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UBC Medicine 2006

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THE      MAGAZINE      AND      FACULTY      OF      HEALTH      &      LIFE      SCIENCES      AT      UBC
A Man for All Seasons
Inspired by the Light
Let's Talk Science
New Inside!
A publication of the Faculty of Medicine
at the University of British Columbia rv*
is published twice a year by the Faculty
of Medicine, and provides news and information
about the activities of faculty members, students,
staff, alumni, and friends, and their contributions
to the health and well-being of people and
populations locally, nationally and internationally.
Volume 2 Number 2
Spring/Summer 2006
Editor-in-Chief (Acting)
Dr. Dorothy Shaw, Senior Associate Dean,
Faculty Affairs
Editor/Managing Editor
Miro Kinch
Copy Editor
Vicki McCullough
Editorial Advisory Committee
Naomi Broudo
Dr. Alison Buchan
Alison Liversage
Christopher Petty
Dr. Beverley Tamboline
Randy Schmidt
Tim Carlson
Shawn Conner
Carol-Ann Courneya
Class of 2008, PBL Group 26
Miro Kinch
Jenny Phillips
Medical Alumni News
Christina Ames
Shai Bregman
Dr. David W. Jones
Warren Luksun
Lee MacKay
Dr. Beverley Tamboline
Tandem Design Associates Ltd.
On the Cover: Nepal's Mt. Nilgiri,
the western-most peak of the Annapurna
chain. The mountain is on the east side of the
deepest valley in the world, between
Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Story on page 12.
Photo by David Stapells.
On the Inside Cover: Life Song School student
Bijah Spevakow explains her science fair project.
Faculty of Medicine graduate student Sara Harbord
volunteered as a judge at the fair this spring. Story
on page 17. Photo by Darin Dueck.
Talk to Us
Send us your news for "Flash!" and/or
the "Alumni Awards, Activities & Achievements"
section of the Medical Alumni News.
Write a letter to the editor—let us know what's on
your mind.
Got a suggestion for "Point of View" and "Last
Words"? Get in touch!
T 604-822-2421
F 604-822-6061
Faculty of Medicine
The University of
British Columbia
Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver BC
Canada V6T1Z3
The editor reserves the right to edit submissions for
length, content and/or clarity, as well as the right
to decline submissions.
2 What Are You Doing After Work?
3 The Story of the Frog
4 Flash: News from . . .
8 Point Of View] Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water
9    A Man for All Seasons
Dean Emeritus William Webber touched the minds and hearts of an
amazing number of people during his 71 years among us. We've
collected a few—a very few—of the stories being told by his friends,
colleagues and students around the province since his untimely
departure in January this year.
12    Inspired by the Light
Looking for a way out of the rat race? Some balance in your life?
David Stapells and Michelle McCaughren drop up to drop out—and
love how it puts the 24/7 demands of their lives and careers in the
School of Audiology and Speech Sciences in perspective.
17    Let's Talk Science
Graduate students Derrick Randall, Sara Harbord, Melissa Hamilton.
David Kent, and Hamed Nazzari (pictured here) have found a cool
way of refuelling at this hectic stage in their academic careers. Little
kids' excitement is contagious, they say—but check it out. How do
those small people get so revved up to begin with?
New this issue
Medical Alumni News
Celebrating 20 years with
a whole new look.
22 MAA President's Report
23 We've Come a Long Way . . .
24 Alumni Awards, Achievements & Activities
26 Playing Doctor; Students Honoured; MSAC Report
27 MUS Report; Rewind to the Fifties
28 Last Words: Medicine and Magic UBC  FACULTY  OF  MEDICINE
Through knowledge, creating health
Together we create knowledge and
advance learning that will make a
vital contribution to the health of
individuals and communities, locally,
nationally and internationally.
Through education, research and
service, UBC's Faculty of Medicine will
positively and measurably influence
the health of people in British
Columbia, Canada and the world
In its words, attitudes and behaviour,
UBC's Faculty of Medicine will
build a common identity as a
single, integrated entity across
British Columbia.
As a global leader in health education
and research, UBC's Faculty of
Medicine will be a source of pride
to all its members
We choose to advance our mission
through leadership in information
technology and communication
For the full text of the Faculty's
strategic plan, Health Trek 2010, go
to "About Us" at www.med.ca and
click on "Health Trek 2010."
Until very recently, I assumed that because I knew my colleagues and I were active contributors
to the community, others knew that too. A few weeks ago, however, someone challenged that
assumption—and certainly challenged any complacency I may have been feeling as a member of
a thriving Faculty of Medicine and as a practising physician.
Doctors don't seem to serve the community
the way they used to. I don't see them on
boards, or commissions . . .Why is that?" the
person—a non-health-related professional—
asked. The question presented me with an
unexpected—but not unwelcome—
opportunity for reflection.
It seems to me that people in health-
related professions serve the community in
many roles. The first and most fundamental
is as professionals, caring for the sick and
suffering, and teaching the next generation
of professionals to do the same.
In our lives after work, we serve as
officers and volunteers for almost every kind
of organization imaginable—from national
and international professional associations to
church groups, arts groups and neighbourhood organizations. We can be found working with the disadvantaged or vulnerable,
standing behind the bench on soccer fields
or in hockey arenas—and even in
For all of us in the UBC Faculty of
Medicine, serving the community is as
important a commitment as those we have
made to research and education. I am passionate about, and committed to, the goals
and strategies outlined in the Faculty's
five-year strategic plan, Health Trek 2010.
Focused on people, education, research,
community, and sustainability and renewal,
these strategies rely on a wide range of
resources and talents. To be successful, we
need the help and support of all members
of the Faculty—teachers, researchers, students, staff, and alumni—as well as our colleagues at UBC, collaborating universities,
health authorities, the Province of British
Columbia, the Ministries of Health and
Advanced Education, other agencies, and our
friends and supporters in the community.
We can't begin to meet our goals for
the Faculty or for ourselves personally, however, unless we are healthy—physically,
mentally, spiritually. "Work-life balance" has
become one of our 24/7 society's most
sought-after goals. We need the renewal and
re-energization that comes from taking time
for ourselves, our families, our friends—and,
interestingly enough, from helping others.
Supporting our people in their quest for that
balance is a contribution the Faculty has
undertaken to make to its own internal community, and is an important component of
Health Trek 2010.
But, to return to the comment that
prompted this article: it would appear that
our service to the community is not as readily apparent as it could be. The stories of our
involvement in the community—at home
and abroad—are clearly not being told widely enough or often enough.
We'd like to help rectify that in these
pages and on our website—with your help.
Get in touch. Let us know what you're
doing "after work." I'm looking forward to
hearing from you.
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
UBC Medicine Spring/Summer 2006 THE    STORY    OF    THE    FROG
_ rog is a crest of the Haisla Eagle Clan. Chilkakoons was the mother of
Supernatural Frog. Although killed, the Frog was avenged when his tormen-
and their village were destroyed in a volcanic eruption. The lone survivor
a young woman who helped found some of the Eagle Clans of the Pacific
rthwest Coast.
?rogs are a symbol of magic and were used by ancient shamans as a spirit
ler to cast spells or cure the sick.
Haisla people have a saying:
,treat not the frogs, birds, fishes or any small animal, for as you treat them—
The Artist
Lyle Wilson is a Haisla artist from Kitamaat
Village, near the town of Kitimat, BC. Born
at Butedale Cannery in 1955, he is a member of the Eagle Clan.
Although he spent five years studying
art education at the University of British
Columbia, Lyle found he was more interested in making art himself. He went on
to earn his diploma in printmaking at the
Emily Carr College of Art and Design
and works in a variety of media, including
wood, jewellery and glass.
He has renewed his affiliation with the
university via the Museum of Anthropology,
where he has been carving a nine-foot-tall
red cedar sculpture in the museum's Great
Hall. Entitled Wee-git Releases the Light,
the carving tells Lyle's version of an ancient
story in which Wee-git ("Great Man" in the
Haisla language) brings light to the world.
On the American Museum for
Natural History website for the recent
Totems to Turquoise exhibition
the artist notes for Lyle state:
Lyle Wilson sees his art as neither "contemporary" nor "traditional. "He seeks to represent
the tension between older Haisla values and the
influences of present-day society. "I believe my
best work takes account of the past, present and
future tenses. "
" I credit my uncle, Sam Robinson, for sparking
my interest in art. I remember once, he was
upstairs carving; everything was dark, except for
one light shining overhead. The shavings seemed
to flow off the wood in crispy curls before
disappearing into the dark. It was a magical
scene that I've never forgotten. "
In addition to his many solo and group
exhibitions at home and abroad, Lyle has
executed a number of important private and
public commissions for, among others, the
Museum of Anthropology and the First
Nations House of Learning, both at UBC,
the BC Sports Hall of Fame, and the
Canadian Consulate in Osaka, Japan.
The Story Behind It All
Dr. Robert W McGraw, MD'60, knew Lyle
Wilson's work and, in the course of planning
the Faculty of Medicine's Golden Jubilee
celebrations, asked him to create
a logo for the event. When Lyle asked Bob
what the image should be, Bob, who was
familiar with the significance of the frog in
First Nations art, proposed that Lyle consider
the frog. "I also thought the frog, which
lives both on land and in the water, was particularly appropriate for UBC, situated as it is
at the edge of both the forest and the
ocean," says Dr. McGraw.
