All Posts Tagged With: "medicine"
Trio alleged discrimination, negligence
TORONTO – Allowing three doctors from Saudi Arabia who alleged discrimination and negligence to sue the University of Ottawa would be an abuse of process, Ontario’s top court ruled Friday.
In rejecting an appeal from the trio, who had sought $156 million in damages, the court sided with a lower court that struck down their attempted lawsuit without deciding on its merits.
“It is the province of the motion judge to make factual findings,” the Ontario Court of Appeal found.
“We see no basis to interfere with the factual finding.”
The students — Khalid Aba-Alkhail, Manal Alsaigh and Waleed AlGhaithy — were either denied advancement or dismissed from the school’s neurosurgery program.
They appealed unsuccessfully through the university’s various internal processes.
Did Canada train too many doctors?
TORONTO – The findings are startling, given years of complaints about doctor shortages and long wait times for surgeries. But a new report suggests that nearly one in six recently minted medical specialists cannot find work in their field.
And one in five of the new specialists reported taking a series of short term fill-in posts — locums, in the lingo of medicine — to stay working.
Physicians who reported having trouble finding work included urologists, critical care specialists, gastroenterologists, ophthamologists, orthopedic surgeons and general surgeons, though doctors from other sub-specialties were also unemployed.
Steven Lewis, a health policy consultant based in Saskatchewan, suggested the report is proof reactive moves made over the last 15 years or so solved one problem by creating another. And he said the situation the report captures will only get worse, because medical schools will continue to graduate specialists at current levels for the next few years at least.
“I think we overshot the mark,” said Lewis, who was not involved in this study.
“I think that there is no question that … almost doubling medical school enrolments since the late 1990s combined with easier paths to licensure for international medical grads was the wrong thing to do. We didn’t think it through as a country.”
Aging population means jobs in nursing, medicine and more
From the Future of Jobs report
As an ecological field researcher with British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Sonya Powell had a dependable, though segmented, career. Seasonal contracts put her in the woods each summer, surveying tree life for $20 to $25 an hour; in the winters, she taught geography classes at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Gaps between jobs were her vacation time, she chuckles.
That was before the global economic downturn led to the collapse of the forestry sector. In the summer of 2009, Powell couldn’t find her usual contracts. Remembering the health problems of the isolated communities she had passed through in the summers, she enrolled in an accelerated 20-month nursing program at UBC designed for students in their second careers. It paid off: She landed not one, but two nursing jobs when she graduated.
Medical schools address conflict-of-interest
When Toronto family doctor Navindra Persaud was studying medicine at the University of Toronto in 2004, he took a week-long course on how to treat patients suffering from chronic pain. But something was missing from the lessons.
While there was a growing body of evidence about the risks—addiction, overdose, death—related to opioids such as OxyContin, the negative effects were minimized. Instead, students learned about “strong, consistent” research to support prescribing the drugs to patients with chronic pain unrelated to cancer. Persaud says he and his peers left the lectures with an “incomplete and partially inaccurate” picture of how to treat patients.
At the time, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the classes. Now he knows the lecturer had been previously paid to speak about pain management on behalf of Purdue Pharma LP, the makers of OxyContin. And the free textbook handed out to students? It was published by the drug company, as well. Just three years later, in 2007, Purdue paid more than $600 million, one of the biggest drug settlements in U.S. history, to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities for misleading health care professionals about OxyContin’s addictive properties.
SickKids to bring 2,000-plus scientists under one roof
TORONTO – Light pours in from gracefully curving windows that soar three storeys above the floor, illuminating clusters of comfy couches in a space that soon will be humming with the voices of scientists. It’s a place to chat over coffee, trade details of their latest research and hopefully light the spark of medical discovery.
The lofty space is part of one of several “neighbourhoods” in Sick Kids’ new research tower in downtown Toronto, which will bring together the venerable hospitals’ 2,000-plus scientists under one roof after decades of being scattered in five different locations.
More than 10 years in the planning and construction, the 21-storey Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning officially opens Sept. 17, a mere few minutes walk from the hospital renowned for the invention of Pablum and the discovery of the genes behind Duchenne muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis.
Prof. Pettigrew on students ditching STEM
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal seems awfully disappointed in America’s science students, zinging would-be science grads for switching majors when they learn that science and math are hard.
The Journal cites a new paper that looks at data from Berea College which does, indeed, find that science disciplines tend to be the ones that university students switch out of, not into. Their results accord with my own anecdotal sense: many students start in science but find that it’s not for them and change to the arts or what have you. Moreover, in my experience, few arts students have much academic interest in science per se—and many of them actively fear mathematics—so few students switch into science. This, more or less, is borne out by the numbers in this particular study, for, as the authors conclude:
We find that students enter college as open to a major in science as to any other major, but that relatively few students finish school with science as their outcome. This occurs because, relative to other majors, students are both more likely to leave science (if they started in science) and are less likely to change into science (if they started in a major other than science).
