Cal Robinson is a PGY2 Pediatrics resident at McMaster University interested in how social determinants of health impact Canadian children.
On November 22nd, 2018, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government unveiled their planned reforms of provincial social assistance programs, including changing the definition of disability for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). These announcements have been met with criticism from political and advocacy groups who argue that these represent further cuts to social assistance. Further policy announcements last year included a reduction of the planned 3% increase in social assistance to 1.5% and cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, one of the largest minimum income studies ever developed. The Ontario Basic Income Pilot had already enrolled 4,000 low-income individuals across the province. These intended cuts to Ontario’s social assistance programs will have a substantial negative impact on the health of Ontarians, and will particularly threaten the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of Canadian children and their families. ...continue reading →
Hong Yu (Andrew) Su is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University
Jessica Chin is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University
Matthew Greenacre is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University
John is a fictitious name given to an elderly gentleman that myself and some of my colleagues visited on a regular basis. John may be one person, but his situation mirrors that of many, many more across the country. In that sense, therefore, John represents not just himself, but a much greater social predicament. This is John’s story. ...continue reading →
Chloe MacAuley is an intern (junior doctor) at Tallaught Hospital in Ireland who graduated from medical school at Trinity College Dublin in 2017
Armed with an email outlining the ‘Dangerous Abbreviations NOT to Use’, a certificate showing I had passed an online test on how to use the hospital computer system, and a dictation number — what was a dictation number? I wondered — I boarded my plane from Dublin to Vancouver for a medical student summer elective.
Canadian students in my class at Trinity College Dublin had warned me that Canadians expected more of a hands-on approach from their medical students. Navigating the unfamiliar streets to St. Paul’s Hospital on my first day in downtown Vancouver, I was thinking about how much easier it would have been to stick with the familiar commute to St. James’s Hospital in Dublin. I was nervous, but I had resolved to throw myself in the deep end before final year. ...continue reading →
Cathy Li is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Toronto
"Doctor, what do you recommend for my grandmother's pancreatic tumour?" My heart was fluttering nervously as I scribbled down his suggestions. This was the third meeting I had arranged.
Growing up, I had a very close relationship with my grandmother and lived with my grandparents until I was six years old. I received the news of her diagnosis during my third year of university. The words “intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm” haunted me and echoed incessantly in my head for days; I could neither think nor focus. The feelings of powerlessness grappled to hold me down. Yet deep down, I was aware that simply being a passive bystander would be the greatest personal defeat. With that, a new wave of resilience inundated my thoughts. ...continue reading →
Mei Wen is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Toronto
Last week, I was at the eye clinic at a downtown hospital as a medical student learning about ophthalmology. This week, I was there as a patient. And although I was at the exact same clinic only one week later, the contrast between these experiences couldn't be greater.
My first astounding realization as a patient was that there was a sign advertising the wait time to be one to four hours — despite the fact that this was a booked appointment. I am ashamed to say that as a medical student on the the other side, ...continue reading →
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 →
Jesse Kancir is a resident in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and former Policy Adviser to Canadian federal Minister of Health, Jane Philpott
Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States is a cause for worry for population and public health. An early policy victim appears to be Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA’s founding policy debates influenced my own interest in public health and health systems as a young medical student so the early steps taken by US Congress to dismantle it have affected me deeply. But it’s not just nostalgia. Concerns are real that Trump’s administration may impact global welfare, yet I’ve been comforted by thinking that a Trump administration highlights several opportunities for progress in Canadian healthcare. In 2017, Canadian healthcare can strive to contrast with negative developments in the US and be the highest expression of our commitment to each other and to a better society. ...continue reading →
Viktoria Koskenoja is an emergency medicine resident in her fourth year of the Harvard-Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency
Haley K. Cochrane is an emergency medicine resident in her second year of the Harvard-Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency
We are Canadian women, born and raised in northern Canadian communities. We are both training to be emergency physicians at the Harvard-Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency in Boston. While we would like to come home, there are only massive barriers before us.
There is a known scarcity of emergency physicians (EPs) in Canada. The combination of physician shortages, as well as a concentration of specialists in urban centers, has led to regions where up to 70 percent of ED providers have no formal emergency medicine (EM) training. “With a national shortage of trained emergency physicians, most Canadians will continue to have their emergency care delivered by family physicians,” states the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, “[with] no guarantee that the family physician staffing a community ED will have adequate training in the management of actual emergencies or in resuscitation.” In recognizing these workforce issues, the CAEP recommended increasing residency spots for CCFP (EM) and FRCP-EM programs as well as increasing the use of mid-level providers. But what about a simpler, more cost-effective option—allow U.S. trained EPs to return to Canada? ...continue reading →