The handsome blue and gold logo was
so well received that the Faculty asked to use
it on an ongoing basis.
In 2005 Dr. McGraw purchased the
original work by Lyle Wilson on which the
logo was based (above) and donated it to
the Faculty.
Says Dean Gavin Stuart," Lyle Wilson is
an outstanding artist. We are honoured to
have the UBC Faculty of Medicine identified with his work and very grateful to Dr.
McGraw for his vision and generosity in
making it possible."
Throwing the Switch
on the Brain's
Chemical Imbalances
An international team led
by UBC neuroscientist Alaa
El-Husseini and PhD student
Kim Gerrow has discovered
a group of protein molecules
that acts as the " on/off" switch
for chemical messages in the
brain by promoting or disrupting the formation of synapses.
El-Husseini, assistant professor in Psychiatry and a member
of the Faculty's Brain Research
Centre, describes the molecular
activity as "the fundamental
mechanism that controls chemical messaging in the brain,"
and he adds that the discovery
"offers a new focus for developing treatment for diseases caused
by chemical imbalances of
the brain."
The research results, published in the February 16, 2006,
issue of Neuron, could help
improve treatments for brain disorders ranging from retardation
and autism to schizophrenia and
A World "First" in Heart Valve Surgery
A St. Paul's Hospital team recently performed the world's first minimally invasive "beating heart" aortic valve replacement surgery.
Cardiac surgeons Drs. Sam Lichtenstein, Anson Cheung and
Jian Ye worked with interventional cardiologists Drs. John Webb
and Ron Carere and echocardiologist Dr. Chris Thompson to
replace the aortic valve of a patient who could not safely undergo
open-heart surgery.
"We are very excited to be the first team in the world to perform
this new procedure," said Lichtenstein, clinical professor and head of
the Faculty's division of Cardiac Surgery. "Most importantly, we were
able to improve the health of a patient who had no other options."
The team used a special valve that folds to the diameter of a pencil and can be inserted via a small four-inch incision between two
ribs. Known as transapical placement, the new procedure is one of the
therapies available in the evolving field of "closed heart" surgery.
The team's pioneering spirit is part of a grand tradition at St.
Paul's—doctors and Faculty members at our clinical academic campus
in downtown Vancouver have a long history of innovation, now captured in a new publication, The Spirit of Discovery: The History of
Cardiopulmonary Pioneers at St. Paul's Hospital.
From left: Dr. Sam Lichtenstein, Dr. Anson Cheung, Dr. John Webb, and other members
of the St. Paul's cardiac surgery team.
Less is More
Prof. Wilfred Jefferies recently
made headlines with new
research findings that demonstrated the possibility of
developing effective vaccines
that would require drastically
smaller dosages—100 times
less than normal.
If this proves effective in
humans, lower-dose vaccines will
go a long way towards stopping
a range of dangerous side effects
associated with vaccines. The
possibility of lower dosages
could also result in increased
vaccine supplies, at lower costs—
welcome news in light of fears
about avian flu and other possible pandemics.
"We're excited by the possibility that this discovery could
change the face of vaccines as
we know it," says Dr. Jefferies,
whose multiple affiliations
include the departments of
Medical Genetics, Microbiology
& Immunology, and Zoology, as
well as the Biomedical Research
Centre, the Brain Research
Centre and the Michael Smith
Killam Rules!
Prof. Brett Finlay (below), who is leading global initiatives to combat SARS and other lethal, drug resistant infections—including an
E. coli vaccine for cattle—has been named one of five recipients of the
Canada Council of the Arts' $100,000 Killam Prizes for 2006.
A professor of both Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology (Medicine)
and of Microbiology &
Immunology (Science), Finlay is
the Peter Wall Institute
Distinguished Professor, UBC's
most prestigious academic honour.
In 2005 he received US$8.7 million over five years as part of the
Gates Foundation-funded Grand
Challenges in Global Health initiative. He leads an international
project to change the way infectious diseases are treated worldwide, by using the body's own
immune system to prevent life-
threatening infections.
In addition, he directs the
international SARS Accelerated
Vaccine Initiative that is fast-
tracking the development of a
vaccine for the deadly respiratory
The Killam Prizes are widely regarded as Canada's most distinguished
annual award for outstanding career achievement by Canadians
in natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, health sciences,
and engineering.
In addition to the Canada Council, five Canadian universities
were the beneficiaries of Dorothy J. Killam's bequest in support of
"building Canada's future by encouraging advanced studies." At
UBC, Killam Research prizes are among the most prestigious the
university offers. In February UBC announced that physiotherapist
Janice Eng, associate professor in the School of Rehabilitation
Sciences, and Pediatrics professor Dr. Sheila Innis were two of 10
winners for 2005. The awards were presented at the Celebrate
Research Gala in the Chan Centre on March 9, 2006.
Virtual Reality, Real Therapy
The space-age special effects (above) are being developed
by Prof. Martin McKeown in UBC's Media and Graphics
Interdisciplinary Centre (MAGIC) as part of a sophisticated virtual
stimuli exercise to help the brain rewire itself after a stroke or
the onset of Parkinson's disease.
Previous research has shown that synthetic stimulants, such as
amphetamines, have helped stroke patients relearn movement by
releasing the naturally occurring neurotransmitter norepinephrine,
which in turn stimulates the brain to reprogram damaged neural
pathways. But these drugs can cause heart attacks in stroke victims.
Interviewed in UBC Reports ("Rewiring the Brain," Vol. 51, No. 12),
Dr. McKeown explained: "We started looking for ways to stimulate
the release of norepinephrine without the use of drugs. A virtual
solution seemed perfect—patients could react to stimuli in a safe
environment and we could monitor precisely the electrical
activity of muscles."
With colleagues in the Faculty of Applied Science at Duke
University, and visiting neurologist Dr.Yuqing Wei, Dr. McKeown—
who has an engineering degree as well as an MD—has demonstrated
the short-term positive results of the virtual exercise. The next
objective is to determine the therapy's long-term effectiveness.
Dr. Christie Newton (below),
assistant professor in Family
Practice and director of the new
UBC Health Clinic, is celebrating the launch of one of the first
models of inter-professional
health care and education in BC.
The clinic, on the Point Grey
campus, offers a multidisciplinary
team approach to patient care,
involving family practice residents, nurse practitioners, mid-
wives, and other health care professionals. It also provides unique
opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and research.
Ice Sin
NMP students (above, L to R)
Annie Docking, Sarah
Tennant, Nadia Widmer, and
a bewigged Michael Robinson
(front), all Class of 2009, with
Karen Truman, Class of 2008
(far right), skied, skated, ran,
and swam in the Prince George
Iceman event. Their Ice Sin
team placed an impressive first in
their division and 10th overall in
the 29.8-kilometre relay event.
BC Biotech Awards Highlight Faculty Innovators
Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence: Dr. Ross McGillivray,
professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and director of
UBC's Centre for Blood Research. He combines his training in protein chemistry and molecular biology with the evolving technology of
genomics and proteomics to study blood proteins. Dr. McGillivray
was the first in the world to clone a blood clotting factor gene, and
his laboratory is internationally known for its research on the molecular genetics of blood coagulation.
Innovation and Achievement: Dr. Martin Gleave, Surgery
professor and founder and chief scientific officer of OncoGenex
Technologies, for his work at the Prostate Centre at Vancouver
General Hospital. Gleave s research focuses on understanding the
molecular mechanisms underlying cancer progression and the development of treatment. His spinoff company, OncoGenex, now has
three products in development that target different genes and types
of cancer.
Fife Sciences Company of the Year: Neuromed Pharmaceuticals
for the "tremendous milestones the company has achieved."
Neuromed began as a UBC spinoff in 1998 to commercialize
Psychiatry professor Terry Snutch's developments in pain-killing
drugs. In March 2006, the company announced one of the largest-
ever Canadian pharmaceutical partnerships, with Merck & Co.
The Faculty Welcomed 36 newly promoted clinical and
full-time professors to its ranks in March. For more pictures and the
full list of the newly gowned professors (above), please go to " News
& Events" at www.med.ubc.ca and click on "Photo Album."
Academic of the Year
Psychiatry associate professor
Kerry Jang has been honoured
by the Confederation of
University Faculty Associations
of BC (CUFA/BC) for his
work in creating support programs for homeless people
in his neighbourhood.
While on the board of
Collingwood Neighbourhood
House, Jang brought together
residents, the police, politicians,
and potential clients to discuss
the causes of the problems and
possible solutions. The program
they developed is effective—
and accepted by the community.
" Prof. Jang engaged his
community in a discussion about
homeless people, and created
an evidence-based program to
provide for some of their
basic needs and in the process
help [move] them towards
recovery from mental illness
and addiction," says Norma
Wieland, CUFA/BC president.
Celebrating Service
Over 380 faculty and staff members' long-term service—from 25
to 55 years—was celebrated at a
special event earlier this year.
Dr. Sydney Friedman (top left,
in 1950), who joined the Faculty
in 1950, is our longest-serving
faculty member, while Cynthia
Hou (left), who has been with
the Faculty since 1965, holds the
staff honours for longevity. For
a complete list of honourees
please go to "News & Events"
at www.med.ubc.ca and click
on "Photo Album."
