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Dialogue - 2017

Why does the Royal College exist? Find out in two ways

Royal College Coat of Arms

We have a long history and a broad mandate, but the core of what we do is much simpler. Whether you’ve been a member for a few months or many years, we challenge you to get the whole story.

Check out our new corporate video. Hear from frontline staff about how we help support your efforts to deliver the best in patient care across Canada and around the world.


Or, if you prefer, check out our 2016 Annual Review (especially page 5!) This is the swiftest way to find out what your Royal College has been working on and our longer-term vision.

Download or request a print copy today:

2016 annual review report cover

While you’re there, don’t forget to check out our short teaser video!

Specialty committee activities
Read a high-level summary of committee activities from 2016

Participating committees:

  • Adult Cardiac Electrophysiology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Brachytherapy
  • Clinical Immunology and Allergy
  • General Internal Medicine
  • Gynecologic Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Maternal-Fetal Medicine
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Medical Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Pain Medicine
  • Conjoint Advisory Committee on Palliative Medicine
  • Pediatric Radiology
  • Public Health and Preventive Medicine
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Respirology
  • Solid Organ Transplantation

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MOC Tip of the Month
By Shahid Ahmed

Complete a Personal Learning Project in 6 simple steps

MOC Tip of the Month - By Dr.  Shahid Ahmed

Interested in completing a Personal Learning Project (PLP) but not sure where to start? My six-step process outlines the basic steps you need to take to address a question, issue or dilemma in your professional practice with a PLP.

Log your PLP credits: You can claim two credits for each hour spent on these six steps.

Use these 6 steps for a PLP

  1. Identify a practice issue that stimulated further learning.
    • For example, I’m an oncologist living in Saskatchewan and one of my new patients is a Métis woman. I want to develop a greater appreciation of her culture and also the cultural awareness, sensitivity and competency skills I need as her health care provider to give her culturally safe care.
  2. Frame your issue into a question, problem statement or objective.
    • I ask myself, “What cultural considerations must I be sensitive to in order to provide culturally safe care to the Métis patients in my practice?”
  3. Develop an action plan to investigate — include scope, timeframe and where to look for resources.
    • I decide to complete this project over a number of weeks and to dedicate several hours of my professional development time to it. Specifically, I plan to
      • consult with a Métis health care worker,
      • review both peer-reviewed and gray literature about culturally safe care for Métis patients, and
      • take a short course on Indigenous cultural awareness, if possible.
  4. Acquire and appraise the resources/data you selected.
    • First, I read a fact sheet about Métis culture from an Indigenous health collaborating centre. I learn that Métis family units go beyond that of the immediate family and I realize that some of my Métis patients may wish to involve extended family members in the continuum of their care.
    • I look online for a recent journal article, lecture or medical podcast about best practices for physicians in providing culturally safe health care to Indigenous patients.
    • I reflect on whether the sources I picked were relevant to my situation and patients. I decide that the recommendations I read on how to adapt the delivery of health care services to support different Métis customs and traditions were of particular value.
  5. Reflect on the outcomes or conclusions you reached, and the implications for your practice.
    • I feel it is important to share with all my patients my wish to serve them in a culturally safe environment.
    • During our first consultation together, I encourage my new Métis patient to discuss the customs and traditions that are important to her when receiving care. For example, one of the questions I ask her is whether she wants to bring family members to her consultations with me.
    • In the interests of continuous learning, I decide to build an ongoing relationship with a Métis health care worker who can help me understand how to make my future Métis patients feel more comfortable.
  6. Record your work in MAINPORT ePortfolio.
    • Now that I’ve completed my PLP, in my MAINPORT ePortfolio I record in one or two sentences the conclusions I reached, the actions I took or will take, and I report the number of hours spent on each activity. MAINPORT ePortfolio assigns two credits per hour spent on each activity.

Extra credit: Revisit your project
After implementing changes to your practice, you can revisit your PLP. For example, I might review my Métis patient case files two years later to assess whether the changes I have made to my practice have made a difference to these patients’ overall sense of wellbeing and comfort in our interactions.

I hope these six steps prove helpful for you as you pursue a PLP of your own. PLPs are truly wonderful problem-solvers. Not only are they a rich form of lifelong learning, they are one of the most flexible and adaptable learning activities in the MOC Program framework!


Email Shahid

Contact your local CPD Educator

Fellow readers, do you have a MOC tip that you would like to share with others?

Call for MOC tips: Share "what works" for you
Big or small, we'd love to hear them all. Send us your tip!


