel of judges, a simple show of hands,  an “applause meter,” or audience balloting through designated exit doors with result revealed later at the reception. 
  • The debators' preferences determine the method of voting.
  • The identity of the winning team is recorded only in living memory. The honour is the debate itself.
  • The event is followed by a reception to congratulate all the debaters.
  • The plaque is engraved with the year, the proposition and the names of the debators.