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UBC Medicine 2005

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 UBC
MEDICINE
Volume 1  Number 2 Winter 2005
page 11
First Do No Harm
page 13
A Publication of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia FACULTY OF
MEDICINE
VISION
discovery, integrity,
excellence, people and
partnership, we challenge the present and
champion the future.
MISSION
Together we create
knowledge and
advance learning that
health of individuals
and communities
and internationally.
UBC Medicine is published
twice a year by the Faculty of
Medicine. The publication is
meant to serve as an informative
source of Faculty news for
students, staff, alumni, friends,
and supporters. Submissions
are welcome.
Volume 1  Number 2 Winter 2005
Editor: Miro Kinch
Writers:
Mari-Louise Rowley
Pro-Textual Communications
Wendy Soobis
Creative Communications
Mary Anne McEwen
Forward Focus Productions
Barb Daniel
Design: Tandem Design
Associates Ltd.
Principal Photography:
Martin Dee
Additional Photography:
Janis Franklin
Beth Haysom
Trasi Jang
Paul Joseph
Rob'
i Adriche
Front cover: Elizabeth Gyde, Daimond
Schmitt Architects Incorporated
Back cover: Martin Dee
1        UBC Medicine Winter 2005
Welcome to the second issue of UBC
Medicine. The first focused on the
exceptional level of research accomplishment of some of the Faculty's
nvestigators and their programs.
Research is a core pillar of the Faculty
of Medicine's strategic plan, as are
education, faculty affairs, community
and sustainability. This issue focuses
primarily on community.
The community that we serve is
broad. It includes our students, staff
and faculty members, our partners
at the health authorities, and at the
Universities of Northern British
Columbia and Victoria. It also includes
the population of British Columbia-
the men, women and children throughout our province whom we serve
through the generation of new knowledge and the education of health
professionals.
Community engagement is a key
theme in this issue. In "Community-
Heal Thyself," you will read about
some of the ways we are incorporating
community-based approaches to
mproving the health of underserved
and marginalized populations into
teaching and learning in the Faculty.
MESSAGE
FROM   THE   DEAN
"Selecting the Brightest and the Best"
ntroduces you to the very effective
program to engage physicians and
community members from across the
province in the process of selecting
students for admission to our MD
Undergraduate Program, developed
by Dr. Vera Frinton, associate dean,
Admissions, and her team.
"Medical Mentors" speaks to one of the
great traditions in medical education-
practising physicians' vital role as med-
ical students' mentors and supporters.
Another facet of the focus on community is the service to society the Faculty
provides through research. "First Do
No Harm" reflects the contribution of
a group of investigators and practitioners who provide timely, useful interpretation of data on prescription drugs
and their application. Safer blood systems is a primary concern of the Centre
for Blood Research (page 8), led by
Drs. Ross MacGillivray and Dana Devine.
The centre is but one example of the
outstanding interdisciplinary, collaborative research that will take place under
the umbrella of the new Life Sciences
Institute. This is a huge opportunity for
British Columbia and UBC to generate
new knowledge to serve society better.
The brief period since the inaugura
issue of this publication has been
one of unparalleled progress. On August
30, the expanded and distributed
medical undergraduate program was
aunched, with 200 students in the
entry class, 72 more than last year.
Students from all three UBC programs-
the Island, Northern and Vancouver-
Fraser Medical Programs-completed
their first semester together on the
UBC campus. The Faculty also welcomed
the first students in the School of
Rehabilitation Sciences' new master's
programs in both Occupational and
Physical Therapy.
We celebrated the opening of three
new buildings. On August 17, the
Premier officiated at the opening of
the Northern Health Sciences Centre on
the UNBC campus. UBC's Life Sciences
Centre opened November 4, followed by
UVic's Medical Sciences Building on
December 10.
The new year began with the arrival of
the first Island and Northern Medica
Program students in Victoria and Prince
George, to an enthusiastic welcome
from their communities. On January 12,
the provincial government announced
a $27.6 million investment in academic
space at health authorities across BC,
providing invaluable support for both
our under- and postgraduate students,
and our clinical faculty members, in key
earning and teaching environments.
A continuing thread in our efforts
to serve society better is increasing the
number of health practitioners in BC.
The expansion and distribution of our
under- and postgraduate programs
is a major component of this. By offering students the opportunity to
study and work in the communities
from which they come and/or hope
to serve, we greatly increase the likelihood that they will stay and practise
in those communities.
As you make your way through this
issue of UBC Medicine, I hope you wil
share the sense of accomplishment
and progress reflected in these pages.
It is our people who make this possible.
In each of the pillars of the Faculty
of Medicine, people remain the underpinning strength. I invite you to
meet an outstanding group of men
and women-the students, community
volunteers, faculty members, and
staff-whose stories appear in this
issue. All are part of the teams
that create-now and in the future-
success in our efforts to serve
our community.
Gavin C.E. Stuart, MD
Dean, Faculty of Medicine COMMUNITY
H EAL   THYSELF
He's cycled across Europe and worked with local villagers in rural areas of Guatemala and Nepal.
He's volunteered at inner-city medical clinics and coordinated educational programs for people
coping with financial and social barriers. In between, he completed both an undergraduate and a
master's degree, and co-authored five research publications.
Could this be a profile of the 21st century doctor?
Kim MacDonald would like to think
so. Now in his first year of UBC's medical school, the seasoned traveller,
researcher and educational programmer
is an ardent proponent of community
service and its role in education. "I
strongly believe there is a type of learning and understanding outside of
academia that is extremely valuable
and comes only through exploration
and experience."
That said, one look at Kim's resume
confirms that he values traditional
learning and life experience equally:
his academic background includes
a BSc from UBC in Genetics with honours standing, and a master's degree
from UBC in Cell and Molecular
Biology, with top graduate recognition.
During his university years, he was
also a research assistant at UBC's
Biotechnology Lab with Dr. James
Kronstad, studying the human pathogen
Cryptococcus neoformans, and at the
BC Cancer Agency with Dr. Marco Marra
on the Human Genome Project. These
efforts led to his co-authorship of five
research publications.
Last year he taught Biotechnology for
the Public, a course through UBC
Continuing Studies. This summer, if all
goes according to plan, he hopes to
research birthing practices in both rural
BC and the western Andes in Ecuador.
But as much as Kim has thrived in an
academic setting, it is the insight he has
gained from travelling, living in remote
corners of the globe and working in the
community that has fueled his desire
to be a doctor. "The people that I
encountered on my travels and in our
communities have transformed my
view of the world," says Kim. "Building
relationships, meeting people-these
aspects of medicine have always been
attractive to me."
Ultimately it was UBC's Science 101
program, and the four years that Kim
was involved with it-one as a tutor,
three as a coordinator-that convinced
him to apply for medical school.
Science 101 is a science education
program offered to people faced with
financial barriers to education,
primarily Vancouver's Downtown
Eastside residents. As program coordinator, Kim played a key role in
designing curricula appropriate to
the needs of inner-city residents
between the ages of 17 and 70. The
work emphasized bringing people
together from traditionally excluded
communities to share their experiences,
and by all accounts it succeeded in
engaging and inspiring the participants.
