On Connection

“But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”

~ David Whyte in Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words (2015)

Crowdsourcing in Health

“The field of crowdsourcing has developed in information technology or business, but crowdsourcing can be a promising tool in health, and in global health in particular. It is rapid, low cost, and can collect a huge amount of information from a large number of people. It also is a flexible method that has the potential to cover a variety of research, including quickly evolving epidemiological research and traditional behavioural research. It can cover unpredictable events, produce novel discoveries, and can also be used to raise public awareness. Research in crowdsourcing has also been shown to be at least as accurate as traditional research methods.”

More on Applications of Crowdsourcing in Health: An Overview (2018) by Kerri Wazny via Journal of Global Health

More on Diagnosis by Dr. Lisa Sanders via The New York Times

A Resident’s Guide to the CCFP Examination

“Good family medicine residents commit to a study methodology early. They create a study calendar in December and cover one topic per day. They study using only three resources. They download the 99 App and carry their spiral-bound Family Medicine Notes to clinic. They treat every office encounter as a mock SOO. If they are still on iOS, they realize that now would be a good time to switch to Android, as the app is only available on the latter. They quiz themselves with the Family Medicine Study Guide App.

Bad family medicine residents look for a ‘golden approach’ that works, without accounting for their unique strengths and weaknesses. They spend months switching study tactics in the hope of finding the secret approach that works. It doesn’t work.”

More on The Bad Family Medicine Resident’s Guide to the CCFP Examination by our former UBC Abbotsford-Mission Family Medicine Resident, Dr. Joseph Westgeest, currently residing and practicing in beautiful Halifax.

Thank you Joseph for taking the time to compose your thoughts and experiences in preparing for exams.

Warm regards,


The Great Hatch

the great hatch.jpeg

What is The Great Hatch? How can we bring together individuals of all different backgrounds and give them the opportunity to address important issues within the world of healthcare? The Great Hatch is an annual weekend-long innovation event that aims to harness the potential we have as humans to create and critically think to solve problems and improve lives. We give people a chance to connect with each other because that is where the most inspiring stories and solutions are hatched.

Participate and learn more here!

On Medical Research

“The pharmaceutical industry, as thoroughly documented in recent literature, is the most profitable industry worldwide, more profitable than the weapon and financial industries. The question is not so much if the industry is profitable, it is more that there are levels of profitability that are immoral since this industry is linked to disease and people’s health, in which one has no option. One can buy an iPhone or not, or buy a cheaper one. But if one has cancer, they have to buy the suitable medicine, the one that the doctor prescribed. And if this medicine is not affordable, they simply die.”
“The industry is much more interested in producing medicines to treat rather than cure. Because when one has a medicine to treat and to treat for life, they keep a customer. And if it is a business, and this industry is a business, they retain a customer. Hypertension? Take this medicine for the rest of your life. Cholesterol? Take this for the rest of your life. An antibiotic you take for four days and you’re cured. And you lose a customer. Then antibiotics are running out and many drugs that would cure are running out. Today, 80% of medicines are to treat. And sometimes to treat the symptom only, not even the disease.”
~ Dr. Germán Velasquez, former Director of the World Health Organization Secretariat on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property

More on Medical Research: Houston, we have a problem, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Horizon 2020: The EU Framework Programme for Research, and Innovative Medicines Initiative.

#NeglectedDiseases #DevelopMedicinesToCure #BetterInvestmentDecisions #DefensivePatenting #RDProcess #PublishClinicalResults #GreaterTransparency #InternationalRDTreaty #OpenAccessOpenSource

Lead in the Water

Bubbler.jpg“A majority of public schools in Abbotsford and Mission use water with lead above a recently adjusted threshold set by Health Canada.

In March 2019, Health Canada halved the acceptable amount of lead concentration in water from .01 to .005 mg/L, putting 25 out of 34 schools in Abbotsford, and 14 out of 16 schools in Mission, over the limit.

The Abbotsford School District is now contracting an independent laboratory to test all of the schools that failed the water test and locate any contaminated water sources, according to the district’s manager of communications, Kayla Stuckart.

‘Staff will be taking action at each of the affected school sites to ensure the drinking water for students and staff is only available from fountains and sinks with water quality meeting health standards,’ Stuckart said.

The schools which failed water tests are listed below with their percentage above the Health Canada limit.”

Barrowtown Elementary: 50%
Mt Lehman Elementary: 37.5%
Godson Elementary: 33.3%
Dormick Park Elementary: 33.3%
Centennial Park Elementary: 30%
Wj Mouat Secondary: 27.8%
Aberdeen Elementary: 25%
Start Technologies: 25%
John Maclure Elementary: 20%
Wa Fraser Middle: 16.7%
Abbotsford Art Center: 16.7%
Clearbrook Elementary: 16.7%
Abbotsford Virtual School: 16.7%
Dr Thomas A Swift Elementary: 16.7%
Prince Charles Elementary: 16.7%
Center For Resources For Education: 16.7%
South Poplar Elementary: 16.7%
Bakerview Center For Learning: 14.3%
Asia North Poplar Elementary: 12.5%
Ross Elementary: 12.5%
Aboriginal Education Center: 12.5%
Upper Sumas Elementary: 12.5%

École Les Deux Rives: 100%
Albert Mcmahon Elementary: 83.3%
Dewdney Elementary: 78.6%
Fraserview Elementary: 70%
Hatzic Middle School: 64.3%
Hatzic Elementary: 62.5%
West Heights Elementary: 60%
E.S. Richards Elementary: 44.4%
Silverdale Elementary: 44.4%
Cherry Hill Elementary: 40%
Hillside Elementary: 33.3%
Mission Secondary: 30.4%
Mission Central Elementary: 28.6%
Ferndale Elementary: 25%

More on Most public schools in Abbotsford and Mission have water contaminated with lead 25 out of 34 Abbotsford schools have been found to have lead above the Health Canada limit via Abbotsford News.

Feeding the World

“There were riots in 34 countries and a number of governments fell because people just didn’t get the food that they needed and they were demonstrating in the streets. And I realized that food security, having enough to eat, is not just an issue for your health, but it’s also an issue that has profound political consequences to the point where governments put ensuring that people get the food they need when they need it at a price they can afford, very high up the ladder of political imperatives.”
~ Dr. David Nabarro, UN Advisor on Sustainable Development

More on Changing climate is affecting how we feed ourselves via CBC.

Learn more here: