Doctors in the news

Taunton named chief medical officer for 2010
University of BC sports medicine doctor, Dr Jack Taunton has been selected as the chief medical officer for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Dr Taunton, who is the co-founder and director of the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre at UBC and has served as the chief medical officer for the Canadian Summer Olympic team in 2000 and as a medical officer for the games in 1992, 1988, and 1984, will oversee the medical services program. This includes developing a basic and emergency health care program for the games and the doping control program.

His new posting is effective immediately, making him a member of the International Olympic Committee. He will take part in the upcoming winter games in Italy in February and the summer games in Beijing in 2008.

Boulton named to council
Retired pediatrician Dr Basil Boulton has been elected to the Esquimalt Township Council. Dr Boulton has been actively involved in his community for many years. Since 1999 he has sat on the Capital Region Youth Justice Committee, which is developing a school-based pilot project to deal with mental health issues affecting youth. He is a recipient of the CMA Silver Medal of Service and currently serves as chair of the BCMA Council on Health Promotion’s Child and Youth Health committee.

Dr Boulton believes that municipal governments have great influence in their local communities, making this level of government an excellent vehicle for promoting public health and health issues. For this reason, he feels it is important for physicians to get involved with the council in their community. During his term on council, he hopes to sit on regional committees working on health issues.

Gallagher receives award
Dr Romayne Gallagher has received the Reg L. Perkins Award from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Dr Gallagher was recognized for her support of the aged and her work in palliative care.

The College gives the award to family doctors who provide exceptional care to patients and make significant contributions to the well-being of their communities.

Dr Gallagher heads the residential care division of Providence Health Care, which runs St. Paul’s, Mount Saint Joseph, and St. Vincent’s hospitals. She founded the division of palliative care at UBC in 1997, where she still teaches courses in the art and science of helping people die on their own terms.

Hogg’s lifetime of achievement honored
Pulmonary pathologist Dr James Hogg is the recipient of the first UBC Faculty of Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award for his pivotal and extensive contributions in the understanding of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and his role as an educator.

Dr Hogg is a professor emeritus of pathology at UBC and has dedicated his life to the study of COPD. He has also made major contributions to understanding the mechanism of airway hyper-responsiveness in asthmatic patients, how viruses and bacteria worsen airway diseases, and how white blood cells are attracted to the lung, where they cause damage. He continues to teach, mentor graduate and summer students, and do research at his namesake, the James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research at St. Paul’s Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility developed collaboratively by the UBC Faculty of Medicine and Providence Health Care that is home to top researchers in the field of genetic and environmental cardiopulmonary research.

Thommasen book wins BC Book Prize
In 2005 Dr Harvey Thommasen and his co-authors were awarded the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award for their work, Birds of the Raincoast: Habits and Habitat.

Dr Thommasen is the author of a number of books and is also a family physician based in Prince George, an associate clinical professor in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, and a frequent contributor to the BCMJ.

Montaner named CfE director
Dr Julio Montaner has been named director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (CfE) and physician program director for HIV/AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Nurse practitioners start prescribing

Nurse practitioners registered with the College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) are now authorized to prescribe all Schedule II drugs. They can also prescribe certain Schedule I drugs, as specified in the CRNBC scope of practice for each type of nurse practitioner.

Family practice nurse practitioners are the first to be registered, followed by adult practice and pediatric practice nurse practitioners in 2006. CRNBC and individual nurse practitioners are responsible for ensuring appropriate prescribing within their scope of practice.

Top honor awarded for Canadian sexual health site

In November 2005 at the World Summit Awards, presented as part of the United Nations Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia, the Canadian sexual health web site www.sexualityandu.ca was recognized as one of the top five e-health projects in the world.

The sexualityandu.ca site, administered by the Contraception Awareness Project of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, was selected from approximately 20000 candidates from over 168 countries.

