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UBC Medicine 2010

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Straight from
the source
]_g Medical Isotopes
Averting a nuclear
medicine meltdown
Peter Jepson-Young:
A physician who put
a face on HIV
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a placeof mind I      the university of British Columbia UBC
UBC's effort to bring health
professionals together —as students
Curriculum reform: Staying ahead of the curve
Online education: Taking it to the 'Net
Learning about aboriginal health, straight from the source
Chronic liver disease: Erasing a stigma through science
Investigations _ breakthroughs
Medical isotopes: Averting a nuclear medicine meltdown
A 'world-class learning facility' opens in the Okanagan
A radical hypothesis finds a generous benefactor
Remembering Dr. Giannoulis
Making a mark
Rare Disease Foundation: Giving researchers a 'gift'
VOL. 6 I NO. 1 SPRING 2010
A publication of the University
of British Columbia's Faculty
of Medicine, providing news
and information for and about
faculty members, students,
staff, alumni and friends.
Letters and suggestions are
welcome. Contact Linda Bartz
at linda.bartz@ubc.ca
Director, Communications
+ Marketing
Linda Bartz
Communications Managers
Brian Kladko
Alison Liversage
Communications Assistant
+ Events Co-ordinator
Elizabeth Kukely
Anne Campbell
Patricia Hall
Kyle Harland
Daniel Presnell
Laura Ralph
Beverly Tamboline
Signals Design Group Inc.
Martin Dee
Andy Fang
Peter Hoist
Josh Levinson
Phil Narod
Richard Ng
Shawn Simpson
Nancy Thompson
Online at
Cover concept & photography
John Belisle, Mike Savage
Signals Design Group Inc.
• Mixed Sources
Product group from well-managed
for«[_, controlled saunas and
recycled wood or flbar
WVmflCOfg Cert no. SW-COC-002226
01 Mf Fwwt stawardihip Council UBC MEDICINE
L- R: Co-leaders of
Thunderbird Arena's Olympic
medical team, Gavin Stuart
and Nadine Plotnikoff
The glow of the Olympic and
Paralympic torches may be
receding into history, but if you're
anything like me, there are a few
memories that won't be fading
anytime soon:
the communal celebration of the
torch relay, the pageantry of the
opening ceremonies, the thrill of
Canada winning its first Olympic
gold medal on its home turf, the resilience and determination of
the Paralympic athletes, and of course, the triumph of our men's
and women's Olympic hockey teams.
I'll also be taking away another memory that is sure to leave a
lasting impact on my professional life.
I was fortunate to be part of the medical team at UBC's Thunderbird
Arena, the venue for Olympic women's hockey, where I helped
supervise a team of health professionals in the care of athletes,
media representatives, Olympic family members, Olympic workers
and spectators. The diverse needs of this population required
a heterogeneous group of health professionals — physical
therapists, athletic therapists, physicians, dentists, nurses,
imaging technicians and chiropractors — working together in
a collaborative and coordinated manner.To underscore the
collaborative nature of our work, I was one of two team leaders,
the other being Nadine Plotnikoff, a physical therapist as well as
a Faculty of Medicine alumnus and Wesbrook scholar.
I was continually impressed bythe collegiality and mutual respect
this team reflected in meeting the health needs of the diverse
group we were serving. The focal point of the team was the person
requiring services. At all times, the person best suited to these
needs was able to respond regardless of professional designation,
while the balance of the team remained available for support
and consultation. It was a perfect example of patient-centred
collaborative practice.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in a recent publication,
stated that such collaborative practice teams are essential to
move health systems from their current fragmented framework.
The best way to foster such teams is through interprofessional
education that requires students from various health disciplines
to learn about each other, from each other, and with each other.
That is why we chose interprofessional education as the focus of
this issue of UBC Medicine — as the medical school celebrates its
60th anniversary, it's increasingly obvious that teaching students
how to work with other types of health providers will deliver the
highest quality of care across various settings.
I realize that all of us who provide care to patients routinely
work with a team of individuals with different skills sets and
backgrounds. But it took this "Olympic" opportunity to truly
demonstrate how effective collaboration can be for the patient,
and how rewarding it can be for the practitioners. For that, I will
forever be grateful, both as a physician and as an educator.
The Games reminded me how proud I was to be a Canadian.
But I was particularly proud to be a small part of a very large team
at Vancouver 2010 that sought to ensure the health and safety
of all those involved in this event. I trust that "lessons learned"
and best practices can be extrapolated to the challenging health
environment in which we all work, so we can better meet the
health care needs of the population we serve.
fc_-f «"_ .
Gavin C.E. Stuart, MD, FRCSC
Vice Provost Health, UBC
Dean, Faculty of Medicine 4     UBC MEDICINE
The scene that unfolded this past January in a UBC lecture hall
in Vancouver would scarcely have been imaginable a decade ago.
One at a time, a team of students would assemble at the front of
the hall, fire up their PowerPoint presentation and discuss the case
assigned to them — a person who had experienced chronic pain.
The students hadn't met the patients, but had watched interviews
with them online.
What made the afternoon a departure from standard health
education was the composition of those teams. Each one drew
students from different schools or disciplines at UBC: the medical
program, pharmacy, nursing, occupational therapy and physical
therapy.They were part of a pilot project, exploring how students
from various health disciplines could learn together, learn from
each other, and in the process, get accustomed to collaborating
as professionals.
Marietta Tang, an Occupational Therapy student, described her
team's conclusion about the health care system's handling of
Mary, a woman who developed severe pain in her arm and who was
misdiagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome before getting the
proper treatment: "There are so many different players involved, and
they're not necessarily talking in the same language to each other."
Rachel Hung, a Pharmacy student, added, "There should be more
phone calls, instead of just writing notes."
Marietta went on to suggest that Mary might have fared better
if her various health care providers had held a conference call
with each other, with Mary participating.That prompted one of
the instructors in the audience to ask, "What do you think are the
barriers to that?"
"Timing," she replied, without a second's hesitation.
The answer was obvious. Marietta and her two team members
hadn't even met in person until arriving at the lecture hall, minutes
before their presentation.
The exchange raised one of the questions that hovers over
interprofessional education: If it's so difficult to get students from
different disciplines in the same room at the same time, is there
any hope of replicating that kind of exchange among harried
physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists,
pharmacists and social workers?
An idea gains traction — slowly
Interprofessional education (IPE) began percolating as a concept
in the 1960s, with the U.S. Institute of Medicine first promoting it in
1972. For most of the last four decades, however, it has remained
mostly a concept, not an operating principle.
"We have very clear silos, and very different curricula in the
different schools," says Brian Warriner, Professor and Head of the
Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
"Curriculum development is a complex and difficult process, and
when a school has gone through that process, they're not very open
to creating another box that means they have to work with other
schools as well. And that's not just true for the Faculty of Medicine."
Just in the last few years, however, interprofessional education has
gained traction, driven by human resource shortages in the health
care field, populations with increasingly complex health needs, and
a growing emphasis on patient safety.
"I'm a geriatrician, so I've been working in teams my entire career,"
says Graydon Meneilly, Professor and Head of the Department of
Medicine. "It's readily apparent that a team provides better care
than individual members working separately."
Alexander S. Munro leaves
oequest of $80,000 for
medical research.
=acultyof Medicine is
established, taking in 60
students, under leadership
of Dean Myron Weaver.
-acuity graduates its first
class of physicians.
Harold Copp sythensizes a
normone called calcitonin,
used around the world for
treatment of osteoporosis
and other bone diseases. UBC MEDICINE
PE got a boost in Canada from the Commission on the Future of
Health Care in Canada, also known as the Romanow Commission,
which said in 2002, "If health care providers are expected to work
together and share expertise in a team environment, it makes
sense that their education and training should prepare them for
this type of working arrangement."
Around the same time that report was issued, UBC created
the College of Health Disciplines to help take IPE beyond the
discussion phase.
Among its achievements is a set of 1 6 electives geared to
students from the various health disciplines, covering such topics
as HIV/AIDS prevention, aboriginal health and palliative care.
UBC students also make up the bulk of participants in the
nterprofessional Rural Program of BC, started in 2003 bythe
BC Ministry of Health and the BC Academic Health Council.
That program sends students from practically every health care
field — medicine, nursing, laboratory medicine, midwifery, pharmacy,
physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work and speech
language — to one of several rural sites during the summer.They
shadow each other on rounds, undertake a joint community project,
even live together over a four- to 1 2-week period.
Medical students also get some exposure to interprofessionalism
in a fourth-year course, "Preparation for Medical Practice," that
ncludes practitioners from other fields giving guest lectures
about their roles. Students in that course also have an option of
pursuing a mentored research project exploring how a team-based
approach could have improved care for a patient they encountered
during their rotations.
One of the more intense interprofessional experiences for students
at UBC is not part of the curriculum. The Community Health
initiative by University Students (CHIUS) is a weekend clinic in
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside that involves students from nine
different health and human services fields, assisting physicians
and nurses from Vancouver Coastal Health. It began in 2001 as a
project in the MD program's "Doctor, Patient and Society" course,
but quickly broadened to include other students, including those
preparing for careers in social work and dietetics.
"Sometimes it works, sometimes
it doesn't. And we don't really
teach it in an explicit way."
— Louise Nasmith
Advisory groups and pilot projects
But those courses, programs and activities remain on the margins
of the various health profession training programs. Efforts are
under way to make such inclusive experiences a mainstay of the
various curricula at UBC.
"We do it in a haphazard way," says Louise Nasmith, Principal
of the College of Health Disciplines and Interim Co-Head of the
Department of Family Practice. "Sometimes it works, sometimes
it doesn't. And we don't really teach it in an explicit way."
Schoolof Rehabil
Vledicine opens.
Woodward Library, the
orincipal repository for health
sciences material, opens.
Instructional Resources MD Undergraduate
Centre, central office of the    Program expands to 8C
=aculty of Medicine, opens,    students per class.
Paris Constantinides
oroves news theory
of mechanism behinc
arteriosclerosis. UBC MEDICINE
Lesley Bainbridge, Director of
Interprofessional Education in the
Faculty of Medicine, Associate Principal
of the College of Health Disciplines.
The dearth of interprofessionalism in the MD curriculum was
particularly apparent to Aaron Chan, a second-year medical
student — probably because he worked as a pharmacist, in close
cooperation with a physician, before becoming a medical student.
"Our curriculum is obviously quite intense," Chan says. "But I don't
see much of the other health professions in what we're doing. The
only real exposure that I feel I have is what I've made of it myself."
Chan is part of a student advisory group on interprofessionalism
formed last fall by Lesley Bainbridge, the Faculty of Medicine's
Director of Interprofessional Education, and the Associate Principal
of the College of Health Disciplines. She hopes the opinions
and ideas of students can inform her efforts at making cross-
disciplinary collaboration an integral part of the various curricula.
