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US launches new MyPlate icon as reminder for healthier food choices
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MyPlate IconOn June 2, 2011 US First Lady Michelle Obama and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government's new food icon, MyPlate.  MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to make healthier food choices and to seek more information by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “It’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

Rick Mercer's 2013 Rant - Scientists Muzzled Again
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Rick Mercer Rant Scientists Muzzled Again

This is one of my favorite Rick's Rants. In less than 2 minutes he lays it all out. Beginning with the problem for scientists then in the middle he turns it up a notch, "Get over yourselves. It's not like scientists are the only ones being told to shut up. No, it's everyone." Then after some fine examples he ends with a polite, "Thank you for not talking." A great entertaining and thought provoking rant.

The future of medicine and health care in BC and Canada: Where are we going?
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Norman Rockwell Doctors Office2016-07-21 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

What is the future of medicine and health care in BC and Canada? Where are we going?

While everyone is out having fun in the summertime, the Government and other organizations, use the time to put out information they know few people will have time to see or digest. Much like they also use the busy time of Christmas and the winter holiday season to slip through items. Some people may just consider it prudent timing, others may see it as deliberate avoidance of proper public consultation.

BC Covid19 Math and Stats modelling lecture May 14, 2020
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BC Covid19 Realtime modellingThe "bcCOVID-19 group Lecture: Real time modelling of the COVID-19 epidemic - perspectives from British Columbia" was delivered as a Zoom lecture and was recorded. The first speaker Caroline Colijn provides an interesting explanation of the use of mathematical modelling and how this is being used to develop data driven policies. Her presentation includes some graphs that are quite useful.

The Future of Psychiatry?
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Dr. Chris Sedergreen.

A highly respected psychiatrist has recently sent a letter to her patients announcing her decision not to return to clinical practice. I've known her professionally for over 15 years and can attest that her departure will leave a gap in her patient's lives that will be almost impossible to fill.

Burnout and Resilience
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Vancouver BC - Oct 19, 2011.

burning candleA talk on burnout in doctors at a recent conference in Vancouver provided good information and stimulated further exploration.

During questions the speaker said the prevalence of burnout in doctors is 20 percent and tends to occur in pockets or clusters.

The talk focused on burnout resulting from lack of recognition while caring for others. Although burnout can also result from lack of recognition from colleagues and co-workers, lack of resources, and degree of bureaucracy.

Burnout can also occur in other aspects of our lives besides our work.

Good news from the talk is research shows that when individuals examined their level of burnout and attended to the risk of burnout they were not only able to reduce their current risk but their future risk of burnout continued to remain less and even improved further over time.

The Patient-Physician Covenant: An Affirmation of Asklepios from Annals of Internal Medicine
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Medicine is, at its center, a moral enterprise grounded in a covenant of trust. This covenant obliges physicians to be competent and to use their competence in the patient's best interests. Physicians, therefore, are both intellectually and morally obliged to act as advocates for the sick wherever their welfare is threatened and for their health at all times.

Today, this covenant of trust is significantly threatened.

Christmas Carols and Songs for 2020
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Hark When Bonnie Henry Speaks sheet music imageAfter the start of a discussion by our colleague Dr David Naismith sharing a parody on "We Three Kings" with lyrics by R.G.Huff another colleague, Dr Chris Sedergreen, added several more Christmas songs and carols where he has penned words for reflection of 2020. First shared by email they are now here for more people to enjoy. They are attached as pdf files with the words and the music.

There are pdf files for each of the four songs: "We Three Queens", "Tread The Ward", "The Rest’raunt Sign Says ‘Closed’ Again" and "Hark When Bonnie Henry Speaks".

Is virtual medicine essentially unprofessional?
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How the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

Fails the Citizens of the Province

Below the banner of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) web site, College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (cpsbc.ca), they proclaim that their mission is “Serving the public by regulating physicians and surgeons”.

Celebrating and helping caregivers
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Patti and SherriDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - February 16, 2018

According to Statistics Canada there are eight million caregivers in Canada. Most are unpaid, regular people who are taking care of aging and ailing parents, children with disabilities, and friends who need them. Caregivers get little or no attention, despite their massive numbers.

Some caregivers find inspiration and friendship from those they care for and some find themselves with personal challenges through caring for others. Healthcare providers may experience the same themselves and see this in those they serve.

Sharing caregivers' stories may help others find inspiration or recognize the impact on themselves and what they might be able to do.

Will we see changes to copyright laws in Canada?
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2019-06-21 Vancouver, BC

Canadian copyright laws were updated in 2012. Now, in 2019, two Canadian Parliamentary Standing Committees delivered reports with recommendations on changes to copyright laws in Canada.

Will we see any changes to the copyright laws in the near future?

BC Auditor General issues report on Electronic Health Record (EHR) Implementation.
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Health professionals not effectively or adequately engaged.

Approach should ensure health professionals, stakeholders and the public are informed.

BC Auditor General, EHR implementation in BCOn February 17, 2010 the Auditor General of BC, John Doyle, issued his report on “Electronic Health Record Implementation in British Columbia” which is available on their website http://www.bcauditor.com

In his report, the BC Auditor General, acknowledges “The development and implementation of an EHR system … is a complex and high-risk endeavour … because of the large investment of public funds” and “because collecting, storing and disclosing information electronically raises concerns about the privacy and security of personal health information”.