"Working in education, I recognized
just how much self-esteem impacts a
person's health. People become
stronger and more empowered through
understanding and the acquisition
of knowledge," says Kim.
It was also around this time, while
volunteering at Vancouver Coastal
Health's Three Bridges Community
Health Centre's needle exchange
program on the south side of
Vancouver's downtown, that Kim
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first met Dr. Peter Granger. Peter, who is
the physician leader at the clinic and
who has devoted his career to community medicine, is also the director of the
Division of Inner City Medicine (ICM) in
the Faculty of Medicine. The two soon
discovered a shared commitment to
community-based learning and helping
people unleash their potential.
Kim MacDonald and Peter Granger
are not alone in their advocacy for community-based learning or the need
to better serve marginalized populations. In fact, as early as 1984, the
World Federation of Medical Educators
was called upon by such agencies as
the World Health Organization to
reform medical education and improve
health care for all populations. The
ensuing recommendations were formalized in the 1988 Edinburgh Declaration.
The Arizona Charter, a blueprint for
incorporating social responsibility into
medical school curricula, followed in
1999. It offered a multi-layered plan
to "mobilize and coordinate activities
to address complex issues associated
with the health of the disadvantaged;
and to ensure students are appropriately
equipped to serve disadvantaged populations, to be community-responsive
citizens and to function as agents of
social change."
Social Accountability: A Vision for
Canadian Medical Schools, prepared
for Health Canada in 2002 by representatives from Canada's major medical
schools, government and key
professional associations, adapted
the concepts of the Arizona
Charter for the Canadian context.
Today, UBC is not only one of the North
American universities whose medical
schools have embraced these ideals, but
it is blazing trails in Canada, with
its range of community engagement-
focused programs. The Faculty of
Kim MacDonald pauses for a moment near the Three Bridges Community Health
Centre on Vancouver's downtown south side.
Winter 2005 UBC Medicine Medicine's first step, in 1999, was
to create the Integration of Study and
Service (ISEtS) Committee.
"The goal of ISEtS is to help medical
students become more socially engaged
with the community: to help them
learn how to respond to, and be advocates for, specific populations' needs
outside a traditional medical setting,"
explains Vince Verlaan, program manager for Community Liaison for the
Integration of Study Et Service (CLISS),
the operational arm of ISEtS. In this
role, he is actively involved in building
the Faculty's capacity to engage in
mutually beneficial relationships with
marginalized populations.
ISEtS quickly found a supportive ear in
BC's provincial Ministry of Health,
which recognized the value and importance of the ISEtS vision and provided
additional financial support in 2001.
One result of this support was the
creation of the Special Populations
Fund (SPF). The SPF is designed
to encourage capacity building by
responding to the needs of specific
populations around the province,
such as aboriginal communities and
people struggling with addictions.
Since its inception, the SPF has had
a major impact on such initiatives. One
of its most significant achievements to
date has been the establishment, in
April 2002, of the Division of Inner City
Medicine, under director Dr. Peter
Granger. Based out of Three Bridges
Community Health Centre, the
Division of ICM, in partnership with
others, aims to improve the health
status of underserved populations in
the urban-core communities of BC's
major centres through advocacy,
research and educational projects.
In addition to spearheading curriculum
development and field experiences
pertinent to urban underserved populations, the Division of ICM has championed myriad research projects focused
on street youth, sex trade workers
and the homeless.
Peter has also been very active as the
student advisor to CHIUS (Community
Health Initiative by University Students),
the student-led clinic in the Downtown
Eastside. CHIUS is partially funded by
SPF, as is the comprehensive educational website developed by the Vancouver
Native Health Society, which aims to
increase knowledge about aboriginal
health issues particular to Vancouver's
inner city.
The Division of ICM and CLISS have
also made important contributions
to changes in the Faculty of
Medicine's two-year Doctor, Patient
Et Society (DPAS) program, which prepares future physicians to understand
and adapt to the changes in health care
systems, doctors' roles and the health
care needs of the Canadian population
and beyond. The essence of the course
can be captured in three key words:
evidence, context and compassion.
"DPAS was originally intended to explain
to students the social aspect of medical
care," explains Peter. "We invited
representatives from different populations to come and speak. Students
heard first-hand about the challenges
and problems that underserved
groups confront on a daily basis."
Every year, several DPAS students go "on
location," so to speak, undertaking
their own independent projects with the
community. This year, Peter, Kim and
Vince joined forces with Margo Fryer,
director of the Learning Exchange,
UBC's community outreach project on
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside; Gary
Poole, director of the university's Centre
for Teaching and Academic Growth;
and DPAS course directors to make self-
directed field study a formal part of
the DPAS curriculum. This will mean
medical students and residents will get
academic credit for their community-
based initiatives.
Peter, Vince and Kim are hopeful that
DPAS' new direction will give students
another useful perspective on how
to meet the needs of special populations. If Peter has any advice to
dispense to students, it is to look for
the underlying causes of a condition,
not just its effects. "Our roles as
doctors are to care for people," he
says, "not to judge them."
Our 21st century doctor couldn't agree
more. Says Kim: "Medical students
should also learn about health beyond
the university campus, in communities.
Every community has at its core a
complex blend of creative, intelligent,
passionate people who instinctively
know how to heal themselves. As
a future physician, I want to support
these communities to help them
access the resources they desire to
strengthen their health." ■
A shared commitment to community-based learning and helping people unleash their potential:
Kim MacDonald (L), Vince Verlaan (R) and Dr. Peter Granger outside Three Bridges.
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■f L UBC'S LIFE SCIENCES CENTRE
FAST   TRACK   TO   TH E   FUTU RE
The largest construction project on campus—the 51,000-square-metre Life Sciences Centre (LSC)—was built in only 32 months,
on time and under budget. "Not only is it beautiful, and probably the most environmentally friendly laboratory building in Canada, it
was built in just over two years at two-thirds the budget for other buildings of this type," says LSC co-director and Zoology
professor Hugh Brock.
Prof. Brock and Dr. Alison Buchan,
Physiology professor and associate dean,
Research in the Faculty of Medicine,
headed up an incredibly dedicated and
talented team of architects, engineers
and tradespeople-a challenging change
from their usual academic and administrative duties. The design/build process
used for the LSC was radically different
from traditional construction, where
contractors have a final blueprint and
then build to spec. The key to fast-
tracking—and keeping costs down-was
in the use of generic, flexible lab-
space modules. "Building the LSC
nvolved remarkable teamwork," says
Dr. Buchan. "We would have a
consultation process, make a decision
and be able to see the results within
three weeks."
Along with two new $12-million
buildings at UVic and UNBC, the
$172-million LSC is part of the BC
government's commitment to almost
double the number of medica
school graduates in the province by
2009. In September, 200 medica
students, 72 more than last year, started
their first semester in the LSC. In
January, 24 students moved to Victoria
and 24 to Prince George to continue
their studies in the Island and Northern
Medical Programs. Of the total
building costs, the province contributed
$110 million, and the Canada
Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and
the BC Knowledge Development
Fund each contributed $13.8 million.