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Have you renewed your membership yet? You have until April 30

Member at work

Fellowship matters, to you and to your patients. We are committed to meeting your high expectations and thank you for your continued membership and support.

Dues invoices for 2017-18 were sent to you in March. If you haven’t already done so, please renew your Fellowship before April 30, 2017.

Renew membership online

Full details are available on our website.

Contact us for assistance.

6 reasons to renew your Fellowship

  1. Demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning and professional development (over 42,000 Active Fellows participate in our MOC Program)
  2. Support the future of quality medical education in Canada
  3. Maintain your FRCPC or FRCSC designation and record in the patient-facing Royal College Directory
  4. Discover volunteer opportunities and other ways to advance medical education and quality care
  5. Help define the core knowledge, skills and abilities of specialist physicians
  6. Ensure Canadian health care remains among the world’s best


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More concise & easier to find: inspect our revamped CBD content

Close-up of an individual's hand on a laptop touchpad

Dr. Smith has a problem. She keeps hearing about the Royal College’s Competence by Design (CBD) initiative — she thinks she understands the basic principles of it (e.g. introducing competency-based medical education into residency programs, ePortfolio, catching struggling students sooner, new accreditation guidelines, etc., etc.); but, she can’t answer specific questions from residents and colleagues like

  • When does our specialty transition to CBD?
  • How will ePortfolio change the way we work?
  • What kinds of faculty supports are being planned?

Dr. Smith’s not even sure where to begin looking!

If you’re like Dr. Smith and want more information about CBD, you’re in luck. We just relaunched our CBD webpages to better connect you with the information you want and need, and to improve your user experience through

  • clearer, more relevant and concise content;
  • a refreshed resource section;
  • improved search capabilities;
  • updated information on ePortfolio, competency-based continuing professional development and more.


Feedback is always welcome. Email

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Abstract and workshop proposals are due soon (2017 Simulation Summit)

Lady at work

Content submissions for the Simulation Summit are due soon. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to present your research or to lead a workshop.

Call for workshop proposals
Deadline: April 18, 2017

Proposals related to simulation-based learning from a variety of contexts, settings and perspectives, will be considered. Workshop objectives should enable participants to develop skills and knowledge in a particular area of simulation education. Workshop submission form and instructions »

Call for abstracts
Deadline: May 15, 2017

Proposals should present rigorous scholarly work, and advance knowledge of simulation-based education and assessment, broadly. Abstracts must fall under one of two categories: research or innovation. Note: Researchers with less than five years of experience may be considered for a special “Emerging Investigator Presentation” showcase. Abstract submission form and instructions »

About the Simulation Summit
The Simulation Summit is an inter-professional conference that brings together simulation educators, researchers and a wide-range of other health care workers to explore cutting-edge simulation research, learning and practice. Our 2017 event will be held in Montreal, Canada, from November 1-2. | @RC_SimSummit |

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Are you up for the challenge? Give back for Canada’s 150th!

National volunteer week poster

The Canada 150 for 150 Volunteer Challenge is a nationwide movement led by Volunteer Ottawa in partnership with Volunteer Canada and Volunteer Centres across the country. Its aim is to encourage all Canadians to give a minimum of 150 hours of volunteer time in 2017 in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

The individuals who contribute the most hours in each province and territory will be invited to Ottawa to be recognized at a ceremony in early 2018.

Volunteer activities can be formal (e.g. volunteering with a non-profit) or informal (e.g. shovelling snow for a neighbour).

To learn more or to get started, please visit


Canada for 150 Volunteer Challenge

Watch our social sites for release of new infographic (Week of April 23)

Did you know that last year’s national anthem singer for Royal College Convocation was a Fellow? This is just one of the many (lesser-known) ways that our members contribute their talents to a wide-range of Royal College activities.

To mark National Volunteer Week this April 23-29, 2017, we’ve created an infographic detailing some fun facts about our volunteers and the ways they help the Royal College function.

Watch for the release of this new infographic on our social media sites later this month. You can also visit our website during National Volunteer Week to see the full graphic.

For information on volunteering with the Royal College:

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Members in the news

Doctor walking down a hospital hallway

“Up to 80 per cent of patients coming for any type of surgery can be suffering from some form of preoperation anxiety,” - Fahad Alam, MD, FRCPC (“Toronto hospitals embrace virtual reality,” Toronto Star)

“The real group of people who are very costly to our health-care system are those that are referred (to cardiac rehab) and who never show up at the door,” - David Alter, MD, FRCPC (“Province could save money if more patients stuck with cardiac rehab, study finds,” Toronto Star). Beth Abramson, MD, FRCPC, was also quoted.