Those efforts have included the pilot "pain module" that resulted
in the student presentations earlier this year. The module, which
focused on the psycho-social aspects of pain and healing, was
voluntary; participating students received a Starbucks gift card
for their effort. But Bainbridge hopes the module, if it proves
successful, can be used bythe various health science programs
to bring their students together in a formal learning experience.
Another experiment has brought together a similar array of
students in a problem-based learning project, focused on
a hypothetical patient — a young mother with post-partum
depression and lower back pain.
"In the first session, the students uncover all of the issues they feel
are important, and then pursue independent study about those
issues," says Lynda Eccott, a Senior Instructor in the Faculty of
Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of Curriculum in the College
of Health Disciplines, and one of the project coordinators. "When
they come back two weeks later, they come up with a patient-
centred management plan. Learning the content is secondary.
Our whole purpose was for students to learn about the different
scopes of practice from the professions they're going to be
working with. It's exciting to hear them say, 'I didn't know you did
that!' or a nurse telling an occupational therapy student, 'We do a
lot of similar things. So let's not reinvent the wheel. How would we
work together?'"
As inspiring as those moments are, Bainbridge, the former interim
Director of the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, knows what she
is up against. Logistics alone conspire against it, she says: "How do
you get all the students in the same room at the same time?" For
the Interprofessional Rural Program of BC, there is only a two-week
period when all of the students from various fields overlap with
each other.The problem-based learning pilot had low turnout from
physical therapy and nursing students because it coincided with
their exams.
Any lessons conveyed in the classroom also need to be
reinforced in the field, through clerkships and residencies. But
interprofessionalism's penetration of the health care system is
still spotty.
"If students are learning about it here but they don't see it in
practice, it's not going to work," Bainbridge says. Given that reality,
the university might need to "teach the students to be change
agents, to move it forward."
Health Sciences Centre Hospital
(later renamed UBC Hospital) opens.
V1D Undergraduate program expands
to 1 20 students per class.
Audiology and Speech Sciences
(a division in Pediatrics since
1969) becomes a School in the
=acultyof Medicine.
Christian Fibiger develops
the first animal model of
Alzheimer's disease.
Alastair and Jean
Carruthers discover
cosmetic application
Engaging the faculty
Of course, any move to include interprofessionalism in the
curriculum will require the cooperation — and the enthusiasm —
of faculty members. Some faculty members believe it's about time.
Others are more cautious.
John Anderson, Assistant Dean in the Island Medical Program and
a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, believes in the power
of health care teams, especially as Canada begins coping with
the needs of an aging population. But he also wants to make sure
interprofessional education doesn't lead to a homogenization of
health care training.
"If you go too far, you might lose some of the capacity to make sure
physicians come out with the important elements of training that
physicians should have," Dr. Anderson says. "When you design an
interprofessional education, there might be a tendency to gravitate
to a middle ground, where each group may actually lose something
that is quite specific to their role in the health care system."
Bainbridge, Nasmith and other proponents of interprofessional
education think such fears are understandable, but not warranted.
The goal is not so much to find common ground, but to learn the
extent and limits of each other's expertise, and to communicate
with each other about a patient effectively and collegially.
Dr. Warriner believes such lessons, if applied, will deliver the best
combination of care — and very likely, protect them.
"We are all responsible for patient safety," he says. "We hear from
young nurses that they find it difficult to speak to more senior
physicians — they have this sense of hierarchy. Nobody should
ever feel that they can't speak up and bring issues forward because
of what they see as a hierarchy."
Dr. Warriner has little patience for colleagues who consider
interprofessional education to be another "flavor of the month."
It's not going away, he says — it's just too obvious.
"There might be a tendency to
gravitate to a middle ground,
where each group may actually
lose something that is quite
specific to their role in the health
care system."
— John Anderson
"I think in 10 years, people will say, 'Of course we should be making
sure health care is provided byteams of experts, not a bunch of
individuals who don't communicate well with each other,'" he says.
"Medical students are definitely getting a better sense of that now
than they did in my era, and it's so much better than it used to be.
It's far more pleasant to be part of a team. But it will take time."
The William A. Webber
Vledical Student & Alumn
Centre opens.
3iochemist Michael Smith
wins Nobel Prize for developing
technique for altering DNA
sequences, which becomes a
standard procedure in genetic
Julio Montaner
unveils drugtherapy
that suppresses HIV.
Michael Hayden
finds the alterec
gene that regulates
"good cholesterol."
Residents stage a rally in
Dnnce George to protest
shortage of physicians,
.eadingthe province tc
undertake a doubling of
enrollment in the medical
education program, anc
creation of a distributee
education program.
VID Undergraduate
Drogram enrollment
expands to 128 per class. PHOTO BY MARTIN DEE
Trying to envision the doctor of tomorrow might be a futile
endeavor, one better suited to a fortune teller and her crystal
ball. Technological advances, the growing diversity of patient
populations, and innovations in patient care are constantly
requiring more knowledge, new skills, even a different way of
Despite the challenges and pitfalls of prognostication, educators
in the Faculty of Medicine have embarked on just such an effort.
It's not an intellectual exercise, but an effort to renew its training
of physicians.
The Dean's Task Force on MD Undergraduate Curriculum
Renewal, established last year, is examining how new concepts of
assessment, curricular structure and student scholarship can meet
society's needs and cater to the program's diverse student body.
The project coincides with an international movement to reevaluate
medical school programs, aimed at aligning society's health needs
with MD training. In January, the Association of Faculties of Medicine
Canada (AFMC) released a set of recommendations for achieving a
medical education that is patient-centred, socially accountable and
embraces new advances in technology.
Although the task force's report isn't complete, several major
themes have materialized:
Competency and consistency: Students are now assessed on
what they learned in class and in the clinic; in other words, it's
input-based.The task force is considering outcomes-based
assessment — deciding what knowledge and skills MDs should
have, and determining whether students have mastered that.To
ensure that UBC's requirements are aligned with the rest of the
nation's, those competencies would be based on the CanMEDS
framework, adopted bythe Royal College of Surgeons and
Physicians of Canada in 1996.
From blocks to spirals:The division of topics in the current
curriculum doesn't track very well with the reality of health care,
where patient care, research and population-based activities are
inextricably intertwined. The task force envisions the curriculum
as a spiral, in which students revisit themes in greater complexity
as they progress through each of their four years.
"If you want to produce physicians who are integrated thinkers
and problem-solvers, you must train and educate them through
an integrated approach," says Angela Towle, Associate Dean of the
Vancouver Fraser Medical Program and Co-Chair of the task force.
Continued on page 35
Vlidwifery program
Marco Marra and his and Robert Brunham
team are the first in the lead a successful
world to sequence the international effort to
genome of the SARS find a vaccine against
virus, while Brett Finlay the disease.
=irst stage of MD program's   Life Sciences Centre opens,
expansion begins, with
enrollment of first-year
students jumpingto 200. 10     UBC MEDICINE
The expansion of UBC's medical undergraduate program throughout
BC has gotten its due share of attention. But that elaborate network
of satellite campuses and clinical sites, knit together through
videoconferencing, is just one of several successful efforts bythe
Faculty to transcend geography—and even time — through technology.
fiani. L- R: Sue Stanton, Coordinator, Rehabilitation Science
Online Programs; Robert Taylor, lead instructor, "Surgical Care
in International Health." photos byandyfang, martin dee
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the online Master of
Rehabilitation Science, the Faculty's only fully online program.
Last fall, the Branch for International Surgery delivered its first
online course, "Surgical Care in International Health;" organizers
envision it as the cornerstone of a master's degree program that
is expected to launch in 2011.
"I've had people write to me saying they've never heard of a course
like this before," says Robert Taylor, lead instructor of the course
and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery.
Both programs have allowed the Faculty of Medicine to reach
students who never would have enrolled if it meant attending class
on campus. Almost half of the Rehabilitation Science students
are from outside British Columbia, and the international surgery
course, now into its second iteration due to high demand, has
drawn students from Hamilton, Montreal and Arizona.
These aren't the Faculty's only online offerings, or even the first.
The School of Audiology and Speech Science has been offering a
couple of prerequisite courses since 2006, and the Department of
Pathology's Infection Prevention and Control certificate program
has been combining Internet courses with an in-person clerkship
since 2001. In September, the School of Population and Public
Health introduced a Master's of Public Health program that
combines weekend courses with complementary material online.
"These are not your standard correspondence courses," says Jeff
Miller, the Senior Manager of Distance Learning in UBC's Office of
LearningTechnology, which has assisted with all of the Faculty's
online courses. "They are far more interactive — students go
through the course at the same time together, and are involved in
activities with one another."
The online Master's in Rehabilitation Science (www.mrsc.ubc.ca),
which has graduated 18 students since its inception, was a
response to the growing desire by therapists for credit-based
continuing education and the push by accrediting organizations to
promote a master's degree as a requirement for entering practice.
Those developments made a master's degree more important in
promotion, pay and keeping up with new trends and research in
the profession.
"By enrolling in our program, someone who was interested, for
example, in evidence-based practice, but didn't know much about
it because they graduated 1 5 years before, could learn to search
for, appraise and apply evidence to their practice, and contribute
new evidence through their own research," says Sue Stanton,
Associate Professor in the Department of OccupationalTherapy
and Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Science Online Programs.
About one-third of the program's students live in Vancouver,
choosing to earn a degree online because "it fits in with their lives,"
Stanton says. "A lot of our students logon between 5 and 7 am,
or after 10 pm, after the kids have gone to bed. It simply enables
many of them to get a degree, where they wouldn't be able to
otherwise because they don't have the time to come to campus."
The international surgery course also was a response to broader
trends in the profession — in this case, the growing interest by
Continued on page 35
=irst medical students and University of
oegin studies at Northern British
distributed sites at the Columbia.
University of Victoria
Drovi nee formally Department of Occupational
announces plans for a       Science & Occupational
fourth distributed site in    Therapyand Department
the Interior. of PhysicalTherapy
created from School of
Rehabilitation Sciences.
Enrollment of MD
orogram increases
to 256 students per
School of Population anc
Dublic Health created from the
Department of Healthcare anc
Chief Wayne Christian of the
Splats'in First Nation shows an
old photograph of aboriginal
children to a group of UBC
graduate students. It's not a
happy scene.
Chief Wayne Christian and
Patricia Spittal
The kids are standing in the
back of a cattle truck, about to
be carried off to one of the residential schools Canada once used
to forcibly assimilate aboriginal youths. Many children not only
lost their culture and language in those schools, but also faced
physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
"When I look at these pictures, I think of what would happen to
my children and grandchildren if that ever happened again," Chief
Christian says. "We're seeing the impact of this now with people
on the streets."
