Maintaining your sense of self in medical education: How to recover from a microaggression

By Dr. Mala Joneja

Medical education institutions and teaching hospitals are investing a large amount of resources these days in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion. Medical schools and teaching hospitals are trying to be inclusive workplaces. Yet medical students and residents who are women, or who are from BIPOC communities, are still routinely exposed to microaggressions.

A microaggression is defined as a “mundane and often unintentional prejudice conveyed during an interaction”.

With the prefix micro- in the name attached to this phenomenon, I should point out that the effect or consequence of personally dealing with a microaggression can be rather large.

In fact, a frequent question that I am asked by medical students is:  what do I do if I’m if faced with a microaggression in the workplace?

As educators, we would hope that students would report it and that it would be addressed by the clinical preceptor. But what does the person on the receiving end of the microaggression do? What do they actually do to move forward?

I would like to share an experience with Queen’s medical students, that may provide some helpful guidance regarding how to recover from a microaggression.

Image of a stethoscope beside a cup of coffee drawing attention to the story shared by the author (a physician) of being mistaken for a food service worker by a guest presenter.

As a physician in the Department of Medicine for 15 years, I have become accustomed to people knowing who I am. It took a while, but I have established myself. Etherington Hall is where I have my office (there is my name on the wall outside my door) and Etherington Auditorium is where every Thursday morning at 7:45am, I co-chair Medical Grand Rounds with Dr. Stephen Archer (Chair, Department of Medicine). One Thursday morning, I arrived early as I usually do to meet the speaker. On this particular Thursday (before the COVID pandemic), our department was hosting a visiting professor from Harvard. He walked in at the back of the auditorium and came down the steps with his briefcase. He saw me at the bottom of the stairs and straightaway asked me if I was there to set up the food.

I explained to him that I was there as one of the professors and co-chairs, and I was there to meet him. He proceeded to give his talk and went back to Boston. The fact that he assumed that I was there with the food, bothered me and made it difficult for me to concentrate on whatever his topic was for grand rounds.

Several months later, I found an article in Academic medicine with the title: Mistaken Identity: Frequency and Effects of Gender-Based Professional Misidentification of Resident Physicians”

In this article the authors describe how common role misidentification is for women residents in medical education, and they describe the possible psychological and behavioral responses that can occur after this, but the article does not describe how to recover from this.

Although I didn’t take in much of our guest speaker’s lecture, I did recover by the end of the day. The incident had left me with this message: I do not, at first glance, look like an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. The fact is though, I did not, at first glance, look like an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, to this particular visiting speaker.

I actually had done nothing but my usual activity, showing up for work. In his mind, I looked like I was there to put out the food. His assumption, his error. I do believe, though, however gifted of a professor he may be, it should not be a huge stretch for him to entertain what is in fact a common narrative, the daughter of East Indian immigrants becoming a physician.

I recovered from this for a few reasons. First, I decided thatthe problem was not me, but the Harvard Professor who could not at first glance, think that I could be anything but the food person. This is the danger of having a fixed narrative in mind regarding who should be a professor. Or a doctor, or a surgeon. Or any profession.

By deciding that the problem was not me, I took back my power as Dr. Ivan Joseph would say.

Dr. Ivan Joseph,(https://www.drivanjoseph.com/) recently gave a keynote lecture at the Dean’s Action Table Forum on EDI and told the audience quite frankly: don’t give other people the power to change the way you look at yourself.  As Dr. Joseph told us at the forum, I stopped giving the Harvard professor the power to assess who I was. (Note: this is not easy when you career trajectory is built upon impressing and demonstrating one’s worth). 

Other things helped me recover. After rounds I talked with my department chair who told me toremember who I was (who I was really, meaning all my work and accomplishments and not what the visiting speaker assumed).

And what also help a lot was after rounds and dealing with the slight derailment that comes with microaggressions, I went to work. I found that as I worked through my charts, my patient calls, the negative feelings became smaller and smaller until they finally dissolved. I was back to myself and going ahead with the work that gives me purpose and meaning.