Quality Control
A toothpick-sized vial of platelet concentrate, a specially designed
holder, a beam of light, and a computer—all brought together in a
deceptively modest-looking shoebox-sized device—have the potential
to boost the world's supply and quality of fragile blood platelets.
Elisabeth Maurer (above), clinical associate professor in
Pathology and Canadian Blood Services scientist, and Keddie Brown
with their innovative invention, the dynamic light scattering platelet
monitor (DLS-PM). It dramatically increases storage time for the
short-lived blood product and can quickly—within 15 minutes—
identify the best platelet product for a patient.
Good News
About "Good" Cholesterol
Hard on the heels of their 2005
demonstration of the liver's
important role in the production of high-density lipoprotein
(HDL), or "good" cholesterol,
scientists at the Faculty's Centre
for Molecular Medicine and
Therapeutics (CMMT) have
provided the first definitive
proof that the intestine, along
with the liver, produces almost
all of the body's HDL.
"These results . . . demonstrate the importance of
the intestine in developing new
therapeutic approaches to raising
HDL levels in the body," says
Dr. Michael Hayden, CMMT's
director and senior scientist.
MD/PhD student Li am
Brunham, lead author on the
study, adds that the discovery
"could have significant implications for treatment of cardiovascular disease."
Collaborators on the project
included university-based
researchers in the Netherlands,
France and the US. The research
was featured in the March 16,
2006, issue of the Journal of
Clinical Investigation (JCI).
BC Alzheimer Test
First in the World
Dr. Neil Cashman has devel
oped a diagnostic blood test for
Alzheimer disease that he
expects will be available in as
little as a year or two.
A world first, the test will
also be able to detect diseases
such as Parkinson's, Lou
Gehrig's and both the animal
and human forms of mad cow
disease, by searching out minute
aggregates of the misfolded proteins that underlie these diseases.
Cashman, a physician, scientist and member of the Faculty's
Brain Research Centre, holds
the Canada Research Chair in
Neurodegeneration and Protein
Misfolding Diseases at UBC. He
is recognized worldwide as a
leader in the emerging fields of
protein misfolding, as well as
prion diagnostic and therapeutic
To read more about "Flash!
news items, go to
www. brain, ubc. ca
www. brc. ubc. ca/brc
cufabc. harbour, sfu. ca
www. providencehealthcare. org/
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medicine POINT   OF   VIEW
Health Services students in Victoria experience first-hand the powerful synergy of multidisciplinary teams.
IMP second-year student jenny phillips reports on their first conference.
On March 11, 2006, the Health Services
Student Association held its first annual
Multidisciplinary Health Care Conference.
Students from the Island Medical Program,
biochemistry, biology, social sciences,
philosophy, western and eastern medical
backgrounds, and community members
came together to learn, discuss and explore
how teamwork among health professionals
makes for better patient care, and a better
work environment.
We were fortunate to have Janice Valdez,
patient coordinator for the Island Medical
Program and a trained drama therapist, start
our morning off with a fascinating look
at how health care penetrates deep into the
community. She explained that unless we
learn to communicate and work together,
our professional isolation parallels the
dysfunction that can be seen in families
where parents give their children conflicting
perspectives. As our aim is not to make
confused patients, but to care for them in
their journey through the health system,
it is important that our messages to patients
are coherent and clear and that all members
of a health care team are on the same page.
Dr. Wee Chong Tan, the founder of
the Canadian College of Acupuncture and
Oriental Medicine, also gave a very informative talk on the history and culture and
merging of Chinese medicine into the dominant Western society in Victoria. Tracing
Chinese medicine from its roots in Chinese
society, to the first interactions between
China and the West, he told of his struggles
to change people's perspectives on Chinese
medicine and how he brought it from being
an illegal medical practice to what we
know today. Dr. Tan spoke about the herbal
and internal medicine (i.e., acupuncture)
origins of Chinese medicine and showed us
how the five elements (wood, fire, earth,
metal, water) are linked to physical, emotional and mental health.
Students, enlightened by these two
speakers' ideas and armed with their own
knowledge, then came together to help
a fictional family in crisis. The scenario
involved an elderly woman, who was the
primary caregiver to her husband, a man
suffering from dementia. When the caretaker
was struck with a heart attack, the health
professional students had to solve not only
her crisis, but ensure her husband's needs
were met. To add to these concerns, the
daughter, who was living in China, needed
support when she returned to Canada. It
was fantastic to see how open students were
to each other's ideas as they developed a care
plan for this family.
If students at the beginning of their
health educations can come together
so enthusiastically to solve health problems
such as the ones faced by this fictional
family, it is clear that multidisciplinary teams
of health professionals can provide the
strength of each discipline—and more.
Working together, they create a
synergistic energy that is very powerful.
UBC Medicine Spring/Summer 2006 A    MAN    FOR   ALL    SEASONS
William Alexander Webber , md, frcpc, lld
Husband, father, family man,
teacher, mentor, coach,
sportsman, scientist, diplomat, and leader
Dedicated, determined, kind,
accessible, articulate, incisive, wry,
knowledgeable, adventurous, generous, and wise
A Gift of Celebration
A memorial fund has been created to recognize
Dr. William Webber's lifetime commitment to the
University of British Columbia.
Donations to this fund will support scholarships
and bursaries for medical students. An anonymous
donor has generously agreed to match every dollar
donated, up to $200,000. This is an exceptional
opportunity to double your gift—and double the
impact for our future medical students.
Please send your contribution to:
Dr. William Webber Fund
Attention: Natalie Zywicki
Faculty of Medicine
317-2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z3 A Room Ful
Anyone fortunate enough to have met
Dr. Webber knows that he was quite simply
a beautiful person. Our group was lucky
enough to have him as our very first problem-based learning (PBL) tutor.
There was always so much laughter in
the room. Dr. Webber had a wonderful
sense of humour, which quickly put everyone at ease. He was also the first to laugh
at himself. We thoroughly enjoyed teasing
him about the multi-syllabic words—like
pedunculated, parsimonious and mellifluous—
he used so effortlessly.
A statement like "One should exercise
the parsimonious use of laboratory and
imaging investigations" was inevitably met
by eight blank stares. "Parsimonious?" we'd
mumble. With a smile Dr. Webber would
explain the precise meaning of the word
and, if applicable, its Latin derivation. His
love of words was impossible to conceal. And
so, as a token of our fondness and appreciation, we bought him a book—appropriately
called The Superior Person's Book of Words. It
seems fitting that a new tradition, entitled
"Webber'sWords," has now been integrated
into the histology course.
Dr. Webber always made an effort to stay
connected. Whenever we saw him in the
histology lab—his notebook in hand, ready
to transform the most complex ideas into
simple and understandable ones—he would
always ask how things were going. He
remembered every detail. He was genuinely
interested in every student he encountered
and showed it with his patience and his
warm, unforgettable smile.
It wasn't until long afterwards that we
realized he was the former Dean of
We cannot imagine a more incredible
role model. Dr. Webber made a point of
spending a great deal of time on feedback,
clearly communicating his appreciation for
each individual's unique contributions. While
he always provided valuable suggestions for
improvement, he also encouraged each one
of us to be more of who we already were.
"Each of you," he assured us, "will be great
physicians one day." Coming from Dr.
Webber, this meant a great deal.
Raina Fumerton, James Card, Shaun Coughlin, Syma Khan,
David Melnychuk, Jane Oh, Michael Szeto, Michelle
Tousignant, Class of 2008, PBL Group 26
' And Dr. Webber, we know you 're here somewhere. You wouldn 't miss this event for the
world. And our world wouldn't be the same if it hadn 't been for you. You were our
biggest fan, the mentor to most of our mentors. We will carry what you gave us onto the
soccer fields forever—and to every chance we get to help a medical student learn. Like
you, we will drop everything, sit down and start going through and through, till they get
it too. You didn 't just teach us things, you taught us how to teach. Thank you!"
Teresa Wood, Valedictorian, Class of 2006, speaking at the Hooding Ceremony
  •   • 	
For almost two decades, Bill, Herb Forward and I engaged in a sort of subliminal
banter at long meetings. Herb or I would observe, 'Surely that ought to be done now,'
eliciting a slight wrinkle in the corner of chairman Webber's eye and the answer, 'Of
course that can be done now.' Unspoken but clearly understood by the three of us was
the addendum: 'But don't call me Shirley'"
Prof. Emeritus David Hardwick What Do You Think Will Happen Today?
' If Dr. Webber said 'You '11 find it in
so-and-so's letter of March 1987,'
you 'd go to the files, and there it would
be. Sometimes he would even tell you
the day, as well as the month and year. "
Ruth Smith, Dean's secretary
  •   • 	
' On Friday afternoons around four, when
everyone else had left for the weekend,
Bill would often drop by. How are you?'
he 'd ask. And he really wanted to know.
Have I told you lately what a privilege it
is to work with you?'he began one
memorable visit. Of course, I was embarrassed, and protested—but I can't tell
you how much that meant to me."
Prof. William Ovalle, Histology Course Director
  •   • 	
' Dr. Webber almost always worked in his
shirt sleeves, but was never without a tie.
If he came in without one, we knew he
must be on vacation. "
Susan Langland, Director, Faculty Affairs
In 2001 I invited Bill Webber to Kathmandu
to introduce problem-based learning (PBL)
at the new medical school, and to train
Nepali doctors to become PBL tutors.