He sees infectious diseases like hepatitis C plaguing his people —
the latest in a long line of afflictions, stretching back to the smallpox
epidemic that nearly wiped out his ancestors in the 19th century.
Such first-hand accounts form the backbone of a new graduate-
level course in the School of Population and Public Health, aimed
at helping future health professionals and policy-makers grasp the
challenges facing one of Canada's most marginalized populations.
Instructor Patricia Spittal and the various aboriginal guest speakers
address such topics as the effect of legislation on aboriginal people's
health, the impact of diabetes and the H1 N1 virus on aboriginal
communities, and the role of traditional medicines.
"Having one course dedicated to aboriginal and non-aboriginal
learners coming together to grapple with the existing disparities,
both on- and off-reserve, is critical if we are going to shift public
health policy, practice and ethics," says Dr. Spittal, an Associate
Professor in the School of Population and Public Health, who
developed "Aboriginal Public Health" with several advisors,
including Shannon Waters, an aboriginal physician who monitors
First Nations health for the federal government.
The course dovetails with one of the key priorities identified
in UBC's new strategic plan:To engage aboriginal people in
mutually supportive and productive relationships, and to
integrate understandings of indigenous cultures and histories
into its curriculum and operations.The course also advances
the provincial government's goal of increasing the number of
aboriginal health practitioners.
"There aren't that many universities out there that have this type
of graduate course in public health, so I think it's really important
that UBC is being a leader in this area," says Miranda Kelly, a
student in the School's Master of Public Health program. "The
guest lecturers really bring that personal element to it. Speaking
to people who have actually lived through these experiences is so
much more informative than reading it from a book."
The course advances the province's
goal of increasing the number of
aboriginal health workers.
Dr. Spittal, though not aboriginal herself, has her own on-the-
ground insights to share. She leads the Cedar Project with
co-investigator Chief Christian — a study funded bythe Canadian
Institutes of Health Research that examines hepatitis C and HIV
vulnerabilities among aboriginal youth.
"Working with young aboriginal people who are surviving trauma
and living on the street really highlights the particular challenges
in health care policy, ethics and surveillance," Dr. Spittal says. ERASING A STIGMA THROUGH SCIENCE
Beverly Williams, with
grand-nephew Tyson
The prognosis for someone with chronic
liver disease is grim. The only real cure is a
transplant, and more than a third of those
waiting for a donated liver die before one
becomes available. Compounding that dire
situation is the disease's association with
alcohol consumption — a stigma felt acutely
by members of the First Nations.
But a team of UBC faculty members have made it their mission to
show that liver disease among BC's aboriginal people isn't always
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC) — a rare, genetic condition in the
general population — is far more common among British Columbia's
aboriginal people. An autoimmune disease that attacks the liver's
bile ducts, leadingto inflammation and then cirrhosis, or scarring
of the liver, it's the leading cause of liver transplantation among
BC's aboriginal people. They are eight times more likely than non-
aboriginal people to be referred for transplant because of PBC.
"When I inform people, especially First Nations people, that they
have PBC, the two questions they ask are, 'Is it related to alcohol?
Is it related to drugs?'As soon as I say, 'No,'they become very quiet,
even tearful," says Eric Yoshida, Professor and Head of the Division
of Gastroenterology. "They suddenly realize that there was nothing
they or their families did to cause this."
The higher rate of PBC among First Nations people was
unknown until a decade ago. Dr. Yoshida and Laura Arbour, an
Associate Professor in Medical Genetics, first learned of it from a
family practitioner on Vancouver Island, who had come across an
aboriginal family with six cases of the disease.
After finding that PBC patients of aboriginal descent were
disproportionately represented on the BC liver transplant
database, they discovered a cluster of cases among First Nations
people, particularly among those living in coastal areas.
"I call it the cruise ship route — around Vancouver Island, along
the Inside Passage, right up to southeast Alaska," Dr. Arbour says.
"Our hypothesis was that we were dealing with a common genetic
predisposition, and very likely a common environmental exposure,
that allowed the perfect storm, creating a higher rate of PBC."
What that environmental exposure could be remains a mystery
— water sources, toxic waste sites, smoking, fish farms, even a
bacterium or virus.
Dr. Yoshida and Dr. Arbour are now working with Leigh Field, a gene
mapper and Professor of Medical Genetics, to pinpoint the gene or
genes that create that disposition. That work, funded in part bythe
Canadian Liver Foundation, would only be the first step to finding a
treatment, but it also could allow for early diagnosis, thus reducing
the chances that a patient would need a transplant.
In the meantime, the researchers have laboured to inform
First Nations people and their physicians about the aboriginal
vulnerability to PBC. (See the June 2006 issue of the British Columbia
MedicalJournal) They hope such efforts will prevent those who
suffer from PBC from blaming themselves — as Beverly Williams did.
"I didn't talk about it for years," says Williams, a 47-year-old from
Duncan, and a member of the Cowichan Tribe. "I went through the
grief of it by myself. I didn't think I had drunk enough that it would
lead to cirrhosis. But a part me still thought I had done it to myself."
Williams finally shook that notion after realizing how it ran in her
family — she has four or five living relatives with the condition, and
her sister died from it in 2006.
Williams then went on to escape her sister's fate: She received a
transplant in August. /tSTIGATIONS
01 | Decoding the genome of a
L- R: Samuel Aparacio;
Marco Marra
Using the latest DNA
sequencing technology, UBC
researchers have decoded
all three billion letters of a
metastatic lobular breast
cancer tumour. In the process,
they found evidence that
metastatic cancer cells have
a significantly different genetic
make-up from those in the
original tumour.
The research, led by Samuel
Aparicio, a Professor in the
Department of Pathology
and Laboratory Medicine
and Canada Research Chair
in Molecular Oncology, and
Marco Marra, Professor in
the Department of Medical
Genetics, was featured as
the cover story in the journal
Nature. The d iscovery was a
major breakthrough for both
UBC and the BC Cancer Agency,
where both men work.
"I never thought I would
see this in my lifetime,"
Dr. Aparicio says.
They found that only five
of the 32 mutations in the
metastatic tumour were also
present at high frequency
in the primarytumour,
pointing to those mutations'
role as probable agents in
causing the cancer in the
first place.The presence of
the other mutations showed
how different cancer can
be at different stages of
development, and how some
mutations might confer
growth advantages to the
cells that carry them.
The scientists hope to
eventually understand the
significance of each mutation,
determining which ones
might prove suitable targets
for treatment. Ultimately, they
foresee a day when decoding
of cancers becomes routine,
allowing physicians to tailor
a treatment for a specific
patient, or even for a specific
stage of that patient's cancer.
_ researchers have decoded all
ree billion letters of a metastatic
bular breast cancer tumour.
02 | Collaborating to combat
developmental disorders
UBC has been
chosen to lead
a new national
network aimed
at understanding
children's brain development.
Led by Daniel Goldowitz, a
Professor in the Department
of Medical Genetics and
Canada Research Chair in
Developmental Neurogenetics,
NeuroDevNet will receive
$19.5 million over five years
from the Networks of Centres
of Excellence of Canada.
From both a basic science
and clinical perspective, the
network will focus on the genetic
and environmental causes of
cerebral palsy, autism spectrum
disorders and fetal alcohol
spectrum disorders.
The network, which
encompasses 14 other
institutions across the country,
will bring together experts
in clinical assessment and
treatment, genetics and
epigenetics, imaging, model
organisms, knowledge
translation, informatics and
neuroethics.The network
will train the next generation
of researchers in pediatric
brain development, and
disseminate their findings
for improved diagnosis,
treatments and interventions.
"The network will seamlessly
combine lab research —
studying how the brain
develops and how to fix it
when it develops poorly — with
the clinical situation as babies
develop in utero and until
three years of age," says Dr.
Goldowitz, a Senior Scientist
at the Centre for Molecular
Medicine and Therapeutics,
part of the Child & Family
Research Institute. "The
earlier we can diagnose and
intervene with the children,
the bigger the effect on their
developmental outcomes."
To learn more about brain
development research in the
Faculty of Medicine, read
"Brain Child," in the spring
2009 issue of UBC Medicine. 03 | Strengthening the triceps,
and the pre-frontal cortex
have known
for years
that aerobic
exercise by
seniors can
improve executive cognitive
function — the thinking skills
needed for daily living. But
that type of activity is often
impossible for the significant
numbers of seniors with
limited mobility.
Teresa Liu-Ambrose, an
Assistant Professor in the
Department of Physical
Therapy and Researcher at
the Centre for Hip Health
and Mobility, discovered
that weight training also can
help. In an article published
in the Archives of Internal
Medicine, she reported that a
year of once-or twice-weekly
resistance training — using
dumbbells or weight
machines — by women 65 to 75
years old improved their ability
to make decisions, resolve
conflicts and focus on subjects
without being distracted
by competing stimuli. Their
cognitive skills increased
by almost 1 3 percent, while
women who were assigned to
balance and toning exercises
actually experienced a slight
The amount of exercise used
in the study conformed to the
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines
for seniors, so the results can
already be put to use.
Cognitive decline among
seniors is a key risk factor for
falls. Approximately 30 per cent
of B.C. seniors experience a
fall each year, and fall-related
hip fractures account for more
than 4,000 injures each year
at a cost of $75 million to the
health care system.
Weekly resistance
training by women 65-75
years old improved their
cognitive skills by 13%.
04 | A link between antidepressants and cataracts
The new generation of antidepressant medications,
known as selective serotonin
uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs,
are the third most prescribed
class of drugs in the world. But
UBC researchers have found
a connection between those
drugs and cataracts.
Using a database of more than
200,000 Quebec residents 65
years old or older, they showed
that people taking SSRIs were
1 5 percent more likely to be
diagnosed with or have surgery
for cataracts — a clouding of the
eye's lens.The study, published
in the journal Ophthalmology,
was the first to establish a link
between this class of drugs and
cataracts in humans.
Cataracts are routinely
treated through surgery. Over
1.5 million people undergo
surgery for the condition
every year in North America,
according to the Canadian
Ophthalmological Society.
The degree of risk among
different types of SSRIs varied
considerably, with some, like
fluoxetine (otherwise known as
Prozac) showing no connection.
But fluvoxamine (Luvox) led to
a 51 percent higher chance of
having cataract surgery, and
venlafaxine (Effexor) carried a
34 percent higher risk.