The Centre for Blood Research, one of
eight research groups in the
facility, received an additional $1.5
million from Bayer Inc. and $1.5
million from Canadian Blood
Services towards LSC construction
and equipment.
All labs and offices in the building
receive natural light. Two cathedralike, skylit atria enclose huge gathering
and study spaces. Informal meeting
areas on each floor overlook both atria
halls. The centre's two 350-seat
ecture theatres have wood panelling
and natural light, and feel surprisingly
ntimate for their size. They are
equipped with sophisticated audiovisua
technology for the delivery of interactive lectures to all three sites. There are
also flexible high-use teaching labs and
37 problem-based learning rooms.
The Multi-purpose Lab, one of two
huge anatomy labs, is fully IT/AV
ntegrated to link to facilities at UVic
and UNBC. With one computer for
every two students, it can accommodate
256 students at a time. "This has
allowed us to revolutionize the way we
teach histology," says Dr. Buchan.
nstead of a microscope and slides, students at all three campuses will have
access to a "digital slide box," so every
student will see the same image. "The
other advantage is that we can set
computerized examinations for 100 students at a time-not only for under-
grads, but for board examinations for
medical certification as well," Dr.
Buchan notes.
LSC Receives LEED Silver
Designed by internationally acclaimed
architectural firms Diamond Schmitt
ncorporated of Toronto in joint
venture with Bunting Coady Architects
of Vancouver, the LSC is a mode of environmental stewardship. In the
LEED green building rating systems
(LEED stands for Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design), the
centre has achieved silver certification—
a major achievement for a building
with so many wet labs and so much
energy consuming technology (see
sidebar page 7).
Life Sciences Institute—
LSC's Research Umbrella
The Life Sciences Institute (LSI) was
formed to facilitate research collaboration across disciplines and faculties
at UBC, and to become a hub of basic
biological research in BC and Canada.
The LSI will extend the educational collaboration with UNBC and UVic to
nclude research, and will foster other
collaborations with centres and
research partners around the world.
Research Groups
The LSI has established eight
interdisciplinary groups, including the
Centre for Blood Research, that bring
together researchers from the
faculties of Medicine, Science, Dentistry,
Pharmaceutical Sciences, Applied
Science, and Arts to create an exceptional collaborative environment for
eading-edge medical and biologica
research, and to translate this research
into new therapies and improved
health care.
CARDIOVASCULAR
A key focus of the LSI's Cardiovascular
research group is studying how the
heart generates, maintains and regu-
ates electrical activity, says Ed Moore,
associate professor and Cardiovascular
group coordinator. Electrical potentia
is transmitted across the heart as the
cells alternately depolarize and repolar-
ize, due to the coordinated action of a
multitude of intramembrane proteins.
Any defects in this action can trigger
atrial fibrillation and a variety of
ventricular arrhythmias.
Cardiology researchers Dr. David Fedida
and Prof. Steven Kehl are studying how
these proteins function, and what goes
wrong to cause arrhythmias. Canada
Research Chair Prof. Eric Accili is study-
ng proteins that enable the heart to
initiate its own rhythm independently of
the nervous system. Drugs that target
these specific proteins are being developed in association with Cardiome
Laboratories. "Translating this research
from bench to bedside is a primary
focus of our group and the LSI as a
whole," says Prof. Moore.
The electrical activity in the heart
and its strength of contraction are intimately linked, notes Prof. Moore. The
electrical activity causes a wave of calcium to be released into the cell,
which causes the heart to contract. In
order to develop better treatment
for heart failure, the cardiology group
is studying how the heart regulates
the strength of contraction. "The heart
has exquisite control over calcium regu-
lation, and understanding the processes
nvolved could have great therapeutic
benefit," sums up Prof. Moore.
CELLULAR MECHANISMS  OF
DEVELOPMENT
The Cellular Mechanisms of Development
(CMD) research group-the largest
group in the LSI-will consolidate over
37 researchers from the faculties
of Medicine, Science and Dentistry.
"Whether you are studying the heart,
muscles, immune system, nervous
system, or the skeleton, the principle
of how all of these tissues develop
is pretty well the same," says CMD co-
coordinator and Zoology professor
Vanessa Auld. "This is the rationale for
bringing all of these people together."
Researchers in the CMD use mode
organisms and transgenics to investigate the basic mechanisms that
underlie cell development, in order
to improve our understanding of
human development, function and disease. For example, the developmenta
neurobiology group in the CMD is
working to understand the formation
of the nervous system, how the
glial and nerve cells communicate to
promote cell survival and development,
and how nerve cells connect with
targets throughout the body. Their basic
research will provide the foundation
for the development of new therapies
for epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, fetal
alcohol syndrome, multiple sclerosis,
and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Another key focus of the CMD group
is to develop new cancer treatment
strategies designed to prevent tumour
formation and metastasis. During
ARTIN DEE, TELESTUDIOS PHOTOGRAPHY, UBC
3ETTY   MAGES
 ■ ""^j
Premier Gordon Campbell joins students, instructors and the media in t,
Multi-purpose Lab at the Life Sciences Centre opening on November 4.
UBC Medicine Winter 2005 cellular development, microscopic
architectural scaffolds control eel
growth and movement within organs
and tissues. Any disruption in this
complex tissue architecture can cause
cells to grow unchecked, move
outside home tissue and invade other
organs. Understanding these structura
and regulatory molecules, and determining which ones are critical for eel
growth and movement within individua
tissues, could lead to new cancer treatment that is non-toxic to normal cells.
DIABETES
Diabetes is a chronic debilitating disease that prevents the body from
effectively utilizing sugar. It affects over
two million Canadians and costs our
health care system over $13 billion per
year. Type 1 diabetes strikes mostly
children and involves the destruction of
nsulin-producing cells by the body's
own immune system. Type 2 diabetes is
typically associated with obesity and
results from both insufficient insulin
production and insulin resistance. "We
still don't understand why some
people who are obese develop type 2
diabetes, whereas others do not, or
why some slim people also develop the
disease," says Dr. Chris Mcintosh,
Cellular Et Physiological Sciences professor and coordinator of the Diabetes
Research Group (DRG). "In the future,
we will likely see more preventative
therapies aimed at children who are
prone to developing type 2 diabetes, "
he adds. "Of course, the first preventative therapy would be loss of weight
and healthier lifestyles."
Current therapies for both type 1 and
type 2 diabetes do not adequately
prevent debilitating complications in a
arge number of patients. One focus
of the DRG is the study of gut hormones
that regulate insulin production and
protect insulin-releasing cells against
damage. Dr. Mcintosh and Dr. Ray
Pederson are working with industry to
develop novel drugs that extend the
life and actions of these hormones.
These drugs are now in several phase II
clinical trials.
Dr. Alison Buchan also studies the role
of the gut in diabetes, and Dr. Tim
Kieffer is exploring new gene and eel
therapy approaches to increase the
blood levels of these anti-diabetic gut
hormones. Dr. Kieffer is also testing
the feasibility of directly boosting blood
nsulin levels by converting gut cells
nto meal-sensitive insulin "bioreactors,"
to eliminate the need for insulin
replacement by needle injection.
