Volume 1 | January 2021 | view this email in your browser
Welcome to the January 2021 Edition of the NRC News. This bi-monthly e-newsletter will bring you news and events related to the Niagara Regional Campus. If you have any suggestions or would like to submit an article or event, please contact Devon Ainslie.
Campus Update: The Niagara Regional Campus remains closed at Brock University to all students and residents. The NRC staff and leadership team are working virtually and are accessible to answer all questions and concerns via email. For a full list of contacts, please click here.
Student Awards
NRC Founder's Award
Congratulations Hannah Kearney!
Please join us in congratulating Hannah Kearney, the recipient of the 2020 Founder Award. Hannah was the sole nominee for the award with multiple nominations for her many contributions to the campus, the Niagara community and to the safety and wellness of her peers.

Ever since welcome week, Hannah has been a bright and welcoming individual ensuring that everyone grew strong, collegial relationships outside of the academic environment. From contributing to research projects, actively participating in the InfoHealth Lecture Series, and engaging children from the Boys and Girls club in Niagara through the Teddy Bear Clinic. When the COVID-19 pandemic was announced, Hannah adapted many wellness activities to support the class' needs such as virtual ice cream rounds and creating a book club.

Hannah has contributed a great amount of time to make our campus and community a brighter place to learn, live and change lives.
Jaisal Chauhan Research Book Award
Congratulations Zechen Ma!
Zechen Ma is the successful recipient of the Jaisal Chauhan Research Book Award.

Zechen exceeded the expectations we have for a medical student in terms of her research productivity. Over her three years at NRC, Zechen has made significant contributions to four major research and QI projects in Niagara and two in Hamilton. Zechen presented at numerous scholarly events in Canada and was accepted to the International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine in Brussels, Belgium. She co-authored four published articles in 2020 in the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine and a research report that was published on January 20, 2021.

Zechen also found time to provide support to fellow medical students with methodological advice for their research activities.

We look forward to seeing all of your wonderful achievement and leadership support as your career progresses.
Faculty Announcements & Awards
Ontario Psychological Association
elects new President
Congratulations Dr. Jason Ramsay!
Dr. Jason Ramsay has been elected as the President of the Ontario Psychological Association for the upcoming year.
Dr. Ramsay is a registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, he received a Doctorate in Human Development and Applied Psychology from the University of Toronto. Dr. Ramsay is currently in private practice as a founding partner and co-clinical manager of Niagara Psychological Wellness in St. Catharines, Ontario. He was appointed to and teaches as a Clinical Assistant Professor (Adjunct) at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Niagara Regional Campus.
George Bibawi Excellence in Teaching Award
Congratulations Dr. Ekta Khemani!
It is with pleasure we announce that Dr. Ekta Khemani, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesia at the Niagara Regional Campus is this year's recipient of the George Bibawi Award for Excellence in Teaching.
This award was created to honour the tremendous contributions to anesthesia teaching by Dr. George Bibawi. It is awarded annually to a clinical anesthesia teacher at the Niagara Regional Campus who best exemplifies excellence in teaching anesthesia.
Dr. Khemani has been on faculty since 2019, and in that short time has made a significant impact on activities in the Department of Anesthesia in Niagara and at McMaster. Ekta has been recognized by her peers as a strong teacher, an engaged mentor, an active scholar, and a valued colleague. She currently serves as the Assistant Pre-Clerkship Coordinator at the Niagara Regional Campus with responsibility for Clinical Skills teaching as well as being very engaged with Quality Improvement projects and teaching.
Congratulations, Dr. Khemani, and thank you for all the ways you enrich the Department of Anesthesia and the Niagara Regional Campus.
CAME Certificate of Merit
Congratulations Dr. Karl Stobbe!
The Canadian Association of Medical Education (CAME) recipients of the 2021 CAME Certificate of Merit Awards for McMaster University are - Drs. Karl Stobbe, Matthew Sibbald and Kenya Bracken.

This award seeks to promote, recognize and reward faculty committed to medical education in Canadian medical schools. The CAME Certificate of Merit Award consists of a certificate and the opportunity to write an article for the CAME Voice.

Congratulations Dr. Stobbe on this much deserved award and for helping shape the Niagara Regional Campus into what it is today!
Transition to Clerkship (TTC) Coordinator
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Dr. James Beecroft for taking the lead as our Transition to Clerkship (TTC) Coordinator for the Class of 2022's. His willingness to dive in on short notice was greatly appreciated and the planning and coordinating of Clinical Skills, Transitional Electives and Clerkship Practical Skills were all a huge success.
Research Lead, Niagara Regional Campus
We would like extend our deepest thanks to Dr. Jennifer Tsang who will be finishing her term at the end of the year as Research Lead for the Niagara Regional Campus. Dr. Tsang's role was pivotal in advancing research knowledge, exposure and opportunities for the program.
Hospital QI Lead
We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Andrea Delrue for her role as Hospital Quality Improvement Lead for the Niagara Regional Campus. Dr. Delrue has held the position since 2017 and has enhanced opportunities for Quality Improvement knowledge and development within Niagara's Hospitals.
Assistant Research Director
It is with pleasure that we announce the new appointment of Dr. Ekta Khemani in the role of Assistant Research Director for the Niagara Regional Campus. In this new role, Dr. Khemani will foster research participation among physicians throughout the Niagara Region with a particular focus on community physicians.
WHS and SCS Site, Heads of Service
Effective Feb 1., Dr. Shlok Gupta becomes the new Head of Service Medicine at the Welland Site, and Dr. Lucas Ciprietti assumes the role of Head of Service Medicine at the St. Catharines Site.
Dr. Gupta, a General Internist with Niagara Health since 2017, has served as the Clinical Utilization Lead at NH for the past three years, during which time he led the team that helped in achieving Level 1 Choosing Wisely Canada Recognition.

Dr. Gupta, who attended medical school at Queen's University and completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto, is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Niagara Regional Campus of McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

Congratulations Dr. Gupta!
Dr. Ciprietti also joined the Niagara Health team in 2017. He has been the Physician Lead for GIM Ambulatory Care since 2019, working to improve the scope and quality of Rapid Access and Perioperative General Internal Medicine Care.

Dr. Ciprietti, who attended medical school and completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Western University, is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Niagara Regional Campus of McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

Congratulations Dr. Ciprietti!
FHS Women's Symposium
April 28, 2021 | 12:30 - 5:30 PM
Increasingly, we know that women are underrepresented in academia and healthcare settings. The 2021 Women's Symposium will be a venue where we can bring together women and their allies to consider how we might close the gap over time.

This will represent the first of these events, which we are hoping will evolve into an ongoing annual conference over time.

All faculty members who identify as women and allies of women within the Faculty of Health Sciences (and beyond) are invited to join us.

Each session will have a mix of external speakers and FHS leaders interested in exploring key topics around how we might increase the number of women in healthcare leadership positions in both academia and clinical work.

Overall Learning Objectives
  • List key issues facing women in academia, leadership, healthcare and society
  • Add new skills to your basic toolkit for approaching key barriers that women face in academia, leadership, healthcare and society
  • Create connections between women and allies across McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences and beyond

Ticket Costs:
To make this program accessible to trainees, we have a special program entitled the "Pay-it-forward" program. We are hoping that faculty members who can afford this event will pay more to offset the cost for the trainee tickets.
  • Faculty "Pay-it-forward" ticket price - $100
  • Junior Faculty ticket price - $50
  • Trainee/Student price - $25

For more information or to register, click here
Welcoming New Faces to NRC
Please join us in welcoming Krista MacAulay to the NRC team! Krista will be covering Sara Poole's role during her career growth. Krista will be providing support for our General Surgery and FM/EM residents along with PG electives placements for our FM residents and visiting residents.

Welcome to the team Krista!
We would also like to welcome Sarah Ohlsson to the NRC PGFM team! Sarah is joining us from the Stonechurch Family Health Centre in Hamilton and will be covering Laura Cousineau's career growth. Sarah will be providing support to our Family Medicine Residency Program.

Welcome to the team Sarah!
What started as a pet project over a year ago has quickly evolved into something much greater!

Yazad Bhathena (C2021) started medprogressnotes.com to guide other medical students about clinically relevant medical topics in a way that is focused and applicable to their level of learning.

Find everything from articles on Approaches to Steroids or Infographics/quick sheets that students can have when they are on the wards.

The website continues to grow and Kevin Ren (C2022) also contributes articles to the website. But Yazad and Kevin want this to be open to everyone and are looking for more content writers or audiovisual content for the website.