The World Summit Awards, which are presented every two years, celebrate the best e-contents and applications that use technology to share information and knowledge for the benefit of all members of society. The awards are delivered in partnership with several United Nations agencies, including UNIDO and UNESCO.

The sexualityandu.ca site was launched in 2001 in response to high rates of unplanned pregnancy and an increasing number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Canada, particularly in Canadian youth. The bilingual site offers comprehensive sexual health information provided by a team of over 60 expert health professionals and includes individually tailored sections for teens, adults, parents, educators, and health care professionals. The site is highly interactive and uses a wide range of games, quizzes, videos, and animations to educate people on subjects such as contraception, STIs, and sexual health. As an online resource, the site is able to sidestep some of the embarrassment that may stand between people and reliable sexual health information.

To date, the site has received over 1.6 million visits.

See responses to this column

Home hemodialysis

The number of patients with end-stage kidney disease in BC who receive hemodialysis in their homes has risen by 189% in the past year and that number is expected to almost double again by next spring.

At present, 78 patients are on home hemodialysis through the independent dialysis program, an initiative developed last year by the BC Provincial Renal Agency (BCPRA) and renal care providers across the province.

With the costs of independent dialysis being so much lower than for traditional hospital-based dialysis, overall costs for dialysis in BC are expected to be reduced by $1.2 million in the 2005 fiscal year.

With the launch of the home hemodialysis program in 2004, BC patients now have the option of two modes of independent dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, both of which offer greater convenience and improved outcomes for patients. Currently, more than 600 BC patients are on peritoneal dialysis.

These two modes of home dialysis allow patients to cleanse their blood more often and for longer periods of time than is usually possible during treatments away from the home. As a result, home dialysis comes closer to mimicking the function of healthy kidneys.

Patients on home dialysis also experience other benefits, including improved energy levels, a reduced need for medications, fewer dietary restrictions, and fewer unpleasant side effects such as cramping and nausea that often occur with traditional dialysis, as well as fewer emergency room visits and less frequent need for hospitalization.

For more information contact Ms Gloria Freeborn at the BC Provincial Renal Agency, 604 780-1290.

Blood pressure and cholesterol screening

Starting 5 February 2006, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, in partnership with Pfizer, will be conducting blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. The screenings will take place the first Sunday of each month from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Fire Hall #18, located at West 38th Ave. and Cartier St. in Vancouver.

This is an extension of the fire department’s Community CPR/First Aid Program. As well as being trained as blood pressure cholesterol advocates, Vancouver firefighters are emergency medical first responders, basic trauma life support technicians, CPR-C endorsed instructors, and instructor-trainers in these areas.

The blood pressure and cholesterol screenings are intended to improve Vancouver citizens’ awareness of healthy heart lifestyles and the early warning signs of a heart condition in order to help prevent cardiac incidents before they happen.

Depending on the results, some participants will be recommended to follow up the screening with a visit to their family doctor or local medical clinic

UBC CME name change

The UBC Division of Continuing Medical Education has changed its name to the Division of Continuing Professional Development and Knowledge Translation (CPD-KT). Over the past 10 years, UBC CPD-KT has evolved into a multifaceted organization offering a broad range of activities to support the learning of physicians in professional practice. Current UBC CPD-KT initiatives include a wide range of educational programs, educational research, and technology research and development.

Made effective 31 October 2005, the name change better reflects the scope of activities the division undertakes within the Faculty of Medicine and recognizes the many roles physicians need to assume, such as medical expert, communicator, collaborator, researcher, and lifelong learner, all of which are better described within the auspices of continuing professional development. It also acknowledges the importance of the knowledge translation (KT) process. As a research-intensive university, UBC has a mandate and a responsibility to focus on the timely uptake of the latest health research in day-to-day medical practice.