When the Internal Medicine residents and I discuss microaggressions, we say that they are not so ‘micro’ and the story I have told illustrates why we say that. But it is possible to recover and I hope this post helps any student or resident who may experience a microaggression (which can make one feel excluded from their own profession) recover and keep going.


Any students from Queen’s Undergraduate Medicine who would like to reach out after reading this for further discussion are welcome to email Dr. Joneja: mj6@queensu.ca


Also consider checking out Ivan Joseph’s book You Got This: Mastering the Skill of Self-Confidence. (We’re not providing a link as to not promote any particular bookseller).

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Tenth annual Medical Student Research Showcase October 13

By Drs. Andrea Winthrop & Melanie Walker

This year the School of Medicine is proud to invite you to the 10th annual Medical Student Research Showcase on Wednesday October 13, 2021.

The event this year will be a hybrid one, held both within the School of Medicine Building and virtually.  Only those individuals who are presenting research (poster presentation or oral plenary), other medical students and faculty judges are permitted to attend the showcase in person.  We welcome all additional Queen’s Health Sciences faculty, staff and students to attend the oral plenary session virtually (details below).

This event celebrates the research achievements of our undergraduate medical students, with both posters and an oral plenary session featuring research performed by students while they have been enrolled in medical school. All students who received summer studentship research funding through the School of Medicine in 2021 will be presenting their work, as well as many other research initiatives. This year we had a record 98 poster submissions and students will be presenting their posters from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 pm. The link to the 2021 Medical Student Research Showcase Abstract Book is on our Medical Student Research Showcase Community in Elentra at the following link https://elentra.healthsci.queensu.ca/community/researchshowcase:meeting_book__oral_plenary_link

The oral plenary features the top research projects selected by a panel of faculty judges and will run virtually from 12:30 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.  Zoom Details can be found at the following link https://elentra.healthsci.queensu.ca/community/researchshowcase:meeting_book__oral_plenary_link (You must be logged in to Elentra to access this page).

This year’s faculty judges included:

  • Dr. Sheela Abraham
  • Dr. Susan Bartels
  • Dr. Anne Ellis
  • Dr. Laura Gaudet
  • Dr. Doris Jabs
  • Dr. Sonja Molin
  • Dr. Lois Mulligan
  • Dr. Nishardi Wijeratne

We are very grateful to these faculty members for evaluating our oral plenary applicants this year.

The three students who have been selected for the oral plenary session, and the titles of their research presentations and faculty supervisor names are listed below. Each of these three students will receive The Albert Clark Award for Medical Student Research Excellence.

Brian Laight – “Disruption of the non-Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Fes Enhances Cancer ImmunotherapyLaight, BJ; Hoskin, V; Alotaibi, F; Harper, D; Gao, Y; Greer, PA.*

Keshinisuthan Kirubalingam – “Opioid Prescriptions Following Otologic Surgery: A Population-Based Study” Kirubalingam, K.; Nguyen, P.; Klar, G.; Dion, J.M.; Campbell R.J.; *Beyea J.A.

Victoria McCann – “Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on substance use patterns and service access of street-involved individuals in Kingston, Ontario: A qualitative study” McCann, V.; Allen, R.; Purkey, E.*

Please set aside some time to review the abstract meeting book and attend the oral plenary via Zoom on October 13th. The students will appreciate your interest and support, and you will be amazed at what they have been able to achieve.

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A Virtual Walk in COVID Times

By Daniel Huang, Sam Sarabia, Ioana Dobre, Co-chairs, Kingston Walk for Arthritis 2021

In 2017, Queen’s Class of 2018 alumna Molly Dushnicky organized the very first Kingston Walk for Arthritis, led by a group of Qmed students and faculty, community leaders, representatives from the Arthritis Society, and local businesses. The fundraiser was a major success, bringing together the Queen’s and Kingston communities, raising much needed funds for the Arthritis Society, and raising awareness for a disease that affects 1 in 6 Canadians.

The picture shows people of a variety of ages walking on Fort Henry Hill at the annual Walk for Arthritis in 2018. They are wearing Walk for Arthritis shirts.
Participants of the Kingston Walk for Arthritis 2018 at Fort Henry. This year, the walk will be held in a virtual format, with a variety of routes for participants to choose from to participate in a safe, physically-distanced fashion.

Since then, successive Qmed classes have taken up the task of organizing the Walk for Arthritis annually. Unfortunately, the 2020 Walk for Arthritis was cancelled, like many similar community events, due to the restrictions put in place across Ontario during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic

Given the importance of this cause, and taking inspiration from examples of successful virtual and socially-distanced fundraising events around the world–which have advanced such varied causes as producing PPE for frontline workers, collecting perishable food items for food banks, and hosting online arts and cultural events to support local artists–this year the organizing committee for the Walk for Arthritis endeavoured to transition to a completely virtual walk, to be held from April 23-25th, 2021.

This was a first for many members of our committee. Such basic tasks as finding participants, contacting local businesses, and reaching out to charitable and patient advocacy organizations needed a complete rethink. Like many other event organizers, we struggled with the basic question of how communities can come together in the middle of a pandemic that has uprooted many lives and restricted our ability to gather in person.

In the midst of these new challenges however, the continued resilience of our local community and the support we have had from classmates and the Queen’s faculty have truly been heartwarming. Though many are struggling, the message we received from local Kingston businesses was also loud and clear: they offered whatever they could and promised to stay connected once this pandemic is over. And, the virtual setting has provided new opportunities. Participants can walk from ‘virtually’ anywhere while maintaining a sense of camaraderie by getting involved with the walk’s virtual events, including raffle contests, and sharing photos and stories of loved ones who have faced this debilitating disease. It has truly become a virtual community.

Hopefully in future years we will return to the beautiful Fort Henry and walk together, in-person, like in years past. Until then, we will gather virtually to support our loved ones who suffer from arthritis and celebrate their strength and courage. As in years past, proceeds from our event will be donated to the Arthritis Society, in support of their efforts to sponsor cutting-edge research and patient advocacy programs to achieve better health outcomes for people affected by arthritis.

We look forward to seeing all of you on April 23-25th, 2021. For more information on how to participate, please visit our registration page at:

https://arthritis.ca/moveyourway/KingstonWalkforArthritis

And, follow us on social media for your chance to win 1 of 10 gift cards for floatation therapy provided by our main event sponsor, Rejuve-nation Wellness Experts:

Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/PEnEHvs4

Twitter: @KingstonWFA

Instagram: @KingstonWFA

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Medical Student Research Showcase moves online

By Drs. Andrea Winthrop & Melanie Walker

This year the School of Medicine is proud to invite you to the 9th annual Medical Student Research Showcase on Friday October 30th, 2020. The event this year will be held virtually.

This event celebrates the research achievements of our undergraduate medical students, with both posters and an oral plenary session featuring research performed by students while they have been enrolled in medical school. All students who received summer studentship research funding through the School of Medicine in 2020 will be presenting their work, as well as many other research initiatives. This year we have 80 poster submissions and students will be presenting their posters virtually from 10:30-11:30 a.m. The links to the 2020 Medical Student Research Showcase Abstract Book, posters and the virtual room for each presenter is on our Medical Student Research Showcase Community in Elentra at the following link https://elentra.healthsci.queensu.ca/community/researchshowcase:2020_poster_submissions. (You need to log in to Elentra to access this link).

This year’s Research Showcase will look different, with online delivery.

The oral plenary features the top research projects selected by a panel of faculty judges, and will run virtually from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The Zoom link is available on the Elentra community page (above link).

This year’s faculty judges included:

  • Dr. Sheela Abraham
  • Dr. Andrew Bickle
  • Dr. Anne Ellis
  • Dr. Laura Gaudet
  • Dr. Sudeep Gill
  • Dr. Mark Harrison
  • Dr. Robyn Houlden
  • Dr. Diane Lougheed
  • Dr. Alexandre Menard
  • Dr. Shaila Merchant
  • Dr. Sonja Molin
  • Dr. Lois Mulligan
  • Dr. Chris Nicol
  • Dr. Stephen Pang
  • Dr. Emidio Tarulli
  • Dr. Timothy Phillips
  • Dr. Michael Rauh
  • Dr. Sonal Varma
  • Dr. Maria Velez
  • Dr. Nishardi Wijeratne

We are very grateful to these faculty members for evaluating our oral plenary applicants this year.