If you are interested, please contact Yazad Bhathena at [email protected].
Movember Movement
Gianluca Calcagno (C2022) has been participating in the "Movember" charity challenge for the past 9 years. In November, Gianluca teamed up with students from universities across Canada and the US using his YouTube channel.

Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men's health. Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men's health projects across the world.

Gianluca's team "The Face of Health" had over 60 members participate in November and raised $6,705 for men's health!

Congratulations to "The Face of Health" team! If you are interested in joining this year's movement in November, contact Gianluca Calcagno

Also check out that Stache!
McMaster Medical Student Research Day (MMSRD)
** Call for Abstracts**
The McMaster Medical Student Research Day (MMSRD) is a conference celebrating medical student research. The conference will be taking place on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 through a virtual platform.

The conference is an opportunity for medical students to present research findings, receive feedback from expert judges, network with & learn from peers, experienced clinicians, researchers, and win awards for scientific merit.

This year there will be two oral presentation formats: 3 Minute and 7 Minutes.

Abstracts are due Friday, March 26th @ 11:59 PM.
Click here for more information or to submit your abstract.

If you have questions, please contact [email protected]
Student Engagement in Research & QI Projects
Class of 2023
As of January 20, 2021, 75% of the NRC Class of 2023 are engaged in 23 projects that are led by 13 NRC faculty and two NRC residents. Two of the students are working on projects based out of Hamilton, and five Class of 2023 students from Hamilton are engaged in Niagara-based projects.

Class of 2022
71% of students from the Class of 2022 are engaged in Niagara-based research and QI projects

Class of 2021
54% of students from the graduating Class of 2021's are still involved with Niagara-based research and QI projects
Quality Improvement Journal Club
  • The bi-monthly Quality Improvement Journal Club is turning into a routine professional development exercise
  • The next session will be led by Dr. Ben Tam on February 18, 2021 at 10:30 AM

QI Certificate Training
  • Dr, Ekta Khemani, NRC Assistant Research Director and staff Anesthesiologist has launched a 24-week certificate training program called 'MacQIPS' (McMaster Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Training Series' on January 13, 2021

Research-in-progress Rounds
  • The monthly research-in-progress rounds will resume in March 2021
  • Dr. Jennifer Tsang will be joined by Drs. George Farjou and Faysal Naji to lead these important scholarly events

Evidence-based Primer for Class of 2023
  • The Evidence-based Primer is a proof-of-concept experiment to teach EBM-related topics and evaluate student learning outcomes. The fall 2020 component covered use of evidence in choosing a diagnostic test and deciding about therapeutic options in four sessions
  • 46% of the class who responded to the baseline questionnaire provided useful information about a number of learning needs
  • Critical appraisal of medical literature, clinical practice guidelines and appraisal of quality improvement studies will be covered in the Winter and Spring of 2021
  • Next EBM primer session has been planned for Wednesday, February 3 at 6:00 PM
A Rare Case of Type 1 Neurofibromatosis-Associated Unilateral Gigantomastia: A Case Report and Literature Review  
Kim Phan (Right), Muralie Vignarajah (Left), Nasimul Huq (Surgery)

Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the formation of benign nerve sheath tumors known as neurofibromas. A 28-year-old female presented with a large neurofibroma extending from the elbow of the right arm into the axilla and across the right breast. This study raises awareness for NF1, describes possible complications that may arise following excision of highly vascularized neurofibromas, and outlines possible techniques for breast reconstruction. To continue reading, click here
Characterizing people experiencing homelessness and trends in homelessness using population-level emergency department visit data in Ontario, Canada
Zechen Ma (Left), Ivana Burcul (Top Right) and David Dai (Bottom Right) from the Class of 2021, co-authored with Drs. Stephenson Strobel and Rahat Hossain, an important research report published by Statistics Canada on Jan 20, 2021.

To read the full report, click here.
Family Medicine
Update from Dr. Karl Stobbe
The Niagara Family Medicine, with 20 residents (16 urban, 4 rural) shifted with COVID-19 as family physicians provided much more virtual care, and less in-person care. This brought new learning opportunities as well as challenges.

All of the residents' academic half-days have been conducted by Zoom since March 2020, and in-person learning, such as simulation is offered during months when pandemic restrictions allow, with modifications such as small group size, co-horting of residents, distancing within the room, and appropriate PPE. Like all healthcare workers, residents in many programs feel less engaged and more stressed, and the usual collegial support from fellow residents is reduced. This is a time when our social committee's efforts become very important. Activities such as games nights and gingerbread house construction, the addition of weekly townhall check-ins for all residents with the site-director, and wellness-focused academic days: some for respite, others for group social activities.