The study could not account
for the possibility of smoking,
which is a risk factor for
cataracts. Additional
population-based studies
are needed to confirm these
findings, which don't prove
"When you look at the tradeoffs of these drugs, the benefits
of treating depression, which
can be life threatening, still
outweigh the risk of developing
cataracts, which are treatable
and relatively benign," says
lead author Mahyar Etminan,
an Assistant Professor in
the Department of Medicine
and scientist at Vancouver
Coastal Health Research
Institute. Co-author Frederick
S. Mikelberg, Professor and
Head of UBC's Department
of Ophthalmology and Visual
Sciences, adds, "While these
results are surprising, and
might inform the choices of
psychiatrists when prescribing
SSRI's for their patients, they
should not be cause for alarm
among people taking these
medications." 16     UBC MEDICIN1
/ L- R: Francois Benard and Thomas Ruth, with the BC Cancer Agency's new cyclotron.
The health of thousands of patients across Canada depends,
in part, on the health of a 52-year-old nuclear reactor on the
Ottawa River.
The National Research Universal Reactor has, until recently, been
the country's main source of medical isotopes — radioactive atoms
used for dozens of diagnostic procedures, including cardiac and
bone scans. That supply was cut off when the reactor was shut for
repairs in May 2009, and even after its expected return to service
this spring, the reactor is nearingthe end of its useful life.
Finding an alternative is crucial, and the stakes couldn't be
higher. Fortunately, two members of the UBC Faculty of Medicine
— Francois Benard, a Professor in Radiology, and Thomas Ruth, an
Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine — believe they
have the answer.
Medical isotopes, by emitting gamma rays as they decay, provide
an image of what is happening inside the body — for example,
showing whether blockage in a coronary artery is cutting off blood
to a part of the heart.
The main challenge with medical isotopes is distributing them
quickly.Technetium-99m, the isotope most widely used for
diagnostics, decays rapidly; a typical amount lasts only a day.
So the NRU has manufactured another, more stable isotope,
called molybdenum-99, shipping it to radiopharmacies across
Canada, which then extract technetium-99m for the various
scans. But the flaw in such a system — its reliance on a single
reactor in Canada, and lately, a handful of others throughout the
world — has become obvious.
Benard and Ruth want to bypass nuclear reactors and make
technetium with cyclotrons, which are smaller, more numerous,
safer and easier to operate.
Their proposal was deemed promising enough to receive a two-year,
$1.3 million grant from the National Sciences and Engineering
Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The project, Ruth says, will span "fundamental physics right through
to human biology" — in other words, from the splitting of atoms to
clinical trials.
Much of their research will be done on a new cyclotron at the
BC Cancer Agency (BCCA).The machines, which accelerate atoms
using high-powered magnets and alternating voltage, already
play a prominent role in nuclear medicine by making fluorine-18,
an isotope used for positron emission tomography (PET) — a very
sensitive imaging technology that reveals physiological activity,
but also is quite expensive. Benard and Ruth want to show that
cyclotrons also can make the more versatile technetium, using an
isotope found in nature.
"People have known about this approach for many years, but
because reactor-produced generation was so efficient and so
reliable, there was no need for this," says Ruth, a Senior Research
Scientist at TRIUMF and Senior Scientist at BCCA. "Only because of
this crisis are people saying, 'We need to look at alternatives.'This
is one that has been obvious to us."
The NRU shutdown isn't the only reason their plan has become
more feasible. Distribution networks are much better than
they were 30 years ago, when today's current system of nuclear
medicine evolved, so Benard and Ruth believe the unstable
technetium can now be quickly transported to many places from
provincial- or regional-based cyclotrons. In addition, once rare
cyclotrons have been proliferating; there are now seven or eight
medical cyclotrons in Canada, with that number expected to
double in the next few years.
"I know of no study that says it cannot be done — the technology
has been used before, in Brazil in the 1970s, where reactor-
produced technetium wasn't readily available," Benard says. "We
believe the market is ready to accept direct technetium production,
and distribute it in a fairly efficient manner." 18     UBC MEDICINE
,*l       ^
w\ F*1; 1"' UBC MEDICINE    19
A new teaching facility at Kelowna General Hospital is ready and
waiting for the 32 medical undergraduates who will usher in the
Southern Medical Program in January 2012.
Premier Gordon Campbell officially opened the Clinical Academic
Campus building at Kelowna General Hospital January 25.The
two-story, 34,000-square-foot stand-alone building includes a
180-seat lecture theatre, a library for academic and hospital use,
videoconferencing suites and clinical skills rooms.
The $376-million building is already being put to good use by
Rural Family Practice and other post-graduate residents who
have been doing rotations at Kelowna General for many years, and
whose ranks will increase substantially in the years ahead.
"This new building at Kelowna General Hospital will be a major
asset to our province-wide curriculum," says Gown Stuart, Dean of
the Faculty of Medicine and Vice Provost Health at UBC.
The expansion to the Interior is part of a larger, nine-year effort
to address doctor shortages throughout BC. In 2001, Premier
Campbell announced a doubling of the MD undergraduate
program, and a distribution of those students throughout the
province. UBC became the first medical school in North America
to distribute the entire four-year curriculum across three — soon
to be four — geographically distinct areas.
"Since 2001, we have worked to expand doctor training across
the province, from Vancouver Island to the North, and now to the
Interior, with the opening of the new Clinical Academic Campus at
Kelowna General Hospital," Premier Campbell said at the dedication
ceremony. "Future doctors will be able to study for the first time
here in the Southern Interior, in a new, world-class learning facility."
The expansion and distribution has involved an elaborate network
of academic and medical facilities. (See map on back cover.)
Medical undergraduates begin their education at one of three
academic campuses: UBC in Vancouver, the University of Victoria
and the University of Northern British Columbia. The Southern
Medical Program will add a fourth academic campus at UBC
Okanagan, where a new, $28 million Health Sciences Centre is
under construction.
The Clinical Academic Campuses — large medical facilities
that serve as major venues for hands-on learning and clinical
studies — play a crucial role in that network.The Faculty of
Medicine now has 10 Clinical Academic Campuses, with Surrey
Memorial Hospital becoming the 11th next year.
"Unless you see it, you don't
know what you're missing."
— Allan Jones, Regional Associate Dean, Interior
The Faculty also has 1 0 Affiliated Regional Centres, including
Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Penticton Regional Hospital and Royal
Inland Hospital in the Interior, and scores of clinics in rural and
distributed sites — all providing additional learning opportunities
for medical undergraduates and residents.
"If we can create an exciting and supportive learning environment,
I'm hopeful that our young doctors will realize that this is a
rewarding place to work, and they will look at this as their home
for a longtime," says Allan Jones, Regional Associate Dean, Interior.
"Unless you see it, you don't know what you're missing." 20     UBC MEDICINE
L- R: Graduate student Eddie Pokrishevsky and Professor Neil Cashman.
Neil Cashman has a hunch.
He believes that common neurodegenerative syndromes — such as
Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS) — are caused bythe propagation of toxic, misfolded
proteins through the nervous system.
But finding funding for hunches is never easy, and Dr. Cashman's
is a particularly radical one. A Professor in the Division of
Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neurodegeneration and
Protein Misfolding Diseases, he is one of the first scientists in the
world to explore the link between misfolded proteins and those
debilitating conditions.
That's where William Lambert stepped in.
A Special Partner with Birch Hill Equity in Toronto, Lambert had
seen the benefits of Dr. Cashman's research first-hand. He is a
Director of Amorfix Life Sciences, a Toronto biotechnology company
founded by Dr. Cashman.
Amorfix has already made several significant breakthroughs in
the area of protein misfolding and neurodegeneration. It developed
a targeted antibody that neutralizes the diseased proteins,
significantly slowing the progression of ALS in mouse models.The
company also is close to commercializing a blood test for variant
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of "mad cow disease,"
which is threatening the blood supply.
With that track record, Lambert believed that giving Dr. Cashman
the opportunity to investigate his latest theory could improve
countless lives.
"When I discussed it initially with Dr. Cashman, I said I would rather
fund a project that he was unlikely to get funding for, from either
government or industry sources, but that he still thought had a
potential to move forward the understanding in the field," Lambert
says. "Misfolding proteins are a relatively new field of interest
and the application is a hugely important area. Everyone is likely
to be affected by some form of neurodegenerative disease,
especially Alzheimer's."
Lambert established the Allen T Lambert Neural Research Fund,
named in memory of his father, in 2006, ultimately donating over
$1 million to support Dr. Cashman's research.
Lambert's gifts helped make
a hypothesis about misfolded
proteins more of a "sure thing."
Lambert's initial gift enabled Dr. Cashman to strengthen his
hypothesis that certain diseased proteins, which replicate by
coming into contact with healthy proteins and causing them to
disfigure, are implicated in Alzheimer's disease and brain aging.
Based on those findings, Dr. Cashman received a $227,500 grant
from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2008 to test
antibody treatments and vaccines for the illness.
"The availability of donations from philanthropists such as
Mr. Lambert make it possible to generate the preliminary data to
show that an idea has merit to the granting agencies, to make a
hypothesis more of a 'sure thing,'" Dr. Cashman says.
Lambert's second gift, in 2009, is enabling Dr. Cashman to test a
range of misfolded proteins that he believes contribute to ALS and
neuropsychiatric conditions like schizophrenia.
Dr. Cashman's ultimate goal is to find a cure for ALS. "But certainly
if I develop useful therapies or diagnostics to slow or halt the
progression of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases, I will
consider that a success," he says. JRjsei
L- R: Jacqueline Hudson during a trip to Uganda; Dimitrios Giannoulis.
As a third-year medical student, Jacqueline Hudson had a brief
but memorable encounter that changed the course of her career.
It came during her rotation in anesthesia, a specialty she hadn't
considered until then. But she was struck bythe enthusiasm of one
of her instructors: Dimitrios Giannoulis.
"I only ever knew him for a day," says Dr. Hudson. "And I remember
him. I don't remember many other people I worked with in those two
weeks, but he really stuck out. He was so much fun to work with."
Dr. Giannoulis' abilityto inspire others was cruelly cut short
by cancer in 2008, at the age of 38. But a group of relatives,
friends, colleagues and donors have ensured that his legacy
would continue through donations totalling more than $350,000,
supporting two endowed prizes: one for overseas research in
anesthesia, and another to recognize residents who show promise
in the area of regional anesthesia.
As the first Head of the Division of Regional Anesthesia at
Vancouver General Hospital, Dr. Giannoulis was keen on ushering
in cutting-edge clinical care. "We needed to share my brother's
vision and passion with those who desire to follow his steps,"
says his sister, Connie Giannoulis-Stuart.
"Having his impact live on is what we hoped to see," says Homed
Umedaly, who led the fundraising by anesthesiologist colleagues.
"I think we're seeing that."
The first recipient of the Dr. Dimitrios Giannoulis Memorial Prize
for Overseas Rotation Research Projects in Anesthesia is none
other than Dr. Hudson — that third-year student who came away so
impressed by her instructor's energy.
Now a third-year anesthesia resident at UBC, the prize will allow
her to travel to Uganda, where she has done medical work before,
as part of a group looking to spread the use of an inexpensive pulse
oximeter — a standard monitor for any anesthetic that is largely
absent in developing countries.
The award for regional anesthesia, aimed at recognizing
outstanding performance, innovation and compassionate care,
will be awarded for the first time this June.
As Director of Anesthesia Undergraduate Training at UBC,
Dr. Giannoulis implemented changes— including a requirement
that students have an anesthesia rotation in their third-year
— that increased applications to anesthesia residency. That
requirement ultimately led to Dr. Hudson's encounter with
Dr. Giannoulis.
"The next thing you know, our residency training program had the
highest number of applications of any anesthesia program in the
country from its own university students," says Raymer Grant,
Head of the Department of Anesthesia at VGH. "The UBC program
went from having trouble filling some anesthesia training spots
for a few years to being overwhelmed with applicants from its own
medical students."
But it wasn't only the curriculum changes that increased the
popularity of anesthesia among students, Dr. Umedaly says. "He
was enthusiastic on the ground level with those students, which
I think had a significant impact," he says. "He met them all, knew
them all, and encouraged them."
Brian Warriner, Head of UBC's Department of Anesthesiology,
Pharmacology & Therapeutics, admired Dr. Giannoulis' attitude
since the younger physician's days as a UBC resident. "His never-
ending, brilliant smile just put people at ease," he says.
While Dr. Giannoulis' family knew how likable and driven he was,
it wasn't until his funeral, where several speakers referred to
his contributions, that they understood the magnitude of his
accomplishments. "Dimitri was modest about his accomplishments
and he never told us," says his father, Con Giannoulis. "We just knew
how much he loved his career," says his mother, Adamantia. 22     UBC MEDICINE
01 | Professor Stefan
Grzybowski received the Family
Medicine Researcher of the Year
Award, and Clinical Assistant
Professor John P. Pawlovich
was named one of the Canada's
Family Physicians of the Year
(also known as the Reg L. Perkin
Award) by the College of Fam ily
Physicians of Canada.
Dr. Grzybowski, Scientific
Co-director of the BC Rural
and Remote Health Research
Network and Co-director of
the Centre for Rural Health
Research, was honoured for
advancing the rural maternity
care health services research
agenda, and helping to better
understand the needs of
pregnant rural women and their
families, care providers and
Dr. Pawlovich currently
practices in the northern
community of Fraser Lake,
and is collaborating with First
Nation communities, the
Northern Health Authority, and
other stakeholders to establish
a medical centre in the remote
community of Grassy Plains.
He also is pioneering a group
treatment process, where
patients with similar afflictions
meet together with a physician
to share information and
potential solutions.
02 | RaviSidhu, an Assistant
Professor in the Department of
Surgery, was one of two people
named Program Director of
the Year bythe Royal College
of Physicians and Surgeons of
Canada, for demonstrating a
commitment to innovation in
medical residency education.
03 | Judith Hall, Professor
Emerita in the Departments
of Medical Genetics
and Pediatrics, won the
Outstanding Faculty
Community Service Award,
part of the 2009 UBC Alumni
Achievement Awards.
Dr. Hall is a leading
pediatrician and clinical
geneticist who has focused
her research on disorders of
growth, such as dwarfism,
and birth defects, such as
spina bifida and congenital
contractures. She also has
devoted countless volunteer
hours shaping professional
standards, providing advice
to patients and caregivers,
and developing links with
lay support groups.
04 | Five members of the
Faculty of Medicine are among
the 28 new Fellows of the
Canadian Academy of Health
• Alison Buchan, Executive
Associate Dean, Research
and Professor, Department
of Cellular and Physiological
• Marco Marra, Professor,
Department of Medical
Genetics and Director of the
Genome Sciences Centre at
the BC Cancer Agency;
• Jon Stoessl, Professor,
Division of Neurology and
Director of the Pacific
Parkinson's Research Centre;
• TrevorYoung, Professor
and Head, Department of
• Janice Eng, Professor,
Department of Physical
05 | Oscar Casiro, Regional
Associate Dean, Vancouver
Island, has become President of
the Medical Council of Canada.
Dr. Casiro is serving a one-
year term leading the
organization, which conducts
over 1 2,000 assessments
of medical students and
graduates annuallythrough
its three examinations across
Canada, and in the case of its
Evaluating Examination, in over
500 locations in 73 countries.
06 | Professors Adele Diamond
and Julio Montaner were
elected to the Royal Society
of Canada. Dr. Diamond, a
Canada Research Chair and
Professor of Developmental
Cognitive Neuroscience in
the Department of Psychiatry,
has helped transform the
way researchers think about
brain development and how
they conduct developmental
research. Dr. Montaner, a
Professor of Medicine and
Director of the BC Centre for
Excellence in HIV/AIDS, has TOP ROW L- R: Judith Hall;Alison Buchan; Marco Marra; Jon Stoessl; Trevor Young;Janice Eng.
BOTTOM ROW L- R: Oscar Casiro; Adele Diamond;Julio Montaner;James Hogg; Martin Schechter; Larry Goldenberg.
done pioneering work on the
use of combinations of anti-
retrovirals to treat HIV/AIDS.
07 | James Hogg, a Professor
Emeritus in the Department
of Pathology and Laboratory
Medicine, was named to the
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
"Dr. Hogg has arguably
had a greater influence on
the medical community's
knowledge of Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
(COPD) and asthma than any
other individual worldwide," the
organization said.The centre
he created for pulmonary
and cardiovascular research,
iCAPTURE, was named in his
honour in 2003.
08 | Janice Eng, a Professor
in the Department of Physical
Therapy, won the Jonas Salk
Award from March of Dimes
Canada and Sanofi Pasteur.
Dr. Eng's evidence-based
Fitness and Mobility Exercise
(FAME) program, used with
thousands of people with
stroke, Parkinson's disease,
and chronic conditions, has
now been adopted for rollout across Canada. Dr. Eng
is the innovator and leader
of the Spinal Cord Injury
Rehabilitation Evidence
(SCIRE) Project, a synthesis of
evidence designed to enable
the best treatment for clients
with such injuries.
09 | Julian Marsden,
Acting Co-Head of the UBC
Department of Emergency
Medicine, received the 2009
Leadership in Quality and Safety
Award from the BC Patient
Safety & Quality Council.
Dr. Marsden, a Clinical
Professor in the Faculty of
Medicine and a member of the
Emergency Department at St.
Paul's Hospital in Vancouver,
was integral to launching
the provincial Evidence to
Excellence project, or "E2E,"
which aims to accelerate
improvements in clinical
and operational practices in
emergency departments
across the province, promoting
excellence in emergency health
care for all British Columbians.
10 | Gavin Stuart, UBC's Vice
Provost, Health, and Dean,
Faculty of Medicine, was given
the Presidential Medal Award
from the Society of Gynecologic
Oncology/La Societe de Gyneco-
Oncologie du Canada (GOC).
In addition to carrying out his
duties as Vice Provost and
Dean, Dr. Stuart continues to
be both an active clinician and
researcher. He sees patients
at the Gyne Onocology Division
at Vancouver General Hospital
and the BC Cancer Agency, and
is the principal investigator of
an international phase III trial
of the human papillomavirus
11 | Martin Schechter, Director
of the School of Population
and Public Health, won the
Norman E. Zinberg Award
for Achievement in the Field
of Medicine from the Drug
Policy Alliance Network. The
award "recognizes medical
and treatment experts who
perform rigorous scientific
research and who have the
courage to report their findings
even though they may be at
odds with current dogma." Dr.
Schechter was recognized
for his investigations into
medication-assisted therapy
for people addicted to opiates
who haven't been helped by
other treatments.
12 | Larry Goldenberg,
Head of the Department
of Urologic Sciences, was
named a Member of the Order
of Canada. Dr. Goldenberg,
founding Director of the
Vancouver Prostate Centre
at Vancouver General
Hospital, was honoured "for
his contributions to prostate
cancer research and treatment,
as well as for promoting public
awareness of the disease." L- R: NealBoerkoel, Millan Patel.  photo by martin dee
As medical residents seeing patients with genetic conditions at
the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Millan Patel and Neal
Boerkoel realized that the medical research establishment, for
all its success in battling common diseases, had barely begun to
help people with rare diseases.
The expertise and technology were available, but few were
harnessing it or providing an incentive for collaboration.That left
the patients and families grappling with a rare disease — usually
a genetic malady affecting one out of every 2,000 or more
people — with little hope.
"Finding answers for rare disease patients usually involves
collaborations with a variety of expert researchers, and experts
tend to be risk-averse," Dr. Patel says. "They are less likely to sign
up for exploratory research, or as it's known in grant-reviewing
parlance, a 'fishing expedition.' But this is what our patients need."
Eight years later, Dr. Patel and Dr. Boerkoel were reunited in
UBC's Medical Genetics Department — the right place, they
decided, to develop a more patient-centred model of research.
Last year, they found common ground with a group of researchers
and patient families, forming the Rare Disease Foundation
(rarediseasefoundation.org), a vehicle for their new approach to
finding therapies and a support system for a previously disparate
group of families.
The core of their vision is the "research champion," a project
manager who facilitates the transition of a research problem from
one scientist to another by providing relevant clinical information,
tissue samples, cell lines, and reagents — essentially, teeing up
the ball.
"What we deliver is a gift box with a ribbon on it," says Dr. Boerkoel,
an Associate Professor. "It's a safe project.There is a potential to
discover something new, at very little cost."
"We're not reinventing the wheel," says Dr. Patel, a Clinical
Assistant Professor. "We just want to make it more efficient by
having someone make it their business to bridge existing silos
of expertise."
Dr. Boerkoel and Dr. Patel have shown it can be done, several
times over. Dr. Boerkoel, when presented with a previously
undocumented condition in which several members of a Saudi
family were losing their ability to walk, managed in four years to
identify the cause, validate a drug target and begin screening for
therapies to potentially ameliorate the condition. Dr. Patel and
his collaborators found that beta-blockers, a class of drugs used
for high blood pressure, could stop and even partially reverse a
previously unknown disease that was dissolving a girl's toe bones.
"We're not reinventing the
wheel. We just want to make
it more efficient."
-Millan Patel
The Rare Disease Foundation raised $1 25,000 in its first year,
about half of that from an all-night skating event at Thunderbird
Arena. It then gave away almost all of it through 24 micro-grants,
each capped at $3,500, for such projects as identifying new causes
of disease and testing therapeutic ideas. The grants are a way of
garnering interest from colleagues in their new approach; ultimately,
they need at least $600,000 a year for every disease they take on.
