ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE

GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE

The Department of Medicine is located in the Alberta Health Services – Calgary Zone and at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.

The Department serves a catchment of 2.4 million residents of Southern Alberta, Southeastern British Columbia and Southwestern Saskatchewan.

Department members are located at seven (7) medical sites across Calgary, including the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) and UCalgary Foothills Campus, Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) and Sunridge Landing, Rockyview General Hospital (RGH), South Health Campus (SHC), Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre (RRDTC), Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, and the Associate Clinic, Gulf Canada Square.

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE:

1.   ON THE PANDEMIC FRONTLINES

Our members, in collaboration with our healthcare colleagues and with the support of departmental administrative staff, have been providing care to patients with COVID throughout the pandemic. At times this has required department members from across our sections/divisions to come together to focus our efforts on caring for high numbers of patients admitted to COVID units across the Calgary adult hospitals. Although members have experienced significant exhaustion and moral stress, they have never given up their commitment to providing excellent patient care for all Albertans. Many of our members also contributed to the COVID vaccination efforts, including providing vaccinations through mobile vaccination clinics at workplaces and at a pop-up ‘vaccine rodeo’ focused on combating inequities in vaccine access. Department members are now leading in the development of long COVID clinics, to help patients dealing with the prolonged effects of the virus. Members have also led in educating colleagues regarding the most up-to-date evidence-based clinical management strategies. They have led in and supported a number of research studies that contributed to improving our understanding of the virus and the discovery of much needed COVID treatment strategies.

2.   ONGOING FOCUS ON EQUITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

The department has continued its efforts to develop a more equitable and inclusive environment within and beyond the department. Our Equity & Diversity working group has continued its efforts to implement change, including the ongoing incorporation of EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) topics at our Medical Grand Rounds and the creation of an award for members wanting to take EDI leadership courses. We have incorporated structured EDI moments within every Medical Services Executive Council meeting, with the goal of promoting inclusive leadership. The Black Lives Matter movement also inspired us to form a departmental anti-racism task force, in an effort to start to address racism within medicine. Our Vice Chair for Indigenous Health has continued to lead the department and CSM in important educational and research endeavours focused on improving the delivery of care for and the overall health of Indigenous persons. Many of our members are also working on a number of other initiatives across CSM focused on much needed EDI changes within medicine.

3.   COMMUNITY OF COLLEAGUES

One of the core tenets of the Department of Medicine is that collaborative, engaging, multidisciplinary teams are essential for providing outstanding medical care for all Albertans. We have close working relationships with other Departments, including Community Health Sciences, Cardiac Sciences, Family Medicine and Oncology, as well as with the Calgary and Area Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Our members belong to the various Research Institutes within the University of Calgary and are extensively involved within Alberta Health Services’ provincial Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs). Our members hold approximately 150 leadership roles within Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary. The Department of Medicine has also been a leader in promoting wellness among healthcare providers. Physician wellness is an important quality indicator of healthcare systems, and a shared responsibility between individual physicians and the healthcare systems.

4.   VIRTUAL HEALTH CARE

In collaboration and partnership with PCNs and SCNs, the department has established numerous evidence-informed Clinical Care Pathways, and all our sections/divisions now participate in Specialist Link services. This has increased direct communication between primary and specialist physicians, reduced wait lists for specialist services, and allowed more patients to receive quality care in the medical home. As a result of the pandemic and led by our Vice Chair of Virtual Health, we have grown our capacity to deliver effective patient-centered virtual health care. As highlighted in this report, a number of our departmental members are engaged in research exploring the best ways to deliver virtual health to individuals experiencing a variety of health issues.

5.   EDUCATING THE NEXT GENERATION

Our mandate is to educate, mentor and sponsor trainees and junior faculty who have the potential to become leaders in medicine and related fields. This includes providing trainees with the opportunities needed to be competitive for academic faculty, and ultimately recruit them as the medical leaders of tomorrow. It also involves supporting our current faculty to achieve excellence across the CARE (Clinical; Administration (Leadership); Research; Education) pillars.