Editors’ Blog

Barbara Sibbald is editor of News and Humanities at CMAJ, and author of the recently published collection of short stories, "The Museum of Possibilities"

 

Health policy pundits should look to André Picard’s new book for a dose of common sense on some of Canada’s most urgent health issues. Picard, as most Canadians know, is the long-time health columnist for The Globe and Mail. The book, Matters of Life and Death: Public Health Issues in Canada (Douglas & McIntyre), is the best-of those columns over the past 15 years, updated and conveniently packaged under 14 topic headings like opioid use, medical assistance in dying, cancer, marijuana, indigenous health and infectious disease. Most importantly Picard delves into medicare itself.  Canadians spent $228-billion in 2016 on health care: Do we get value for our money? Is it sustainable? Picard not only asks the right questions, he provides some very credible answers. ...continue reading

Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

The concept of the “Salon” is based on the tradition of European intellectual gatherings that led to the great literary, artistic and political movements of our time. At a recent meeting of primary care researchers in Colorado Springs, Frank deGruy gathered a group of colleagues in this way together to create discussion, debate and perhaps generate ideas. Such gatherings might take place with any group and in any context - in a department, region or nationally. On this occasion, Frank attracted a group of about twenty delegates of the NAPCRG meeting from various international and professional backgrounds and I was fortunate enough to be included. ...continue reading

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Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK

 

How do you create a successful school of primary care research?  Measuring outputs through academic papers, presentations at international meetings, and the general impact of research, the UK primary care community has had remarkable success. The ten year celebration meeting of the School of Primary Care Research (SPCR) in England was an opportunity to reflect on their achievements and try to pick out the key factors in that success.

It wasn’t always this way. As an academic and an editor I know the struggle that researchers had in the early days. There were few grants, ...continue reading

CSE_photoshot_KPKirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ. She is currently attending the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting in Colorado Springs, CO.

 

In the plenary session on providing primary care for refugees, one of the speakers, Kim Griswold, shared an image, now familiar to many, that is designed to help people to understand the difference between equality and equity. It demonstrates how some people start off at a relative disadvantage and need extra help to be able to achieve or access things that more advantaged people are able to experience equityeasily. This image, and similar ones, have been criticized by some social justice thinkers who point out that ...continue reading

Domhnall_MacDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK. He is currently attending the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) annual meeting in Colorado Springs, CO.

 

Not many primary care doctors have an 8 billion dollar budget. Mitch Katz, who gave the opening keynote address at NAPCRG 2016, is director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency which combines the Departments of Health Service, Public Health and Mental Health into one service. He continues to see patients and described how he had become so specialised in his career in a primary care AIDs clinic in San Francisco, that he found returning to generalist practice extremely difficult. When he focused on AIDS he was on top of his topic like any specialist, but, as a generalist, he had to cope with anything from a heart attack to broken heart.

Los Angeles, until recently, had no ambulatory care ...continue reading

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CSE_photoshot_KPKirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

Yes I did wake up at 3 am today and think, "I'll just check the U.S. election results..." and boy do I regret not going to bed earlier because there was no sleeping after that. Since 3am I’ve read at least a hundred articles analyzing the election’s outcome. I’ve been openly “with her” throughout the campaign. I’m a UK citizen living in Canada so nobody cares, but I'm a woman and the misogyny that the campaign has brought into sharp focus has upset me greatly, so I care. It means I’ve been zipping back and forth through the stages of loss for the past few hours. ...continue reading

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Domhnall MacAuleyDomhnall_Mac is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

Dear Linda,

I have just read your book - or, should I say, it completely captivated me. I couldn’t put it down. What a compelling life story. When you lectured about depression at those Masterclass lectures I chaired years ago I was so impressed with your grasp of the topic, your understanding of the difficulties facing family doctors, and your overall approach to managing the condition. You had such a clear understanding and appreciation of depression and the difficulties of treating it in practice. And, you were so assured, confident, on top of your subject. I had chaired many similar sessions but yours were outstanding. There wasn’t even the slightest hint that your understanding extended so far into your personal experience. ...continue reading

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Domhnall_MacDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

We publishing the wrong research and funding too many of the wrong studies. This was the general message from Adrian Bauman’s keynote address - "What gets published in physical activity research and why it seldom has an influence on policy" - at the Health Advancing Physical Activity (HEPA) conference.

The talk might have been about physical activity research but the message has resonance across medicine. If we really want to change medicine we really need to understand how researchers produce evidence and how policy makers interpret, or misinterpret, what is published. There is a significant mismatch between researchers’ objectives and policy makers’ needs. And, rarely heard in a medical context, Adrian was quite sympathetic to the needs of policymakers. ...continue reading

Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

As the world focuses on the Olympics in Rio, I visited the Allan McGavin Sports Centre at UBC to hear the views of some current and future opinion leaders in Canadian Sports Medicine. Dr Jack Taunton is a legend in Canadian Sports Medicine. An athlete who competed at the highest level, he was a leader in the development of clinical sports medicine in Canada and a pioneer in teaching and research. He co-founded the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre in 1979 and is a Professor in Sports Medicine at UBC, where I visited him recently to talk to him about what it takes to provide medical care for the Olympics.  Jack was Chief Medical Officer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Chief Medical Officer for Canada at the Sydney Olympics, two Pan American and two World Student Games.  He was also Women's Team Physician and Association Coordinating Physician for Field Hockey Canada for over 25 years. Jack was a co-founder of the Vancouver Marathon, the Vancouver Sun Run and, most recently, the UBC Grand Prix of Cycling.

Here's my video interview with Dr Taunton. ...continue reading

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Domhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.

 

This week, with  the newspapers full of health scares, doping controversy and the anticipation of all sort of problems in the run-up to the Rio Olympic games, let me tell you a good news story….

It was the height of the troubles in Belfast, in the midst of the hunger strikes, with frequent riots, shootings and bombs. I had just qualified and was completing junior doctor jobs in a hospital a few miles from our home in west Belfast.  Running to and from the hospital, I often passed the still smouldering debris of last night’s burnt out cars.  Our local athletics club met not far from our home, and the surgery where I was to practice as a GP for 30 years. It was a club without premises, track, or any permanent home. We met in the evening at the local day centre, and we'd run through the streets of west Belfast and beyond.

I don’t know how many members there were but it seemed like hundreds of young people gathered there on winter evenings. ...continue reading