It's important that all healthcare workers, students and residents be kind to one other, recognizing that while sometimes feeling stressed and overwhelmed, we're all doing our best to provide our patients with high quality care.
McMaster Family Medicine Residency
Niagara Video
McMaster University, Family Medicine recently released a series of videos highlighting each site. This informative video follows Dr. Lauren Wilson in clinic. Hear from Dr. Karl Stobbe and Dr. Joe Zammit-Maempel about what makes the Niagara Family Medicine Residency program unique.

To view the Rural Family Medicine video, click here.
NRC CCFP Emergency Medicine Resident
Congratulations Dr. Sarah Byce!
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sarah Byce, who will be joining us in July as our CCFP Emergency Medicine Resident. Dr. Byce is currently completing her Family Medicine residency in Niagara.
General Surgery
Congratulations Dr. Nathan How on being a recipient of the 2020 PGME Medical Education Research Grant Awardee.
Congratulations Dr. Andrew Versolatto on successfully passing your Royal College Exam!
Also, check out the NRC General Surgery Residency Program on Twitter and Instagram @macgsxnrc
Depression: mistreatment or maltreatment?
Ronald McGhie Ireland and Michael Yapko
The World Health Organization has declared depression to be one of the world's leading causes of human ill health and disability worldwide. Long-practicing physicians bear a chain made of those who have died during their service, perhaps the heaviest links being those who have died by suicide. Family Physicians correctly identify and diagnose depression less than half the time, so how can we trace a better path for our patients? Read the full article here.

Characterizing people experiencing homelessness and trends in homelessness using population-level emergency department visit data in Ontario, Canada
Stephenson Strobel, Ivana Burcul, Jia Hong Dai, Zechen Ma, Shaila Jamani and Rahat Hossain

Data on people experiencing homelessness often come from time-and labour-intensive cross-sectional courts and surveys from selected samples. This study uses comprehensive administrative health data from emergency department (ED) visits to enumerate people experiencing homelessness and characterize demographic and geographic trends in the province of Ontario, Canada from 2010 to 2017. Over seven years, 39,408 individuals were identified as experiencing homelessness. The number of ED visits increased over the study period in all of Ontario. The average peak in the number of visits occurred annually in September, with the fewest visits in January. Rises in overall homelessness were secondary to increases in working-age homelessness. ED presentations were concentrated in urban centres. The total proportion of patients experiencing homelessness became less concentrated in Toronto, decreasing from 60% to 40% over the study period, with a shift toward EDs outside the city.  Click here to read further. 

Health Sector responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada - January to May 2020
Iwona A. Bielska, Derek R. Manis, Emily Moore, Kaitlin Lewis (C2022), Gina Agarwal, Shawn Mondoux, Lauren Jewett, David J. Speicher, Rebecca H. Liu, Matthew Leyenaar, Brent McLeod, Suneel Upadhye
The first positive case of COVID-19 in Canada was reported on January 25, 2020, in the city of Toronto, Ontario. Over the following four months, the number of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ontario grew to 28,263 cases. A state of emergency was announced by the Premier of Ontario on March 17, 2020, and the provincial health care system prepared for a predicted surge of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. This paper explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple health system sectors (i.e., public health, primary care, long-term care, emergency medical services, and hospitals) in Ontario from January to May 2020. To continue reading, click here.

A Rare Case of Type 1 Neurofibromatosis-Associated Unilateral Gigantomastia: A Case Report and Literature Review 
Kim Phan (C2022), Muralie Vignarajah (C2022), Nasimul Huq 
Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the formation of benign nerve sheath tumors known as neurofibromas. A 28-year-old female presented with a large neurofibroma extending from the elbow of the right arm into the axilla and across the right breast. This study raises awareness for NF1, describes possible complications that may arise following excision of highly vascularized neurofibromas, and outlines possible techniques for breast reconstruction. To continue reading, click here

Government of Canada invests in National Clinical Trials Network to address the COVID-19 pandemic
Dr. Jennifer Tsang, Research Lead at Niagara Health and Associate Professor of Medicine at McMaster University, is part of the Canadian Network of COVID-19 Clinical Trials Network trials group. The federal Minister of Health recently announced an investment of $6 million to expand existing national and international clinical trials network to coordinate research on tools that prevent, detect, manage, and treat COVID-19. Dr. Tsang is advocating that some of the funding can be allocated to community hospitals, including Niagara Health, to develop research programs. 