The three students who have been selected for the oral plenary session, and the titles of their research presentations and faculty supervisor names are listed below. Each of these three students will receive The Albert Clark Award for Medical Student Research Excellence.

Ricky Hu – “An artificial intelligence-based time-dependent model to predict prognosis of patients with colorectal liver metastases” Hu, R.; Chen, I.; Beaulieu, K.; Zhang, Y.; Reyngold, M.; Simpson, A.*

Nathan Katz -“A Novel Way of Teaching Gross Anatomy to Medical Students: Instructor-guided ‘Fly-by’ of Digital 3D Anatomical Structures” Katz, N.K.; Kolomitro, K.; MacKenzie, L.W.; Zevin, B.*

Michelle Lutsch – ““Local” Anesthesia: A history of malignant hyperthermia in southwestern Ontario” Lutsch, M; Healey, J*

Please set aside some time to attend the Medical Student Research Showcase on October 30th. The students will appreciate your interest and support, and you will be amazed at what they have been able to achieve.

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Combining medicine & business: CEO for a day

By Andriy Katyukha, Meds 2022

“Maybe you should try Bay Street instead of medical school?” My interviewer’s acerbic tone gave the impression I was not the candidate they were hoping to admit when assessing medical applicants. Fortunately, I was admitted, and as a result of my experiences I am committed to dismantling entrenched attitudes in medicine that stifle progress and positive change.

Andriy Katyukha, right, with CHEO President and CEO Alext Munter

As I continue through my career, I remain steadfast in my conviction that functioning at the intersection of medicine, business, and policy is crucial to help move the healthcare system forward. As some of my sagacious mentors have pointed out, multi-disciplinary skill building, outside the traditional framework of what is deemed relevant for the practice of medicine, unfortunately is sometimes discouraged. Is it a lack of exposure to other skillsets or is it a profound fear that someone equipped with unique skills may threaten your position? Regardless of the reasoning behind this antiquated view, it falls on you to be introspective, decide what opportunities you will pursue, seek out mentors who inspire you, and work fervently to bring about the change you want to see in your field of work.

For me, this means seeking out opportunities that bolster my interest in strategy, governance, and health leadership, and that is how I found myself participating in the CEOx1Day program. Though I was apprehensive about applying to a competitive program geared towards future leaders in business, I submitted an application anyway. To my pleasant surprise, I was selected by Odgers Berndtson to work with Alex Munter, the President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

My day started with what now seems like a very prescient discussion with senior medical leaders and Alex­—COVID19 preparedness. From there, we departed to meet the rest of the executive team for their weekly Tuesday meeting. While the discussions were incredibly insightful, I am certain that the team would be surprised to hear what resonated with me the most: amidst the business of the day, they all stopped to recognize individual employees, of all seniority levels and positions, who made a meaningful contribution to the organization. This was their ‘kudos’ time, and I got the impression that employee recognition and appreciation is not a concept that is flippantly tossed into quarterly reports, but is the underpinning of the culture at CHEO. This is where I learned my first lesson: when it comes to transformational leadership, senior leaders who focus on results, and shift the emphasis from personal credit to team recognition, make the biggest impact.

Alex and I then connected with the CEOs of the Hospital for Sick Children and Holland Bloorview Rehabilitation Centre to discuss their partnership through the Kids Health Alliance, a network that aims to bolster patient and family-centered care in pediatric populations. We then proceeded to Alex’s CEO Information Session where he updated staff members about various projects and organizational achievements. It also served as a platform to once again recognize employees who made a difference at CHEO, and further encourage employees to use their personal insights to make improvements in their respective departments. In my professional life, I have yet to see such an emphasis being placed on promoting grassroots initiatives to fuel an organization’s success and progress. Through this, I learned my second lesson in leadership—empathy. A heightened ability to listen and validate employee experiences not only creates a positive work environment, but also empowers employees to use their experiences to change things for the better, strengthening the company in the process.

