Seventh Annual Women’s Health Research Symposium

We would like to invite you to the upcoming Seventh Annual Women’s Health Research Symposium to be held in-person (at the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre on the UBC campus) and virtually (via live-stream) on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.

The theme of this year’s event will centre on catalyzing women’s health research to address shared global health challenges with an emphasis on the scale, spread and impact of local research at the global level.

Please note that we will be hosting a mentorship and networking event for trainees engaged in women’s health research directly after the main symposium program.

More information on the program and speakers can be found here:

To register for the symposium, please click the following link:

We very much look forward to seeing you at the Symposium!

Okanagan Orchards 2022

Got your peaches?!

We’re excited to announce that a date is set for our virtual Okanagan Orchards 2022!

Join our UBC Family Practice preceptors, faculty, residents, and administrators on the afternoon of Friday, May 27th from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. for our faculty development and appreciation event.

We look forward to bringing our team together virtually for an interactive afternoon of intimate discussions, small workshops, and prizes.

This is open to all preceptors and faculty from across our plentiful province. Don’t be shy, join us. We’ll send further details, including an agenda and registration link, soon so keep your apples peeled. Feel free to share this event with colleagues at your site.

Please let me know if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you in May!

Larissa McLean, BA, MHA
Manager, Rural Education & Initiatives
Faculty of Medicine | Department of Family Practice, Postgraduate Program 
The University of British Columbia 

How Doctors Describe Patients Matters

Perception exhibit by Visual artist KC Adams.

“’Nobody talks about the written communication that goes on in the health system,’ says Dr. Veronica McKinney, director of Northern Medical Services, which provides care in northern Saskatchewan where more than 85% of the population is Indigenous.

‘Examining why we are writing or using the terms that we do – that makes physicians feel uncomfortable,’ says McKinney, who has Cree and Métis ancestry. Yet, ‘it’s particularly important in health care because we like to think of ourselves as scientists – as very objective and not having biases – but in reality, we’re human and we all do.’

Perception exhibit by Visual artist KC Adams.

Last fall, the American Medical Association released a guide on equity-focused language as a ‘starting point for reflection.’ The guide lists terms to use and avoid and unpacks why language matters in medicine.

‘Words reflect and shape our thinking,’ as well as the narratives that people take for granted about race, power, health, and medicine, the authors explain. Unexamined narratives that uphold the status quo limit the questions clinicians ask, the solutions they develop and how they describe problems.”

Learn more on How doctors describe patients matters – even in their notes via CMAJ.

Read more on Winnipeg’s new art project stares down racism in the face: How a bold art project projected on Winnipeg’s downtown buildings will challenge perceptions of its Aboriginal citizens via Maclean’s.

Access Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts via AMA Center for Health Equity.

In Other News…

“Parkour enthusiasts need look no further than up in the trees for inspiration. Squirrels’ aerial acrobatics make the rodents masters of the form, a new study suggests.

A detailed look at how squirrels navigate narrow branches that bend and sway with the wind — where the smallest error could spell death — shows that the rodents make split-second calculations to balance trade-offs between branch bendiness and the distance between tree limbs. And for particularly tricky jumps, squirrels improvise parkour-style moves in midair to stick the landing, researchers report in the Aug. 6 Science.

This study is ‘a great example of how cool ‘normal’ animals can be in their biomechanics,’ says Michelle Graham, a graduate student in biomechanics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg who was not involved with the research. ‘We’ve all seen squirrels do crazy stuff in nature, but no one ever pays any attention to it.’

As someone who studied biomechanics…I do! 🙂

More on Squirrels use parkour tricks when leaping from branch to branch via ScienceNews.

How does the study of biomechanics apply to human health? Read more on Preventive Biomechanics: A Paradigm Shift with a Translational Approach to Biomechanics via Am J Sports Med.