Biochemistry professor Roger Brownsey
is studying how defects in fat metabolism might lead to insulin resistance and
the inability of the body to adequately
use sugar from the blood. Dr. James
Johnson is studying genetic and environmental factors that influence
the destruction of insulin-producing
cells and the development of diabetes.
The DRG has recruited Dr. Chris Proud,
world renowned for his studies on
how insulin works in target tissues. The
group is also collaborating with
Dr. Garth Warnock and the Ike Barber
Human Islet Transplant Laboratory to
mprove islet transplantation.
IMMUNITY,  INFLAMMATION
AND  INFECTION
The focus of the Immunity, Inflammation
and Infection (13) research group is to
understand how our immune system
develops and functions to keep the body
free of disease. Research done by the 13
group focuses on understanding the
molecular mechanisms involved in
cell signalling, cell adhesion and eel
migration-critical events required
for lymphocytes to become activated
and combat infections. The 13 group
is also studying the molecular and
cellular mechanisms of immune dysfunction that lead to leukemia or to
autoimmune diseases such as diabetes
and arthritis, which are associated
with excessive and inappropriate
nflammatory responses. By understand-
ng how immune cells are activated,
the 13 group is making discoveries about
how the immune system combats
specific viral and bacterial infections-
research that may ultimately lead
to the development of new vaccines
for emerging diseases.
The LSC's level III biohazard facility
one of the largest in North America, wil
attract and enable scientists to study
the immune response to specific vira
and bacterial infections, with the
goal of developing new vaccines for diseases such as SARS, West Nile Virus,
nfluenza, and HIV/AIDS. Two group
members, Hung-Sia Teh and Francois
Jean, have a federally funded grant
from the SARS Accelerated Initiative.
"The new building provides an
The Life Sciences Institute's Steering Committee.
Front row (L to R): Christian Naus, Mike Gold, Julian Davies, co-
coordinators Hugh Brock and Alison Buchan, Pauline Johnson,
Linda Matsuuchi.
Back row (L to R): Roger Brownsey, Chris Mcintosh, Charles
Thompson, Ed Moore, Ross MacGillivray and Lindsay Eltis.
Missing: Joanna Bates, Vanessa Auld, Carolyn Brown, Bill Mohn,
Bill Milsom, Rob McMaster.
Medical Undergraduate Society President Kyle Kirkham's way
with words on November 4 brings a smile to the faces of our
distinguished guests, including Musqueam Elder Larry Grant,
Premier Gordon Campbell and UBC President Martha Piper.
er 2005 UBC Medicine FACTS   a   FIGURES
>The LSC is 51,000 sq m (548,000 sq
ft), or the size of six Canadian football fields-including end zones.
> It was built at a cost of $210 per sq
ft versus $300 per sq ft for similar
research/teaching facilities—40
percent less than the North
American average.
> It will accommodate 2,900 people:
medical students and professors,
research assistants, graduate
students, and facilities and administration staff.
> The LSC will house one of the
argest level III biohazard facilities in
North America.
"The LSC's energy-efficient design wil
save about 5.5 million kilowatt hours
every year, or about $200,000. This
ncludes space configuration to maximize use of natural light, automated
ighting controls, heat recovery units
on all exhaust systems, advanced
heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and fume hoods with
reduced flow rate technology.
"Water conservation strategies,
ncluding dual-flush toilets and sensor-controlled faucets, reduce water
usage by 50 percent over baseline.
"The waste management plan implemented during construction ensured
that 80 percent of the 1.5 million
kilograms of generated construction
waste was recycled or salvaged.
THANKS   AND
KUDOS   TO:
"Jack Diamond and Diamond and
Schmitt Architects (Toronto)
"Tresa Cody and Bunting Cody
Architects (Vancouver)
" Murray McKinnon, Andy Tallentire,
Richard Shipway, and Ledcor
Construction Limited
"John Cordonier, Project Manager,
UBC Properties Trust
opportunity for immunologists, virologists, microbiologists, biochemists,
physiologists, and cell biologists to al
work together in one facility, sharing
deas and expertise," say 13 coordinators
and Microbiology Et Immunology professors Mike Gold and Pauline Johnson.
BACTERIAL ADAPTATION AND
RESPONSE NETWORKS
Microbes are far more diverse than
any other group of organisms. "All the
animals in the world have less
diversity than a single division of
bacteria," states Microbiology Et
immunology professor Bill Mohn, coordinator of the Bacterial Adaptation
and Response Networks (BARN) research
group. The underlying science and
methods for studying how bacteria
adapt and respond to their environment
are the same, whether they are in
a laboratory, a natural environment
such as a forest floor, or in the human
body. "Bacterial responses involve
networks of genetic regulation, protein
nteractions, and in some cases
networks of organisms in complex
communities," he says. "The level
of the network is where many of us
are working to understand the
fundamental processes of bacteria,
which drive the fundamental processes
of the biosphere."
As one example of a collaborative project within BARN, Julian Davies, Lindsay
Eltis and Bill Mohn are involved in a
genomic investigation of the soil bacterium, Rhodococcus (RHA1), which
can synthesize molecules that may have
therapeutic and other uses. "By understanding why this happens in nature,
and how it is controlled, we improve our
ability to develop this organism as a
host for discovering and producing useful and valuable compounds," says
Prof. Mohn. Other members of
the group are studying Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough), Campylobacter
(found in raw poultry and a cause of
food poisoning), and various aspects
of antibiotics.
GENES,  DEVELOPMENT
AND  HEALTH
The study of cancer is also a focus
of the Genes, Development and
Health (GDH) research group. "Cancer
The Life Sciences Centre from the west.
and inherited diseases arise because of
alterations in genetic information, or
how this information is controlled," says
group coordinator and Medical Genetics
professor Carolyn Brown. Some disease
is a result of a genetic mutation inherited from a parent, but there are also
changes that are passed from one eel
to another. "Cancer is our best
example of this because so many genes
go awry," she says.
Researchers in the GDH are studying
fundamental questions about how
genetic defects lead to disease, and how
these defects can be cured. For example: How do cells know which genes
should be on and which ones should be
off? Why do certain cells commit to
becoming liver or blood cells, while
others remain stem cells? "We have the
sequence for all of the genes in the
organisms we are studying, but we don't
yet know why some are expressed at
certain times and why others remain
silent," says Prof. Brown.
GDH research is also directed at
understanding developmental disorders,
AIDS pathogenesis, and mental health
disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and autism.
Members of the GDH exemplify the
collaborative mandate of the LSI. They
nclude Louis Lefebvre, Canada
Research Chair in Genomic Imprinting,
Ivan Sadowski, a senior scientist for
the National Cancer Institute, LeAnn
Howe, Michael Smith Foundation
for Health Research scholar, and Tom
Grigliatti, Zoology professor and CEO
of InCell Expression Systems,
a Vancouver-based biotechnology
company.
DRUG   DESIGN AND TARGET
IDENTIFICATION
Researchers in the Drug Design and
Target Identification (DDTI) group study
cancer, microbial infections, antifunga
and antibiotic drugs, and drug delivery
systems, and are working to discover
new proteins that will serve as effective
drug targets.