“Clinically, we’ve seen females present as young as in their mid-twenties with this condition… which is obviously quite scary,” - Kevin Bainey, MD, FRCPC (“Why doctors are warning young women about heart attacks related to stress, pregnancy,” Global News)

“Evolving – albeit early – work suggests that periodic limb movements are an ominous sign because they may be either a potential marker for or a risk factor for heart disease and stroke,” - Mark Boulos, MD, FRCPC (“Why Canadian docs are warning kicking in your sleep may increase your risk of stroke,” Global News)

“This, for us, is an opportunity to try something new in Canada,” - Trevor Corneil, MD, FRCPC (“Overdose-prevention RV to hit Kelowna streets later this month,” Vancouver Sun)

“It is quite clear there is an increased risk of coronary artery disease, which ultimately causes heart attacks,” - Benjamin Goldstein, MD, FRCPC (“How depression can lead to heart disease,” YourHealthMatters)

“It is nothing I ever expected or worked for. I come to work to look after patients. This is something I never thought would happen,” - Ernest Janzen, MD, FRCPC (“Lethbridge doctor named Specialist of the Year in Western Canada,” Lethbridge Herald)

“This research demonstrates how observations made in the clinic and the laboratory can complement each other to help us understand patient problems, advance basic knowledge and translate research into new opportunities for improving care.” - Walter Kahr, MD, FRCPC (co-lead author, along with Aleixo Muise, MD, FRCPC, of a new study “Loss of the Arp2/3 complex component ARPC1B causes platelet abnormalities and predisposes to inflammatory disease” in Nature Communications)

“It’s very important for young people to understand their own bodies and to understand what’s going on,” - Yolanda Kirkham, MD, FRCSC (“Toronto artist using comics to educate women about birth control methods,” Globe and Mail)

“If you do enough unnecessary tests, eventually you will cause a complication from all the overtesting,” - Christopher Labos, MD, FRCPC (“Should the wealthy be allowed to buy their way to faster health care at private clinics?Toronto Star). Wendy Levinson, MD, FRCPC, was also quoted.

“Fairness and justice would say these people have got the disease … surely they should have a bit of a say,” - Andreas Laupacis, MD, FRCPC (“Trying to 'change the culture of medicine' by letting patients decide what gets researched,” CBC News). Adeera Levin, MD, FRCPC, was also quoted.

“Our culture says 'sooner is better.’ It's not true. We think it's better, but it's not. Often it's worse.” - Laurent Marcoux, MD, FRCPC (“Report suggests up to 30 per cent of low-risk patients may be getting needless tests,” Montreal Gazette).

“People just sort of roll their eyes and say: ‘Oh, it’s just administration trying to save money,’ ” - Donna McRitchie, MD, FRCSC (“Up to 30 per cent of medical care Canadians receive is unnecessary: report,” Globe and Mail). Wendy Levinson, MD, FRCPC, was also quoted.

“We're particularly excited about this recent finding because we're able to show patients with heart failure that this drug really works in their bloodstream,” - Gavin Oudit, MD, FRCPC (“University of Alberta study helps develop drug that prevents chronic heart failure,” CBC Edmonton).

“We decided to work together to see what we could do to adopt this treatment method in the Yukon – and this started a series of discussions with Health Canada,” - Alex Poole, MD, FRCSC (“Doctor, pharmacist develop frostbite treatment,” Whitehorse Star).

Because kidney disease is hard to detect and is a progressive condition, many people will not even realize they have a problem until it’s too late, wrote Lisa Robinson, MD, FRCPC, in the Toronto Star (“Doctors’ Notes: Why we need to take better care of our kidneys).

“A child or youth injured by a gun each day in this province is staggering,” - Natasha Saunders, MD, FRCPC (“A young person is shot every day in Ontario, Sick Kids study finds,” Toronto Star).

John Semple, MD, FRCSC, Mitchell Brown, MD, FRCSC, Brett Beber, MD, FRCSC, and colleagues are authors of a new study "Effect of Home Monitoring via Mobile App on the Number of In-Person Visits Following Ambulatory Surgery: A Randomized Clinical Trial," which was published in JAMA Surgery. This research was also featured in Forbes online: "How Mobile Apps Reduce Follow-Up Visits After Surgery."

“The percentage of patients I have to tell we can’t treat this year has at least gone down,” – Stephen Shafran, MD, FRCPC (“Game-changing Hepatitis C drug available to more patients,” Edmonton Sun).