Children’s Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Illustration from Children’s Experiences of the Pandemic via the Child Art Project conducted by Dr. Nikki Martyn

“Increasingly, research confirms the negative effects of COVID-19 safety measures on the mental health of children and adolescents.15 Saunders and colleagues6 call for an urgent response to the increasing sustained demand for mental health services inclusive of substance use and developmental disorders. The authors’ population-based cross-sectional study used linked administrative and health data to examine changes in utilization of physician-provided mental health services for 2.5 million children and adolescents aged 3 to 17 years in Ontario, Canada. From March 2020 through February 2021, the authors found a rapid and sustained 10% increase in outpatient mental health service utilization by children and adolescents compared with prior rates. Similar trends were not observed for acute mental health service utilization for the same period, except for girls. The current study found striking sex differences with substantially higher rates of utilization observed for acute inpatient psychiatric hospitalization and outpatient mental health services for school-aged and adolescent girls.

Illustration from Children’s Experiences of the Pandemic via the Child Art Project conducted by Dr. Nikki Martyn

Interventions for common mental health, substance use, and developmental disorders can be delivered in community schools and primary care practices to address mild to moderate symptoms before they worsen. Training non–mental health clinicians to assess and treat common mental health conditions virtually is critical for expanding access to services,23 thereby creating collaborative-care models to address children’s mental health needs in settings with fewer resources. Studies to determine which populations or diagnostic groups will benefit most from virtual or hybrid (virtual and in-person) visits and measurement of quality and outcomes will inform future directions.

Illustration from Children’s Experiences of the Pandemic via the Child Art Project conducted by Dr. Nikki Martyn

The immediate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents has been significant, but the long-term effect will be more devastating without urgent action. Globally, 2.2 billion children have been or will be directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its sequelae. Saunders and colleagues6 and other researchers have sounded the alarm. We cannot wait to respond to the distress and escalating mental health and suicide crisis. Prioritizing children’s and adolescents’ mental health demands a transformational societal and systems solution that protects their future.”

Sounding the Alarm for Children’s Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic via JAMA Pediatrics.

Learn more on this topic:

‘This is too much’: Art shows children’s struggles during pandemic, says researcher via CTV news.

Children’s Experiences of the Pandemic via the Child Art Project by Dr. Nikki Martyn, Program Head of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Guelph-Humber and Adjunct Professor in Human Relations and Nutrition at the University of Guelph.

Healthcare Tech Trends In 2022

The Cholmondeley Ladies c.1600–1610. British School 17th Century. Artist: Unknown

“In healthcare, this trend encompasses the idea of the “virtual patient” – digital simulations of people that are used to test drugs and treatments, with the aim of reducing the time it takes to get new medicines from the design stage into general use. Initially, this may be confined to models or simulations of individual organs or systems. However, progress is being made towards useful models that simulate entire bodies. Current research suggests this is still some way from being a realistic possibility, but during 2022 we will continue to see progress towards this goal.

Digital twins of human organs and systems are a closer prospect, and these allow doctors to explore different pathologies and experiment with treatments without risking harm to individual patients while reducing the need for expensive human or animal trials. A great example is the Living Heart Project, launched in 2014 with the aim of leveraging crowdsourcing to create an open-source digital twin of the human heart. Similarly, the Neurotwin project – a European Union Pathfinder project – models the interaction of electrical fields in the brain, which it is hoped will lead to new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Read more on The Five Biggest Healthcare Tech Trends In 2022 via Forbes.

How observant are you? Can you spot at least 5 differences between The Cholmondeley Ladies?

A Clinician’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Microscopy by AI Artist Mario Klingemann

“Artificial intelligence (AI) in health care is the future that is already here. Despite its potential as a transformational force for primary care, most primary care providers (PCPs) do not know what it is, how it will impact them and their patients, and what its key limitations and ethical pitfalls are. This article is a beginner’s guide to health care AI, written for the frontline PCP. Primary care—as the dominant force at the base of the health care pyramid, with its unrivaled interconnectedness to every part of the health system and its deep relationship with patients and communities—is the most uniquely suited specialty to lead the health care AI revolution. PCPs can advance health care AI by partnering with technologists to ensure that AI use cases are relevant and human-centered, applying quality improvement methods to health care AI implementations, and advocating for inclusive and ethical AI that combats, rather than worsens, health inequities.”