Healthy eating pilot program in full swing

In September 2005 a new pilot program was launched to promote healthy eating and increase access to healthier snacks in our schools. The BC School Fruit and Vegetable Program provides one serving of BC-grown fruits or vegetables to children at elementary schools around the province and encourages children to develop positive attitudes toward fruits and vegetables. Initially, the program is being made available in a pilot study at 10 elementary schools, two in each health authority area.

The Ministry of Health Services has provided $300 000 to fund the pilot study and accompanying research, which is being administered and delivered by the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation. There is no cost to the schools or school districts and participation in the study is voluntary.

The program is based on the Department of Health’s successful National School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme in the UK and the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Program in the US. The positive impact of these programs has been documented with respect to their impact on improved eating habits of children and their families.

The ministries of agriculture, food and fisheries, health services, education, the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, Action Schools! BC, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Community Nutritionists Council of BC will evaluate the results of the pilot study and make recommendations regarding a full provincial implementation.

Changing of the guard for BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS researcher retires from Network’s top post
Dr Michael O’Shaughnessy, one of Canada’s leading HIV/AIDS researchers and an advocate for HIV-positive people, has retired from his post as national co-director at the Canadian HIV Trials Network.

The latter part of Dr O’Shaughnessy’s career was largely defined by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, during which time he pioneered a number of important initiatives that included guidelines for the treatment of HIV and combination therapy in 1996.

Dr O’Shaughnessy was the director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS from 1992–2003 and co-chaired the XIth International Conference on AIDS in 1996 in Vancouver. He served as chair of the National Advisory Committee on AIDS, president of the Canadian Association for HIV Research, vice president of research for Providence Health Care, and assistant dean of research in the Faculty of Medicine a the University of British Columbia.

Dr O’Shaughnessy was awarded the Order of British Columbia in June 1998 and received a Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in February 2003.


Book review

The Drug Trial. By Miriam Shuchman, MD. Toronto: Random House, 2005. ISBN 0-679-31084-3. 451 pages. $34.95.

Like every story, the one about Dr Nancy Olivieri has at least two sides. Dr Miriam Shuchman, a Toronto-based psychiatrist, medical ethicist, and university teacher, has managed to piece together an entertaining and illuminating narrative of Canada’s most famous medical scandal.

Dr Shuchman makes it quite clear that the darling of the North American media in the early years of this decade was a long way from angelic. She also makes clear that all the players in this sad scenario were at fault, some perhaps more than others. However, like most authors with a background in medical ethics, she does her best to point fingers in any direction that deserves it and ends up with a nicely balanced rendering of the historical facts.

I enjoyed Dr Shuchman’s discussion of the problems whistle-blowers have had particularly in North America (Dr Olivieri being the most famous). However, in the same breath she notes that the pendulum may have swung a little too far in the other direction as she describes the ongoing problems researchers who have disagreed with Dr Olivieri’s research findings and recommendations have had getting their papers published.

Dr Shuchman provides the reader with a nice vicarious look into the politics of research and the dirty little wars that go on in the hierarchical system that governs university-run, hospital-based medical research, much of which is funded by pharmaceutical bucks. She titillates the reader with a concise but politically correct condemnation of pharmaceutical companies and the potential ethical (and legal) conflict their research grants create for university researchers. In her list of “who did it wrong,” Dr Shuchman makes it very clear that everyone, including the drug company, the university, the hospital hierarchy, the media, some of her colleagues, and Dr Olivieri herself should share equally in the blame for this sad story of questionable research, big money, even bigger egos, media manipulation, and ethics gone wrong. A lot of people lost as a result, but, as is usual in these cases, the big losers were (and are) the patients.

For all of you who wondered about what really happened with the Nancy Olivieri story and don’t mind losing some sleep, read this.


CMA offers free web site service

The mydoctor.ca physician web site service is a new benefit available to CMA members. Launched in 2004, this service allows physicians to create, manage, and preview a web site for their medical practice through an easy-to-use online program.

Physician sites will be fully backed up and kept up and running by the same technical staff that run cma.ca. The service can be accessed from cma.ca by selecting “Practice Management” from the main toolbar and then clicking on “Practice Website.”

