February 2016

What's Up in Family Medicine

Two Winners of OCFP's Top Prize for Family Medicine Resident Research

Dr. Katrin Dolganova from Queen’s University and Dr. Jennifer Swerdlyk from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine West Campus (NOSM West) scored top marks at the OCFP’s 2015 Resident Research Competition held during the CFPC’s Family Medicine Forum last November. It was the first time the annual showcase of the highest-rated, practical research and scholarly projects developed by the province’s class of residents had two winners.

For the past three years top resident research projects have been selected by each of the province’s six medical schools. Each school conducts its own competition to determine the top projects and the projects’ authors are then invited by the OCFP’s College’s Annual Scientific Assembly (ASA) Committee to participate in the oral competition, which usually takes place at the College’s ASA conference. The 2015 event was the first time it was held at FMF.

Judged on originality, significance to family medicine, strength of design and methodology, each participant is given ten minutes to present their work, followed by a brief question and answer period. The winner is selected by the ASA Committee and awarded free registration to the ASA conference in the following year.

And The Winners Are . . .

Dr. Dolganova from Queen’s University presented Using and Interpreting Urine Toxicology Screens, which examined the effects of medications on urine drug screen results and their interpretation. Dr. Dolganova applied her findings and developed an educational module to teach residents how to analyze and interpret urine drug screen results. She also developed an online clinical tool that allows clinicians to input test results and receive a list of narcotic and non-narcotic medications that could cause a positive result.

“The competition allows you to show the audience how your research is relevant and that it has practical applications,” said Dr. Dolganova about her experience. “It was also an opportunity to network and take the research further. At the competition I got connected with a mobile app developer and we are speaking about turning my online tool into an app.”
Dr. Swerdlyk now practices in Thunder Bay, working part-time in the hospital's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit and part-time in a family medicine practice. She also thinks the competition was a valuable experience.

"It was humbling to participate and see the calibre of the other projects that were presented and meet people who are highly educated and well-researched,” said Swerdlyk. “The event is small and intimate so you get to really discuss the projects.”

A former nurse practitioner, she became interested in mental health and pursed a specialty in enhanced skills training in child and adolescent mental health. Her project, Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression in Third-Year NOSM C.C.C. (Comprehensive Community Clerkship) Students, examined whether medical students experienced increased depression or anxiety during their year third year, when they complete their Comprehensive Community Clerkship (CCC) and live and work in smaller and remote communities throughout northern Ontario.

Conducting four surveys over the course of the year, she was able to observe trends that indicated when students were more likely to experience increased levels of mental distress throughout their CCC year. The surveys also included sections that asked students to provide their opinions and feedback about what supports were helpful and what is still needed or could be improved.

2015 Competitors

The OCFP Resident Research Competition showcases the highest-rated, practical research and scholarly projects developed by the province’s graduating class. Congratulations and thank you to the participants of the 2015 competition.

Dr. Ryan Craig and Dr. Fawad Ahmed
, Western University
Self-Reported Questionnaire Study Analyzing Physicians' Own Personal Compliance with Preventive Guidelines in Small-Medium Sized Canadian Communities


Dr. Jennifer Swerdlyk
, Northern Ontario School of Medicine West
Symptoms of Anxiety & Depression in Third-Year NOSM C.C.C. (Comprehensive Community Clerkship) Students

Dr. Kate Everdell
, Northern Ontario School of Medicine East
Health Promotion in the Waiting Room

Dr. Charlene Antony, McMaster University
Paging Primary Care: On Call Service in a FHT

Dr. Lina Al-Imari and Dr. Jaisy Yang, University of Toronto
Peer-support writing group in a community Family Medicine Teaching Unit: facilitating professional development

Dr. Catherine Varner
, University of Toronto
Predicting Fetal Outcomes using Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) in Women with Vaginal Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

Dr. Katrin Dolganova, Queen’s University
Using and Interpreting Urine Toxicology Screens
“Some of the supports students were looking for included having flexibility to attend medical appointments and the ability to access care outside of the facility where they were working,” said Swerdlyk.

These recommendations and the other findings were provided to NOSM for consideration. Dr. Swerdlyk hopes to publish her research in an academic journal and is optimistic that the research will be developed further, as it can be adapted to be applicable to a variety of situations.

Although Dr. Dolganova and Dr. Swerdlyk’s areas of research may be different, they agree that participating in the experience was a valuable opportunity. They learned about the research being done by residents from across the province and encourage residents to participate in research and the competition.

A Special Thank You

The competition would not be possible without the leadership and contribution of the ASA Committee and the 2015 judges. Thank you to Drs. Andrew Dr. Arcand of Markham, Stephane Foidart of Kenora, France Boudreau of Ottawa, Lucy Horvat of Acton, Heather Galbraith of Sudbury and Kendal Noel of Rockland.

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