A Clinician’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence (AI): Why and How Primary Care Should Lead the Health Care AI Revolution via The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Taking Love & Care Seriously

Raphael’s Cherubs, 1512-1513, Artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino

“While research on armed conflict focuses primarily on violence and suffering, this article explores the practices of love and care that sit alongside these experiences of harm. Motivated by our omissions to pay sufficient attention to love and care in our research to date, we ask: How can centering practices of love and care illuminate different pathways for understanding the remaking of worlds in the wake of violence? Building on interdisciplinary literature, we conceptualize love and care as practices and potential sites of politics that shape how people survive and make sense of violence as well as imagine and enact lives in its wake. Drawing from our respective research in Colombia and Uganda, we argue that paying attention to love and care expands scholarly understandings of the sites associated with remaking a world, draws attention to the simultaneity of harms and care, sheds light on the textured meanings of politics and political work, and highlights ethical and narrative dilemmas regarding how to capture these political meanings without reducing their intricacies. For each of the pillars of our argument, we propose a set of questions and avenues that can shape emergent research agendas on taking love and care seriously in contexts of armed conflict.”

More on Taking Love and Care Seriously: An Emergent Research Agenda for Remaking Worlds in the Wake of Violence via Oxford Academic.

Endocrine Treatment of Transgender & Gender-Diverse People

“Endocrine therapy is used to change the body’s physical characteristics to reduce gender dysphoria or incongruence. Feminizing endocrine treatment involves the use of ovarian hormones or anti-androgen drugs; however, venous thromboembolism or meningioma can be associated risks. Masculinizing endocrine treatment involves testosterone supplementation, but lower high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, increased triglycerides, and risk of polycythemia may occur. In youth, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist therapy can be used as a reversible means of suppressing unwanted puberty and preventing irreversible body changes.

Physicians can provide treatment that achieves a patient’s goals and minimizes the risk of causing harm by conducting an initial assessment, prescribing medications based on individual factors, and providing follow-up treatment monitoring. Physicians who treat youth must be trained in childhood and adolescent developmental psychopathology. They must also be able to diagnose gender dysphoria or incongruence, establish the youth’s capacity to make decisions regarding their medical care and to understand the relatively irreversible changes in physical characteristics and reproductive capacity that will occur, and ensure that the youth has parental or other adult support and will be able to transition safely in their home setting. Counseling may be required for youth who suffer from anxiety, depression, or suicidality.”

More on Endocrine Treatment of Transgender and Gender-Diverse People via BC Medical Journal

Prediction of 3D Cardiovascular Hemodynamics

“The clinical treatment planning of coronary heart disease requires hemodynamic parameters to provide proper guidance. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is gradually used in the simulation of cardiovascular hemodynamics. However, for the patient-specific model, the complex operation and high computational cost of CFD hinder its clinical application. To deal with these problems, we develop cardiovascular hemodynamic point datasets and a dual sampling channel deep learning network, which can analyze and reproduce the relationship between the cardiovascular geometry and internal hemodynamics. The statistical analysis shows that the hemodynamic prediction results of deep learning are in agreement with the conventional CFD method, but the calculation time is reduced 600-fold. In terms of over 2 million nodes, prediction accuracy of around 90%, computational efficiency to predict cardiovascular hemodynamics within 1 second, and universality for evaluating complex arterial system, our deep learning method can meet the needs of most situations.”

Prediction of 3D Cardiovascular hemodynamics before and after coronary artery bypass surgery via deep learning via Nature.