In one area of the DDTI's research,
Biochemistry professor Michel Roberge,
Chemistry professor Raymond Anderson
and their colleagues have identified
chemicals that block the division of
cancer cells and also cause the vasculature of a tumour to collapse. The
group has been working on a new cancer drug developed from a marine
sponge extract. The compound, HTI-286,
was licensed by UBC to Wyeth
Pharmaceutical Company. It has been
shown in animal models to be active
against many kinds of cancer, and
it is currently in clinical trials.
Many of the DDTI's eight members have
well-established collaborations, and
work with researchers in Canada, the
US and Europe. "We have a common
goal of identifying chemicals and bio-
ogical systems that could lead to
new drug therapies," says Prof. Roberge.
"Having everyone together in one
facility will assist the exchange of
deas and accelerate discovery."  ■
UBC Medicine Winter 2005 CENTRE FOR BLOOD  RESEARCH
DESIGNING   SAFER   BLOOD   SYSTEMS
Blood transfusions are the "gift of life" for thousands of
accident victims, surgery and transplant patients, and people with
blood disorders. Tragically, that life-giving image was tainted
during the blood scandal of the 1990s. As a result of the Krever
Commission, new agencies such as Canadian Blood Services-
today a key partner with UBC's Centre for Blood Research (CBR)—
were established to ensure that Canada has one of the
safest blood supplies in the world.
Funding for blood research, development and training was also increased,
notes Ross MacGillivray, Biochemistry
professor and director of the Centre for
Blood Research. "There simply weren't
enough transfusion medicine scientists
being trained in Canada to keep the
blood system cutting edge," he says.
Training new blood researchers is a key
focus of the CBR.
With over $15 million in infrastructure
funding from the Canada Foundation for
Innovation, BC Knowledge Development
Fund, Canadian Blood Services, Bayer
Inc., and UBC (Blusson Fund), and additional funding from the Michael Smith
Foundation for Health Research, and the
CIHR and Heart and Stroke Foundation
of Canada Strategic Training Initiative in
Transfusion Science, the CBR is one
of largest research groups in the Life
Sciences Centre (LSC).
Occupying two-thirds of the fourth
floor of the LSC (roughly 35,000 sq ft),
the CBR has fourteen resident principal
investigators and a total of 33 UBC
researchers along with their staff and
trainees. The CBR is also one of the
most interdisciplinary groups, with
members from the faculties of Science,
Applied Science, Medicine, Dentistry,
Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Arts. "The
CBR includes social scientists and
psychologists to help determine the
social factors involved in donating
blood, and what we can do to increase
donations," says Prof. MacGillivray.
"While the demand for blood products
continues to increase, the number of
donors has declined," he adds. "Only 3.5
percent of Canadians donate blood
on a regular basis, and it varies by
social background."
After collection, whole blood is separated into its components-red blood cells,
platelets and plasma-that are then
used to treat a variety of conditions.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissues;
platelets initiate clotting and control
bleeding; and plasma, a liquid containing proteins that fight infection, promotes clotting and distributes nutrients.
Blood plasma also transports waste
products to the lungs, liver and kidneys.
These components represent only a
fraction of the whole blood collected,
however. One focus of the CBR is to
discover new blood products to add
value to the portion of donated blood
that is currently discarded. Researchers
are working with Bayer Inc. to discover
new blood proteins or peptides that
could have therapeutic value.
The CBR's long-term approach is to
develop blood substitutes to decrease
the need for donated blood, and to
develop artificial blood components that
would eliminate the need for donated
blood products altogether. For example,
platelets have a shelf life of only five
days. Dr. Dana Devine's laboratory is
working to develop artificial platelets
to increase the storage period.
Dr. Mark Scott, recruited to the CBR
from Albany Medical School in the US,
is a leading researcher in immunocam-
ouflage. This process uses polyethylene
glycol (PEG), a non-toxic, water-soluble
polymer, to mask antigens in blood
cells, platelets and islets in order to
inhibit immune recognition and, ulti
mately, immune rejection. PEG has
already been approved in certain products for human administration. "If
someone came in with a rare blood
type, immunocamouflage could convert
any unit of blood to a usable transfusion," says MacGillivray.
Albumin is a blood protein that
regulates osmotic pressure to keep cells
full of water, as well as transporting
fatty acids and various hormones. Many
transfusion patients, such as burn
victims, require albumin rather than
red blood cells or platelets, notes
MacGillivray. Extracting albumin is
expensive, however, and current
substitutes do not transport other
molecules, a critical function of
albumin. In conjunction with Bayer,
Chemistry professor Don Brooks is
working to develop a unique polymer
that would be a safe, effective and
inexpensive albumin substitute.
"Lack of supply and donor pathogens
are the key challenges to blood systems," says Prof. MacGillivray. "Our
ultimate goal is to eventually bypass
donor blood completely." ■
CBR research
mmMmm
Dana Devine, Director of Research and Development, Canadian Bio
ervices, and
, Maria Issa.
Winter 2005 UBC Medicine       8 SELECTING THE BRIGHT]
AN    INNOVATIVE   APPROACH    TO    MEDICAL   :
Health Services Minister Shirley Bond (then Minister of Advanced Education) greets members of the 200-strong Class of 2008 on their first day in session at UBC.
How do you choose 200 students from a field of 1,300 applicants? How do you identify students who are likely to enjoy and
be successful in remote or rural areas? Does including non-medical academics and community members on the interview
panels help or hinder the process?
"Candidates are evaluated equally on
academic and non-academic criteria,"
says Dr. Vera Frinton, associate
dean, Admissions. "Within the online
application, for instance, we have
questions which are geared to determining if they are suitable for
training in the North or in remote
communities. Everybody answers
those questions. The interview process
helps us identify those who have the
motivation, personality and communication skills to become good physicians."
Over 500 applicants were invited to
be interviewed by a three-member
panel comprised of a medical doctor,
an academic and a community member.
Over 100 people were recruited to
serve on the panels, and care was taken
that each panel had representatives
from different areas of the province.
All panel members received training
in the interview process, and had a
practice run scoring a first-year medica
student based on a videotaped mock
nterview. During the actual interviews,
panel members took turns asking
questions, scored students individually
and then discussed their scores with
the aim of reaching full consensus.
"Having worked in solo general practice,
I'm more acutely aware of some of
the requirements of small town or rura
general practice than someone from
a larger centre might be," says Dr. Eric
Olson, a retired physician from
Cowichan Lake. "I think that this
process is designed to find the
best candidates and eliminate the
chance of bias."
"In this process, you have pluralism
from a point of view not just of people,
but from the stakeholders' perspective.
It's extremely important that the university be fair and equitable, and it's
just tremendous to be part of a process
that's so nicely balanced," says Dr.
Martin Adamson, professor of Zoology
at UBC.
Joyce and Allen Anderson both
graduated from UBC (he in Civil
Engineering, she in Home Economics),
and participated on separate
panels as community members. "Our
eldest son is in the medical profession,
so I've seen first-hand the kind of
pressures, long hours and years of training required to become a physician,"
says Joyce. "It was thrilling to see the
passion that these students have for
this profession. The interview process
was so well designed that every
student could be assured that they
had all been treated exactly the same.