MOBP premiums

Are your MOBP premiums being applied in the most tax-effective way? If your employees are paying all or a portion of the monthly Medical Office Benefit Program (MOBP) premium, the most tax-effective way to apply the employees’ share of the premiums is as follows:

1. First, cover the cost of the LTD benefit. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) dictates that LTD premiums are not taxable. However, LTD benefits collected by an employee while disabled are taxable if the employer pays all or even a portion of the LTD premium. To ensure a disabled employee doesn’t suffer further financial hardship by having to pay income tax on disability benefits received, apply the employee’s premiums first to cover the entire cost of the LTD benefit. If any of the premium cost is contributed by the employer, the entire benefit becomes taxable at time of claim. CRA rules do not allow for different treatment between employees of the same employer; if some employees in your office are paying the full cost of the LTD benefit and you are contributing part of the premium for even one other employee, the LTD benefits for all employees will be taxable.

2. Next, cover the cost of the group life benefit. Group life premiums paid by employers are a taxable benefit to employees and must be shown on the their T4 slip at the end of the year. If any portion of the employee’s share of premiums remains after paying for the LTD benefit, it should be allocated toward the group life premiums to reduce the resulting taxable benefit.

3. Finally, cover the cost of the accidental death and dismemberment, extended health, and dental benefits. Any remaining share of the employee’s premiums can be used toward these benefits. They are all tax-neutral to employees—neither premiums paid by employers nor benefits received are taxable to the employee.

For more information please call Ms Darlene Laird, 604 638-2818 or 1 800 665-2262, local 2818, e-mail dlaird@bcma.bc.ca, or Mr Cory St. Jean, 604 638-2865 or 1 800 665-2262, local 2865, e-mail cstjean@bcma.bc.ca

—Sandie Braid, CEBS
BCMA Benefits Department

Membership renewal in full swing

If you have not already renewed your BCMA/CMA membership, remember that to remain a member in good standing you must do so by 31 March 2006. To make this process as easy as possible for you, several payment options are available:

• Visa or MasterCard: Through the BCMA web site at www.bcma.org. This option is available until 31 March 2006.

• Cheque: One cheque for full payment, received by 31 March 2006. Please make your cheque payable to the BC Medical Association.

• Direct debit: Six equal installments, deducted from your bank account from January through June 2006. If you wish to use this option, please sign the back of your 2006 Notice of Annual Dues and return it to us. If you have not previously authorized this payment method or if you wish to change your banking information, you must also complete and return the Direct Debit Authorization form provided in your dues package together with a void cheque. Please note that any months in which deductions are missed will be compounded onto the following month’s withdrawal.

If you have any questions regarding your 2006 membership classification or dues, please contact the Membership Department at 604 736-5551 or toll free at 1 800 665-2262 or e-mail us at benefits@bcma.bc.ca.

—Sandie Braid, CEBS
BCMA Benefits Department

Do you have an article idea?

One of the primary goals of the BC Medical Journal is to publish high-quality clinical and review articles by BC authors. If you have an idea for an article you would like to write, please consult our Guidelines for Authors, write it, and send it in for review by our Editorial Board. If you would like to discuss it first, contact us either by phone (604 638-2814), e-mail (journal@bcma.bc.ca), or post (BCMJ, 115-1665 W. Broadway, Vancouver BC V6J 5A4). Our Guidelines for Authors document is available at www.bcmj.org under the heading BC Medical Journal/Guidelines & Resources.

We encourage submission from both experienced and first-time authors. If you have an idea that would require several articles to cover properly, we would also be pleased to discuss concepts for theme issues.

James A. Wilson, MD, Sandie Braid, CEBS. Pulsimeter. BCMJ, Vol. 48, No. 1, January, February, 2006, Page(s) 13-15, 37, 42, 46 - News.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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