An interview with the remarkable Will Guest
Will Guest, a 25-year-old University of British Columbia student, has earned an M.D. and a PhD and will soon patent an algorithm that could have implications for Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In case you’re wondering, he skipped fifth grade, finished his undergraduate at the University of Manitoba in three years and completed his combined M.D./PhD a year ahead of schedule. After just returning from a vacation in China, we spoke about his route to success, the Canadian university system and how others can succeed.
In high school, what was your typical day like?
I went to high school in Winnipeg. We were able to work independently in our math courses so we could work ahead and complete our high school curriculum as quickly as possible and then we could take AP (Advanced Placement) courses. When we’d finished the AP courses, we could go on and actually take university courses in high school through the University of Manitoba. Fortunately, it was a pretty normal schedule. I wasn’t working day and night by any means. I enjoyed it.
Mark Goldszmidt earns 3M National Teaching Fellowship
Mark Goldszmidt, a professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University, is a 3M National Teaching Fellowship recipient for 2013. Maclean’s On Campus is profiling all 10 in the coming weeks.
In 1999, when Mark Goldszmidt was a postgraduate medical student at Western, he took a one-day course on teaching with Dr. Wayne Weston. “At the end of the workshop he stuck around,” says Weston, an emeritus professor of family medicine, “and had a lot of insightful questions and suggestions.”
It was the beginning of more than a decade of collaboration between the two, and a classic Goldszmidt move. “I always see the gaps, and the ways it could be better,” says Goldszmidt, an associate professor of medicine who teaches a spectrum of students, from undergraduates to faculty. He has revamped other classes, created new ones, and when he saw a bigger need for innovation in medical education, he helped found the Centre for Education Research & Innovation.
Tuition & fees at 17 Canadian schools
Gaining acceptance to medical school is the first hurdle. The next challenge is paying
for it. The figures listed below show first-year tuition for the academic year 2012-2013.
Two tuition figures are listed for schools in Quebec: the first applies for residents of Quebec; the higher figure is charged for students from outside the province. *Tuition for residents of Quebec or New Brunswick. Sources: Office of Research and Information Services, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. This graphic originally appeared in the Maclean’s Professional Schools issue.
law rankings, engineering, medicine, M.B.A.s and more
Inside the 2012 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue, on newsstands and iPad now, you’ll find:
—Our much-anticipated Law School Rankings
—The hottest engineering field
—Should articling be scrapped?
—How students are financing their degrees
—Rebranding the M.B.A.
…and much more. Pick up or download your copy of Maclean’s today.
Moving may boost the odds of medical school admission
From the 2012 Maclean’s Professional Schools Issue, on newsstands and iPad now.
It has been a long road for 33-year-old Kyla Adams from her high school years—when there was no question in her mind that she’d one day become a physician—to today, when the British Columbia native feels she finally has a decent shot at medical school.
In Adams’s second year of university, the academic and social stresses of life at the University of British Columbia caught up with her and she flunked out of school, temporarily shelving her ambition. After several years of selling running shoes, travelling and working as a personal trainer, Adams wrote the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) at the age of 26. She surprised herself with a decent score, which inspired her to enrol at the University of Victoria, where she earned a double degree in biology and earth sciences. She rewrote the MCAT, boosted her score and applied to medical school.
But the rules had changed. She was no longer allowed to drop those crummy decade-old marks from her application as she had thought. She applied to UBC’s medical school and didn’t get in. She applied again, and was rejected again. She applied a third time. No luck.
Subject rankings for science, medicine, engineering…
Here are the top five highest ranked universities in the QS World University Rankings by Subject and the rankings of Canadian schools in science, engineering, and health disciplines. For arts, humanities and business, click here. For the full rankings, visit TopUniversities.com.
1. Harvard University (United States)
2. University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
3. National University of Singapore (NUS) (Singapore)
4. University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
5. Karolinska Institute (Sweden)
11. University of Toronto
25. University of Alberta
26. University of British Columbia
29. McGill University
51-100. Western University, Université de Montréal
101-150. University of Waterloo
151-200. Dalhousie University, Laval University, University of Saskatchewan
Slim chance of residency upon return
Students considering medicine may want to avoid studying overseas, Dr. Dave Snadden, executive associate dean of medicine at the University of British Columbia, tells the Vancouver Sun.
“They need to know how much more severe that competition is if they go abroad and want to apply for residency positions here upon graduation,” he says, referring to the thousands of Canadian students who go to medical schools in places like Ireland, England, Australia and the Caribbean, usually after failing to secure spots in Canada.
Good news for arts majors interested in medicine
Students planning on applying to medical school might want to take some sociology and psychology courses along with their organic chemistry.
A new and improved Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is on the way, with changes to better assess whether applicants are “well-rounded.”
The biggest changes are coming in 2015 when a new section will be introduced that tests behavioural and social sciences principles.
The MCAT is supposed to serve as a ‘litmus test’ to show which applicants have the most potential as physicians. Considering it was originally introduced in 1928 and last revised in 1991, many believe that an update is overdue.
Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), says that the future will require a “different kind of physician,” who is more “culturally competent.”
For some students, four years of undergrad is too much
From the 21st Maclean’s University Rankings—on newsstands now. Story by Richard Warnica.
Shawn Alavi, who graduated from McMaster University in 2006, was 21 when he landed his first engineering job. Today, at 26, he’s a certified engineer—a P.Eng. in the jargon—with years of professional experience, money in the bank and a settled career. “Getting out of school earlier meant I was able to clear my debts earlier,” he says. “Now I’m just saving for my future, deciding on my next step.”
In engineering, Alavi found a profession that allowed him to enter the workforce after just four years of school and to achieve his professional certification through paid experience. “I’ve been working for almost five years now,” he says. “I’ve been able to get my life on track a little quicker than most.”
Multiple Mini Interview criticized (and defended)
Medical school applicants at the University of British Columbia will no longer take part in a block-building exercise, reports the Vancouver Sun.
But the other exercises that make-up the school’s Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) process are here to stay, according to Dr. Joseph Finkler, associate dean of admissions at UBC.
The news comes after Dr. Brian Day, former head of the Canadian Medical Association, wrote an editorial in the B.C. Medical Journal, calling the MMI process “contrived, artificial, and bizarre.”
The MMI, now the norm in Canada, requires that applicants move through several different stations to be assessed by interviewers who attempt to discern motivation, social concern, creativity, maturity, integrity, empathy and more.
New program shows less-wealthy kids a path to medicine
Ridge Cross-McComber is about as blasé as your average overachiever when it comes to his laundry list of goals for the next few years and beyond. He’ll finish his year at Montreal’s Dawson College, move to Vanier College for either nursing or pure and applied science, then go to medical school to become a surgeon. After that, he’ll practise medicine in Kahnawake, his hometown. “I want to be a role model for my community,” says the 17-year-old, sitting in a café in the native reserve near Montreal. “It’s something I want to do for my town and my people. I want to show that I can do this.”
As far as medical school goes, history and statistics are stacked against Cross-McComber. Wealthy students tend to be overrepresented in the field, for one. According to a study by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, nearly 45 per cent of medical students come from families making over $100,000 a year. (Only about 26 per cent of Canadian families are in this demographic, according to the AFMC study.) And while medical schools are decidedly less uniformly Caucasian than they used to be, the AFMC study indicates that many visible minorites continue to be under-represented.
From the 2011 Maclean’s Professional Schools Rankings
Roughly three-quarters of medical school applicants are rejected each year. Bummer. Luckily for them, wannabe doctors have better alternatives than ever. These four professional health care programs can be completed in just a few years, are in high demand, and pay well directly out of school. That means graduates can start paying off their student loans while medical residents are still driving beat-up old cars to 24-hour shifts.
Health Care Manager
The Job: Health care managers work in hospitals, medical clinics and nursing homes where they direct teams of health care providers. Their job is to make sure patients get excellent care and, simultaneously, that Canadians get good value for the nearly $200 billion they spend on health care each year.
Money will create programs for under-represented youth
More students from under-represented groups will be encouraged to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and medicine) fields, thanks to $1.25-million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
“Our Government recognizes the importance of preparing young people for today’s high-tech economy,” said Conservative MP Peter Braid at the announcement in Waterloo. “By developing our next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, we can help drive innovation and keep the economy growing in southern Ontario for years to come.”
The money goes to Actua, a science, engineering and technology outreach network that provides summer camps and classroom workshops delivered by university students. The funding will help create new programs for under-represented children, including Aboriginals, at-risk youth and girls.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a study that showed women make up only 25 per cent of the STEM workforce, despite holding nearly 50 per cent of all jobs. They concluded that America’s economic growth is held back by the gender gap in STEM fields.
Woman joins elite group of doctors
Alberta’s 50-year-old neurosurgery program has it’s first female alumnus. Dr. Jenny Souster has completed her seven year residency with the University of Alberta. ”The neurosurgery program has been here (at U of A) for 50 years and they’ve had a few women enter the program, but they didn’t make it through to the end, so I’m the first one to actually finish,” Souster told the Calgary Herald. Neurosurgery, which mends brains and spinal cords, is one of the most difficult specialties to learn. There are only 270 fellows of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada who are listed as neurosurgeons today. Most of them are men.