We thoroughly enjoyed it."
Allen Anderson spent most of his
working career in training and education, running the School of Advanced
Management in Banff. "Over the past
ten years we've had a lot of exposure to
the medical community through family
illness, and volunteering our time
and expertise was a way to pay back
UBC Medicine Winter 2005 EST AND THE BEST
SCHOOL   ADMISSIONS
for the care and support we've
received," he says. "We want to make
sure that everyone who goes into
medical school becomes a good doctor."
Each panel interviewed five applicants
a day for four days, and spent evenings
reading background material on the
next day's interviewees. All panel members remarked that they were pleasantly
surprised at how often they were in
full agreement with their colleagues. If
consensus could not be reached as
to a student's suitability, it had to be
noted and explained in detail.
Dr. Michael Pilgrim, who practises in
Dawson Creek, is dedicated to directing
people toward rural medicine. He
found the panel interview process a
big improvement. "When I applied
to medical school, it was horrendous
going to one-on-one interviews al
over town," he recollects. "I like the
dea of asking specific questions and
ooking for specific answers. It's fair."
Bruce Strachan, who has served as
both Minister of Advanced Education
and Minister of Health, saw an
advertisement in the local Prince
George newspaper and volunteered
immediately. "I thought this would
be a really good way to take part in
what is a brand-new experience
for medical education in Canada,"
he reports. "The students all had first-
class backgrounds by all measurable
standards. We had to get to the
un-measurable-ethics, compassion,
bedside manner-the human quality
of the candidate. I found it intriguing
and thought it worked well."
High Marks from Students
Violet Hung took her degree in
Kinesiology at SFU, worked in ora
cancer research, and loves bungee
jumping and competitive boxing.
At 16, she volunteered to work with
neurologically damaged children,
and became determined to study medicine. But she was knocked out on
her first attempt to get into UBC's
medical school.
"The scores differed quite a bit
between the two interviewers I had
astyear," she recalls. "The panel interview was definitely a lot fairer, more
objective, the questions more appropriate. I added some minor details to my
second application, but there wasn't a
major change. I'm sure it was the interview process that made the difference."
She is now part of the Island Medica
Program (IMP) in Victoria.
Maya Adam grew up in Cape Town,
South Africa, and in Vancouver,
eft home at 17 and spent ten years
as a professional ballet dancer in
Germany. In order to better understand
her tool for dance-her body-she
began taking courses in physiology and
anatomy through SFU's distance
education program, and found it so
interesting she decided to switch
careers. After getting a degree in
Maya Adam (above)
Human Biology from Stanford, she
applied to three medical schools-
Cornell, NYU and UBC-and got interviews at all three. "UBC's interview
process was much more standardized,'
she says, "with very specific questions.
It's a little less personal, you can't
express quite as much of who you are,
but the degree of fairness of the
admissions decisions is improved." Maya
is now a student in the Vancouver-
Fraser Medical Program (VFMP).
Raised in the Kootenays, Dave
Sonnichsen was 32, married, a journeyman carpenter, and had run his own
business for ten years when he decided
to pursue his dream of going into
Violet Hung (left) and Dave
Sonnichsen (right)
medicine. He ended up back in Grade
11, retaking all his high school maths
and sciences. After completing a degree
in Kinesiology at the University of
Calgary, he also applied to three medica
schools. Dave was accepted into the
Northern Medical Program (NMP).
"One of the things that really appealed
to me about UBC was the opportunity
to be trained as a physician in a smaller
community," he admits. "Just 24 classmates, the attention you get in smaller
classes, topnotch instructors, lots of
opportunity to ask questions-it's really
quite a unique situation. And the
community support up in the North
is just unbelievable."
Dave found the selection process
extremely positive and very welcoming.
"They went out of their way to make
you feel comfortable," he says. "I felt
was able to show them who I am as
a person. That may be more difficult in
one-on-one interviews, where there
is a greater potential for error if there's
a personality conflict."
Dave and fourteen other students
attended the grand opening of UNBC's
new medical facilities in August, and
bonded immediately. "Some people say
that we're guinea pigs; others say
we're pioneers," he admits. "I prefer
the latter."
The pioneering students in the Northern
Medical Program tend to be older,
more mature, and have roots in smaller
communities or be settled with a
family. They display qualities of self-
reliance and the ability to take
risks. "We have an NMP Admissions
Subcommittee that determines
which students would be most appropriate for training at the new
facilities in Prince George," says Dr.
Frinton. "The students rank where
they would like to train, and almost
all (88 percent) who are going
north in January had indicated it as
their first choice."
"In the end, it's the students who
decide where they want to study," says
Dr. Frinton. "Our role is to make sure
that they are seen and heard by interviewers who come from many different
backgrounds and locations and reflect
the province's diversity in the perspectives they bring to the process. Both
students and interviewers felt it was
very fair and open-and I'm delighted
to report that many of this year's
nterviewers have already signed up for
the next round." ■
Winter 2005 UBC Medicine     10 Dr. Ethlyn Trapp
>. Josephine Malleck
MEDICAL MENTORS —
CREATING   A   LEGACY   OF   INSPIRATION   AND   SUPPORT
When Margaret (Peg) Cox applied to the new UBC medical school in 1950, her hopes were not high.
She was competing with many qualified candidates, including war veterans with advanced degrees.
Originally, she had planned to be a nurse, but summer jobs at St. Paul's Hospital and Essondale psychiatric hospital raised her sights. She wanted to make major medical decisions. She wanted to lead
procedures. "I realized that what I really wanted was to be a physician," she wrote in a memoir of
her first year in medical school.
Three women were admitted to that
first class of 60 students. "Fees were
$800 a year," says Peg, "which was all a
woman could earn in a summer. I had to
ook for other means to pay for books."
The future Dr. Cox needed financia
support-and more. She and her two
female colleagues needed mentors
and role models. Fortunately, many
women doctors in the Vancouver med-
ical community were ready to step in.
They opened their homes to the younger
women, organized regular get-togethers
and offered nourishment for the hungry
students' minds as well as their bodies.
In a recent reminiscence in the Globe
EtMail, Peg wrote about one of those
mentors, Dr. Josephine Malleck, the first
woman doctor at St. Paul's Hospital,
and president of the Vancouver Medica
Association from 1989 to 1991. "She
was very extroverted, successful in her
field of endeavour-a reaching-out
sort of person, with a wonderful sense
of humour," says Dr Cox. "Those of
us who were fortunate enough to graduate in Medicine at UBC included
many who benefited from Dr Malleck's
kind interest and faith in us as
potential physicians."
Another influential mentor, Dr. Ethlyn
Trapp, was president of the Nationa
Cancer Institute of Canada when Peg
Cox was in medical school. In 1952, Dr.
Trapp gave the Vancouver Medica
Association's Osier Lecture, the first
woman ever invited to do so.
Dr. Trapp, a pioneer in radiation therapy
in Canada and the first woman president of the BC Medical Association, was
one of several accomplished women
radiologists who mentored young
female medical and pre-medical students over the years. Her many accomplishments included extensive international study and travel and severa
degrees, including—eventually—an
honorary one from UBC.
