A message from Dr. Jim Calvin

Welcome to our new Department of Medicine newsletter. We plan to send it to you a few times a year and share news and updates from our programs, celebrate faculty, staff and learner achievements, provide updates on research funding, publications and events and articles about new initiatives or projects in the Department.

As a Department, we have achieved an enormous amount in the past seven years, and I’m optimistic about our future as a Department and as a School.

The COVID-19 pandemic has consumed so much of our time and energy this past year, and it continues to do so. When you step back from the challenges of the pandemic, however, and look at how our Department as a whole reacted to a very threatening and unusual situation, you can really see how we all came together and managed it extremely well. There was tremendous collaboration and problem-solving taking place; it made me incredibly proud. 

I’d like to recognize Dr. Sherri-Lynn Kane, who served as the Director of our residency program through the first wave and really managed the full affects of the pandemic. She spent an incredible amount of time working to keep residents safe and healthy – rearranging schedules, and coordinating with those who were in quarantine and unable to come to work.

Dr. Michael Silverman also took on a leadership role locally, provincially and nationally, providing expertise to media and the community, as well as managing PPE and other resources – he dedicated his time to working to flatten the curve.

We should all be proud that we were able to care for our patients and have been able to avoid the need to use the field hospital that has been expertly developed by our colleagues.

The LHSC Urgent COVID-19 Care Clinic, which was conceived and executed in the early weeks of the pandemic, is a significant achievement of our Department. The clinic leads – Drs. Megan Devlin, Marko Mrkobrada, Michael Nicholson and Erin Spicer – developed a new care pathway to identify, triage, manage and monitor complications for COVID-19 patients through a new virtual clinic.

Despite the pandemic, our teams have continued to achieve success with research funding competitions including AMOSO and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We were also very pleased to welcome Dr. Dervla Connaughton, who was announced as the inaugural Eugen Drewlo Chair in Kidney Research and Innovation. Research stemming from ICES Western and led by Dr. Amit Garg has also been extremely successful. Meanwhile, many members of our Department have been focused on curriculum change and competency-by-design.

I have also been spending a great deal of time on the financial stability of the Department, ensuring that we are empowered to continue with faculty recruitment, research, and the funding of important initiatives such as the LHSC Urgent COVID Care Clinic, amongst other things.

Looking to the near future, I’m excited about Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s strategic plan and the path it will take us to enhance clinical research. I’m also looking forward to growing our work in personalized medicine and exploring genetic and environmental factors as a cause of disease, as well as treatment. Another important endeavour will be the time we collaboratively spend on reviewing how we are crediting our faculty for their teaching, coaching and mentorship, as well as those who are building their careers through local, national and international organizations.

Recently, we created a mentorship series with methodology on how to do quality-improved work and it is my hope is that we are going to see more projects driven by investigators in collaboration with our hospitals to improve the quality of medicine in our own city that can serve as models elsewhere. We are in a moment where we are positioning and gathering resources and are already having success by utilizing our expertise to overcome the challenges before us.

When I started in the role as Chair/Chief, I had a plan to bring on 50 faculty members and we have done that. And there is more yet to come. If you think about the spectrum of discovery at the bench and translating them into actual practice – this is the translational block we need to continue to advance. And our work in quality improvement will allow us to test our effectiveness in practice what we have as developed as evidence-based care. This will be the big story in five years time. 

I hope everyone has an opportunity to read through the entire newsletter and takes great pride in what colleagues from the Department have accomplished and how we all continue to advance education, clinical care, quality improvement and research.

Dr. Jim Calvin
Chair/Chief, Department of Medicine