My day at CHEO finished off with Dr. Jean-Philippe Vaccani, a brilliant physician leader who serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff at CHEO. After a candid discussion about our careers, goals, and health leadership, I was struck by his encouragement and eagerness to promote discussions that underscore the importance of multi-disciplinary thinking in medicine. Professional mentorship is one of the best ways to give back to others, and just as I have benefited from kind and encouraging mentors, I also hope to make mentorship a priority in my own career.

I urge non-traditional majors and STEM students to embrace opportunities like CEOx1Day to not only learn from incredible leaders, but to also share their own invaluable insights to broaden leaders’ perspectives. Even if you do not see yourself represented in a field, seek out opportunities that allow you to be the catalyst for change.

Later that evening I had the privilege of joining Alex and his partner for dinner, where I not only got to meet his adorable son, but also Lola, the family dog and self-proclaimed “Queen of the House”. It was the perfect setting to further discuss our thoughts on a variety of topics and get to know each other a little better. Through our discussions about the healthcare system, advocacy, policy, and representation, I got an incredible sense that Alex’s successes are rooted in a deep sense of service. While he serves as CEO, to me he serves as a role model who has broken barriers for LGBTQ2S+ individuals, has worked to shatter the ‘glass closet’ that often exists in corporate leadership, and has instilled in me a deep passion to work tirelessly as an advocate and leader in healthcare. This leads me to my final lesson about leadership—service. Rooting your work in service, be it serving people directly or serving a mission that fuels your passion, lays the foundation for the most meaningful impact you can achieve as a leader.

CHEO is an absolutely incredible organization to work for and I applaud the efforts of Alex Munter, the senior leadership team, and most importantly the committed and passionate employees who work day-in and day-out to bolster pediatric care in Ontario. I would like to thank Kristen, Michael, Eric, and the entire team in the Odgers Berndtson Ottawa office for affording me this invaluable opportunity!


For more information about the Odgers Berndtson CEOx1Day program, check out their program site here: https://www.odgersberndtson.com/en-ca/ceox1day/about-the-program


A version of this post was previously published here: https://www.odgersberndtson.com/en-ca/ceox1day/news-media/bay-street-or-medical-school-a-glimpse-inside-a-ceox1day-at-cheo

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CanMEDS roles in action during COVID-19

By Dr. Gray Moonen

A photo of Dr. Moonen, the writer of the blog post.

Welcome to the Medical Residency Twilight Zone:  There are no medical students. Academic half-days are virtual. Research projects are delayed indefinitely. Your oral presentation at the conference is cancelled. The entire conference is cancelled. Oh, that’s because flights are also cancelled. Licensing examinations are delayed. Clinics are cancelled. Where did all the patients go? You can hear a pin drop in the emergency department.

My hands are raw. No, I am not moisturizing them during the day and, yes, they are showing cracks. I am turning reptilian. These masks make me so hot, I can barely breathe. My glasses are constantly foggy. Oh hey, I didn’t recognize you with the mask on. Leaving the hospital and coming home are newly ritualized. Wash hands (arms, neck?), then take off scrubs, then take off shoes, wash hands again, put street clothing on… wait did I miss a step? Did I contaminate myself? Will I contaminate my home? Get my wife sick? I don’t know. I have internal monologues about how often to sanitize my equipment. Is my cell phone going to survive all this virox? It is the least of my worries right now, but it would really suck if I broke it.

I end every email with “stay safe”.

I’ve been reading about how to stay resilient and accept the inevitable stress. The evidence is sound, but it seems distant. “Focus on the things you can control”…that’s part of the day-to-day challenge as a resident. We often lack the clinical knowledge, experience, and confidence to control our clinical encounters. We require evaluations; all our work and research projects are supervised and graded in some capacity. We require licensing exams to proceed to be independent practitioners. These are the many things out of our control that all draw on our attention and make a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic even more anxiety provoking. Not to mention our most pressing concern – for the deluge of illness and suffering this will cause patients.

And yet…. what a privilege it is to be a resident.

We are guided by a seven-pillar competency-based framework: “CanMEDS” or “CanMEDS – Family Medicine”.  Although it may seem like everything is up in the air, I think there are equal, if not greater opportunities to develop our competencies during this crisis compared to usual times. Instead of going through the motions of learning objectives, checking off an Entrusted Professional Activity, receiving an In-Training Evaluation Report, instead we are actively motivated to do the things that need doing, because it simply needs to be done. Doing it well and thoughtfully, because it matters. A lot.