Both Ethlyn Trapp and Josephine
Malleck were actively involved in the
Federation of Medical Women of
Canada (FMWC). Dedicated to advancing
the interests of women in medicine,
the FMWC has played a vital role in
mentoring and supporting generations
of young women doctors. At UBC,
medical students have been able to
count on the BC branch's Ethlyn Trapp
Memorial Scholarship for financia
support for over 30 years.
A New Era
Times change, needs change and the
relationship between benefactors and
beneficiaries changes too. In the
'80s and '90s, treasurer Beverly
Tamboline (MD '60) was responsible for
delivering the Federation of Medica
Women's annual cheque to the UBC
Development Office. On one of her visits, UBC Fund manager Leanne
11      UBC Medicine Winter 2!MB Bernaerdt suggested that rather than
bringing a cheque to campus year after
year, the FMWC might consider endow-
ng the scholarship-donating sufficient
capital to fund the award with the
annual interest. "We thought it was a
very reasonable way of ensuring that
the scholarship would go on in perpetuity, even if our finances changed. And
we realized that it could grow," recalls
Dr Tamboline, whose long-term commitment to the FMWC's ideals includes
serving as president, both locally
and nationally.
This decision led directly to another.
Changing the scholarship from annua
to endowed meant it would be subject
to the anti-discrimination provisions
of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. Women were no longer
under-represented in medical schools
across the country, so the members
of the BC branch of the Federation of
Medical Women faced a momentous
decision. They could endow the scholarship, and open it up to all medical students, or they could choose not to
endow it, and maintain the status quo.
They chose the former, and rewrote the
terms to make the award available to
any medical student who demonstrated
an interest in women's health.
In 2003,the
scholarship for
the first time
went to a male
medical student.
Alon Altman
grew up in
Vancouver, and is
now a first-year   Alon Altman
obstetrics/gynaecology resident in Halifax. "I appreciate
the scholarship," he says. "Any type of
help is fantastic-but I felt really honoured when I found out I was the first
male recipient of the Ethlyn Trapp."
Another recipient
is Lilli Kerby, from|
Rossland, BC. Lilli
earned her undergraduate degree
in Biochemistry
at UBC in 1998,
then went to
China to teach
English for a year
and a half. Home again, she worked at
the Cominco smelter in Trail, research-
ng the use of micro-organisms in
eaching ore.
But Lilli was drawn to medicine. "I've
always been interested in science and
the body-humans and how they work,"
she says. Lilli is a country girl who
FACTS   a   FIGURES
Most medical students are unable to avoid a heavy debt burden.
According to Rosemary McCutcheon, student financial assistance officer for the
Faculty of Medicine, the cost of education and living expenses for a first-year
medical student can be as high as $38,000. The maximum government loan a
first-year student can receive is $10,725, far short of the $14,000 annual tuition.
Even if the student is able to cover the difference with savings from a summer
job-which would be highly unusual-he or she still has to find another $24,000
to get through the year.
Unlike most other university students, medical students today have reduced
or minimal summer breaks, which seriously limits their earning potential.
The decision to work during breaks in the program can be a difficult one.
Students frequently face serious competition for coveted residency positions,
and one way of improving their chances is to take every opportunity to do
volunteer health care work or to take electives in that specialty. Simply put: the
choice is often between reducing their debt load and improving their resumes.
How do students manage? Currently, they rely on bank lines of credit. "This
puts the students in a more tenuous position than borrowing from the government. Interest is charged as soon as they begin to use these funds, unlike
government student loans, which delay charging interest until schooling is finished. In addition, borrowing from the bank can be more risky as banks always
have the ability to change their terms and credit policies," says McCutcheon.
She estimates that students now entering medical school, whose families cannot
afford to assist with the cost, may face a debt of between $100,000 and
$130,000 by the time they graduate.
Lilli Kerby
would like to end up in a rural practice.
She wants to stick close to home and
her large family, and to continue pursu-
ng the outdoor activities she loves,
especially field hockey and skiing. "This
way I'll be doing a challenging,
rewarding job where I want to be."
The Ethlyn Trapp Memorial Scholarship
makes medical school financially feasible for Lilli, who is now in her fourth
year. "It's quite expensive going to
school," she says. "Also, it's great to
be recognized and to know there are
people out there investing in the
doctors of the future. Hopefully, one
day I'll be able to give back as well,"
she adds, acknowledging the tradition
she is benefiting from now, as a medica
student, and that she will continue to
be a part of as a practising physician.
Passing the Torch
"The young women now are confident,"
says Dr. Eileen Cambon, BC's first
woman ophthalmologist, who is writing
a book, Medical Women of British
Columbia: A History from 1893 to
1993. "They can speak with full voice,
whereas we didn't want to upset the
apple cart." An honorary UBC medica
alumna, she recognizes that while
conditions for women medical students
have changed over the years, the
challenge of affordability-for women
and men alike-has not.
As tuition skyrockets, the number
of medical students from lower-income
families drops just as precipitously.
A recent University of Western Ontario
study found a decline greater than
50 percent in students from households
with incomes under $40,000. If this
trend continues, only students from
wealthy families will be able to
pursue their dreams of becoming this
country's future physicians.
Ways and means have changed over
the years, but the willingness of doctors
to help students remains constant.
Medical students will always need the
help of mentors and supporters-the
physicians in whose footsteps they plan
to follow. ■
Winter 2005 UBC Medicine     12 FIRST DO NO HARM
CAN   WE   TRUST   THE   DRUG   COMPANIES?
With the recall in September 2004 of Vioxx®, a top-selling
arthritis pain medication that was found to increase cardiovascular problems, and a US congressional hearing into how the drug's
safety was evaluated, a UBC initiative dedicated to disseminating
evidence about drug therapies couldn't be more relevant.
Under the direction of Dr. Jim Wright,
a professor in the departments
of Pharmacology Et Therapeutics and
Medicine, the Therapeutics Initiative (Tl)
has been providing physicians and
pharmacists with up-to-date evidence
on the effectiveness of prescription
drugs for ten years.
In fact, the current issue of the
group's newsletter, Therapeutics Letter
(which has a circulation of 10,000),
addresses the storm of uncertainty surrounding the class of drugs called
COX-2 inhibitors. Used to treat inflammation, the class includes Vioxx®
and Celebrex®.
The newsletter focuses on COX-2's
product monographs-legal documents
written by drug companies to list
pertinent data, including potential
benefits and harms. The newsletter
reported that the monographs may
not adequately inform of harms and
that they provide insufficient information as to whether C0X-2s increase
myocardial infarction or other cardiovascular events.
"We've been looking at this class of
drugs for several years now," says
Wright, a faculty member since 1977.
"Our work nearly always surrounds medications, like these ones, that are widely
prescribed but which have uncertain
therapeutic value. Our efforts frequently
put us at odds with drug companies."
Started in 1994 with a five-year annual
grant of $540,000 from BC's Ministry
of Health (MOH), the Tl is now operating
on a three-year, $1 million per annum
13      UBC Medicine Winter 2005
grant from MOH. The group reviews
evidence of effectiveness for drugs prescribed for everything from male pattern baldness to depression in children
and adolescents, and is one of only a
handful of such groups in Canada.
