Dalhousie Medical School Celebrates 150 Years of Medical Education | Dalhousie University



in the 1870s and 80s one of the biggest public health issues was water there was no testing of water and there was also open cesspools around health effects when it rained they overflowed and they ran down the streets in Halifax and into the public wells very little was done about it until Charles Tupper comes into Halifax he soon becomes the city medical officer and when he does he tells the elephant city council you have to do something about your sewerage system the most deadly communicable diseases where consumption which is later called tuberculosis and diphtheria typhoid fever is the third consumption was killing both adults and children over a thousand a year Nava Scotia it's it's very important to understand that before Louis Pasteur there was no understanding of germ theory whatsoever along comes a period who eventually was Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie ap Reid convinces the government that there should be a Department of Public Health to look after water sanitation and immunization in the midst of all this contamination and sickness there was no General Hospital and no Medical School in the Maritimes physicians like Charles Tupper and ap Reid traveled abroad to receive their training this was costly and time-consuming and greatly limited the number of qualified physicians to care for the sick and to advance Public Health and the practice of medicine Sir Charles Tupper advocated and argued for years about the need for a medical school there were 12 physicians initially who formed the Medical School and they got together at one of the surgeons homes and talked about establishing a medical school they already called themselves two faculty at that point the plan was to design a curriculum for the Medical School apply to Dalhousie and if they got approval they would open the Medical School and the remarkable thing is that from the time that they met in the surgeon's office to the time they advertised and brought in the first students was five months I don't think we've done anything that rapidly in the university since then the initial facilities were really quite scarce they were given one room for teaching in a Dell house E College which was down on the Grand Parade where City Hall now sits they were given one room for teaching and the Attic for dissection you can imagine what that would be like the teaching was then done in what was then the city in provincial hospital later the Victoria General Hospital and the dead house and the poorhouse so those who are the kind of facilities for the training of medical students times have changed dramatically since those early days Dalhousie Medical School came of age in the early 20th century responding heroically to care for the wounded in the wake of the Halifax Explosion and through two world wars over the years visionary faculty members led the school forward to become a Canadian leader in medical education and research with a profound impact on maritime communities and the world at large you you you I think serving an engaging society has always been inherent in medical practice I think in many ways that's where we started as physicians and the modernization in medicine was all about improving conditions for society and when I think about health of communities one of the first things I always think about is reducing disparities between communities Dalhousie Medical School has a long history of serving those in need many of its early women graduates some of the first female physicians in the world worked overseas as medical missionaries other state in the Maritimes to care for people on the margins learning to care for people from all walks of life became part of dollhouses undergraduate training with the advent of the North End community clinic in the 1970s when I arrived I was very impressed with what we now call the social determinants of health I was also very impressed with people in the community it would be fair to say there was a sense of of almost ownership of this clinic people had access to health care they had an understanding that they were respected and that their challenges were understood the Medical School has deepened its commitment to communities through its service learning program which pairs medical students with grassroots organizations to address social determinants of health in addition concerted efforts to connect with indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities to programs such as plans are drawing more young people from these communities into medicine the plan's program was so supportive from the very beginning of me to even starting medical school and it helped to have people in my corner who knew the struggles and the unique experiences that I faced as an African Canadian in medical school and of course the medical schools distributed education model is helping to build community-based healthcare all across the Maritimes housing medicine New Brunswick is allowed students from to train in their own communities so that they can see themselves practicing in those can later on in addition we've been able to recruit physicians from around the province to be teachers and researchers which stimulate them to be up to date on the latest evidence-based healthcare this is a tremendous benefit to our communities the definition of community is so broad that I think we have the opportunity to be as big and bold as we want to be you you well it was really the establishment of Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation in 1979 there's a catalyst for what came afterwards the emergence of the hospital foundations the qe2 Foundation and the iwk foundation was really essential for promoting clinical research at Dalhousie there are several key strengths the research efforts at Dalhousie medical school one is collaboration we have developed core facilities we have groups of researchers called wave so wave one would be more senior advanced teams wave two or developing teams Dalhousie medicine two Brunswick is the latest entry into the research arena these scientists are making important contributions at Dalhousie medical school we have pinnacles of excellence we have people who are world experts in their area the molecules we have been synthesized can distinguish alzheimer's disease from normal brains if we are able to do an early diagnosis definitive diagnosis then we will be in a position to improve and maximize the chances for finding the culprit the cause for Alzheimer's disease and ultimately to cure Dalhousie Medical School is making an international impact with its waveone teams in neuroscience genomics and the interwoven fields of inflammation infection immunity and vaccinology at the same time it is building on established and emerging strengths through wave to teams in cardiovascular disease and an array of health priorities what is new is the alignment of partners and the commitment to work together and by these partners I'm referring to other faculties at Dalhousie the Nova Scotia Health Authority the iwk and horizon health in New Brunswick along with government this is really quite a unique situation that we have this degree of collaboration in the Maritime Provinces to be able to port research into clinical practice and see its impact in the relative short-term it is the opportunity to do internationally renowned research while at the same time doing research to improve the health of the people of the Maritimes it also offers opportunity to work with partners in industry and to innovate around new advances around healthcare delivery putting the research findings into action is the key to forward progress this includes translating evidence into continuing professional development programs so that practicing clinicians are up to speed with the latest advances the kind of things we've been doing we have a broad needs assessment where we consult patients we have focus groups with physicians we talk to hospitals and regulators to find out unperceived needs we've been starting to introduce simulation into our learning and so we're working hard to meet everybody's needs it's super important for physicians to engage in CPD because science and clinical care is always changing the medical school is innovating across all of its research and education programs with a clear vision to develop the next outstanding generation of leading scientists and clinicians we've got these amazing really state-of-the-art facilities the new collaborative health education building we do our simulated patient work in there one big lesson we've learned is that healthcare is shared the other big lesson is that in medicine is really important to be adaptive we see new things added to our curriculum every year in response to new things in the medical field and that sort of reinforces that we as students are they always say lifelong learners down meds been great the community is amazing housing medical school has overcome many obstacles over the past 150 years to lead the way to revolutionary healthcare improvements in the Maritimes the future is sure to post challenges but the medical school and its partners will meet them with characteristic dedication collaboration and creativity you

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