Chief Resident Grand Rounds, presented by Dr. Monica Mullin and Dr. Thomas Swan
Max Moloney, MSc Candidate (Translational Medicine)
During Medical Grand Rounds on February 25th, Queen's Department of Medicine hosted former chief residents Dr. Monica Mullin and Dr. Thomas Swan for two lectures. Dr. Mullin's presentation, entitled "The Skinny on Obesity and Weight Loss", centered around new Canadian guidelines on obesity and a review of current therapies approved for the treatment of obesity in Canada. Dr. Swan then lectured on the topic "Social Media in Medicine", focusing on the unique challenges and opportunities presented by social media in medicine.
Dr. Mullin presented obesity as an increasingly prevalent, progressive chronic disease, characterized by abnormal or excessive body fat that impairs health. People living with obesity have an increased chance of morbidity and mortality, in addition to experiencing significant bias and stigma, which add to the burden of obesity . Dr. Mullin explained the importance of evidence-based principles in managing obesity, including validating patients' lived experiences to address the root causes of patients with the condition. Dr. Mullin also reviewed the benefits and risks of bariatric surgery in treating obesity, with an emphasis on the efficacy of the procedure as a weight-loss treatment. Dr. Mullin highlighted that approximately 80% of gastric bypass patients experience a 60-80% loss of excess body weight in the first year .
Dr. Swan reported that social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are powerful online applications that foster user-generated content, social interaction, and real-time collaboration. Many health care professionals utilize these applications to improve education, organizational promotion, professional networking, and public health programs . Dr. Swan detailed how social media can be used as a force for good by improving patients' access to health care information with as much as 74% of people using the internet and social media to search for health information . However, there are also potential risks regarding the distribution of poor-quality information, breaches of patient privacy, and other legal issues that physicians should have a thorough understanding of prior to developing an online presence. To prevent these issues, Dr. Swan suggested healthcare organizations should adopt policies on employee use of social media similar to the policies at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, to mitigate the risks associated with using these platforms.
Following their presentations, Dr. Mullin and Dr. Swan participated in a discussion with graduate students of the Translational Medicine (TMED) program. The dialogue began with an explanation of how the Grand Rounds topics could benefit patients. Dr. Mullin emphasized the importance of ensuring new information and guidelines regarding obesity are translated across the entire spectrum of care, from specialist to resident and the patient . Dr. Mullin also commented on the advantages of medical nutritional therapy as a treatment for obesity and how new Canadian guidelines suggest further implementation of this treatment. However, patients experience barriers resulting from the financial cost of the therapy. Dr. Swan expressed his belief in the opportunity to improve the transfer of knowledge and information between physician and patient using social media, which has been cited as an emerging opportunity in translational medicine .
The discussion then shifted to the media representation of the topics discussed. Dr. Mullin highlighted the stigma of bariatric surgery often displayed in television and film, which generally does not highlight the real-world benefits of the procedure. Dr. Swan explained the risks physicians take in using social media, reiterating the importance of maintaining patient confidentiality, and articulated the benefits of using platforms to keep up to date on high-quality, peer-reviewed research.
To conclude, Dr. Mullin and Dr. Swan described their training and career paths that led them to internal medicine residencies at Queen's. Dr. Mullin described her time at Queen's, first as an undergraduate then as a medical student, and finally as a resident as she leaves to pursue a respirology fellowship in Vancouver. Dr. Swan detailed his journey from entering directly into medical school from high school in the UK to completing his residency in internal medicine in Canada, as well as his choice to complete a fellowship in critical care in the future. Both Dr. Mullin and Dr. Swan emphasized their excitement for their future careers in internal medicine and expressed gratitude to the residency program at Queen's.
It was an honour to learn from Dr. Mullin and Dr. Swan in their Grand Rounds lectures and post-rounds discussion. On behalf of the entire TMED program, I would like to thank both Dr. Mullin and Dr. Swan for their time and wish them well as they progress throughout their careers.
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