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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

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.

Past Debates


21st Annual Travill Debate - Nov 6th, 2019


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

Debating Yea:  Dr. Bob Connelly and Andriy Katyukha vs

Debating Nay:  Dr. Jay Engel and Sarenna Lalani

20th Annual Travill Debate - Nov 7th, 2018


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

19th Annual Travill Debate - Nov 30th, 2017


Topic: A Women in Medicine Program is Not Needed in 2017

Debating Yea: Roya Abdmoulaie (Meds 2020) & Dr. Romy Nitsch

Debating Nay: Daniel Huang (Meds 2021) & Dr. Mala Joneja

18th Annual Travill Debate - Nov 2nd, 2016


Topic: The rotating internship should be reinstated

Debating Yea: Julia Milden (Meds 2020) & Dr. Michelle Gibson

Debating Nay: Maximilien Boulet (Meds 2019) & Dr. David Holland

17th Annual Travill Debate - Nov 19th, 2015


Topic: Evidence-based medicine is an affront to clinical acumen

Debating Yea: Thomas Krahn (Meds 2017) & Dr. John Rudan

Debating Nay: Jennifer Fu (Meds 2018) & Dr. Stephen Archer

16th Annual Travill Debate - Oct 22nd, 2014


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

Debating Yea: Dr. Chris Frank and Sophie Palmer (Meds 2017)

Debating Nay: Dr. David Taylor and Fei Qu (Meds 2017)

15th Annual Travill Debate - Oct 23rd, 2013


Topic: The Physical Examination is Obsolete

Debating Yea: Dr. Dan Howes and Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif (Meds 2016)

Debating Nay: Dr Christopher Smith and Julia Baum (Meds 2017)

14th Annual Travill Debate - Nov 28th, 2012


Topic: Compensation for Canadian Physicians is too high

Debating Yea: Dr David Walker and Eve Purdy (Meds 2015)

Debating Nay: Dr Michael Adams and Mark Broussenko (Meds 2016)

13th Annual Travill Debate - 2012


Topic: Canada Deserves Canadian-trained physicians

Debating Yea: Dr. Heather Murray and Joe Gabriel (Meds 2015)

Debating Nay: Dr Chris Parker and Shannon Fernando (Meds 2014)

12th Annual Travill Debate - 2011


Topic: Because the pharmaceutical industry is leading medical discovery, it

should be a partner in medical education.

Debating Yea: Dr. Henry Averns and Sarah Leonard (Meds 2013)

Debating Nay: Dr. Michael Sylvester and Laura Narducci (Meds 2014) 

11th Annual Travill Debate - 2008


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

Debating Yea: Dr Lindsay Davidson and Adam Szulewski (Meds 2010)

Debating Nay: Dr Peter ONeill and Emily Austin (Meds 2011)

10th Annual Travill Debate - 2006


Topic: A devastating influenza pandemic is imminent.

Debating Yea: Dr. Dick Zoutman and Dr. Mohammad Zarrabian (Meds 2008)

Debating Nay: Richard Schabas and Aaron Drucker (Meds 2009)

9th Annual Travill Debate - 2005


Topic: Professionalism can and should be taught to medical trainees

Debating Yea: Dr. Ellen Tsai and Ahmed Kayssi (Meds 2009)

Debating Nay: Dr. David Yen and Rachael Adams (Meds 2008)

8th Annual Travill Debate - 2004


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

Debating Yea: Shauna Johnston & Leo Sin (student in Meds 2007)

Debating Nay: Greg Davies & Michel Shamy (student in Meds 2006)

7th Annual Travill Debate - 2003


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

Debating Yea: Christopher Simpson

Debating Nay: F. James Brennan

6th Annual Travill Debate - 2002


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

Debating Yea: A. Ross Morton, Aaron Johnston (student Meds 2003)

Debating Nay: William MacKillop & Nicola Matthews (student Meds 2005)

5th Annual Travill Debate - 2001


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

Debating Yea: David Dennis & Stephen Hunt

Debating Nay: Peter Aston & David R. Hurley

If anyone has photographs of this debate, please contact


4th Annual Travill Debate - 2000


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

Debating Yea: Peter Ford & Gerald Evans 

Debating Nay: John Rossiter & Don Weaver

3rd Annual Travill Debate - 1999


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

Debating Yea: Robyn Houlden & Albert Clark 

Debating Nay: John Matthews & Elizabeth Eisenhauer 

2nd Annual Travill Debate - 1998


Topic: All women over 50 should take hormones

Debating Yea: Robert Reid

Debating Nay: Christine Overall and Ruth Wilson

Innaugural Travill Debate - 1997


Topic: You do not own your own genes

Debating Yea: Marlys Koschinsky & Geoff Flynn 

Debating Nay: David Lillicrap & Sandra Taylor