He said right away that he was interested, but would like the weekend to talk it
over with his wife Marilyn. He called back
to say he would be delighted to go—and
would it be okay for Marilyn to come too?
That interaction illustrates much of what I
have known and admired about Bill in the
15 years that he was my academic mentor.
His decisions were always carefully thought
out, he was open to new ideas and adventures—and he was devoted to Marilyn.
Bill and Marilyn were great travelling
companions. Nothing seemed to faze them,
from uncertain itineraries that changed
daily—and sometimes hourly—to epic
lineups, harrowing taxi rides and volatile,
accident-prone drivers.
Working conditions were equally
challenging. I can still see Bill in the middle
of a presentation on curriculum planning—
which he was giving in the open lobby of
a guest house, since the promised conference
room hadn't materialized—when the
electricity went out. Bill didn't miss a beat.
' Well. Isn't that interesting," he said and continued his talk as though the now-defunct
overhead projector had never existed.
I also remember the joy he took in
watching the young Nepali students as they
made their first tentative steps towards
thinking for themselves—instead of, as one
young girl described it, "thinking with
our professor's mind."
Bill and Marilyn were an amazing team.
Marilyn also had an educational mission—
a cultural one. Her research into the history,
architecture and religions of Kathmandu
provided us with a context for many of the
strange and wonderful things we encountered working and travelling in Nepal. Much
of what we saw as we toured around
the Kathmandu Valley would have remained
a mystery without Marilyn to share her
As a mentor, Bill Webber was always
available and receptive. He listened carefully,
asked exactly the right questions—and
could always be counted on to expose the
comical side of serious situations. I will
miss his steady guiding influence.
Carol-Ann Courneya, Associate Professor,
Cellular and Physiological Sciences
In the early days [Bill] would play in the student soccer games and scrimmages. As
time went on he was promoted to referee and then to avid cheerleader. The students so
enjoyed his participation they named their annual championship the Webber Boot."
Prof. Emeritus Chuck Slonecker
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medicine     11 INSPIRED
" Life simplifies, and all the time we're taking in fascinating
cultures and fantastic hill and mountain views. In the three weeks
we were in Nepal, I don't think we spent more than an hour
total talking about work."
For DaVid StapellS, director of the Faculty's School of
Audiology and Speech Sciences, and Michelle McCaughran, the
school's administrator, home and office exist on the same
continuum. They carry the pressures of a demanding academic
environment home, mentally and physically, every night, for
discussion until lights out.
But that's only life at sea level.They regularly drop up to "drop
out"—trekking four to six hours a day at the highest altitudes on
the planet.
There are no shortage of peaks in plain sight from David and
Michelle's office windows, little more than a bridge away from their
West End Vancouver apartment. So why Nepal?
Is this an example of what contemporary writer Douglas
Coupland termed "the geographical cure"—the post-modern notion
that, with the convenience of air travel, a quick jump into a new
environment will prove a mental tonic? A new frame of reference
clears the mind?
There's no question that David and Michelle return from Nepal
relaxed and reinvigorated. "Heading off for a trek is truly 'stepping off
the grid.' Nothing but basic needs to think about: where to sleep,
what to eat," David says, "and very simple questions to answer. Should
we sit down and rest? Should we have a shower? Is it too cold to have
a shower? How are the noodles at this lodge? Which lodge has thicker
"Life simplifies, and all the time we're taking in fascinating
cultures and fantastic hill and mountain views. In the three weeks we
were in Nepal, I don't think we spent more than an hour total
talking about work," he says of their fourth trip to the country, in
December 2005.
The main attraction, however, is that in Nepal they encounter
experiences and feelings that can defy description.
David and Michelle resist calling their Himalayan sweat-a-thons
a "religious experience," but admit there is something akin to a
spiritual dimension.The draw back to Nepal is a "calling" that has
become almost a ritual since their first trip together in 1996.
12     UBC Medicine Spring/Summer 2006 by the
They weren't interested in a relaxing honeymoon. "I'm an
adventurer at heart," Michelle says. "I'll try anything once. But Nepal
was nothing like I'd imagined."
She recalls one experience, exotic and hypnotic: "We were at
a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Thubten Choling, about a one-hour
walk from Junbesi—about 3,000 metres above sea level. The central
gompa (temple) is large and impressive, and it's a pretty active
place given its remote location. One of the trekking books warned
us to beware of the vicious Tibetan mastifs that guard the monastery,
but funnily enough, they were anything but vicious—big pussycats,
really, that loved to have their bellies rubbed.
" David and I ended up in this dilapidated building which housed
the biggest prayer wheel I'd ever seen. There was a monk sitting
on the floor, spinning the wheel and chanting. We were spellbound
for what seemed hours—the feeling in that room was powerful
and still unexplainable."
Michelle, who earned her BA in English literature in 2005 after
years of part-time study, reaches for a literary comparison.
"It's difficult to explain the feeling that overtakes me when I
go to Nepal. I'm in no way a religious person. But, as I've told David,
it's like what happens when you read Milton's Paradise Lost—you
can't help but become "religious." Milton's writing is so captivating
and beautiful that it sparks something from within—it turns you
into a believer. Same with trekking in Nepal—it ignites something
spiritual from within—a sense of well-being and a feeling of
belonging. A feeling that doesn't get sparked from living in the
Western world and working 12-hour days."
Good Medicine
David's first solo trip to Nepal was in 1990, while he was working
in the Bronx, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (he is
still a visiting professor in otolaryngology—ear, nose and throat
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medicine     13 Trekking in Nepal
Trekking to the base camps in
the Everest region is a compelling
draw to Nepal, but David and
Michelle wouldn't recommend it
as a first trek or short trip. Having
been on numerous treks, they
feel confident without guides or
porters, but suggest at least a
guide for the novice.
'You can do 'teahouse trekking,'
where you stay at lodges, or do full-service camping trips,"
Michelle says. "Guides can be booked through an agency here
(more expensive and most of the money doesn't reach Nepal),
or you can contact recommended guides directly by e-mail."
The three-week long Annapurna
circuit, where one sees everything from bamboo jungles to high
mountain passes, with lots of villages and peoples in between.
This requires a lot of time and can be strenuous. Annapurna 1,
the tallest peak in this 55-kilometre Himalayan range, is the
world's 10th-highest summit (8,091 metres).
A not-too-strenuous trek near
Pokhara (also in the Annapurna region) for four to five days
or longer, where one sees lots of villages as well as
spectacular mountain views.
Most people fly in to Lukla and within
a few days are at high altitude and above permanent villages.
The mountain scenery is stunning, but there is little village
culture and no vegetation, and it is cold. Many love this, but
we prefer other areas for the combination of culture and
scenery. However, we do love the Everest region below and
around Lukla, as it is beautiful and has many villages.
The high seasons for trekking in Nepal are
October and November, when the weather is generally clear and
cool, and in the late spring, March and April. There are heavy
rains from June through August, and it's too cold and snowy to
travel many mountain paths from December to February.
David suggests that some good places to start are:
Canadian Himalayan Expeditions at:
Buddha Meditation Trekking (Kathmandu) at:
As this article was being written, the political situation
in Nepal was still unstable. If you are considering a trip, please check
the Canadian government's website at www.voyage.gc.ca for their
most up-to-date advisories.
UBC Medicine Spring/Summer 2006
" In the city you see cows, chickens and goats
walking freely within unbelievable traffic," Michelle
says. "And then you trek through such diverse
vegetation—everything from pine forests, deserts,
rhododendron forests, high passes, and beautiful
terraced farmland, all in one trek."
"The first time I went, the fascination was to see Mt. Everest,"
David says. "I came back completely wowed by it. I'd lived in New
York for four years at that time, and drove like a New Yorker. But
that trip really changed how I was for about a year. Then I went back
to being a New York driver. Back to being my usual self."
Something about the country—something more than the big
mountain—lured him back in 1993.
"The original fascination—Mt. Everest—is no longer the main
fascination, although the scenery is, of course, still gorgeous," says
David." Now the fascination is the people and what the trekking
does for us.
"I'm calmer when I return, better able to see what's important
in the big scheme of things. How long does the feeling last? Much
has gone away, but I think the December trip helped me cope with
January to April. I always go off on 'mental treks' (or alternatively,
real ones, sailing off the BC coast). For daydreaming, Nepal works
really well. I'm always planning the next trek—however far into
the future that might be."
He'll step down as director in the latter half of 2006, take an
administrative leave and concentrate on his graduate students, writing
and research—and, find time for another Nepal trek as part of the
transition to the next chapter of his career.
Harmony . . .
What becomes clear as Michelle and David describe both work and
trekking is that these contrasting aspects of their lives are not mutually
exclusive. They're harmonious. And both contain and inspire a concern for others as well as themselves.
Says David: "My main [research] has been in improving and
developing ways to test the hearing of infants, using EEG—or brain—
waves. Here in BC, I am very much involved in the recently
announced BC Early Hearing Program, which will provide newborn
screening and follow-up assessment and intervention for those found
to have hearing loss. My other area concerns understanding brain
mechanisms underlying normal and impaired hearing (and language)
in humans."
Michelle, who oversees strategic planning, human resources, financial management, and administration at the school (where there are ' jl
20 faculty and sessionals, 167 clinical faculty members and five staff),
finds the time and energy for extracurriculars such as coordinating
the 2001 UBC United Way Campaign. In 2002 she received the
President's Award of Excellence for invaluable service to UBC for
her United Way work.