Concerns about the privacy and security of personal health information is not covered to any great extent in the BC Auditor General’s report.  However, several issues have been reported on by the BC Commissioner of Privacy and individual orders are available on their website, http://www.oipc.bc.ca/.  The BC Civil Liberties Association also provides information and discussion on eHealth issues on their website, http://www.bccla.org/ehealth.html

BC is one of five Provincial Auditor General Offices that will issue separate reports for their jurisdictions and the Office of the Auditor General of Canada will be issuing a joint summary report in April 2010.

There’s more in the full report than contained in the news release and Executive summary.  Here are some key highlights.

Media depiction of Flu shot technique
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David Naismith (retired physician), Vernon BC, January 15, 2019.

On January 11th I was so disturbed by the portrayal of health professionals on TV, both in adverts and on the National, that I fired off an email to some colleagues. As usual, I learnt something as the thread progressed, so here is a distillate of that exchange.

Cannabis, marijuana, what do we know?
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Chemurgy2016-10-16 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

Cannabis is a plant that has been part of human history for thousands of years and on every continent. The uses of cannabis are far beyond just medical and recreational use.

What do we really know about cannabis?

Is cannabis more than just good for medical and health use, is it also good for the economy and the environment?

"Cracked Science" light-hearted in-depth science for everyone
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The youtube channel "Cracked Science" with Jonathan Jerry provides some good humour and scientific knowledge in ten minute episodes to bring you up to speed and get you thinking.

Take a look at CRISPR is a Puppy and learn how gene therapy may be applied to human diseases.

Another episode helps to debunk the media hype on the discovery of a new human organ - "the Interstitium, the largest organ we never knew we had", Does a New Organ Explain Acupuncture? While some of this is opinionated to the reporter's own views on acupuncture, the evidence of the Interstitium is a good reminder of what we already know.

News Items

Rethinking the Internet: How We Lost Control and How To Take It Back
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Rethinking the Internet, scene of the debate.This is an interesting and thought provoking 1 hour video interview and debate. It begins with a 5 minute overview and then proceeds with an interview by moderator Bill Blakemore with Jaron Lanier, a long-time computer scientist and developer and the father of virtual reality, who is concerned about the use of behaviour modification "to engage and addict you to algorithmic exploration until we find whatever it is that will get you".

Following the interview there is a debate with four speakers; Tim Hwang, Meredith Whittaker, Aviv Ovadya, and Brett Frischmann. They touch on many aspects of not only the Internet but also power in organizations, how its lost and who has it.

The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive
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The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive coverDr Chris Sedegreen.

Some time before the Christmas holiday a colleague mentioned a book, The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive, on the Doclounge listserve. I’d like to thank him for bringing this lovely book to our attention. I ordered and received the paperback version (somewhat cheaper than the hard cover, but in retrospect I wish I'd ordered the hard cover). This publication is beautifully printed.

Is virtual medicine essentially unprofessional?
Public

How the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

Fails the Citizens of the Province

Below the banner of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) web site, College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (cpsbc.ca), they proclaim that their mission is “Serving the public by regulating physicians and surgeons”.

Christmas Carols and Songs for 2020
Public

Hark When Bonnie Henry Speaks sheet music imageAfter the start of a discussion by our colleague Dr David Naismith sharing a parody on "We Three Kings" with lyrics by R.G.Huff another colleague, Dr Chris Sedergreen, added several more Christmas songs and carols where he has penned words for reflection of 2020. First shared by email they are now here for more people to enjoy. They are attached as pdf files with the words and the music.

There are pdf files for each of the four songs: "We Three Queens", "Tread The Ward", "The Rest’raunt Sign Says ‘Closed’ Again" and "Hark When Bonnie Henry Speaks".

The courts will not save Canada's sick health system; Dr Day is not a gadfly
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The BC ruling, after grinding through the courts for a decade, is but a reminder that Canada's sick health care system will not be cured by its dysfunctional legal system. To expect our system to be saved by the courts amounts to, at best, magical thinking, while more and more Canadians who suffer in silence and risk dying from inability to access essential care will "just have to wait".

Understanding Generations X, Y, Z and more
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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the growing list of names for different generations; boomers, gen-X, millenials, zoomers and what follows? Here are a couple of links that may help.

BC Covid19 Math and Stats modelling lecture May 14, 2020
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BC Covid19 Realtime modellingThe "bcCOVID-19 group Lecture: Real time modelling of the COVID-19 epidemic - perspectives from British Columbia" was delivered as a Zoom lecture and was recorded. The first speaker Caroline Colijn provides an interesting explanation of the use of mathematical modelling and how this is being used to develop data driven policies. Her presentation includes some graphs that are quite useful.

BC Covid-19 Survey gets quite personal
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BC Covid-19 SurveyThe BC Covid-19 Survey has just been launched and people can participate until the end of May 2020.

The survey takes longer than the 10-15 minutes claimed and while the survey does allow people to answer anonymously and answer only the questions they wish to, it does include a number of questions that reveal a lot of private personal information including the individual's PHN if they wish.

Telehealth, what does it mean?
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Telehealth collageWith tongue in cheek some might say it was about time we made more use of the tech we've got and now here we are all using telehealth. What does it mean? What does it look like? How does it work?

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