“By using this new technique, we can now find and remove the smallest tumours, which reduces the number of times a patient must undergo surgery,” – Robert Siemens, MD, FRCSC (“Procedure improves quality of life for bladder cancer patients,” The Whig-Standard).

“I think this research highlights the importance of these factors so we can improve survival for all Canadians and all Americans and other people around the world who are living with this disease,” – Anne Stephenson, MD, FRCPC (“Cystic fibrosis patients in Canada living longer than those in U.S.: study,” CTV News).

"Residents of high-rate regions were the least likely to receive certain preventive services, even though they had the highest rates of smoking and obesity and the lowest rates of dietary intake of fruits and vegetables," – Jack Tu, MD, FRCPC (lead author of a new study, “Regional variations in ambulatory care and incidence of cardiovascular events,” which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal).

“Imagine the impact on the healthcare system. What I’m worried about is the capacity to provide care,” [« Imaginez l’impact sur le système de santé. Ce qui m’inquiète, c’est la capacité à donner des soins »] – le Dr Louis Valiquette, MD, FRCPCLa lutte aux bactéries résistantes aux antibiotiques s'organise » Journal de Montréal).

Congratulations to award and/or honour recipients:

2017 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award

Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

  • Honorary Colonel Louis Hugo Francescutti, M.S.M., MD, FRCPC (former President of the Royal College and of the Canadian Medical Association)

2016-2017 RDoC Award Recipients

  • Dianna Louie, MD, FRCPC, recipient of a RDoC Award for Resident Wellness;
  • Kathryn Darras, MD (Resident Affiliate), and Barry Kassen, MD, FRCPC, recipients of the RDoC Mikhael Award for Medical Education.

Prizes for Excellence in Research from Queen's University in 2017

  • Stephen Vanner, MD, FRCPC


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In memoriam


George M. Abouna, MBBS, FRCSC, died on September 28, 2016, in Wayne, PA, USA, at age 83. Dr. Abouna was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1979. He was a renowned transplant surgeon who performed the first liver transplant in Western Canada. Read more about Dr. Abouna.

George Glen Allan, MD, FRCSC, died on January 11, 2017, in Victoria, B.C., at age 91. Dr. Allan was certified by the Royal College in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1965. He served in the medical branch of the Canadian Armed Forces for many years, including serving in France and Germany. Read more about Dr. Allan.

Michael Stewart Allen, MD, FRCSC, died on January 9, 2017, in Toronto, Ont., at age 81. Dr. Allen was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1964. He practised at the Toronto East General Hospital for more than 30 years. Read more about Dr. Allen.

Kenneth Gordon Atkinson, MD, FRCSC, died on January 1, 2017, in Vancouver, B.C., at age 87. Dr. Atkinson was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1962. He worked for many years at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, where he helped advance his specialty. Read more about Dr. Atkinson.

James D. Baxter MDCM, FRCSC, died on March 13, 2017, in Burlington, Ont., at age 93. Dr. Baxter was certified by the Royal College in 1952. He was an Emeritus Professor at McGill University and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology from 1970-1989. Read more about Dr. Baxter.

William G. Bensen, MD, FRCPC, died on March 15, 2017, in Hamilton, Ont., at age 68. Dr. Bensen was certified by the Royal College in Rheumatology in 1977. Passionate about patient care, he worked in Hamilton for more than 40 years where he championed innovative research programs and a team-based style of medicine. Read more about Dr. Bensen.

John McKenney Bingham, MD, FRCPC, died on January 11, 2017, in Ottawa, Ont., at age 83. Dr. Bingham was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1964. He will be remembered for his kindness, compassion and humour. Read more about Dr. Bingham.

Irvin Broder, MD, FRCPC, died on January 10, 2017, in Toronto, Ont., at age 86. Dr. Broder was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1960. He was a longtime Respirology researcher and philanthropist. Read more about Dr. Broder.

Thomas William Challis, MDCM, FRCSC, died on January 9, 2017, in Kingston, Ont., at age 90. Dr. Challis was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1959. He worked for many years at Kingston General Hospital and was also an Emeritus Professor at Queen’s University. Read more about Dr. Challis.

William “Mac” Eagleson, MD, FRCSC, died on January 7, 2017, in St. Catharines, Ont., at age 93. Dr. Eagleson was certified by the Royal College in Dermatology (1967) and General Surgery (1952). He practised medicine for many years and was also actively involved in other interest areas and his faith community. Read more about Dr. Eagleson.

David Dryhurst Foster, MBChB, FRCSC, died on January 3, 2017, in Essex, Ont., at age 92. Dr. Foster was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1963. He practiced surgery in Essex from 1962 until his retirement at age 65, continuing in family practice for another 15 years. Read more about Dr. Foster.