"Nepal travel did influence me to want to do something for
the community—that is a reason for my involvement with United
Way," Michelle says. "Also, David and I have a foster child in
Nepal." In 2002, David did a workshop at the All India Institute for
Speech and Hearing in Mysore, India, and has plans to return."
. . . and Contrast
Nepal embodies some extreme contrasts.
"In the city you see cows, chickens and goats walking freely within unbelievable traffic," Michelle says. "And then you trek through
such diverse vegetation—everything from pine forests, deserts, rhododendron forests, high passes, and beautiful terraced farmland, all in
one trek."
The people of Nepal, their easygoing attitude and lack of
anxiety "set the tone of the country," Michelle says.
David describes a car accident they saw in Kathmandu—nothing
too serious, but the kind of thing that at Broadway and Granville
would probably inspire at least an overheated screaming match. "The
drivers thought it was funny. They drove away laughing it off."
Powder-Keg Politics
The natural beauty and a carefree attitude on the surface, however,
belies a powder-keg political situation.
Nepal is the poorest nation in South Asia, with 31 percent of its
27 million people living below the poverty line. Rural poverty and
charges of government corruption fuelled a Maoist insurgency aimed
at the urban elite in the mid '90s. The insurgency gained support (and
demanded support where it wasn't freely given) and a cycle of violence resulted in government crackdowns. In 2005, King Gyanendra
ended a 12-year democratic experiment and installed a government
supported by the Royal Nepalese Army.
In April of this year, protests and violence erupted and escalated
rapidly. Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs advised Canadians not
to travel to Nepal. By the end of the month, however, the king had
reinstated the previous parliament.
David and Michelle say that, based on past trips and news from
sources within Nepal that "better reflects 'the reality on the ground,"
they would not have cancelled a trip if they'd had one planned.
"Tourists continue to visit Nepal and continue to be entranced
by the people, culture and scenery," David says. "Tourism is so important to all Nepalese that they make a special effort to keep foreign
visitors safe and happy." Nevertheless, both Michelle and David agree
that "individuals must appropriately inform themselves and make
their own decisions."
Bringing It All Back Home
Grace under pressure—the pressure of war and poverty—is something
that impresses David and Michelle about the people of Nepal. It puts
in perspective the challenges of climbing the mountain of work they
come home to.
At a time when North Americans are pressured to commit to
their work 24/7, many people climbing the ladder can't imagine taking time out to climb mountains half a world away. David and
Michelle, however, see it as a good career move.
"We, too, have been swept into that 24/7 [routine]," Michelle
says. "I say: take time to drop out and smell the roses. If you don't
take care of yourself, no one else is going to."
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medicine 4 *4
As someone who grew up in a small town,
Derrick Randall knows first-hand what it's like
to not have access to the same resources
as city kids. That's one reason he's become a
project leader with the Access Initiative
program, the offshoot of the UBC Let's Talk
Science Partnership Program (LTS-PP) that
sends science graduate students out to rural
communities and inner city areas.
'A lot of these kids are written off," says Randall, who is originally
from Gold River, a small town on the west coast of Vancouver
Island. "In general, they come from a disadvantaged background
by nature of where they live, their cultural background or socioeconomic status."
But one trait common among the kids he talks to, whether in
rural communities or the city, is an intrinsic curiosity and desire to
learn. "If we can get those kids involved and mobilized to get into
further education, I think not only will they become very successful,'
says Randall, "but it's going to work in a cycle where they come
back to their communities and work as role models for other kids
coming up."
That, in a nutshell, is what Randall and other UBC graduate
student volunteers are doing as part of the Let's Talk Science
Partnership Program. A national initiative since 1993, and adopted
by UBC in 1996, Let's Talk Science matches emerging scientists
with students ranging from kindergarten to grade 12. Access
Initiative, an ancillary program, is specially aimed at reaching kids
in rural and inner city schools.
Randall has been involved with Let's Talk Science for two years.
He's had plenty of opportunity to interact with kids and see what's
on their still-forming minds when it comes to science.
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medicine     17 <?   €
Jesset Karlen, Life Song School
Meng Yuan Dai and Claudia Le, McBride Elementary School
James Ian Thomson-McKinnon, Life Song School
" One of the things that always blows me away is when we look
at the activities we're thinking of doing ahead of time, we'll overana-
lyze and say, 'I don't know if this is really going to have enough
substance, and it might not be interesting," says Randall, who works
to identify biomarkers and understand the pathophysiology of MPS
I, a rare disease that can result in mental retardation and/or physical
deformities. "And then the kids love it because it's a hands-on
activity where they get to explore something. When it's an abstract
thing, that's tough for them to consider and do from a theoretical
standpoint. It's not quite as successful as when you get them
really diving into it and getting their hands dirty, so to speak."
Hooking the Xbox Generation
David Kent has learned to hook youngsters with flashy experiments
before delving into science requiring patience, like DNA sampling.
He's on the same wavelength as Randall when it comes to what
works with Xbox-tooled attention spans.
"This is definitely something we struggle with every day,"
says Kent, a PhD student researching blood stem cell biology and
an external relations coordinator for the Let's Talk Science
Partnership Program.
Melisa Hamilton, who works out of the Terry Fox Lab, was
attracted to the program because she feels it's crucial to get across
the everyday applicability and importance of science. "When I
first started I wondered how I was going to make this applicable to
kindergartners," says Hamilton, who has visited a kindergarten class
at Sir Richard McBride Elementary three times since first volunteering last September." But the kids are really excited about it. When
you realize they are actually understanding what you're talking about
and getting something out of it, it's a really fulfilling feeling. I'll
do it again next year for sure."
A graduate student working on her master's thesis in breast and
ovarian cancer genetics, Sara Harbord became involved in the Let's
Talk Science program two years ago. She has conducted activities
with grade five and six classes at two different schools, taught an afternoon of wilderness science at a day camp, judged three science fairs,
and sat on a career panel for high school students. She's also written a
chapter on genetics for a handbook targeting grade six students.
Like Randall, Harbord feels students' initial hesitation about
science stems from a lack of familiarity with the material, and feeling
intimidated by abstract concepts. "So, at first I just got into cool
experiments. Now I find it's important at the beginning to make
students feel like, 'Wow I can really do this!' Then they get
passionate about the science."
The research work graduate students do is usually too complex
to be brought to the classroom, especially with younger students.
But the older kids can often grasp complex ideas if presented in an
interactive and practical manner.
"I made a CSI-style murder mystery game that used genetic
clues," says Harbord. "So I got them [the students] to think about how
genetics work by playing this cool game, and we extracted DNA
from a plant—something where they could actually see the results."
Often the class's teacher will tell the volunteer what he or she
has been working on with her students, and what she'd like the graduate student to talk about. Hamed Nazzari, who studies the properties
and functions of pacemaker channels, signed up with the program in
January. One of the teachers he's been assigned to asked for a talk on
viruses. "That's her [the teacher's] focus, so they're looking for someone to complement what she's already been teaching," says Nazzari.
Moving Mountains
How do they do it? With their graduate work taking up most of
their day, the LTS-PP volunteers have to make time. "I'm super busy,"
says Nazzari, who's working on his master's. "There's a lot to do with
course work in the first year and thinking up your thesis proposal
and presenting it—and just day-in, day-out lab work that needs to
get done."
David Kent spends between 40 and 50 hours in the lab per week,
and then another 15 or so on Let's Talk Science. "It doesn't really feel
like work. If it's something you believe in, you're going to move
mountains to make it happen."
Why They Do It
For Kent, his work with the program gives him perspective on
why he does the work he does in the first place. "When I look at
what I'm doing in the lab on any given day—say, collecting stem
cells or extracting DNA—it all seems very routine. It's not often
UBC Medicine Spring/Summer 2006 I get a chance to step out of that research environment and say,
'Why am I doing this?"
The answer becomes clear in a classroom of 10- and 11-year-olds.
"When you go into a classroom and say, 'I'm a stem cell biologist,'
the kids have 400 questions immediately. 'What does that mean? What
do you do in the lab?'" Thinking about what he does from the viewpoint of a nine- or 10-year-old gives him a different perspective on
his research, says Kent.
"You talk about how it [lab work] might be relevant to cancer
treatment, to making unlimited populations of blood cells, and it
strengthens your desire to stay in research—because you understand
there are meaningful, tangible things you are trying to achieve in
the lab. And you don't often get to step back and get a global perspective on your field."
Hamilton believes it's important to not only make science
accessible, but to change the traditional image kids have of scientists.
"Even for kindergartners, it's important they see scientists as real
people, as something they can be when they grow up if they want to,"
she says. "Here you have a 22-year-old girl who's fun, but she wears
the lab coat and does science. I think it's a really good image for
them. As they get older the concepts can get more complicated, but
the message of science as everyday life, of science as interesting, and
of 'you can be a scientist' stays the same."
"I'm so happy that I did this program," says Harbord, who moved
here two years ago from Ottawa, where she ran an afterschool
science program. "I realized what I want to do with my research is
take it to a level where I get to work with kids and the public,
disseminating information about science topics. I never knew if I
was going to be a teacher or a scientist, so it's great that there
are programs like this that let me do both."
