Institutional Infrastructure for Wellness

“Unmet needs relating to physician wellness patterned into organizational, community- and individual-level themes, detailed below. Institutional infrastructure, in the form of dedicated space, such as a physicians’ lounge for self-care, and an identified, internally supported dedicated time for physician processing, was highlighted as an unmet need. The disconnect between individuals’ desire to deliver care that met their own standards and their inability to deliver such care due to system-level barriers was a frequent source of distress, frustration, and demoralization. Please see Fig. 1 for an overview of themes and potential approaches for addressing the challenges described.”wellness.jpeg

More on Developing institutional infrastructure for physician wellness: Qualitative insights from VA physicians (2020) by Schwartz et al. via BMC.

Powerful Peptides

Artistic rendering of the computationally designed peptide gEHEE_06. The molecular surface is shown as a transparent blue shell, and the peptide’s backbone structure is pink. The amino acids’ side chains are white (carbon atoms), blue (nitrogen atoms) and red (oxygen atoms). The crisscrossing bonds that give the peptide its constrained, stable shape are in bright white. Graphic by Dr. Vikram Mulligan. Source here.

“Some common life-saving medicines, such as insulin, are made of proteins so large and fragile that they need to be injected instead of ingested as pills. But a new generation of medicine — made from smaller, more durable proteins known as peptides — is on its way. In a quick, informative talk, molecular engineer and TED Fellow Christopher Bahl explains how he’s using computational design to create powerful peptides that could one day neutralize the flu, protect against botulism poisoning and even stop cancer cells from growing.”

Learn more here at A new type of medicine, custom-made with tiny proteins by Christopher Bahl via TED2019.

Tackling Metabolic Disease

A fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) feeding off a banana. Image by Sanjay Acharya.

“When it comes to determining how women and men store fat differently, it turns out fruit flies may hold the key.

People and fruit flies are astonishingly alike genetically. In fact, nearly 75 per cent of disease-causing genes in humans can be found in the fly in a similar form.

In a new study, recently published in PLOS Biology, researchers from UBC’s faculty of medicine used fruit flies to make a fundamental genetic discovery about differences between how males and females store and metabolize fat.”

Learn more here on How do men and women store fat differently? Ask the fruit fly via UBC News.

Friday Link Pack


We can do CaRMS better. Contact the CaRMS Board of Directors to share your ideas.
Starbucks plan to reduce its environmental footprint.
Latest on the Coronavirus outbreak.
18 more things you should know about Google & healthcare.
Tuition-free EdX course “Introduction to Simulation Education in Healthcare.”
Neuroeconomics + Cognitive Neuroscience. Fascinating stuff.
Genetics & the future of precision medicine.
Top 10 medical innovations for 2020.
Who pays when patients miss appointments? Everyone.
UBC Health Awards for 2019. Nominate here.
A UBC science project for healthier ecosystems.
The health costs living near major roads.
Fighting overdoses with drug-dispensing machine.
Got an idea? Sign up for UBC’s Lite Hacks this Sunday!

Have a great weekend!


Wellness & Outcomes

Nadine-Caron-FNHAC_1200x860.jpg“On Jan. 6, 2020, Nadine Caron, Canada’s first female First Nations general surgeon, was appointed to a newly created UBC position dedicated to improving cancer outcomes and wellness among Indigenous peoples.

Community members gathered to honour Dr. Caron as the founding First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Chair in Cancer and Wellness at UBC and mark the start of the groundbreaking initiative aimed at transforming health for Indigenous peoples.”

More on Improving Indigenous Cancer Outcomes and Wellness via UBC Faculty of Medicine.

Models of Wellness

“Steven Manning remembers the night he realized he had become pessimistic about practicing medicine. One Wednesday at his family care practice in Williamston, N.C., he worked on electronic medical records well past 9 p.m. His wife and kids waited for him at home. He had seen about 30 patients that day but felt he hadn’t given a single one the highest level of care because the appointment times were too short. Yet the hospital and insurance companies kept pressuring him to see more patients a day, not fewer.

“I began to think, ‘I’m burned out. How did I get to this point? I don’t enjoy coming into work.’ ” It wasn’t too late to make a change. Within a year, Manning started a direct primary care practice, a model where patients pay a membership fee, negating the need for insurance billing. Without mounds of paperwork, he had time to do what he truly wanted: help patients.

“It brought back the joy of medicine I felt I was missing,” he says. “Before, I barely had time to address my patients’ diabetes, hypertension and heart failure, let alone spend time taking a mental and spiritual inventory.”

More on “From moms to medical doctors, burnout is everywhere these days” via The Washington Post.

#ChangingTheModel #PracticingWellness

Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness Program

Creating Healthy Agents of Change
“The Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness Program (CRUW) is based at Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) and operates in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Farm, the Faculty of Land and Food systems at UBC, and Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS). The program brings Aboriginal youth in foster care at VACFSS together with other diverse youth through the LIFT program at PCRS.”

To learn more visit Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness Program.

Focus & Exam Preparation

“Therefore, if we conclude that all behaviours are prompted by a desire to escape discomfort, that means that time management is pain management. That the latest life hacks and gurus’ techniques don’t work unless we fundamentally understand this fact that time management is pain management. If we do not deal with the reason why we are looking for escape, why we are getting distracted in the first place, why we want to take our mind off of this emotional discomfort, we will never escape distraction.” ~ Nir Eyal

With exam preparation and scholar projects on the go, here are a few tips to maintain focus and concentration during this busy time.

#ContinuousPartialAttention #MythOfMultitasking #TheFiveMoreRule #Meditation #WatchingTheClock


“Telehealth involves a range of tools that are each optimally useful in different settings and should accordingly be selected when most applicable. Ultimately, the goal is to bring people closer together when they are geographically separated. Enhanced timely access to high-quality generalist services, improved outcomes and experiences for patients, and enriched relationships between all stakeholders are some important end points that coincide with the goals of the Triple Aim Initiative. Ideally, telehealth modalities will be incorporated collectively into a holistic, multi-dimensional, patient-centred communication strategy. The relationship between technology and medicine is evolving. As we think about the future, it actually becomes difficult to envision a health care system without telehealth modalities used to support patient-centred care and enhanced relationships.”

More on Telehealth and patient-doctor relationships in rural and remote communities (2016) by Toh, Pawlovich, & Grzybowski via Canadian Family Physician.

During our most recent storm, I thought about how we can best deliver care when roads and transportation are inaccessible. The implementation of telehealth is one alternative.

Know before you head out on the roads and drive safe. Here are a few resources to check our current weather & road conditions.

Warm regards,