Editors’ Blog

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Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

A week ago, André Picard published a column in the Globe and Mail entitled “How many people actually suffer from mental illness?” and later he tweeted his thanks to readers for making that column the publication’s most-read story of the day. The column may have been well-read - it certainly sparked controversy on social media - but it wasn't because Picard had anything very profound to say. In fact the piece was based on an epidemiological faux pas, which is why I called it a nothingburger.

Commenting on the findings of a poll commissioned by Sun Life Financial Canada, which found that 49% of Canadians have “experienced a mental health issue” at some point in their lives, ...continue reading

Barbara Sibbald is associate editor, Humanities, at CMAJ

 

After ten years, eight annual meetings and countless, long discussions the new Canadian Association of Health Humanities (CAHH) is up and running. According to its constitution, the CAHH aims to “add significant value to the interdisciplinary cultures of medicine, health care and the field of health humanities locally, nationally and internationally.”

On April 27, some 120 registrants at Creating Space VIII, the annual health humanities conference ...continue reading

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Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

Rising awareness of the toll that physician burnout is taking on our profession and our healthcare services has inspired numerous organizational physician wellness initiatives and resilience courses aimed at individual physicians. Yet, as experts discuss the relative merits of the system-level approach vs. the individual-wellness-training approach to addressing burnout, one key element seems to be all-but ignored: the healing power of the relationship between physicians and the patients they serve.

Dr. Tom Hutchinson, in his book, Whole Person Care: Transforming Healthcare (Springer International Publishing AG, 2017), suggests that we have lost touch with “the interior processes of healing and growth in the individual patient and the practitioner that give meaning to illness and to healthcare,” ...continue reading

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

 

A normal day for Dr. Pierre Pili may involve being helicoptered up to a glacier in the Alps, and then lowered by cable 30m down into a crevasse to assess and treat casualties. Few of us see patients in such a difficult and unforgiving environment but this is Pili’s consulting room. A mountain rescue doctor based in Chamonix, he is involved in about 1500 rescues per year, and when not on the mountain, he works as an emergency medicine doctor.

On his first rescue he was called to help two skiers who had fallen deep into an Alpine crevasse. One was dead and one was seriously injured. Pili talks about the mixed fear and excitement of doing this work ...continue reading

1 Comment

Domhnall MacAuleyDomhnall MacAuley is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK. He's currently also Chair of the Jury for the National Research Award of the Swiss College of Primary Care Medicine

 

Swiss primary care research has a very bright future, from what I could see at the early career researchers meeting (TAN HAM) that I attended recently in Bern. Oliver Senn put together a superb programme but the key to its success was the commitment and contribution of the researchers. It was their programme and, not only did they present their work with skill and style, and almost exclusively in English, but each research presentation was chaired by one of their peers as the senior academics looked on from the side lines. The presentations were fantastic, covering a range of topics, as described below. But I thought the peer chaired sessions were an innovation worth replicating at other national and international meetings.

Many countries are struggling to recruit and retain a family medicine workforce and Switzerland is little different. ...continue reading

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

 

In my capacity as Chair of the Jury for the National Research Award of the Swiss College of Primary Care Medicine, I was recently invited to give a Plenary lecture at the Early Career Researchers Academic meeting for academic primary care physicians in Bern, Switzerland. I enjoyed listening to other great speakers at the event. One was Kali Tal, a professional writer, who, in addition to her many other talents and accomplishments, works as a senior Editor, grant writer and qualitative researcher at the Institute for Primary Care Medicine at the University of Bern. Kali gave a workshop on research writing at the recent early career researchers’ group meeting.

Many researchers struggle with writing research papers, grants and reports. ...continue reading

4 Comments

Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

This post really needs no introduction. First came #WomenBoycottTwitter when Twitter straightjacketed Rose McGowan and women reacted angrily to what they felt was unfair ‘victim silencing’. But many pointed out the irony and probable ineffectiveness of self-imposed silence to protest enforced silence. Then yesterday my social media feeds were full of the hashtag #MeToo along with story after story after story from women friends, of sexual harassment, abuse and unwanted physical attention. Women I look up to; tough women…the sort about whom you might think, “It would never happen to them.” Lawyers, a chemistry professor, a neuroscientist, respected colleagues in medical research.

Last week, writer Anne Donahue tweeted, “When did you meet YOUR Harvey Weinstein? I’ll go first…,” which has tens of thousands of replies and ‘quote’ retweets and prompted Trevor Noah to tweet "The number of replies to this tweet is insane. As men we have to do better to stop this."

One reply came through my Twitter feed,

Regularly in the Operating Room when surgeons would approach from behind while I was 'scrubbing' at the sink, hence unable to move.

...continue reading

Kirsten Patrick is Deputy Editor at CMAJ

 

In the last two weeks I’ve attended three very different scientific conferences on behalf of the CMAJ Group. In fact you couldn’t get more different than the 33rd International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management (ICPE - all Big Data and massive record linkage aimed at finding out more about the benefits and harms of medicines and devices) and the 5th Canadian Conference on Physician Health (mainly focusing on the major problem of physician burnout and what we should do about it). And yet the same study was mentioned by plenary speakers at both conferences to support the same message: that physicians are overburdened by administrative and data-capture demands. Across four medical specialties, “for every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly 2 additional hours is spent on EHR and desk work within the clinic day,” ...continue reading

1 Comment

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

 

Have we lost something in the success of academic family medicine? We produce quality research, have created successful interdisciplinary academic teams, demonstrate competitive publication outcomes and generate significant grant income. But, academic primary care may have drifted away from, and perhaps even alienated, some family medicine colleagues. There are thoughtful and reflective family doctors who read, write, discuss and debate many aspects of general practice but feel undervalued as they do not fit the university based academic profile. ...continue reading

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

 

Was I wrong!

Pioneering Professional Practice doesn’t sound like the most stimulating title of a Plenary Address but Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the UK's Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Council, gave an uplifting, encouraging and inspiring address on the topic on day 2 of the SAPC ASM 2017. Helen encouraged us all to rediscover the joy and sparkle of general practice despite poor morale, a constant feeling of being under siege, and increasing resource limitations in the profession. I liked her analogy that primary care, secondary care and social care were interdependent and need to be together- a three legged stool that depended on all three components to remain stable. ...continue reading