Read the spring 2013 issue of UBC Medicine magazine online or download a copy [PDF].
Selected stories:• Different journeys, same destination: B.C. expands opportunities for international medical graduates
• Basic training: A residency program gets physical
• The residency rotation on Haida Gwaii: Learning medicine at the “boundaries of the world”
• Cutting edge, without the cutting
• Voyages of discovery, closer to home
[...] Read more about these inventions — and UBC’s role in making the most of them – in the latest issue of UBC Medicine magazine. [...]
[...] Imagine your boss coming to your cubicle and, in the course of dumping yet another assignment on your desk, says, “Oh, and one more thing: Eat more fruits and veggies. You’ll thank me for it. Carry on!” A more subtle version of that scenario is unfolding at three universities in B.C., thanks to research by Carolyn Gotay, a professor in the School of Population and Public Health. An expert in cancer prevention, Dr. Gotay is leading “Be Well at Work,” a three-year experiment aimed at getting people to live healthier lives by winning their hearts and minds at the workplace. The three research sites — UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, and Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops — are using three different programs to encourage employees at those institutions to pursue better nutrition and more exerise. One program is focused on individuals, another is focused on group activities, and a third is a blend of the two. The general premise makes sense, given how employees are such a captive audience – more than two-thirds of Canadians spend 60 percent or more of their time at work. The data will come through health risk questionnaires that employees will be asked to complete at various points during the campaigns. It will be interesting to see whether our bosses are any better than our mothers at getting us to eat our veggies. Read more about “Be Well at Work” in UBC Medicine magazine. [...]
[...] The best innovations often arise from the joining of two distinct, independently developed innovations. Two members of the Faculty of Medicine are on their way to proving that principle yet again. Peter von Dadelszen, a specialist in high-risk pregancies, has devised a model for diagnosing pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) that is geared toward developing countries. Mark Ansermino, an anesthesiolgist, is co-inventor of a mobile phone-based pulse oximeter, which uses a probe fitted over a patient’s finger to measure blood oxygen levels, and is perfectly suited for use in low-resource health care settings. The latter invention has many potential applications, and one of them happens to be detecting pre-eclampsia. So, in one of those cases of interdisciplinary fusion, Dr. von Dadelszen and Dr. Ansermino have joined forces to customize the mobile pulse oximeter for pre-eclampsia detection. Their proposal was deemed so compelling that it won a seed grant of $250,000 from an international competition, “Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development” — one of just 19 chosen from among 600 applicants. (The backers include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank and the government of Norway.) The doctors will use the funding to test the application and hardware in Zimbabwe and South Africa, comparing results with clinics that aren’t using the technology. Read more about their ingenuity in the fall issue of UBC Medicine magazine. [...]
[...] The biggest challenge facing life scientists — beyond curing disease, of course — is explaining what they do. Most of them are labouring on molecular mysteries that are difficult to visualize and involve a cascade of processes, and thus elude easy comprehension by the general public. And in these attention-deficient times, if it’s not easily understood, people move on. But explaining those mysteries and cascades to people outside the lab is crucial if scientists hope to continue to get support for their work. That was probably why the University of Queensland in Australia created the “Three Minute Thesis” competition. The 3MT, as it’s called, is a geeky version of “American Idol”: graduate students get up before a panel of judges and have three minutes to explain the breadth and signficance of their research to a non-specialist audience, in (you guessed it) three minutes. They can use only one slide and can’t use any electronic media or props. UBC held its first 3MT last spring – the first North American university to do so. To find out what it was like for one of the finalists, read her first-person account in the latest issue of UBC Medicine magazine. [...]
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