While research is rewarding in the long term, communicating
enthusiasm about science to young minds, or seeing that spark, can
be immediately gratifying.
Asked for a particular instance in her experience with the
program that stands out for her, Harbord says, "We were judging a
science fair at Life Song elementary, and there was this five-year-old,
and his older sister was in the science fair. He got so excited by what
she was doing, he wanted to put in his own project. So he made this
huge diorama of all these dinosaurs. And he was so knowledgeable—
it was great to see he was inspired by his older sister's excitement. He
was already this budding scientist. And he really knew his stuff."
Frederique McGeough, Life Song School
-   - n -
Melisa Hamilton and Taylor Droesse at McBride Elementary School
Facts & Figures
Begun as a national initiative in 1993, the Let's Talk Science
Partnership Program (LTS-PP) has grown to include nearly 1,000
post-secondary students at 22 campuses across Canada. It was
adopted by UBC in 1996.
In 2005 the national program brought together nearly 1,000
volunteers—mostly grad students, but also some undergrads—
and an estimated 37,600 youth in cities and rural areas, over
15 percent more than the previous year.
Through UBC alone, the program provided opportunities and
training for 170 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
The volunteers represented UBC in 64 classrooms throughout the
Vancouver school district, and reached over 5,500 students through
class visits, community events and science fairs.
49 percent of the volunteers come from the Faculty of Medicine.
The Access Initiative, a UBC LTS-PP program, seeks to expand
the reach of current Partnership Program activities to reach youth in
inner city and rural areas. To that end, SMaRT Skills (formerly known
as Mini-School) and Reading Week (in collaboration with the UBC
Learning Exchange) involve kids in areas such as East Vancouver, or
at the Haa-Huu-Payuk Elementary School on Vancouver Island. The
SMaRT Skills program expanded from two classrooms into nine
this year.
Access Initiative goals for this year include 10 visits to classrooms
in five rural communities outside of the Lower Mainland.
Before the LTS-PP office was established in Brock Hall Annex in
2004, the coordinators were running the program out of their
labs and homes.
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medicine     19 TIH E ALTH
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UBC Medicine Spring/Summer 2006 HWH
alumni news
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medical Alumni News     21 PRESIDENT'S
Dr. David W Jones, MD70
Medical Alumni Executive
Lynn Doyle, MD'78
David WJones, MD'70
Jim Lane, MD73
Harvey Lui, MD'86
Jim Cupples,MD'81
Ron Warneboldt, MD'75
Drew Young, MD'59
Dean (ex-officio)
Gavin Stuart, MD
Faculty Representative (ex-officio)
Bruce Fleming, MD'78
PAR-BC Representative (ex-officio)
MUS Representative (ex-officio)
Newsletter Editor (ex-officio)
Beverley Tamboline, MD '60
Arun GargMD'77
David Hardwkk, MD '57
Charles Slonecker (Hon.), DDS, FhD
Representatives to
Faculty of Medicine Committees
Admissions Policy Committee
Morton Roy, MD'82
Admissions Selection Committee
James Hunter, MD'85
The Medical Alumni News is published
semi-annually. We welcome your
suggestions, ideas and opinions. Please
send comments, articles and letters to:
Beverley Tamboline, MD '60
c/o MSAC
2750 Heather Street
Vancouver BC   V5Z 4M2
Tel: 604-875-5522
On the Cover:
President Lynn Doyle, MD'78, and just a few
of the members of the Class of 2006 with their
shingles. At the annual Hooding Ceremony,
the Medical Alumni Association presents each
member of the graduating class with this traditional trademark of the newly established MD.
UBC Medical Alumni News Spring/Summer 2006
This issue of the Medical Alumni News marks
a new chapter for the publication.
For the first time, it is being included as
part of UBC Medicine. This obviously saves
production costs and postage—and we hope
that you will enjoy this dual publication. In
the future, we hope to bring you a history of
the UBC Medical Alumni Association in
these pages.
Speaking of history, most of you will
remember receiving a "shingle" as part of
your graduation ceremonies. The presenta
tion of a shingle to each graduate of UBC's
Faculty of Medicine started with the first
class in 1954. Our editors are working on
the history of this unique UBC tradition.
Through the winter and spring, I explored
the world of BC red cedar. I was able to
find a supplier of smooth shingles suitable
for finishing and applying names, which
should be able to satisfy our needs for years
to come. You may not realize it, but part
of your dues pays for the supply and production of shingles for each of our younger
colleagues as they graduate.
The distributed model of our medical
school in the province of BC continues
to evolve. Your association is trying to find
the best way to help alumni and students—
students in particular—at each of the sites.
We would not be able to do this without
your continued support.
This is my last president's message to you
as I complete my term as your president.
Your new president is Dr. Lynn Doyle, class
of 1978.1 wish Lynn all the best in her
term over the next two years.
Fond Farewell
The UBC Medical Alumni have lost a founder and loyal supporter with the death of Dean
Emeritus William Webber, MD'58, in late January 2006. No matter what his other duties and
activities, he was always there for the alumni and students and was a very respected and
wise counsellor. He will be sorely missed.
Annual General Meeting and Awards Reception
The Annual General Meeting of the UBC Medical Alumni Association was held Saturday,
May 6, at the Medical Student & Alumni Centre (MSAC). Lynn Doyle, MD'78, assumed
the presidency, and Jim Lane, MD'73, became president-elect.
Award Winners
Wallace Wilson Leadership Award:
Basil Boulton, MD'63
Honorary Alumnus:
Dr. Gordon Thompson
Honorary Alumna:
Dr. Dorothy Shaw
Silver Anniversary:
Warren R. Julien, Raymond W. Lam
and Ivo A. Olivotto, MD'81 WE'VE    COME   A    LONG    WAY...
Medical Centre plans on track
Nri* tmtlElinK
for both jUtmm
Medical Alumni News
Celebrates its
20th Anniversary
A Messuge
Alumni responding to
fund raising efforts
Mcdicul Division
staying active
New I
The first Annual
General Meeting of
the Medical Alumn
Division (photo, right)
was held on January
31, 1986. President
Curt Latham is behind
the floral arrangement;
Al Cox, MD'54, and
Dean Webber, MD'58,
are to his left; David
Hardwick is at the
far right.
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Who's fri
The inaugural issue of Medical
Alumni News was published on June
30, 1986.Twenty years later,
almost to the day, the 2006 Spring/
Summer issue was sent to the
printer in its new incarnation as
part of UBC Medicine magazine.
Welcome to the next 20 years!
Although only four pages long,
the News was crammed with information, including several "firsts":
the Medical Alumni Division's first
Annual General Meeting, the first
Wallace Wilson Leadership Award—
to Al Cox, MD'54—and a list
of all 30 of the Alumni Division's
first class representatives.
The Medical Student & Alumni Centre was still only
an architectural model (above left)—of a single building.
Today it has three new wings and is a hive of student activity. Come out and see it for yourself—it's the only one
of its kind in Canada, and as the UBC motto says, Tuum
est—It's yours!
Yours, too, are the Medical Alumni News and its sister
publication, UBC Medicine magazine. We hope you
enjoy them both—and look forward to hearing from you
with news, opinions and comments.
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medical Alumni News Alumni Awards, Achievements & Activities
Paula Aiken (nee Levy), MD'88, was
married June 24, 2005, to John Aiken. They
reside in Coquitlam and she is in family
practice in Burnaby
Terrence Breen, MD'85, practised anesthesia
in Calgary for seven years before moving
to Duke University, Durham, North
Carolina, in 1999. After six years in that
centre, he opted for private practice in
Southern California and loves Lajolla and
the San Diego area, where there is sun
and a temperature of 21°C day after day.
Kendal Ho, MD'86, (1 above) associate dean
of Continuing Professional Development and
Knowledge Translation, Faculty of Medicine,
is chair of an e-health steering committee
within Universitas 21 (U21), an international
consortium of research-intensive universities.
Members of the committee include health
services representatives from the University
of Queensland (Australia) and Hong
Kong University. The committee focuses
on the challenge—an enormous one—of
delivering health care to under-served groups
in both developing and industrialized
countries. For the last three years they have
been looking at how telemedicine, also
known as e-health, can improve global health
by making both care and knowledge more
accessible through technology.
Harvey Lui, MD'86, (2 above) has been
appointed head of the Faculty of
Medicine's newly created department of
Dermatology and Skin Sciences, the first
dermatology department in Canada. In
2005 Harvey organized a fundraiser for skin
cancer, with Rick Mercer as special guest.
Bill Martin, MD'60, (3 above) passed his
second gold medal dancing examination in
December 2005. The first, in December
2004, was for Ballroom Dancing (waltz,
quickstep, tango, and foxtrot) and the second
was for Latin Dancing (samba, rumba,
cha-cha, and paso doble.) These exams are
conducted by the Canadian Dance
Teachers Association; the candidate performs
for one or two examiners. Bill noted that
the examination pattern is similar to medical
specialty orals.
As far as Bill has been able to determine,
he is the only person in Victoria to have
passed both these exams. And he did not
dance a single step before age 60!
Crystal Page, MD'02, (4 above) was on
maternity leave after the birth of her son,
Jacob Birch Page, April 2, 2005. Otherwise,
she notes she has been doing a locum in
family practice, mainly in Revelstoke, BC.
