Wednesday, July 2, 2014
When Dr. Peter Mackean (BSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP, MCISc) crossed the stage and received his Master of Clinical Science (MClSc) degree in Family Medicine at Western University’s Convocation on June 12, he celebrated a milestone in his journey toward satisfying his interest in research.
“I was always interested in practicing, but I was also interested in better understanding many scientific elements of family medicine,” he says. “One researcher called me a ‘researcher in a family doctor’s clothing’. With a busy practice I didn’t have time to carry out research, so that piece has always been missing for me.”
Dr. Mackean, who completed his Bachelor of Science at McGill University in 1977, his Doctor of Medicine at Dalhousie University in 1981, and his Family Practice Residency at Dalhousie in 1983, has had a family practice in Prince Edward Island since 1983. He has worked with residents and students in roles, such as a medical student preceptor, family medicine residency supervisor, and lecturer at Dalhousie. In addition, he has held hospital, government, and national organization appointments, including the prestigious role of National President of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) in 2002.
“I was involved in the education side, but not in the academic-based research side. I began to get more involved in the CFPC and became more interested in how we can better ourselves as physicians. I was interacting with more academics and this further stimulated my interest in research.”
In 2008, after speaking with other people in the MClSc program, he decided he was at a point in his career where he could devote more time to research and he enrolled in the program. Although there have been challenges along the way and a great amount of commitment required, the program was “absolutely the right fit” for him, he says.
Through the MClSc program, he became involved in the DELiver Primary Healthcare Information Program (DELPHI) taking place at the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine at Western. For his research project, he studied patients who presented to their family physicians complaining of fatigue. He examined this data and carried out statistical analyses.
“There is not a lot of research on the topic of fatigue. Fascinating results have come out of it. It’s groundbreaking Canadian work that will have significance. A large amount of important work is being done through DELPHI. As far as I know, no one else in Canada has done these types of symptom studies, except for the DELPHI program at Western”.
Now that he’s completed this important step, he hopes to continue his work in this area and begin to present his findings. He is also using what he learned in the MClSc program in his work with residents, encouraging them to focus on research topics, fundamental principles, and critical thinking.
“I would definitely recommend the MClSc program to others,” says Dr. Mackean. “It has taught me to be a better teacher and a much more critical thinker. I have a solid base for advancing research knowledge related to family medicine and patient-centered care."