I have seen residents and staff physicians working side by side, tirelessly advocating for change at the individual, community and broader societal level. Grassroots campaigns are successfully encouraging people to stay home, and wash their hands; we’re advocating for PPE procurement. The trust, respect and unity being displayed across healthcare workers has enabled genuine collaborative efforts; “we are truly all in this together”. Residents are also liaising with public health, government agencies and the public to find innovative solutions, not to apply for a grant or win an award. It’s because this needs to be done.

I’ve noticed many residents become leaders and lean in to their voices, providing calm, measured and sound advice to their patients, peer groups, junior learners, family and friends, organizing systems to let patients know where to reach out to for help if they feel ill. Residents are stepping up and covering call shifts for ill or quarantined colleagues, offering to work COVID19 clinics or be redeployed to other services.

As developing professionals, we are sacrificing time, energy and our health in this evolving pandemic. Managing the competing demands of training such as patient care, evaluations, research and the stress of having academic requirements delayed or cancelled is unique, but I have observed grace inspired action rather than a compromise in integrity or overt displays of frustration.

As scholars we are staying informed on the emerging evidence and synthesizing this information for patients, peers and the broader public. As medical experts, we are not only maintaining many of our skills within our developing scope of practice, but actually expanding our skillset as we prepare to participate in more critical care, triaging, counselling and telemedicine.

Uncertainty and anxiety are undeniable. We are concerned we will not reach our training milestones or develop the competencies to practice independently. Yet, despite these dark times, I believe there are silver linings. We will all become better physicians and community members as a result of this crisis, and Canadians will benefit in the long term.


Gray Moonen, PGY1 in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto, graduated from Queen’s School of Medicine in 2019. He is also a past-president of the Aesculapian Society.

This column originally appeared on the CMAJ blog and is used here with Dr. Moonen’s permission.

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“Meducators” aim to help healthcare and other essential workers’ children with 1:1 online tutoring

Editor’s Note: Medical students (and many other Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences students) are volunteering their time during the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of different capacities. This is in addition to continuing with course work responsibilities, as much of the UGME curriculum is now being delivered online. This post highlights one of these student-led volunteer initiatives.

By Angie Salomon and Kiera Liblik (Meds 2023)

Image is logo for the project. It's a cartoon teddy bear wearing a graduation cap. Text reads Queen's U Meducators: a medical student initiative to support healthcare providers and their children during COVID-19

To hardworking healthcare professionals, and all others providing essential services to our community during COVID-19: WE WANT TO HELP!
Queen’s “Meducators” are a group of Health Sciences students at Queen’s University who want to support the educational success of students of healthcare (and other essential) workers in our community through a free, one-on-one tutor program via on-line video conferencing. Our tutors can provide informal tutoring services for children of all ages and grades (K-12) across core subjects (math, science, English, French). The service may range from simply supporting the student virtually while they complete their homework, to creating full-on lesson plans to aid their learning. If this is of interest to you or your family, please submit a request using the following link: https://forms.gle/k3mdo6cLYZtULmYF6

If you are a Health Sciences student (Medicine, Nursing or Rehabilitation Therapy) who would like to volunteer as a tutor, please sign up here: https://forms.gle/Ly8d2xmXax47iGDM7

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Angie Salomon (asalomon@qmed.ca) or Kiera Liblik (kliblik@qmed.ca).

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COVID-19: Advice from previous crisis management experience

By Brent D Wolfrom MD CCFP

The following was distributed to the physicians in the Queen’s Department of Family Medicine earlier this week and has since found its way to a broader audience. Please feel free to distribute it you think it will be helpful. The context is based on my experiences as a Medical Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, in particular lessons learned during a couple of tours to Afghanistan:

As we head into this pandemic I thought I would share a few thoughts based on my past experiences with crisis planning and management in prolonged stressful environments involving complex systems and little control. These are completely subjective lessons that helped me cope in prolonged stressful experiences and they may not relate to you. That said, I would have really valued receiving a variant of this email 12-13 years ago.