Professor Fizzwizzle is the first online title
for Matt Parry, MD'01, and his independent video game company, Grubby Games,
and was one of five finalists for the Grand
Prize at San Jose's Independent Games'
Festival in March. Parry, "an MD-turned-
graphic designer," and business partner Ryan
Clark, "a microbiologist-turned-program-
mer," started their company on the proverbial
shoestring not quite two years ago. They
are off to a good start with the Professor.
Linda Rabeneck, MD'74, a gastroenterolo
gist and professor of Medicine at the
University of Toronto, has been appointed
VP, Regional Cancer Services, Sunnybrook
and Women's College Health Sciences
Centre (Toronto) and Regional VP, Cancer
Care Ontario. As well as her FRCPC, she
earned a master's degree in Public Health
from Yale.
Charles Scudamore, MD'75, (5 above) was
one of this year's recipients of the Vancouver
Medical Association's Primus Inter Pares
Award on March 30 at the association's
annual Osier Dinner.
At the UBC Alumni Achievement Awards
Dinner, November 3, 2005, Charles (Chuck)
Slonecker (Hon.) (6 above) received the
Faculty Citation Community Service Award.
Jack Taunton, MD'75, (7 above) a sports
medicine specialist, was recently selected
chief medical officer for VANOC 2010. He
previously served as CMO for Canada at
the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney,
Australia, at the Pan American Games in
Havana, Cuba, and Caracas, Venezuela,
and at the World Student Games in Zagreb,
Yugoslavia, and Bucharest, Hungary. He
is also a professor of Family Practice and
Human Kinetics. From 1979 to 2000 he was
co director, with Doug Clement, MD'59,
of the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine
Centre at UBC. When Doug retired, Jack
became director, continuing in this position
until assuming his recent Olympic role. In
December 2005, he again became co-director, this time with Don McKenzie, MD'77.
Jack and Don are actively looking for
a new home on campus for the sports medicine centre. They are also developing a
satellite clinic, at the 2010 Olympic speed
skating facility, the Richmond Oval, along
with a team from UBC.
Brian Warriner, MD'71, (8 above) was
appointed head of the Faculty's new department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology &
Therapeutics following the merger of
the departments in 2005.
Colleen Webster (nee Kennedy), MD'94,
a family practitioner, has taken on the role
24     UBC Medical Alumni News Spring/Summer 2006 "fe^v     -
s 1
JUm                               s  1
o   1
^fl ^^.    ^^     " 1
\m\          ^L_ B_nJ
a mm
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of lead physician for the Kingston Health
Network, comprised of 11 physicians who
have participated in a new capitation payment model since 2003. She has also taken a
position with the Ontario College of
Family Physicians as an eastern region representative to the board of directors.
According to a survey conducted by
Maryam Zeineddin, MD'03, (9 above) as
part of required research in the second year
of her Family Medicine residency, British
Columbians' number one priority in choosing a family doctor is the doctor's competence. These and other results of the survey
were presented at a recent family medicine
forum and reported in the Vancouver Sun on
January 19, 2006. As she observed in the
Sun article, Maryam found the results somewhat ironic, because patients aren't given
any information about a doctor's competence except anecdotally, by word of mouth.
"There is little they [the patients] know
except that the doctor has passed their exams
and been licensed."
Alumni Authors
Fred Bryans (Hon.) (10 above) has
documented 30 years of the department of
Obstetrics and Gynaecology in his 2005
publication: The Early Years: The History of the
University of British Columbia Department
of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 1950-1980.
As noted by Dean Emeritus William A.
Webber in the preface, Fred lived those
times and was the central leadership figure
in the department.
Martin Hollenberg (Hon.) (11 above) has
written Marco Polo: The Story of the Fastest
Clipper, published in May 2006. This well-
researched book is the first to tell, in one
volume, the story of one of the finest and
most famous clippers of all time. Built in
St. John, New Brunswick, in 1850 and 1851,
the Marco Polo astonished the maritime world
when it became the first ship to sail from
England to Australia and back in under six
months. It also sailed twice around the
world in under a year.
Incorporating a variety of original
materials—including an account of Marco
Polo's wreck at Cavendish, PEI, written
by L.M. Montgomery—this book presents
the life and times of this truly great ship
and how it affected the lives of people on
three continents.
Jerilynn Prior (Hon.) (12 above) had a new
book published in 2005. Estrogen's Storm
Season: Stories of Perimenopause is one of three
Independent Publisher Award-winning
health books for 2006. The novel is a series
of connected stories about eight women
from all walks of life, who see the same
woman endocrine specialist. Although the
physician and her patients are fictional,
the book is based on science.
The stories illustrate the variety of
difficulties women may experience in perimenopause and how lives and symptoms
can interact. Dr. Prior notes in her introduction that the stories describe only the 10 to
20 percent of perimenopausal women who
have a difficult transition. The majority of
women notice changes, but are not greatly
MD'54 held their 52nd Anniversary
Reunion, May 8-11, at the Tin Wis
Resort in Tofino.
MD'56 celebrated their 50th anniversary
by having lunch with the Dean and a tour
of the Life Sciences Centre on Thursday,
May 25. They then headed to Victoria for the
weekend events, including a tour of the
Medical Sciences Building—home of the
Island Medical Program.
MD'67: 40th Anniversary Reunion, summer
2007. Please contact Patrick MacLeod at
patrick. macleod@viha.ca.
MD'76: 30th Anniversary Reunion, July 8,
2006. Join us for an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing at a class member's home in
Point Grey.
MD'81: 25th Anniversary Reunion, October
13-15, 2006, at Brentwood Bay Lodge and
Spa. Contact Dr. Penelope Osborne at pos-
borne@vanhosp.bc.ca or Dr. Ron DeMarchi
at drdemarchi@edmed.ca.
MD'86: 20th Anniversary Reunion,
September 30, 2006, at the Pan Pacific Hotel
in Vancouver. Join your fellow classmates for
a special reception in a suite overlooking
Coal Harbour, and participate in UBC's
Alumni Weekend too.
Interested in attending any of the events
above? Organizing your own class reunion?
Do we have your most up-to-date contact
info? Please contact Marguerite Collins,
events coordinator for Alumni Affairs, at
604-827-3294 or marguerite.collins@ubc.ca.
Grad Class Photos
Unframed, composite copies of all medical
school graduating classes are available for
$40 each.
Send a cheque and details (graduating year,
quantity required, address, and quick contact
details) to:
MSAC, 2750 Heather Street
Vancouver BC V6Z 4M2
Please allow four weeks for delivery.
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medical Alumni News     25 THE    JOY    OF
Lee MacKay, Class of 2008
The cast (L-R): James Saunders, Danielle de Jong
Paul Campsall, Mypinder Sekhon (in wig), Suze
Berkout, Nathan Lim, Divya Virmani, Alan Bates.
As the producer of this year's play and an
actor in last year's show, I am privileged to
have a unique perspective on the whole
breadth of experiences involved in putting
on a show during the rigours of medical
school. Now in its fifth year, the second-year
play raises funds to support rural medicine
and provides medical students with a myriad
of invaluable opportunities.
The first opportunity that comes to my
mind—as someone born and raised in a
small town in BC—is the chance it gave for
us, as a class, to show our support for rural
medicine. One of the most sizeable and
visible fundraising efforts by the second-year
class, the play is a fantastic way for medical
students to display their concern about
the shortage of doctors faced by many smaller communities in the province and to show
their excitement about working in communities throughout the province this summer.
The second important opportunity the
play provides is a chance for medical students
to participate in a new and unique process
and to express themselves in a profoundly
different medium than normally encountered
in medical school. The play is a rare chance
to show the community at large, as well as
our fellow students and faculty, a different
side of our lives. For the majority of the cast,
Playing Doctor was a novel journey into the
world of theatre. For others, the show was a
chance to take up an old passion long extinguished by the demands of science and aca-
It was also a new experience for our
stage managers, costumes and props people,
makeup artist, front-of-house organizer, and
many others, including our wonderful director, Amy Rees, in her debut directing an
entire show. The nervous energy backstage
on opening night, the thrill of making 80
people roll in their seats with laughter, the
rush of the first curtain call, the bashfulness
following compliments from peers and faculty, the exhilaration of closing night—all were
incredible firsts to be a part of.
As producer, I got the most satisfaction
out of being able to provide those experiences and hearing how much they meant to
those involved—more even than selling out
five of our six shows. For all of us involved,
possibly the most enjoyable opportunity
of all was making connections, friendships
and memories that may last a lifetime. This
hit home for me when Alan Bates, who
played Robert Brewster III, said to me backstage before a show that years down the
road, when I am a family physician in some
rural community consulting with him as
an eminent psychiatrist, he will ask me to
put Amy, our director and my partner, on the
phone so he can catch up with her. For
me, laughing over jokes from the show years
from now with my current classmates
and future colleagues will be the most lasting
pleasure of all after the hard work and time
spent on Playing Doctor.
26     UBC Medical Alumni News Spring/Summer 2006
Students Honoured
Claire Sheldon (left) and Clara
Chia-Hua Tan (left below), both
MD/PhD candidates, were recipients of the Outstanding Student
Award at the UBC Alumni Affairs
11th Annual Achievement Awards
Dinner, November 3, 2005.
At the annual meeting of
UBC's Wesbrook Society, held in
the Telus Theatre at the Chan
Centre, February 28, 2006, 20
students received the designation
of Wesbrook Scholar. Allison Ge Iter, Faculty
of Medicine Class of 2007, was among
those honoured.
