Saskatchewan shines during “conference month”

April is always a busy month for conferences and this year was no exception. Two meetings that I found particularly enjoyable and inspiring were the Rural and Remote Medicine Conference put on by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC), and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) Induction Ceremony.

I must note, as a medical educator and board member of the AFMC, that the Canadian Conference on Medical Education and the AFMC board meetings in Niagara Falls in mid-April were excellent as usual.

Rural and Remote, as its fans call it, was held in Halifax, where I got to revisit old haunts, see old friends, get my fill of lobster rolls, seafood restaurants, Maritime pub music and Maritime craft beer. It was great fun—and that says nothing of the great meeting.

SRPC is a member-based organization of both specialist and family medicine physicians who practice in rural Canada. I have presented workshops there in the past and this was the fourth time I attended. I always come away in awe of our colleagues who practice rural and remote medicine. Their camaraderie and shared vision for excellence in the care of rural people is impressive.

Continuing medical education (CME) is always outstanding and is always presented by a mixture of SRPC members and city-based experts. A stand out presentation for me, delivered by a rural physician, involved evidence-based medicine used superbly to eviscerate a set of guidelines, as well as document all of the conflicts of interest among the guideline authors!

Dr. Jon Witt provided a truly inspiring presentation on the Humboldt Broncos Code Orange. Jon’s story made one proud to be from Saskatchewan. Rural and Remote felt like a Saskatchewan meeting, as we were so well represented by the SMA, saskdocs, Northern Medical Services and the CoM.

I suggested to my dean colleagues at the CME that they all should attend an SRPC meeting at least once to truly understand the challenges our rural colleagues face in providing care in such resource scarce environments. It is good advice for anyone in an academic centre. Besides, they are a fun group and the CME is excellent.

The CMHF Induction Ceremony was held last week in Montreal, hosted by the McGill University Faculty of Medicine. The CMHF is a 25-year-old organization with the vision: a Canada that honours our medical heroes – those of the past, present and future. As of 2018, there were 137 laureates. Each year there are six new laureates inducted, one of which may be post-humous. The CMHF is based in London, Ontario and will have a new Exhibit Hall in early 2020.

Through 2018, Saskatchewan had six members.

You can see five of their pictures outside my office at the CoM: Dr. Calvin Stiller, Dr. Harold Jons, Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk, Dr. James Till and Justice Emmitt Hall. You will find the picture of Tommy Douglas in our USask College of Law. In 2019, we honoured our seventh inductee: Dr. James Dosman.

Most members are physicians or scientists. Others, such as Saskatchewan’s Douglas and Hall, have been critical in shaping Canadian health care. In that vein, one of the 2019 inductees was a medical historian from Queen’s. Some other national names everyone may recognize from years past include Sir William Osler, Dr. Wilder Penfield, Sir Frederick Banting, Dr. Charles Best and Dr. Norman Bethune.

The experience in 2019 was very special, as Jim is a CoM alumnus and has spent his entire career (with the exception of his residency at McGill) at USask. Jim is well known to many of us, but I highly recommend you visit the CMHF Induction 2019 website to see his bio with this year’s inductees. Jim was the founder of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA) and is known as the “father of agricultural medicine” in Canada.

We were well represented at the ceremony, with two tables for the CoM and CCHSA, and two more with Jim’s family, including his wife Susan and children and grandchildren, and friends. It was a very special Saskatchewan moment in Montreal when they showed Jim’s CMHF tribute video describing his amazing contributions in care, teaching, research and leadership.

All inductees selected a piece of music for their walk to the stage and many chose classical and more traditional pieces. Jim went up on stage to The Last Saskatchewan Pirate by The Arrogant Worms; it brought the house down!

For Jim’s nomination, I thank especially Dr. Shelley Kirychuk and the team at CCHSA, Dr. Ernie Barber, and Gail Shivak and our CoM advancement team.

Also making us all proud was Adam Neufeld, in our third-year MD class, who received the Dr. Calvin R. Stiller CMHF Award. Adam has a passion for community outreach, research and mentorship and among other accomplishments was awarded the 2018 CoM Mentor of the Year Award. You can read more about Adam on the CMHF website or in this article in the SMA Digest (page 27).

So, it was a busy April of national meetings with Saskatchewan excellently represented.

As always, I welcome your feedback.


One thought on “Saskatchewan shines during “conference month”

  1. Thanks for your blog, Preston. I always enjoy them.
    I’d like to add my congratulations to the many others that have been expressed for Dr James Dosman’s induction to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. My first contact with Jim goes way back to the time we were both Fellows in the laboratory of Dr. Peter T Macklem at McGill. We stayed in touch, and connected research-wise about 10 years ago when I was in Edmonton. Jim got into research with Saskatchewan First Nation communities, and I was happy to be part of Jim’s CIHR team. When I finally came to USask in 2017, I came into an already active Indigenous health research group, which still continues under Jim’s leadership.
    All my best wishes, Jim.

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