"If we can show an impact on a small number of diseases, then
we can clone this model and export it to other academic health
centres," Dr. Patel says. "Then we will start having an impact on the
more than 6000 rare disorders. It's about showing that this is a way
to do things — that we can leverage what we've got and make life
better for our patients." SPRING 2010: MEDICAL ALUMNI NEWS
President's Report 26
PeterJepson-Young 27
Medical Alumni Golf Tournament 29
Awards, Achievements, Activities 30
Residents' Report 30
MUS and MSAC Reports
Student Events
MD Alumni Membership
Upcoming Alumni Events
Put a Face on HIV
Diagnosed in 1986, Peter Jepson-Young's early
experiences with AIDS left him with a lesson in
empathy that he felt all doctors should have. MEDICAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
BOARD 2009-2010
Jim Lane, MD73
Marshall Dahl, MD'86
Lynn Doyle, MD'78
Harvey Lui, MD'86
Island Medical Representative
Ian Courtice, MD'84
Northern Medical Representatives
Don MacRitchie, MD'70
Southern Medical Representative
Tom Kinahan, MD'84
MikeGolbey, MD'80
Newsletter Editor
Beverley Tamboline, MD'60
Admissions Selection Committee
Jim Cupples, MD'81
Admissions Policy Committee
David W.Jones, MD'70
Bob Cheyne, MD'77
Bruce Fleming, MD'78
Ron Warneboldt, MD'75
Andrew Yu, MD'94
Ex-Officio Members
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Gavin Stuart
Alumni Affairs Office
Anne Campbell
Faculty Representative
Barbara Fitzgerald, MD'85
MUS Representative
Mattias Berg (Class of 2012]
Resident Representative
May Tee, MD'08
Arun Garg, MD'77
David F. Hardwick, MD'57
Charles Slonecker, DDS, PhD
To support the Faculty of Medicine and its
programs directly and through advocacy
with the public and government;
To ensure open communication among
alumni and between the alumni and the
Faculty of Medicine;
To encourage and support medical
students and residents and their activities;
To organize and foster academic and
social activities for the alumni.
The Medical Alumni News is published
semi-annually and this edition was
produced bythe UBC Faculty of
Medicine. We welcome your suggestions,
ideas and opinions. Please send
comments, articles and letters to:
Beverley Tamboline, MD'60
Alumni Affairs Faculty of Medicine
2750 Heather Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z4M2
Ph:   604875 4111 ext. 67741
Fax: 604875 5778
What makes a medical
school great?
As our medical school enters
its 60th year, its diamond
anniversary, it is a fitting
question to ask ourselves. "What
makes a medical school great and
is UBC's Faculty of Medicine a
great medical school?"
Accreditation, in my opinion,
has been overemphasized. It
is a useful tool to ensure that
standards are met and it is a
way to receive input on areas
to improve upon, but it does
not provide a measure of a
medical school's greatness. Nor,
in my opinion, does the annual
Maclean's magazine ranking
of Canadian universities and
medical schools provide a
real way to determine a great
medical school.
The duration of existence could
be a measure. Our school at 60
years does have a longer history
than many, but compared to
world standards we are still
relatively young.
Another more relevant
measure would be to answer
the question: Does it fulfill
the needs of the community
that the school serves? With
the Faculty of Medicine being
the only medical school in the
province, our community is the
population of B.C. For most
of our existence we have failed
to provide the total number
or diversity of physicians that
our province needed. This was
not the decision of the school
but political decisions and the
prevailing attitude by political
leaders that B.C. will attract
physicians from other provinces
and countries at their expense.
This weakness was also reflected
in the number of medical
training positions available for
B.C. citizens to fill.
Fortunately, in recent years,
with the creative development
of a distributed site medical
school and with enrollment
soon to reach 280 new students
a year, our school can now
claim that it is much closer
to serving the need of its
community and citizens.
Serving the community must
also include providing a centre
for research, educational
excellence, continual medical
education and community
outreach. In these areas, the
Faculty of Medicine can be
proud of its accomplishments.
UBC Medicine magazine
frequently highlights these
For medical students and
graduates there are other
measures to determine a
great school. First, achieving
excellence in skills to perform
their professional duties is
essential. Second, relationship
development among the Dean,
administration, faculty and
fellow classmates is indicative
of the strength of a school.
All of us remember great
teachers and mentors, and
UBC can be proud of the
many that they have produced.
Classmates often become
lifelong partners, associates, and
friends. For many alumni, these
relationships are critical criteria
for judging their school.
Ultimately the measure of a
great medical school is the
impression left upon individual
patients, the communities, and
the world from its graduates
(the alumni). With 5,150
medical alumni graduates since
1954 working world-wide, I
believe our school can be proud
of all its accomplishments
and should be considered a
great school.
The UBC Medical Alumni
Association would like to
thank the entire faculty,
administrators, and all alumni
for making our school great.
We all share in this diamond
anniversary celebration.
Jim Lane, MD 73
UBC Medical Alumni Association Clockwise from upper left: Peter with his partner, Andrew, and dog, Harvey; Peter with his parents and pastor; Richard Robinson, Robyn Cairns,
David Butcher, Peter, Heidi Oetter, Peter Kinahan (foreground); Peter as a baby; Stacey Elliott, Peter, Deborah Money and Richard Bebb.
'If I have managed to reach out and touch
people and possibly change their viewpoint
about AIDS and gay people, then that will
be my greatest contribution."
- Peter Jepson-Young, MD '85
In the 1980s, AIDS was a
relatively new disease that was
creeping through society at
alarming rates. AIDS sufferers
were treated with fear and
discrimination, as hospitalized
patients were often isolated
under heavy quarantine and
served meals on disposable
After experiencing this
discrimination in the early
stages of his diagnosis, as a
newly graduated physician,
Peter Jepson-Young told
his mother he couldn't help
wondering, if a doctor was
treated with such disregard,
how would a waiter be treated?
Diagnosed in 1986, Peter's
early experiences with AIDS
left him with a lesson in
empathy that he felt all
doctors should have. In a time
when the word AIDS shut so
many doors, these experiences
left a lasting impression on
him in his fight to educate
and bring awareness to the
public about AIDS and those
who suffer from it.
Peter had always wanted to be
a doctor. He was attracted to
the science behind medicine
and to the opportunity to help
others. In 1985 he graduated
from UBC's Faculty of
Medicine, with future plans to
practice Family Medicine and
eventually teach. Sadly, these
plans were cut short in the
summer of 1986 when, after
completing only a year of his
residency in Ottawa, the young
physician was diagnosed with
AIDS and given 2 years to live.
Treatment for AIDS during
this period was virtually
non-existent. By the time the
epidemic had begun in 1983,
St. Paul's Hospital was seeing
one patient per day die from
the disease.
Dr. Julio Montaner, now
Director for the BC Centre
for Excellence in HIV/AIDS,
had come to Canada from
Argentina in 1981 to train in
respiratory medicine at the
renowned UBC-Pulmonary
Research Lab just as the AIDS
epidemic was beginning to
unfold. In the early 80 s he
began to focus his work on the
new emerging epidemic of rare
pneumonias in AIDS patients.
Having solved that puzzle by
1988, he turned his attention
to the rapidly evolving field
of HIV therapeutics. In 1988
Montaner was involved in the
first national clinical trial of a
breakthrough drug treatment
called AZT, an antiretroviral
drug that helped to suppress the
disease. Unfortunately, while
patients benefited from AZT in
the short term, in every case the
disease ultimately progressed
within a matter of months.
While many considered AIDS
a death sentence, Peter did not
see it as one. He considered
it a "bit of a nuisance" rather
than a focal point in his
life. He believed that the
only limitations that he had
were the ones that he put on
himself, and throughout his
illness he continued to ski,
water-ski, and play the piano
even as he lost his sight due to
AIDS-related cytomegalovirus
(CMV) and eventually
began suffering other serious
complications from the disease.
In 1989, his failing health
and eventual loss of vision
prevented him from continuing
to practice medicine. It was
during this time that CBC
agreed to create a weekly
television segment on the
evening news chronicling
his experiences with AIDS.
Through the CBC, Peter
Jepson-Young became Dr.
Peter—a man documenting
... Continued on next page ... Feature story cont'd
his experiences with AIDS
with compassion, humour
and honesty. Met with
overwhelming public support,
The Dr. Peter Diaries put a
human face on the disease,
helping to foster awareness
and educate the public about
gay people, HIV and AIDS.
Peter recorded 111 episodes in
total, recording his final diary
2 weeks before his death on
November 15th, 1992.
Peters fight, his death and
the diaries were a legacy to
his accomplishments. Among
other honours, in 1992,
Peter received the James M.
Robinson Memorial Prize
from UBC for significant
contributions to public health
and in 1993 he was awarded
the Communicator of the
Year Award by IABC BC. In
1992, the Broadcast Tapes of Dr.
Peter, a shortened documentary
version of the Diaries, won
three ACE (Award for Cable
Excellence) Awards for best
documentary, best writer
and best host, beating out
competitors Kathryn Hepburn,
Glenn Close and Michael Palin.
The same year, the documentary
was also nominated for an
Academy award for best
Documentary Feature.
AIDS was a major focus at the
Academy Awards that year.
While the CBC documentary
did not receive the award, Tom
Hanks won the award for Best
Actor in a Leading Role for his
role as Andrew Beckett, a gay
lawyer struggling with AIDS
in the movie "Philadelphia"
Peters mother, Shirley Young,
wrote Mr. Hanks immediately
after the ceremonies and
received a hand-written reply
from him praising Peters work.
Tom Hanks has since been
a supporter of the Dr. Peter
AIDS Foundation and
remains an honorary patron
of the Foundation.
Today, Peter's legacy lives on
through those who continue
to do his work. Formed
shortly before his death, the
corner of Comox and Thurlow.
The first of its kind in North
America, the Centre provides
24 residential units as well as a
day health program for people
living with HIV/AIDS. It
provides meals, health care, and
alternate therapies in a warm,
welcoming environment to
many who would otherwise not
have a place to turn. A large
patio also provides an outdoor
space at the Centre, a donation
from Peters graduating
class. Hugely successful, the
_____* A
1 accept and absorb all the
_f       IrvS^
power of the wind to cleanse
my spirit and bring me life;
> A_>*>_fe_
1 accept and absorb all the
-^--i'^^'^If' l >vw
mystery of the heavens, for 1
Affirmation (1987)
am a part of the vast unknown.
1 believe Cod to be all these
1 accept and absorb all the
elements, and the force that
strength of the earth to keep
unites them;
my body hard and strong;
And from these elements 1 have
1 accept and absorb all the
come, and to these elements 1
energy of the sun to keep my
shall return;
mind sharp and bright;
But the energy that is me will
1 accept and absorb all the life
not be lost.
force of the ocean to cleanse
my body and bring me life;
— Peter Jepson-Young
Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation is
a nonprofit society dedicated
to providing comfort-care to
people living with HIV/AIDS.
An interim centre opened
in the Comox Building of
St. Pauls Hospital in 1997.
In 2003 a new 4-storey Dr.
Peter Centre opened on the
Foundation hopes to build
two more similar centres in the
Lower Mainland.
Shirley Young spends her
Wednesday mornings at the
centre serving breakfast. She
often hears from participants
that they are alive because of
what her son did for HIV/
AIDS. As one participant
once remarked, "Peter died so
young but he has given back
hundreds of years of life to so
many people."
Lilac bushes now sit in the
Centre gardens, representative
of the love and support that
Peter received from his family,
friends and partner during his
struggle. The plants grew from
the cuttings off lilac bushes
that Peter gave his mother
in 1990 when he was losing
his vision. In a time when
homosexuality and AIDS led to
intense discrimination, Peters
family, friends and partner
supported him and remained
by his side to his last day and
beyond—loving him for who
he was and all he had given
their world through his life.
Since Peters death, advances
in AIDS Treatment have also
added decades to the lives of
AIDS patients. In 1996,
Dr. Montaner played a key role
in the development of what
is now known today as highly
active antiretroviral therapy
(HAART), a combination
of antiretroviral drugs that
suppresses HIV replication
and the destructive effects of
the virus. Patients are now able
to live full lives without the
devastating complications that
AIDS patients like Peter had
Montaner has also found that
HAART has a substantial
impact on decreasing vertical
transmission of HIV, as well
as decreasing the chance of
passing on the virus to others,
whether it is through sex or L- R: Debra Millar, Louise Given, Wally Ungar, Peggy Yakimov;Jack Burack, Lorna Sent, Doug Blackman, Morris VanAndel; Chuck Slonecker,
Jim Lane, Gavin Stuart, photos by josh levinson
needle sharing. While HAART
is not a cure, Montaner's
work indicates that if every
AIDS patient had access to
the treatment, HAART could
virtually eliminate HIV in
the population and transform
the pandemic disease into
a "smoldering, low-level
endemic disease."
Montaner believes that
successfully preventing HIV
transmission lies in bringing
health care to those most
vulnerable in society, who are
not able to navigate the health
care system to get the treatment
that they need. "Obviously,
HAART cannot do it by itself,
it will need to be deployed in
synergy with a strengthened
combination prevention
program, that includes
education, change in behaviour
and harm reduction, as well as
structural changes that remove
stigma and discrimination
against those affected and those
at risk," emphasizes Montaner.
While recognizing the
invaluable and long-lasting
nature of Peters contribution
to the fight against AIDS,
Montaner also stresses that a
great deal of work remains to be
done. "Peter coming out with
his diaries greatly improved
perceptions around HIV in
our community. However, the
baseline was so low that, despite
his contribution, still today we
are in a very sad situation—the
stigma and discrimination in
our own society continues to be
the biggest barrier for us to do
what needs to be done."
Peters unconventional medical
career as an educator helped
shake the social foundations
and attitudes toward AIDS
and those who suffer from it.
Eighteen years since his death,
his energy continues to swell in
his Centre, in his patients, and
in the love he gave and gained
in his journey. As his medical
classmates plan to celebrate
their 25 Year Silver Anniversary,
they remember Peter as an
integral part of their class and
plan to honour him at the
reunion in September. If you
are a Class of 1985 Alumni and
would like more information
about the reunion, please
contact the Faculty of Medicine
Office of Alumni Affairs at
604-875-4111 ext. 67741 or
email med.alumni@ubc.ca
In 2010 the UBC Medical
Alumni and Friends Golf
Tournament will mark a
return to its roots and tee off
where it first began—at the
University Golf Course.
The Medical Alumni
Association was formed
in 1984 and the first golf
tournament was held shortly
thereafter. Started by Drs.
Brad Fritz and Bernie de Jong,
this event has since become
a tradition for the Medical
Alumni Association. It brings
together alumni, colleagues
and classmates for a fun day of
golf, prizes, fabulous food, and
re-connecting with friends.
This year's tournament will be
held June 24. Medical Alumni
and their friends are invited
to participate. This year the
Association hopes to have
medical students involved
through tournament sponsors.
All levels of golfers are welcome
and funds raised through
participation help contribute
to funding medical students'
activities across the province.
With the move to University
Golf Course this year, the
tournament promises to be
even better, with space for
more players!
For sponsorship and
registration information for
this year's tournament please
contact the Alumni Office at
(604) 875-4111, ext. 67741.
See you on the green!
The Medical Alumni
Association would like to
thank the 2009. sponsors:
Physician Health Program BC
Clinical Sleep Solutions
CM I — Canadian Magnetic Imaging
BC Biomedical Laboratories
Meyers Norris Penny (MNP)
Sportmed and Paris Orthotics
Osier Systems
Schmunk Gatt Smith
Morrey Nissan of Coquitlam
Physiotherapy Association
Riverside Golf Coquitlam
Eaglequest Golf Coquitlam
Don Docksteader Volvo & Subaru
Signal Design Group
UBC Bookstore
RBC Royal Bank
London Drugs
Genome BC
Cactus Club
Northsouth Travel
UBC Faculty of Medicine
Alumni Affairs J
L- R: Carol Herbert, MD'69; Robin Love, MD'86; Dr. Gavin Stuart (Hon);
Hll Mackie, MD '76.
Carol Herbert, MD '69, was
elected as Foreign Associate
Member of the Institute of
Medicine in 2009. She is
completing her second term as
Dean of the Schulich School of
Medicine and Dentistry at the
University of Western Ontario.
Robin Love, MD '86, was
the recipient of the 2009 BC
College of Family Practice
"Community Family Physician
of the Year" and the 2009
Canadian College of Family
Practice "Award of Excellence."
He has started a "Twinning
Project" with a palliative care
program in Nepal and has also
started a bursary for his father,
Dr. Bob Love, which will assist
UBC IMP students.
Dr. Gavin Stuart (Hon), UBC
Vice Provost, Health, and
Dean, Faculty of Medicine,
received the 2009 Presidential
Medal Award from the Society
of Gynecologic Oncology of
Canada / La Societe
de Gyneco-Oncologie
du Canada (GOC).
Bill Mackie, MD '76, was
awarded the "Community
Sports Medicine Physician
of the Year 2009" by the
Canadian Academy of
Sports Medicine.
I was inspired to write this
article after visiting my
fellow resident physicians in
the Kelowna Rural Family
Medicine Program. Aside from
being a smart, dynamic and
overall solid group of people,
I was impressed by how
different a rural residency
training program is from an
urban program.
While its home base is in
Kelowna, the mandate of the
program is to expose resident
physicians to rural training
sites in BC. This could mean a
few months in Kamloops or a
few months in Inuvik, where
at certain times of the year,
this might bring 24 hours of
daylight or 24 hours of darkness.
It certainly takes a special
person to be able to practice
and learn in such isolated
communities as well as
frequently move around the
province. These resident
physicians practice in
communities where you can't
get a CT scan nor benefit from
consultation of a sub-specialist.
Despite these challenges, the
rural family medicine resident
physicians I met seemed
fundamentally very happy,
most of them happier than
the average resident physician
from Vancouver.
As a progressive residency
training program with an
incredibly supportive site
director and clinical faculty,
education over service is the
focus. The demands of a rural
family medicine training program
are balanced by flexibility and
autonomy in determining call
schedules and rotations.
These resident physicians are
committed to providing quality
health care to patients who
would otherwise have limited
access to such care. In light of
National Resident Awareness
Day, these resident physicians
should be applauded for their
dedication and admirable work.
National Resident Awareness
Day, February 9, 2010, is set
by the Canadian Association of
Interns and Residents.
May Tee, MD '08
Year 2 Resident in
General Surgery UBC Medical Undergraduate Society 2009-10. Back row: David Know, Tonya Timperley Berg, Morgan Lam,
Benedict Wong, Dr. David Hardwick, Sabrina Yao, Bez Toosi, Dipen Thakrar. Front row:Jessica Fong, Mike
Butterfield.Jasmina Kobiljski, Mattias Berg, Lindsay McMillan, Colin Mclnne.  photo by nancythompson
In the 1980s, the Medical
Student & Alumni Centre
was a concept and a vision.
It would have delighted
those early visionaries to see
the MSAC in operation in
Spring 2010.
This term students have
scheduled meetings for class
councils and the MUS; musical
and dance ensembles: specialty
groups, such as Students
Interested in Internal Medicine,
Pediatrics, Surgery, or Family
Medicine; the Global Health
Initiative; the 2nd Year Play; an
art show; our famous Weepers;
Yoga and Martial Arts; and the
UBC Medical Journal. A steady
stream of students drop in to
use the gym, study, cook, or use
the computers.
Alumni use the MSAC for
reunions, birthday parties,
anniversaries and volunteer
committee meetings. With the
Faculty of Medicine's Office
of Alumni Affairs located at
MSAC, alumni have increased
support for their events.
This January, MSAC counted
its 500th videoconference
broadcast to students and
alumni in Victoria, Prince
George and Kelowna. The
IT team is currently working
on a way in which students
can participate in MSAC
presentations from their
computers anywhere in the
world. This is one reality that
even the visionaries of the
1980s did not consider!
Contact Us
Medical Student & Alumni Centre
2750 Heather Street
(NE corner of Heather dr 12th Ave.)
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4M2
Nancy Thompson
MSAC Services Coordinator
Phone  604 875 5522
Email:   MSAC.Centre@UBC.ca
Dear Members of the UBC
Medical Alumni Association,
After a much needed (and
well-deserved) winter
holiday, the UBC Medical
Undergraduate Society (MUS)
is happy to report on several
exciting developments taking
place on the academic front in
the year ahead.
In order to ensure that the
Faculty of Medicine continues
to meet its commitment
to the highest standards of
education, medical students
have been taking an active role
in committees and working
groups within the Faculty. As
part of the Dean's Task Force
on Curriculum Renewal,
students are able to share their
experiences and insight as the
Faculty examines alternative
and innovative approaches to
medical education. To identify
candidates for the medical class
of 2014, students are helping to
shape admissions policy as well
as participating directly with
the interview process.
The voice of medical students is
further advanced by the recent
launch of the MUS Political
Advocacy Committee with
representation on the BCMA,
the Canadian Federation of
Medical Students, and PAR-BC.
Most recently, the MUS lobbied
the government on several
important issues including
student debt load reduction,
improved accessibility of
generic HIV medications
for Africa, and the impact of
climate change on healthcare.
The MUS is also working to
revise student services through
the creation of an online
medical community for medical
students. Specifically, the MUS
is developing a centralized
website that students could use
to apply for MUS grants, learn
about opportunities in global
health, collaborate on learning
objectives, or sign up for
intramural sporting events.