"My vision for this grant is to divert some funding towards community hospitals including Niagara Health to further research capacity to participate in more COVID-19 clinical trials in order to provide our local population more opportunities to be involved in COVID-19 trials. However, we are still at an early stage of planning re: how to utilize the 6 million dollars in 18 months." 

To read the full media release, click here
Peer-led program helps homeless patients navigate Niagara health-care system 
A project that began as medical student project at NRC is now receiving provincial recognition and beyond. Dr. Rahat Hossain (C2018) and his team from McMaster University, Brock University and Quest Community Health Centre are helping homeless people navigate the Emergency Department at Niagara Falls General Hospital through the Niagara HELPS Program. Homeless people are paired up with a peer support navigator – these individuals also have experienced homelessness and were addicted to opioids. To read more about this program, click here

Vaccination rollout must engage with Indigenous Communities 
Elisa Levi (C2021) published an opinion piece on the legitimate concerns that some Indigenous people have about the government vaccination programs. If the vaccine is rolled out in a community without information that an individual understands, they may reject it, and this could trigger historical trauma based on previous experiences. An equitable approach to vaccination rollout should integrate the values and preferences of these populations in vaccine program planning, and build capacity to ensure convenient access to immunization services. To continue reading, please click here. 

Vaccines look promising but we have to get them to people
Dr. William Brown (Neurology) wrote a piece for Niagara Now about the vaccines available. The first three vaccines look very promising, but a major challenge is not manufacturing enough of the vaccines but getting the vaccines to those in need as quickly as possible. To continue reading, click here.

Constant Change: Life as a Cancer Doctor
The Niagara Independent recently did a profile article on Dr. Janice Giesbrecht, who recently completed her second term as Chief of Oncology at Niagara Health. Dr. Giesbrecht has seen a lot of changes not only how cancer is diagnosed and treated but specifically the size of the cancer care program in Niagara. To continue reading the article, click here.

Shut out of clinical trials, community hospitals miss out on 'cutting-edge therapy'
A network of community doctors is urgently trying to bring "cutting-edge therapy" from clinical trials to Ontario's large community hospitals. Dr. Jennifer Tsang (Critical Care) was recently featured in the HealthyDebate article about her fight to have Niagara Health involved in three COVID-19 trials urgently. "If your site was not part of the trial, your patients were potentially not going to receive cutting edge therapy." Furthermore, Niagara Health invited nurses and doctors to be part of a research advisory committee to ensure study protocols considered nuances of bedside care. A one-page study summary was created for providers, patients and their families. To continue reading, click here.

Virtual Reality can help older Canadians overcome toll of lockdowns
Dr. Larry Chambers (HEI), Eva Liu and Hanna Levy (C2022) recently wrote an article about how virtual reality (VR) can help older Canadians overcome loneliness and the restrictions of lockdown. As the weather gets colder, some community activities will be cancelled so one option is to use VR to walk through nature trails from the comfort of their home regardless of the weather. Read more about ideas for virtual reality among older Canadians here.

Flu clinics for homeless, shelters, part of COVID-19 response in Niagara
NiagaraThisWeek recently wrote an article about the Flu Clinics organized by REACH, Niagara North Family Health Team and the Welland McMaster Family Health Team which targeted vulnerable people such as those living in shelters, older adults, those with underlying medical conditions, people living in large congregate settings and those living on the street or in encampments for the unhoused. Flu clinics ran at various locations around the Niagara Region with Faculty, Students and Residents volunteering in the clinics. Click here to read the full article.

Health authorities say they’ve learned a lot about how coronavirus is transmitted
Dr. Karim Ali (Infectious Disease) was featured in the CHCH news clip on November 3, 2020. Watch the full clip here.

The Longevity Economy: Housing policies for an aging population
Dr. Larry Chambers (HEI), Eva Liu and Hanna Levy (C2022) wrote an opinion piece for healthydebate about the idea of Canada working towards becoming a model country in terms of creating a “Longevity Economy” by redrawing economic lines, changing the face of the workforce, advancing technology and innovation. Our communities must seize the opportunity to support individuals throughout all stages of their lives by working on an agenda that is decades ahead. To continue reading, click here.