Food as Medicine


“What they have here, they call it … [a] health-care system, but it’s basically a sickness care model.” ~ Dr. Shobha Rayapudi
The Rayapudis found that 80 per cent of the diseases they were seeing in patients were related to diet and lifestyle — and changing these two factors was more effective and safe than treating chronic diseases with drugs and surgery.
Changing eating habits requires three ingredients, said Shobha. If one ingredient is missing, “the change is not going to happen in a sustainable manner. First, you have to have the knowledge, like why certain foods are harmful.…Similarly, you have to have the skills of how you can put that knowledge into place. And the third one is you have to have the support.”

More on Food as medicine: How this Newfoundland community got ‘hooked’ on plant-based eating via CBC Radio White Coat, Black Art.

Coach’s Award 2019

20190523_155308_HDR_resized.jpgImparting knowledge is only lighting other men’s candles at our lamp without depriving ourselves of any flame. ~ Jane Porter

It’s that time of year where I reflect on our team and those individuals who have demonstrated perseverance in honing their teaching skills. These are educators who exemplify excellence, honesty, and authenticity in their work. They greatly value the discipline and practice of education by establishing meaningful and supportive relationships with our learners, faculty, and staff. This year I’d like to acknowledge Dr. Nader Elmayergi, Dr. Shavinder Gill, Dr. Jeff Kornelsen, and Dr. Iris Liu.

Dr. Nader Elmayergi, Cardiologist: Dr. Elmayergi spearheaded the development of our Cardiology Primer that has been locally and globally accessed and shared. In 2018, he encouraged his colleagues to contribute to the work and updated the Primer with two additional co-authors, Dr. Perminder Bains (Medical Director, Heart Failure) and Dr. Osama Gusbi (Medical Director, Cardiodiagnostics). Dr. Elmayergi strives to improve his inventions while igniting others to do the same. He recently joined our Faculty as our EBM Lead and Specialist Liaison.

Dr. Shavinder Gil, Internist: Dr. Gill is one of the most dedicated individuals to teaching and learning. He invests hours in designing new pathways and approaches to sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. Dr. Gill contributes to our academic half day sessions and frequently extends himself to our residents who may want to learn more about internal medicine. He provides us with refreshing ideas and opportunities that allow our site to explore how we can improve our Family Physician Residency Program.

Dr. Jeff Kornelsen, Family Physician: Dr. Kornelsen is a continual source of inspiration and innovation. It was through his desire to improve upon his own teaching that we developed a novel method of providing preceptors access to timely feedback via video observation. This resulted in our recent Faculty Development Initiative Grant award allowing the Department of Family Practice to further pursue the concept. Dr. Kornelsen also serves as a primary preceptor and advocate for women’s maternity care.

Dr. Iris Liu, Family Physician: Dr. Liu, a graduate of the Abbotsford-Mission program, has supported and served as our Faculty Lead for Scholarship and Behavioural Medicine for the past two years. In addition to juggling these two massive portfolios, she has championed the development of our academic events including our Resident Research Evening. Dr. Liu is also a primary preceptor and regularly teaches in our academic half day sessions. She’s nurtured the success of this site through her care and creativity.

Thank you to all of our Family Physician and Specialist preceptors. We exist and persist because of your energy and investment.

I’ll be handing out your medals and a bottle of the best darn root beer this side of Regina at our Pub & Papers evening!

Warm regards,


Sympathy: The Gut & Brain Connection

“So it does make sense that when our body and our brain are putting together this feeling of, ‘How am I, as a whole body, doing?’ that the gut has something to contribute to this process. And it also makes sense that people who have conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk of having anxiety or depression. I think this is good information to share, because many people will think, ‘I have this gut thing, and maybe I also have this mental health thing.’ And maybe–because science is not clear on that right now–it’s really just that the brain is feeling sympathy with their gut.”

Dr. Guilia Enders author of Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ (2015)

On Democracy

Michiko-Maruyama-Spirit-of-The-Heart.jpg“The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we be generous? Can we listen with our whole beings, not just our minds, and offer our attention rather than our opinions? And do we have enough resolve in our hearts to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up–ever–trusting our fellow citizens to join with us in our determined pursuit of a living democracy?”

~Terry Tempest Williams

*Illustration by Dr. Michiko Maruyama

UBC’s Indigenous MDs

UBC’s Executive Associate Dean of Education Dr. Roger Wong with UBC Indigenous Physicians

Many Indigenous people are wary of doctors. Yet familiarity begets communication, and understanding improves care. I have family on reserve, so patients don’t need to tell me their whole story for me to understand. Like the program graduates before me, who work in communities up north and cities across the country, I hope to help bridge that gap and improve Indigenous access to health care, which will improve health outcomes for Indigenous people.

~ More on UBC Program Graduates Indigenous MDs to Bridge Health Gap (May 19, 2019) by Rebekah Eatmon, UBC medical undergraduate and post-graduate resident specializing in family medicine via Times Colonist.

On Results

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

~ Thomas Merton

Improving Access to Contraception

“In BC in 2015, 828 babies were born to mothers under age 20.[9] There are social, educational, and physical risks associated with unintended pregnancy in adolescence.[10] Unintended teen pregnancies are associated with poorer educational achievement and lower income for the mother. Babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be born preterm and small for gestational age, which increases the risk for a stay in a neonatal intensive care unit.[11]

At sexual health clinics across the province, oral contraceptives are often the only contraception choice available for free, despite evidence that LARC is more effective and cost-efficient.[12] While it is laudable that a hormonal IUD is on the Fair Pharmacare formulary, there remain potential barriers for teens whose families may qualify for Fair Pharmacare—the family may not be signed up, or they may not have met their annual deductible yet. For teens from families who do not qualify for Fair Pharmacare, the burden is on the teen to either buy the IUD or ask for financial assistance from their family. Because confidentiality is a foundational aspect of adolescent care,[13] and sexual health care in particular, it is problematic to rely on adolescents to communicate with their parents about covering the cost of an IUD in order to receive the protection.

LARC is now the first-line recommended option for contraception among teens. It is time for the province to follow evidence-based practice by removing barriers to LARC and funding it for youth under age 25 across the province.”

Learn more at It is Time to Improve Access to First-Line Contraception for BC’s Youth (2019) by Kelly Anne Cox, MD, MPH Eva Moore, MD, MSPH via BCMJ, 61(4), pp. 178-179 Premise

Nature & Reducing Anxiety


“Joleen Prystupa is conducting the research as part of her final credits toward her degree in kinesiology. And there is no better way to study the mind than with a few willing participants.

Prystupa will be focusing in on a very specific target group — cancer survivors struggling with anxiety — and is putting the call out for a spring start-up. The group will head out with her twice a week for eight weeks, to get into nature through trail walking together.

‘We are hypothesizing that being outside will reduce anxiety in cancer survivors,’ she says. Cancer survivors are susceptible to anxiety following treatment, worrying about recurrences while physically and mentally recovering from surgeries, chemotherapy and/or radiation. ‘It’s almost a PTSD from the negative experience,’ she says.”

Learn more about Joleen’s study and how you can participate here!

#UFVResearch #Abbotsford #Chilliwack #CancerSurvivors #NatureTrails