With these and other
developments on the horizon,
the MUS hopes to continue
its tradition of supporting
students in academic excellence
while fostering leadership and
community engagement.
Looking forward,
Mattias Berg
UBC Medical Undergraduate Society L-R: Melanie Chan, Tony Wan, Haneen Abu-Remaileh; Alvin Lo, Cung Nguyen, Sam Sedaghat, David Wong, Arthur Lau. photos by Richard ng
The 2010 Medical Ball
The Medical Ball has been the
social event of the medical
school year since the 1950s!
This year the Med Ball was
scheduled for the evening
of Saturday, April 10, in the
brand new Coast Coal Harbour
Hotel. The theme of this
year's ball was Hollywood Red
Carpet, giving participants a
chance to dress up in gowns
and suits for a night of fun.
Regular features at the Medical
Ball include presentations of
the annual Undergraduate
Teaching Awards, and special
recognition by the students to
members of their community.
There is usually a movie from
the creative students in first
and second years, dancing to a
DJ, quiet space for those who
want to continue visiting with
their friends, and a possibly a
Silent Auction raising funds for
rural practice for second year
students. This year Dr. David
Hardwick will receive a very
special commemoration for
his 38 years (and counting!)
of service to the students.
UBC Medical and Dental
students proudly presented
the 16th Annual Spring Gala!
Did you know that the UBC
Medical and Dental students
are bursting with talent? This
year the medical community
enjoyed a memorable evening
of artistic celebration on
March 27th. The audience
was amazed by cultural
dances, martial arts displays,
entertaining dramas and
much more! Also showcased
were vivid photography and
paintings done by students
throughout the venue, the
UBC Chan Centre.
This incredible event, which
began 16 years ago, was the
vision of Dr. Andrew Seal, the
first UBC Faculty of Medicine
Associate Dean of Student
Affairs. It has since flourished
to become one of the most
anticipated events of the year.
The UBC Med/Dent Spring
Gala is organized by students
and all proceeds are donated
to a local charity, nominated
and chosen by the students
each year. This year's proceeds
from the Gala benefitted the
UBC Chapter's MusicBox
Children's Charity
To experience this wonderful
evening next year, be sure to
purchase tickets in advance, as
they sell out fast! Tickets will
be available in February until
the last week of March 2011.
Hope to see you next year!
For more information, visit
The Annual "Med 2" Play
What do you get when
you have two med students
playing paranoid characters
who think the other is chasing
him? You get a performance of
Morris Panych's "The Ends of
the Earth!"
From March 3rd to March
13th, 2010, UBC Medicine
had seven successful showings
of their annual theatre
production to raise money for
the Rural Practice Program
Fund. This year's production
featured four students
each from the MD2012
and MD2013 classes, with
both first-time and veteran
thespians. The audience
was in tears, laughing at the
absurd characters and the
preposterous predicament.
Another great year for the
Med Play and the concurrent
Silent Auction fundraiser! L- R:Amanda Jagdis-Pugh; Julie Brown, Mark Tessaro. photos by Richard ng
The UBC Medical Alumni
Association would like to
thank everyone who became a
member in 2009.
Once again we are calling upon
our Medical Alumni to join
fellow graduates in supporting
the UBC Medical Alumni
Association. Your annual
$65 subscription fee provides
benefits for you and has a direct
impact on the experience of
current medical students.
The Medical Alumni
Association remains a key
player in the operational
funding of the William A.
Webber Medical Student &
Alumni Centre (MSAC).
In 1990, the first phase of
MSAC was opened with the
help of funding through the
generosity of students and
alumni, and the second phase
was completed in 1996. Today,
it is a congregating site for
students and alumni, who use
the space for the social and
extracurricular activities that
are so important to connect
us. It provides a welcome
environment to escape the
outside world, unwind, and
connect with friends and
colleagues. Alumni members
are entitled to free use of
MSAC for class reunions, room
rental discounts and 24-hour
access to the facilities.
Through your subscription,
financial support is provided
for medical students in
Vancouver and at all of the
medical program's distributed
sites. In 2009, MSAC was host
to over 400 student events,
including over 150 video
conferences. These encompass
the extracurricular activities
of our very engaged students,
which is a crucial part of
their education and their
experience in medical school.
Your membership facilitates
this—you are a part of it.
In addition to support
of MSAC activities, the
Association annually
contributes to the students'
yearbook, provides funding
for the graduation Hooding
Ceremony and presents each
graduating student with a
shingle, which has become
a UBC Faculty of Medicine
tradition. The Association is
also working toward providing
student recreational facilities
at the distributed centres on
Vancouver Island, in Prince
George, and in the Okanagan.
Please complete the attached
2010 Membership Subscription
form and help us continue
to build our community of
medical students and alumni.
You may also subscribe online
at www.med.ubc.ca/alum and
click on 2010 Membership
Please keep in touch and send
us your latest news!
2010 MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTION Please return this form with your payment.
UBC Medical Alumni Association
2750 Heather Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4M2
604 875 4111 ext. 67741  | Fax: 604 875 5578
Graduation Year:
Field of Practice:
Email Address:
Please find enclosed my 2010 subscription
Z    Regular Membership fee of $65.00
Z    UBC Medical Resident at the reduced fee of $25.00
Z    Cheque payable to Z    Visa/Mastercard
UBC Medical Alumni Asso
Number _
Exp. Date
If you require an MSAC Access Card, please contact us:
Med.Alumni@ubc.ca or phone 604-875-4111 ext. 67741 34     UBC MEDICINE
Upcoming Class Reunions
You are cordially invited to attend
Annual General Meeting
and Awards Reception
We invite you to celebrate
the recognition of the;
Award Recipients
Wallace Wilson
Leadership Award
Dr. Morris VanAndel
Honourary Alumni Aw
Dr. David Ostrow
Dr. Dale Stogryn
Dr. Bill Nelems
Silver Anniversary Aw
To be announced
Please join us on
Saturday, May 8,2010
William A. Webber Medical
Student _ Alumni Centre
2750 Heather Street, Vancouver
(at 12th Avenue)
4:00 pm   Welcome
4:30 pm   Meeting and
Awards Presentation
To register for this event,
please contact the UBC Medical
Alumni Association at:
604 875 4111 ext. 67741
June 1-3,2010
Organizer: Philip Narod
Class of '90
June 26, 2010
Organizers: Valorie
Cunningham &.
Sandra Vestvik
Class of '54
Aug 29- Sept 1,2010
Organizers: Morton Dodek,
Don Warner &. Bill Bell
For more information on class reunions, please
contact the UBC Medical Alumni Affairs Office at
med.alumni@ubc.ca or 604 875 4111 ext. 67741.
Sept 10-12,2010
Organizer: Consuelo Kinahan
Class of '70
Oct 1-2,2010
Organizer: John Campbell
Class of '60
Oct 15-17, 2010
Organizer: Lynn Ledgerwood
UBC Medical
Alumni & Friends
Golf Tournament
• An enjoyable day with 18 holes of golf,
lunch, contests, prizes and dinner
• All levels of golfers welcome!
• Great prizes for all golfers
• Register as a foursome or as an individual
• Contribute to funding medical students'
activities across the province
For more information, please contact the UBC Medical Alumni
Association at: med.alumni@ubc.ca 604 875 4111 ext. 67741 or visit
Thank you to our Presenting Partner
% Scotiabank
n^arty at 1
?ithe Point.
University as it should be: Great lectures and seminars
with no quizzes, tours of the best new (and old) haunts,
athletic events, wine tastings and more. There's so much
to see and do both on campus and in the community.
Come join the party.
alumni _»fYin sunn
MAY 28-30
www.alumni.ubc.ca Curriculum reform (Continued from page 9)
The hidden curriculum: Educational experiences, such as global
health initiatives and research projects, aren't part of the formal
curriculum, but maybe they should be. Members of the task force
believe that formal recognition of such activities will lead to
physicians who are more likely to be scholars, leaders, educators,
researchers and evidence-based practitioners.
Learning communities: In the Island Medical Program and
Northern Medical Program, smaller class sizes have led to closer
teacher-student relationships — and perhaps a richer experience.
The task force is contemplating that model for all students by
grouping them with faculty members who are both exemplary
teachers and role models. In such Academic Learning Communities,
social activities, mentorship and advising would be combined with
parts of the curriculum, such as a "Professional Doctoring" type
of course.
The Task Force held a faculty retreat in January where response
to the initial recommendations was very supportive. The Task Force
will submit its recommendations and an implementation plan
to Gown Stuart, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and UBC's Vice
Provost Health, at the end of April.
"Curriculum renewal is not easy," Dr.Towle says. "But we are excited
bythe creative ideas coming forward, and bythe support from
faculty and students.There's a shared feeling that we're building
on the very real strengths and opportunities of our distributed
program to take innovation to the next level."
Online education (Continued from page 11)
practicing and prospective surgeons in working in underserved
areas, and a growing recognition that surgery can play a vital role in
improving health in those places. "There are a whole lot of surgical
conditions that can be treated with as much cost-effectiveness as
a vaccination program," Dr. Taylor says. "That wasn't on anybody's
radar until a few years ago."
Dr.Taylor, who spent about a quarter of his 40-year career in the
developing world (including Congo, Sri Lanka and Bolivia), found
himself being called upon for advice by professional associations
and his own department. As this activity intensified, he and his
faculty colleagues saw the need to prepare surgeons and members
of surgical teams for the issues and challenges they would
encounter in the field, including ethics, advocacy, and teaching
surgery in low-resource settings.
That subject matter, and the ability to "discuss" it with other
students, at anytime of day from any part of the world, made
it a natural choice for Warren Terry, a pediatric orthopaedic
surgeon who works for Cure International, a non-governmental
organization. At the time he took the course, he was working at
a children's disability hospital in Honduras.
"I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the issues I face
in my international children's disability work and to better
understand related issues such as maternal morbidity and
mortality," Dr. Terry says. "I developed a more comprehensive
understanding of the issues surrounding international surgery,
examined different approaches, and came to understand
the perspectives and challenges of other disciplines such as
anesthesia and obstetrics.The course also allowed some network-
building among like-minded colleagues."
^2^ health
z=^^=x     SCIENCES
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to our Health Sciences Department
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i'.. IM ■ „
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ftanai mo Begionil General Hospital
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aojral Infnnd Mcttpf at
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O Community Education Facilities,
Rural and Remote Distributed Sites
S? -v og medical studanta and residents,
B$udant«udi(i :■.= rt* speech language pathologists,
occupational therapists, physical thaiap =U
and'or nwdwive; ici the community
Faculty of Medicine
The University of British Columbia
317-2194 Health Sciences Mall
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6T1Z3
T: 604822 2421
F: 604822 6061


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