  1. This event is unlike anything we have lived through before and we all expect it to be drawn out, especially if social distancing does what we hope it will. It is likely that at some point we will all transition from an acute to chronic crisis mentality. This can be a difficult transition because it can feel like defeat. It’s not. It’s us getting better at beating COVID-19.
  2. Plan now for wellness and stick to your plan rigidly, however, also set expectations at a realistic level.
  3. Find supports who will talk about non-COVID, or ideally non-medical, related topics and stay in touch daily, even if just by text or email.
  4. There will be long and dark days ahead and people will all cope differently. A small word of encouragement or appreciation from a colleague will make all the difference.
  5. Support each other. If you have the time or capacity to help someone just do it.
  6. Communication. Communicate with those who need the information and minimize with those who don’t. Be deliberate about your email distributions and who you include on the To vs CC lines. Information overload is going to happen and we need to be deliberate about protecting each other.
  7. Brushup/readup now on the skills you consider outside, but proximal to, your normal scope. We don’t know where we will be needed in the coming weeks.
  8. Remind yourself daily that you are trained to deal with this situation, even if that means lying to yourself a little bit.
  9. Grief doesn’t equal failure. Bad outcomes don’t equal failure. Say those two phrases daily.
  10. There will be many changes and constraints over the coming weeks-months. Sports, clubs, social events, etc that used to recharge you will not be available. Try to find a replacement for each joyful activity you lose.

As a discipline we have just come out of a few recent years of public assaults, difficulty and infighting. Now we are the face of our nation’s defense against this threat. How times change quickly!

Watching our department, and specifically the physician group, come together over this pending crisis has been so encouraging. I truly believe we have a fantastic group and we have a great team supporting us. We will be even stronger and better at the end of all of this.

Dr. Wolfrom is a family physician, former Course Director for our Year 1 Family Medicine course, and currently Postgraduate Program Director for family medicine at Queen’s University. He was previously a full time Medical Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.

A version of this post was shared earlier on the CMAJ blog.

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Exceptional Healer Awards nominations now open

New award this year for allied health professionals

Nominations are now open for the fourth iteration of the Exceptional Healer Awards at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). The deadline to submit nominations is Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

The award provides patients, families, staff and health care learners an excellent chance to celebrate health care professionals at KHSC who excel in providing patient- and family-centred care. Launched in 2017 recognizing outstanding physicians, the award was extended in 2019 to include a separate award to recognize nurses at KHSC. For this fourth iteration, a third category has been added for other allied health care professionals.

The award now honours doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals from KHSC’s two hostpial sites who are innovative in their approaches to patient care and who demonstrate exceptional bedside manner, which includes being approachable, empathetic, collaborative and respectful.

Patients, families, staff and health care learners can nominate a health care professional as long as he or she has provided care at the KHSC in the last two years. 

Here are the nomination details, as posted on the KHSC site:

If a health care professional at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) has provided you with excellent patient- and family-centred care, now is your chance to nominate that person for an Exceptional Healer Award.

KHSC is encouraging patients to nominate doctors, nurses and allied health professionals (e.g., physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, dietitians) across our Hotel Dieu Hospital and Kingston General Hospital sites who are innovative in their approaches to patient care and who demonstrate an exceptional bedside manner, which includes being approachable, empathetic, collaborative and respectful.

Who can nominate? 
Patients and family members can nominate a KHSC health care professional who has provided care to them in the last two years.  KHSC staff can nominate colleagues on a patient care team.

Who is eligible?  
Physician nominees will have a current appointment at KHSC and will have been credentialed at KHSC for at least the past two years.  Other health care professional nominees must be KHSC staff members.

What are the criteria?  
The nominee creates an excellent patient care experience over and above the norm by exhibiting some or all of the following behaviours:

• Demonstrates compassion as a skillful clinician by displaying personal qualities such as approachability, flexibility and empathy.

• Uses novel or innovative methods in attempting to deliver compassionate care.

• Demonstrates a pattern of listening to and respecting patient and family perspectives and choices. 

• Exhibits a value of integrating patients and families into the clinical care model to ensure they are equal, informed participants in their health care.

• Honours the uniqueness of patients and families by incorporating their knowledge, values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds into the planning and delivery of care. 

What is required for the nomination?  
The nominator must complete a brief nomination form that includes yes-no questions and a short explanation of the candidate’s special qualifications for the award based on the criteria listed above.

Nomination forms are now available online. The deadline to submit nominations is Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

If you have questions about the award or nomination form, please contact the KHSC Leadership & Talent Development Department at 613-544-6666, ext. 8108.

Further details and nomination forms are available by clicking here. 

Exceptional Healer Award Past Winners

2017  

Dr. Richard Henry – Anesthesiology & Chronic Pain Clinic

            Dr. Tom Gonder – Ophthalmology & Retina Specialist

2018  

Dr. Shawna Johnston – Obstetrics & Gynaecology

2019  

Dr. Maria Velez, Obstetrics & Gynaecology

            Nurse Tracey Froess – Cancer Centre


This post was created with information supplied by Susan Bedell, including a KHSC blog post by Anne Rutherford

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Students enthusiastically endorsed Dr. James Makokis as inaugural M. Nancy Tatham & Donna Henderson Lecturer

Public Lecture on Decolonizing Medicine is October 23 at 5 p.m.

Creating an inclusive space for transgender and Two-spirit people in medicine will be the focus of the inaugural Dr. M. Nancy Tatham & Donna Henderson Lectureship October 23 at the Queen’s School of Medicine Britton Smith Lecture Theatre (Room 132 at 15 Arch Street), at 5 p.m.

Dr. James Makokis, a Two-spirit Cree Family physician (and recent winner of the Amazing Race Canada with his partner Anthony Johnson) is the first Dr. M. Nancy Tatham & Donna Henderson Lecturer. The lectureship is organized by the School of Medicine’s Undergraduate Diversity Panel.

Dr. James Makokis

The students of the medical school class of 2022 who participate in the Diversity Panel enthusiastically put forward Dr. Makokis to be the first speaker for this lectureship. The students felt that inviting Dr. Makokis to speak would promote important conversations about equity, diversity and inclusion in medicine. They see this as an opportunity to learn from the experience and work of Dr. Makokis as it relates to indigenous and LGBTQ+ communities, intersectionality, and making medicine a safe space for all patients.

The students who are organizing and supporting this talk are doing so in order to promote safe, equitable care for all patient populations. It is known that diversity is an important factor in medicine, as different patient populations have different experiences and viewpoints. The goal of providing excellent compassionate care for all in medicine, can be hindered by biases and lack of awareness, and events such as this increase awareness and bring to light our biases.

The diversity panel and the generous donors promoting this event see this as a chance for students, faculty, and members of the community to come together and learn, to take a step toward making the practice of medicine more inclusive. Dr. Mala Joneja, Director of Diversity and Equity for the School of Medicine invites everyone to attend and be a part of this step forward. She invites everyone, students and faculty in the Faculty of Health Sciences to come and simply listen and understand. Events such as these are important for members of marginalized groups but also for those who wish to be allies. An ally is someone who, though not a member of an underrepresented group, takes action to support that group. She emphasized that all physicians can be allies to underrepresented and marginalized communities and attending the upcoming lecture is a great first step towards allyship.

Dr. Makokis holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Sciences, a Master of Health Science in Community Nutrition and a Doctorate in Medicine. He also received certification from the Aboriginal Family Medicine Training Program. He is a leader and well-known expert within the Indigenous, LGBTQ2 and medical community.

Dr. Makokis has maintained his cultural beliefs and spiritual practices in all areas of his life. His strong connections to preventative health, spirituality, and Two-spirit perspective has helped him save lives within the LGBTQ2 and First Nation communities. He also leads one of North America’s most progressive and successful transgender focused medical practices. 

Donna Henderson and M. Nancy Tatham

The Dr. M. Nancy Tatham  & Donna Henderson Lectureship was established in 2018 through a donation from Dr. Tatham and Ms. Henderson to support bringing speakers to campus on issues related to diversity and inclusion, specifically in areas related to LGBTQ+ topics, Indigenous issues, and other areas of diversity relevant to the practice of medicine. Although the primary intended audience is medical students, everyone is very welcome to attend.

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