In addition to provincial work, Tl
members also complete one-quarter
to one-third of the federal government's common drug reviews, a year-
old process overseen by the Canadian
Coordinating Office for Health
Technology Assessment.
"The main challenge in our work is
getting to the truth," says Wright. "It's
been estimated that about 90 percent
of the published literature may be
biased by economic interests."
Dr. Warren Bell, a general practitioner
in Salmon Arm, BC, says he uses the
newsletter "for clarifying and interpreting the relentless propaganda of
the drug industry," and adds that he
has formed a number of prescribing
practices directly out of the pages of
the letter.
The largest working group in the Tl is
the drug assessment group, headed by
Ken Bassett, a faculty member in the
Department of Family Practice and the
Centre for Health Services and Policy
Research at UBC.
Some of the 30 assessments completed
annually are triggered by new drug
submissions to PharmaCare, the
province's drug subsidy program. Tl
researchers review the submissions,
evaluate evidence of the drug's
therapeutic advantage and report
back to government and, in a summarized fashion, to practitioners via the
newsletter. Physicians and pharmacists
also learn of critically appraised
evidence through annual drug therapy
courses and numerous interactive
seminars.
The Tl's evaluation group measures
the impact of these education efforts
on prescribing patterns and assesses
how drugs are being used. It also uses
provincial health databases to learn
the impact of drug prescribing patterns
on patient health outcomes.
A challenge for the group is a perception that the Tl may not be independent
from the provincial government's
interest in decreasing costs of
PharmaCare. Wright counters by saying
that Tl reviews and reports to government don't include cost data and are
limited to evidence of drug benefits
and harms derived from clinical trials.
PharmaCare includes Tl reports as just
one of the pieces of information it
uses to make funding decisions, he adds.
Internationally, manyTI members
are actively involved in the Cochrane
Collaboration. Named for Archie
Cochrane, a British medical researcher,
epidemiologist and advocate of rigorous
reviews of health intervention evidence,
the collaboration is an international
organization dedicated to making available reviews of the effects of health
care treatments and therapies. ■
Media regularly seek the expertise
of Therapeutics Initiative director Jim
Wright. Some of the media outlets
where he has been quoted recently
include Business Week, CBC TV,
Forbes.com, National Post, Newsday
and Toronto Star.
For more information on the Tl, visit
www.ti.ubc.ca
Reprinted from UBC Reports, December 2, 2004. Our Northern and Island Medical Program students in
their new homes on the UNBC campus (below) and the
UVic campus (above) on January 10.
\yv&Jiy&
M
OUT AND ABOU
Northern Health
Sciences Centre
In the North / On the Island
Northern and Island Medical Program students are a well-travelled group-
before they made their way to Prince George and Victoria for the first day
of classes on January 10, many of them made early visits to their new academic
bases to participate in the openings of UNBC's new Northern Health Sciences
Centre (August 17) and UVic's new Medical Sciences Building (December 10).
The two buildings are very different, but both feature BC wood in their design, and
meet high environmental standards. Sophisticated and flexible audiovisual and
e-learning technology allows for interactive and simultaneous learning and teach-
ng at all three of the distributed program's university campuses.
In October, all 24 NMP students joined about 450 local physicians and NMP
supporters for the inaugural Bob Ewert Memorial Lecture, named for a prominent
northern physician. The event was both a social event for local doctors and a
fundraiser for the Northern Medical Programs Trust, a partnership between northern BC communities and UNBC to raise endowed financial support for future NMP
students. About $70,000 was raised, including a contribution of $20,000 from the
Ewert family. Dr. David Snadden, the head of the NMP, was the keynote speaker.
The Northern Medical Society also covered the flights for the students, who were
billeted with local physicians.
In Health Authorities Across BC
On January 12, Premier Gordon Campbell announced a $27.6 million investment
to provide academic space at health authorities across the province, to support
the increasing number of both undergraduate and postgraduate UBC medical students. "By next year we will have almost doubled the number of undergraduate
medical students in an expansion that is leading the way in Canada," the Premier
said. "This funding follows through to ensure the infrastructure is in place at
clinical facilities everywhere from Vancouver Island to northern BC where our
medical students complete their hands-on education."
This addition to our academic space in the provincial health authorities wil
ncrease the size of UBC's Clinical Academic Campuses to almost 1,000,000 square
feet, second only to the Faculty's space on the Point Grey campus.
The School of Rehabilitation Sciences
On August 25, the school welcomed the first students into the Master of
Occupational Therapy [MOT) and the Master of Physical Therapy [MPT) programs,
UBC's new entry-level professional programs. The new Masters of Rehabilitation
Science (MRSc) program admitted its first students in January. Developed by
associate professor Sue Stanton, the online, non-thesis master's degree is accessible from any location and can be tailored to meet rehabilitation professionals'
workplace/career needs.
The school's new Seaview
Learning Centre, made possible by
the generous support of donors,
the Faculty of Medicine and the
Ministry of Health, held its grand
opening on December 2. Access to
the Internet, projection systems,
video/DVD equipment, and a host
of other educational resources in
the centre, such as bones, anatomical models, CD-ROMs, books, and
other items, will enhance the
earning process for all students.
Alumna Sylvia Ommanney opens
the new Seaview Learning Centre
December 2.
The School of Audiology and Speech Sciences
Congratulations to Prof. Judith Johnston, who in November received Honours of
the Association, the highest honour the American Speech-Language-Hearing
Association (ASHA) gives. "Dr. Johnston is renowned internationally for her work
on children's language impairments. According to colleague and former student
Ron Gillam of the University of Texas at Austin, the 'depth and breadth of her
research' over the past 35 years places Johnston among the world's top scholars
in the field of child language disorders," the ASHA website reports.
Calling All Medical Alumni: Help Make History!
Memoirs, mementoes and memorabilia are the heart and soul of the stories
that one generation tells another-but it's far too easy to put off collecting them
before it's too late. Drs. David Hardwick (MD '57) and Chuck Slonecker are
spearheading a drive to collect those invaluable, personal archival materials for
the first 50 years of the medical school at UBC. A key part of the project is to
recruit volunteers from each class to act as archivists. On board already are Dr.
Margaret (Peg) Cox, for the Class of'54 (see page 11), Dr. Phil Narod, Class of
'55, and Dr. F.D. (Blackie) Forbes, Class of'57. If you can see yourself "making
history" as your class' archivist, or have personal materials to contribute, please
contact Chuck Slonecker at 604-263-7433, or Miro Kinch at 604-822-5543.
Winter 2005 UBC Medicine     14 For more information and/or
to request additional copies of
UBC Medicine contact us at:
Faculty of Medicine
The University of
British Columbia
317-2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver BC
Canada V6T1Z3
T 604-822-2421
F 604-822-6061
www.med.ubc.ca
PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 41020503 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO UBC FACULTY OF MEDICINE 317-2194 HEALTH SCIENCES MALL VANCOUVER BC V6T 1Z3

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