Ivan Goldman, MBChB, FRCSC, died on January 19, 2017, in Toronto, Ont., at age 89. Dr. Goldman was certified by the Royal College in Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1964. He will be remembered for his kindness, respect for others, compassion and commitment to patients — no matter the hour of the day. Read more about Dr. Goldman.

Roger Wilson T. Haddon, MBBS, FRCPC, died on January 28, 2017, in Burlington, Ont., at age 82. Dr. Haddon was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1968. He was formerly an associate at the University of Toronto and McMaster University. He also practised at several Toronto-area hospitals. Read more about Dr. Haddon.

John Gordon Keenleyside, MD, FRCPC, died on January 8, 2017, in Guelph, Ont., at age 86. Dr. Keenleyside was certified by the Royal College in Diagnostic Radiology in 1961. He spent his career at the Queensway General Hospital in Etobicoke, retiring in 1995. Read more about Dr. Keenleyside.

Arshad Khan, MBBS, FRCPC, died on February 5, 2017, in Kitchener, Ont., at age 71. Dr. Khan was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1987. He spent 29 years serving as a psychiatrist in Kitchener-Waterloo and will be remembered for his devotion to the community. Read more about Dr. Khan.

Robert William Lamont, MD, FRCPC, died on February 2, 2017, in Toronto, Ont., at age 77. Dr. Lamont was certified by the Royal College in Anesthesiology in 1968. He spent 50 years at the Scarborough Hospital, where he served two terms as Chief of Anesthesia (1973-1982 and 1987-1992). Read more about Dr. Lamont.

Cheemun Lum, MD, FRCPC, died on February 11, 2017, in Ottawa, Ont., at age 49. Dr. Lum was certified by the Royal College in Radiology in 1998. Since 2001, he practised neurointerventional radiology at The Ottawa Hospital where he led the clinical academic stroke interventional program. Read more about Dr. Lum.

Peter Mlynaryk, MDCM, FRCPC, died on January 14, 2017, in Medicine Hat, Alta., at age 84. Dr. Mlynaryk was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1961. A retired gastroenterologist, he worked for many years in Mont-Royal, Que. Read more about Dr. Mlynaryk.

Frederick Richard Morris, MD, FRCSC, died on January 28, 2017, in Moose Jaw, Sask., at age 86. Dr. Morris was certified by the Royal College in General Surgery in 1962. He worked in Moose Jaw until his retirement in 2007. From 2006-2011, he served as an Honorary Colonel, #2 CFFTS at 15 Wing Moose Jaw. Read more about Dr. Morris.

Melvin Orvald Opseth, MD, FRCPC, died on January 25, 2017, in Saskatoon, Sask., at age 83. Dr. Opseth was certified by the Royal College in General Pathology in 1984. He was instrumental in setting up the pathology department in Melfort, Sask., in the mis-1980s and retired from the Provincial Lab in Regina, Sask., in 1998. Read more about Dr. Opseth.

Michael John Rokoss, MD, FRCPC, died on January 6, 2017, in Toronto, Ont., at age 47 from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Rokoss was certified by the Royal College in Cardiology in 2001. He will be remembered for his joie-de-vivre, service to others, generosity and wisdom. Read more about Dr. Rokoss.

Dawn Lorraine Ross, MD, FRCPC, died on January 15, 2017, in Tantallon, N.S., at age 59. Dr. Ross was certified by the Royal College in Psychiatry in 1988. She spent her career in private practice and also lectured in the Department of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University, and as an Adjunct Professor in the Division of Medical Education. Read more about Dr. Ross.

David To-Sik Tsang, MBBS, FRCPC, died on January 19, 2017, in Vancouver, B.C., at age 88. Dr. Tsang was certified by the Royal College in Dermatology in 1972. He will be fondly remembered by his family and friends. Read more about Dr. Tsang.

William James Walsh, MD, FRCPC, died on January 7, 2017, in Hamilton, Ont., at age 92. Dr. Walsh was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1953. He was one of the so-called “Five Founding Fathers” of McMaster’s medical school, as well as a former President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Read more about Dr. Walsh.

Thomas T. Zsoter, MD, FRCPC, died on January 31, 2017, in Brampton, Ont., at age 94. Dr. Zsoter was certified by the Royal College in Internal Medicine in 1962. For many years, he was head of the Pharmacology program at Toronto Western Hospital. He also taught at the University of Toronto and worked in private practice. Read more about Dr. Zsoter.


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