The Class of 2006 has followed the course
of some of its predecessors by donating funds
to MSAC. Their project was two sets of
French doors for Latham Hall. Now, instead
of a room with just a view of the courtyard,
it is a room with access to the courtyard!
How pleasant this will be in warm and
sunny weather.
Students use MSAC for many activities.
Since 2003 student bookings have averaged
265 per year, and the gym continues to be
a popular area.
Wolf's Bar underwent a major renovation
in 2005. Cupboards and drawers were
added to the new bar, as was a mirror. The
new countertop is attractive and much more
durable. The brass foot rail was replaced.
Class of 2006 (L-R): Michelle Wong, Janel Casey, Amritpal
Deep, Tabassum Firoz, Kraig Montalbetti, George Yearsley,
and Randy Holmes. report
Warren Luksun, Class of 2007
The expansion and distribution of the
Faculty of Medicine to Victoria and Prince
George two years ago brought about a
new era in the provision of health care in
British Columbia. The initial rollout has
put UBC and the Faculty of Medicine at the
forefront in many areas. Current students
receive resounding support from a number
of groups: alumni, academics, clinicians,
and members of the community. This milieu
has proven integral to our ongoing success,
and I believe this will be especially true
in the face of continued expansion and
As the pioneering medical students
begin their clinical years, it is likely they will
increasingly look to you for guidance. Your
role as a resident or staff physician affords
a unique opportunity to mentor or develop
the physicians of tomorrow. We students
have much to gain from those in our field,
and your involvement will pave the way
for improved health care delivery across
the province.
As physicians, you understand the importance of strong educational experiences in
determining the success of a medical student.
The past two years have been remarkable,
and we are about to engage the next hurdle:
clinical practice. We will turn to you for
education, career advice, and non-academic
guidance. This support will form not only
the basis of strong clinical contributions by
medical students, but of their community
contributions as well.
You have worked hard to strengthen
medical education in British Columbia,
and I want to thank you for your
continued support.
Part of this work involved bridging
the distance between the three sites. Social,
extracurricular and academic events have
successfully included students from all three
locations. The presence of IMP students
at the Spring Gala and NMP students at the
Med Ball are just two examples. Moreover,
the successful introduction of video conferencing equipment at MSAC has enabled
many student groups to cooperate and share
common interests.
Externally, the MUS, in cooperation
with the BCMA, has begun to plan lobbying
The presidents. Rear (L-R): Christopher Zappavigna
(Med I), Tommy Gerschman (Med IV), Cailan MacPherson
(Med II). Front (L-R): Warren Luksun (MUS),
Amanda Johner (Med III).
events directed at decision makers in
Victoria. Accessibility of undergraduate medical education and post-graduate training
positions are key concerns for medical students. Rising tuition costs and increased
competition for residency spots continue
to impact negatively on accessibility and
career choice.
We have accomplished much this year—
though this article highlights just a few areas.
I believe the MUS and the Alumni
Association are on the same continuum as
part of BC's bright future. Medical students
are excited to be part of such a vibrant
profession, and we look forward to demonstrating the same excellence as our alumni.
fJB qLA'M©HQ<5& FIFflE,S>: ""^
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Scotia bank
Christina Ames, Class of 2008
On Saturday, March 4, the Westin Bayshore was filled with 350 students, faculty, staff, and their guests,
all decked out in their finest evening wear for the 2006 UBC Medical Ball! The Glamorous Fifties: Some
Enchanted Evening helped to raise over $6,500 for the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, towards improv-
ng the care of sick children
The theme for this elegant evening began even before the attendees entered the hotel: a cream-
coloured 1955 Rolls Royce was displayed outside of the Westin Bayshore, thanks to volunteer Alf Spence,
a polio survivor who was treated at the BC Children's Hospital in the 1920s. The reception featured the
fabulous Dal Richards Band, a casino with prizes going to the top gamblers, and an intense silent auction
The catering staff at the Bayshore provided a delicious three-course meal, and at the end of the evening
our talented DJ had everyone moving on the dance floor.
It was lovely seeing everyone elegantly dressed for an evening and enjoying themselves in support of
children's health care. We're looking forward to next year's event
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medical Alumni News     27 LAST
shai bregman, class of 2009, gives us alT'Something to Think About"
As the Harry Potter craze slowly declines
once more, some may feel symptoms of
depression and anxiety while waiting for the
next movie or novel to appear. As a fan
myself, I understand these feelings and sympathize with those who feel abandoned for
the time being. However, medical students
do not have to go far—or spend $59.99 on a
Harry Potter "wand and cloak" package—to
experience the wizarding world. At the risk
of sounding like an 11-year-old boy and losing some adult friendships, I have decided to
illustrate some of the similarities between
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
and the UBC School of Medicine.
Looking at our equipment it is easy to
see a stethoscope instead of a wand; a white
jacket instead of a black robe; and piles of
textbooks, just like Harry's. The Life Sciences
Centre is itself an uncanny representation
of Hogwarts. Each first-year student has
a cubby, just like each student wizard has a
trunk, and once in a while the cubby is
"magically" filled up with parchment notes
by "secret elves," whom I have never seen.
Like the great hall where all wizards-in-training eat their meals, the LSC atrium is where
med students congregate to eat their lunch.
In the books, the room is magically enchanted so that the roof displays the weather outside; the LSC's enormous skylights also serve
that purpose. And one cannot go anywhere in
the LSC without an "enchanted" magnetic
key card, just like Harry and his friends
cannot go anywhere in Hogwarts without
certain magical passwords.
Some of you may be thinking that these
are simply coincidences, or the product of
the overactive imagination of a med student
destined for pediatrics. However, my
friends, there is much more to tell.
While "quidditch" may be the sport
that consumes the wizarding world, med
students are not far behind with their soccer,
hockey, volleyball and, of course, occasional
game of broomball. And the VFMP, IMP,
NMP, and Dents can easily be viewed as
house teams like Gryfindor, Slytherin,
Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw.
What about the villains, you say. Simple.
While Harry goes off to fight death eaters,
trolls, giant snakes, and werewolves, we spend
our time warding off our own " magical creatures" called E. coli, salmonella, strep, and
staph. In fact, I spent most of my weekend in
a vicious battle with our old friend shigella.
And just like Harry has Hagrid to enthusiastically teach him about wonderful beasts,
we have Dr. Ovalle (not nearly as hairy), who
spares no excitement when professing his
love for our microscopic enemies.
As I continue to examine this important
topic instead of filling in my bacteria chart,
I realize that our classes are almost straight
out of the pages of the Potter books. Harry
may be studying Herbology, Transfiguration
and Defence Against the Dark Arts, but
we certainly have our equivalents with
Pharmacology, Anatomy and Communication
Skills. And at the end of each year, Harry
must study hard for his final exams, called
"O.W.L.s" (ordinary wizarding levels),
while we must put in serious time to pass
the objective structured clinical examinations,
also known as OSCEs.
There are many other parallels one
could draw. Just like Hogwarts students who
often visit the village of Hogsmeade during
their time off, many of us wander off to
the village of UBC whenever we have time.
Harry's friends are a mixture of students
who have wizarding parents ("pure-bloods")
and students who have one or no parents as
wizards ("half-bloods"), while my friends
are a mixture of students who have doctors as
parents and those with no doctors at all in
the family. And let's not forget Hogwarts' Yule
Ball—a chance for students to interact in a
formal, elegant manner, not unlike the spring
Med Ball. And, of course, Hogwarts' most-
enforced rule of not practising magic outside
of school grounds mirrors our golden rule
of not handing out medical advice to random
people on the bus.
So during those bleak study nights
when viruses and alpha-1 antitrypsin are
the last things you want to be looking
at, and Doctor, Patient and Society papers
and clinical skills readings are looming
around the corner, take a moment and
think: millions of children across the world
are reading about us! Maybe it's time
we started looking into some copyright
infringements . . .
28     UBC Medical Alumni News Spring/Summer 2006 Get in Touch • Stay in Touch
Take a moment to let us know what has been happening to you since graduation.
Write your news here:
Graduation year:
Please return to:
UBC Medical Alumni Association, c/o MSAC
2750 Heather Street, Vancouver BC  Canada V5Z 4M2
Fax: 604-875-5528
UBC Medical Alumni Association Membership
Please find enclosed my annual
sustaining membership fee of $50 for
January 1-December 31, 2006.
Your membership fee supports the cost of
producing this newsletter, the operation of
the Medical Student & Alumni Centre and
events such as the AGM, Awards Ceremony
and student functions. An increase in membership would make more funds available for
projects to benefit both students and alumni.
Queries about the expenditure of funds are
welcome, and interested alumni can have a
copy of financial statements. Your support is
needed and appreciated.
Thank You!
D   A cheque for $50 payable to:
UBC Medical Alumni Association
Expiry date
Please return to:
UBC Medical Alumni Association, c/o MSAC
2750 Heather Street, Vancouver BC  Canada V5Z 4M2
Fax: 604-875-5528
Spring/Summer 2006 UBC Medical Alumni News _ PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID STAPELLS
Faculty of Medicine
The University of
British Columbia
317-2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver BC
Canada V6T 1Z3
T 604-822-2421
F 604-822-6061


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