Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Graham Briscoe

Tell me a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario and I attended the University of Windsor for my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry.  I then went on to complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Odette School of Business as I wanted to enhance my management and leadership skills before starting medical school.  My undergraduate degree in medicine was at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and I was in the 2013 graduating class.  I then completed a two-year residency program in Family Medicine at Western University.  I wanted to further my sport medicine expertise, so I finished my fellowship in Sport and Exercise Medicine at the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic at Western University. 

My current medical practice consists of academic sport medicine at the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic and emergency medicine at the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital.  I enjoy the diversity between providing specialized care in an academic teaching sport medicine clinic and caring for ill and injured patients in a community emergency department setting.  A large proportion of what I see in the emergency department is musculoskeletal injuries, so my sport medicine knowledge is an asset to me when providing patient care.  Similarly, having a background knowledge of emergency medicine gives me the skillset necessary when I encounter medical emergencies during my sport medicine coverage. 

Why did you choose to pursue teaching at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry? 

Teaching has always been a passion of mine, which is one of the many reasons why I went into medicine.  I was a tutor in high school, then later became a teaching assistant for two years of my undergraduate degree, which lead me to pursue a career that encompassed my passion for teaching and leadership.  I currently teach an undergraduate kinesiology course, the second-year medical students, small group sessions for the second and fourth years, and help train medical residents and fellows in the clinical setting.  I had fantastic staff mentors during my medical training, and they’ve inspired me to be an influence on the next generation of medical trainees. 

What has been your greatest experience to date in your career as a faculty member?

The diverse teaching opportunities I’ve been fortunate to be involved in have contributed to many highlights thus far as a faculty member.  Another sport medicine physician (Dr. S. Joseph) and I started a workshop that we’ve integrated into the Family Medicine Residency Program at Western University.  We were both passionate about teaching and it started with small groups of five residents and now it has developed to groups of almost 50 per session.  These workshops focus on common injuries we see as sport medicine physicians and we hope to solidify this knowledge early in residency.  In the second half of these sessions, we use artificial models to practice joint injection techniques for common procedures encountered in the family medicine office.  These teaching sessions have had great feedback thus far from the residents and we hope to continue to offer these workshops for the residency program. 

What inspires you in your work?  

Being passionate about helping others is a great career motivator.  I look forward to going to work each day and I hope I never lose that feeling.  The inspiration in my clinical work comes from the small victories I see in my sport medicine practice: helping an older adult patient with knee pain get back to playing golf, clearing a prolonged concussion patient back to activity after a battle with a fluctuation recovery, and helping to reduce pain with injections in a patient struggling with severe osteoarthritis.  I think when you place high expectations on yourself professionally, aspiring to reach your academic goals can be very rewarding.

What’s it like to work as a part of the Fowler Kennedy Sport & Exercise Medicine team?

The Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic is arguably one of the top sport medicine clinics in Canada.  This multi-disciplinary team of sport medicine physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, and sport physiotherapist work together to provide phenomenal medical care to elite athletes and patients wanting to stay active.  I value the culture within the clinic as it fosters collaboration between specialties and our internationally recognized clinicians are supported by a robust research team.  Because our team is located in the same building at the Western University location, I frequently walk over and ask my physiotherapy and orthopaedic colleagues’ strategies when I need help managing a challenging patient presentation or have an interesting case to share.

All of the clinicians at the Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic consistently work with medical learners.  This promotes a healthy teaching atmosphere where the learners are encouraged to ask questions and the clinicians are continuously keeping up to date so that we’re always aware of the latest cutting-edge treatment options.   Our clinic values teaching, research, and teamwork, which are principles that I believe are necessary to provide the best possible care to our patients. 

Can you talk to me about your special interest in ultrasound-guided procedures?

There was a desperate need for certain image-guided procedures when I started my Sport and Exercise Medicine Fellowship as the previous wait time for referral to the hospital was several months.  A few of the other sport medicine physicians and myself took additional training course(s) so that we can offer these procedures to patients in pain.  It’s a fantastic service that we now offer at Fowler Kennedy and patients have been tremendously grateful to not have the excessive wait time.  I sincerely enjoy the fact that they can be technically challenging, and these procedures give me the opportunity to talk and connect with my patients on a personal level as some can take as long as 30 to 45 minutes to finish. 

Can you tell me about your time spent with varsity athletes, and your involvement in community athletic events?

Sport medicine gives you the opportunity to work with athletes from vastly different sports and levels of competition.  This variation alters biomechanics and injury patterns, which gives unique and diverse experiences when providing sport medical coverage.  There’s something to be said about being in the center of the action on the field alongside the athletes.  I cover Western University Men’s Rugby team every year and I enjoy the acute trauma that is commonly seen in this sport.  Once a year I travel with the Canadian National Para Hockey Team and I monitor the athletes’ health during a week-long sledge hockey tournament.  These athletes all have physical disabilities and can have unique medical challenges both on and off the ice. 

Another interesting opportunity I’ve been lucky to experience was being the host sport medicine physician for the NHL’s Kraft Hockeyville 2018 game in Lucan, Ontario when the Ottawa Senators faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  This gave me a brief snapchat on sport medicine coverage for a professional sports team, which can encompass a lot of administrative challenges that I don’t encounter during my varsity coverage. 

What special interests or hobbies do you have? / What do you do when you aren’t working?

When I’m not at work I’m spending most of my time with my family.  My wife Laura is an exceptionally dedicated teacher and she spends a lot of her free time volunteering and working on various after school teaching initiatives.  We both devote our free time with our two young children, spending as much time as we can outdoors and being active.  I started golfing last year and I try to get out as much as I can, but I’ve got a long way to go before I can showcase my skills. 

I enjoy various teaching and leadership initiatives.  I’ve recently accepted a position on the Board of Directors for the Forward House of London, which is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities.