Academic Highlights




I. Introduction

The Quebec Minsitry of Health has reorganized the Department of Medicine structure. It now includes 21 divisions (in

bold the mewly added divisions) namely Allergy & Immunology, Cardiology, Clinical Epidemiology, Dermatology,

Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Genetics, Geriatric Medicine, Hematology, ICU, Infectious Diseases, Internal

Medicine, Medical Biochemistry, Medical Oncology, Nephrology, Neurology, Pathology, Physiatry, Pulmonary,

Radio-Oncology and Rheumatology; however this report only covers divisons of Specialized Medicine that have

previously ben part of the Department of Medicine, and does not include any of the newly added divisions.

The Department continues to provide excellent clinical care and teaching as well as carry out substantial translational,

clinical and epidemiological research that attracts new recruits to the JGH. Although recruitment is limited by

government restrictions of the “effectifs médicaux”, we have managed to recruit during the year January 1 to December

31, 2018, five (5) full-time members and five (5) associate members. Potential and confirmed recruits as well as changes

in staffing are listed below.

Our research activities have been supported by both external funding agencies and by our own Clinical Research Awards.

The progress and challenges of the Department during this last academic year are summarized below.

II. Milestones

A. Recruits

The following physicians have been recruited in 2018 and beyond into the Department:

GFT members:

Allergy & Immunology - Dr. Jesse Schwartz (July 2018)

Endocrinology - Dr. Vincent Larouche (July 2019)

Endocrinology - Dr. Tricia Peters (October 2018)

Endocrinology - Dr. Jill Pancer (July 2020)

Gastroenterology - Dr. Chiara Palumbo (July 2019)

Geriatric Medicine - Dr. Cyrille Launay (2020)

Hematology - Dr. Rayan Kaedbey (June 2019)

Infectious Diseases - Dr. Leighanne Olivia Parkes (July 2018)

Infectious Diseases - Dr. Ling Yuan Kong (July 2019)

Infectious Diseases - Dr. Catherine Hogan - (July 2020)

Internal Medicine - Dr. Samuel Mamane (July 2018)

Internal Medicine - Dr.Teresa Cafaro (July 2021)

Nephrology - Dr. Daniel Blum (July 2019)

Rheumatology - Dr. Valerie Leclair (May 2018)

Associate members:

Dermatology - Dr. Jordana Schacter (September 2018)

Dermatology - Dr. Carolyn Sarah Jack (September 2018)

Hematology - Dr. Lissa Ajjamada (September 2018)

Hematology - Dr. Tanya Skamene (September 2018)

Nephrology - Dr. Laura Pilozzi-Edmonds (July 2018)

B. Changes of Status

GFT members:

Endocrinology - Dr. Arturo Rizzo resigned in February 2018

Hematology - Dr. Martin Gyger resigned on May 28, 2018

Endocrinology - Dr. Marvin Clamen passed away in August 2018

The Department is grateful to Dr. Arturo Rizzo for 35 years of Service in Endocrinology and Dr. Martin Gyger for

16 years of outstanding service to the Hospital and University. Dr. Gyger’s dedication to patient care, skill and

compassion will be missed by all.

Associate members:

Internal Medicine - Dr. Andrea Lalonde resigned in September 2018

Internal Medicine - Dr. Martin Lipnowski resigned in September 2018

Geriatrics - Dr. Nadine Larente resigned in 2018

In memoriam:

Dr. Ralph Bilefsky passed away peacefully on September 22, 2018. Dr. Bilefsky joined the Jewish General Hospital

(JGH) in 1967 after graduating from McGill University in psychology, pathology, internal medicine and nephrology. He

remained as full-time staff until 2012 and then as a part-time member thereafter, thus being associated with the JGH for

five decades.

Dr. Marvin Clamen passed away on August 26, 2018. An endocrinologist at the JGH, Dr. Clamen obtained his medical

and specialty degrees from McGill University. He trained in Internal Medicine at the JGH and Boston City Hospital. He

then did a one-year research fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at the McGill University Department of

Investigative Medicine and a clinical fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. He

joined the JGH medical staff in 1973 and remained on staff until 2018.

Dr. Arthur Rosenberg passed away peacefully at home on September 3, 2018. A former hematologist at the JGH, Dr.

Rosenberg attended Queen’s University in Kingston and trained in hematology at the Cleveland Metropolitan General

Hospital. He joined the JGH medical staff in 1967. In addition to his many years as a dedicated clinician, he served as

Chief of the Division of Hematology from 1974 to 1996. In recognition of his dedication to teaching, as well as a myriad

of other contributions to the hospital and university, the Division of Hematology of the JGH Department of Medicine

created the annual Arthur Rosenberg Clinical Lectureship.

C. Promotions

Dr. Brent Richards was promoted to Full Professor with tenure. Dr. Richards has been a major leader in most of the

large scale genetic studies for osteoporosis, and he has broadened the scope of his research in identifying vitamin D

deficiency as a risk for multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Jonathan Afilalo was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Dr. Afilalo studies frailty as it applies to

cardiovascular diseases. He has developed validated tools for the assessment of frailty which have been introduced into

clinical practice.

III. Clinical Activities

The CTUs on K6 and K7 have been downsized since the summer to 28 bed units instead of 32. This smaller number in

more in line with other CTUs both at McGill and across the country. In order to achieve this, we opened an 8-bed

Hematology unit on K7 and moved 4 beds that are under the care of the K7 CTU to K6.

There continues to be a high volume of turnover of patients on the medical CTUs. 4-6 discharges per day are now the

norm and the number can be as high as 8 or more per day. The workload is heavy and stress levels are heightened. The

residents no longer have a base hospital so we will have less opportunity to get familiar with them.

The Diagnostic and Treatment Clinic (DTC) located in the MDH continues to run 3 days/week (Mon, Tue, Thu). Sixty

patients were seen in the month of November. The goal is to work towards opening this clinic 5 days a week sometime in

2019. Members of our department are regularly encouraged to strongly consider the option of referring ambulatory

patients to the DTC for expedited investigation and management as an alternative to ER, and have been sent the coordinates

of the clinic and instructions as to how to refer. If the patient is ambulatory and not in need of immediate care

then the DTC is an option that will contribute to decongest the ER..

Hospital (CIUSSS) accreditation was completed with the visit of the accreditors last week. Apparently the CIUSSS was

rated very highly.

A Search and Selection committee has been struck for the McGill Chair of the Department of Medicine. Dr. James

Martin’s term is ending June 2019.

The clinical activities of the individual Divisions are summarized in the attached Divisional reports.

IV. Teaching Activities

The Department continues its role in the teaching of both undergraduate medical students and resident physicians in

general medicine and the subspecialties. Our members’ dedication to teaching is well known and much appreciated by

both medical students and residents. The Department is grateful to Dr. Ruxandra Bunea and Dr. Nathalie Saad for their

excellent contribution to our postgraduate and undergraduate teaching programs.

In 2018-2019 we recruited into our teaching program 13 R3, 15 R2, and 14 R1 housestaff and 10 other program R1

residents. There are two Chief Residents, Dr. Natasha Nathoo and Dr. Camille Simard (July 2018-June 2019). Detailed

reports of the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching are included below.

At the undergraduate level, Dr. Nathalie Saad was appointed to the positions of Chair of Undergraduate Medical

Education within the Department of Medicine, the Director of Clerkship for the Department of Medicine and the Director

of Transition to Clinical Practice for the Department of Medicine, as of August 1, 2018. She continues in her role as site

clerkship director at the JGH. She was also recently elected to the Council of the Collège des médecins du Québec.

Dr. Jason Agulnik was appointed to the position of site director for Transition to Clinical Practice at the Jewish General

Hospital, effective August 1, 2018. Dr. Agulnik has been active in teaching medical students and residents for a number

of years.

Dr. Maral Koolian was appointed as Program Director of McGill University’s new AFC (Area of Focused

Competence) in Adult Thrombosis Medicine, in September 2018. Adult Thrombosis Medicine is that area of enhanced

competence within medicine concerned with the investigation, diagnosis, and medical management of patients with

venous and arterial thromboembolic disease in a variety of clinical contexts.

Dr. Lorraine Chalifour, Associate Professor, Division of Experimental Medicine, has been appointed as Associate

Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at McGill University.

Grand Rounds: Of the 33 Grand Rounds given by the Department from January 1 to December 31, 2018 thirteen (13)

featured speakers from outside the JGH, of whom six (6) were from outside Quebec (see below list of rounds).

Divisional Rounds: In addition to the above each Division manages its own teaching and research rounds as summarized

in the divisional reports.

V. Honours, awards and prizes

Within the Department, the following are noteworthy appointments and awards:

Dr. Brent Richards, Professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the JGH was elected by the

Department of Medicine Executive Committee as representatives on the McGill Faculty of Medicine Council to replace

Dr. April Shamy who served as Department of Medicine representatives on the Faculty Council since 2015.

Dr. Murray Baron, Chief of the JGH Division of Rheumatology, was the honoree for the 55th André Aisenstadt

Memorial Clinical Day which took place on October 11, 2018 for his distinguished career in the field of Scleroderma.

The topic of the program was "Scleroderma: the Skin and Beyond - A Model for the Pathophysiology and Treatment of

Fibrosis in Internal Medicine” to which world-class speakers were invited.

Residents’ Awards

Dr. Natasha Nathoo received the Dave Feder Award. This award is presented to the resident who practices

medicine with most compassion and sensitivity, displays kindness, respect and camaraderie towards colleagues

and educators and carries a positive outlook enabling him/her to enjoy a meaningful balanced life beyond his/her


Dr. Suhaib Radi received the Dr. Allen Spanier Internal Medicine Award. This award is given to the resident

who exhibits an enduring passion for the practice of medicine, through the enjoyment of solving challenges of

patient care and sharing solutions with others, while maintaining a high level of professionalism.

Dr. Julie D'Aoust and Dr. Ismail Raed Raslan were the recipients of the Sheldon Zemelman Memorial

Award given to for academic excellence and outstanding contribution to patient care.

Dr. Michael Chetrit was the recipient of Fellow of the Year Award. This award instituted in 2016 is given to the

fellow in Internal Medicine or its sub-specialties who most significantly contributes to the training and formation

of Jewish General Hospital Internal Medicine residents and inspires colleagues and juniors with his/her role-model

clinical skills.

Dr. Ruxandra Bunea was voted as Teacher of the Year by the residents. She also won the Internal Medicine

TCP Teaching Award for her dedication to teaching history taking and physical exam skills during the Transition

to Clinical Practice course.

VI. Research

The Department of Medicine research activities have been supported by both external funding agencies and by its

own Clinical Research Awards, to which are now added the endowment funds and the Academic Excellence

Award of the Auxiliary which is awarded every other year.

Department of Medicine Clinical Research Awards

The goal of this award is to contribute to the academic development of the Department, and to encourage full-time

GFT-H members involved in clinical research by compensating, in part, their time dedicated to clinical research

activities. The Research Advisory Research Advisory Committee reviewed applications based on quality of

projects, role and productivity of applicant, likelihood of publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and

awarded six (6) new applicants, renewed five (5) previous applicants and granted an extra year to nine (9)

applicants. The support has increased from an original budget of $40,000 in 2007 to $228,000 in 2018, for a total

of $2,073,998 since inception of the program in 2007.

Three awardees of this program presented at Medical Grand Rounds in September 2017 at the Third Annual

Clinical Research Symposium of the Department of Medicine. Drs. Blair Schwartz, Morris Schweitzer and

Gerassimos Zaharatos presented their research at the 4th Clinical Research Symposium on October 1st, 2018.

Research Funding

Total funding from external peer review granting agencies to JGH researchers in 2017-2018 was $35,866,225

(Medicine $23,593,657).

Salary award funding

During the period from July 2018 to June 2019 eight (8) clinician-scientists are holding prestigious career awards,

fellowship awards or research chairs from various granting agencies, totaling $527,001. All clinical researchers

are strongly encouraged to apply for salary support awards, as during the tenure of their awards, successful

candidates can benefit from the generous RAMQ Clinical Researcher salary compensation program. In 2018, Dr.

Assouline has her FRQS salary award renewed for four years and Dr. Yu obtained an FRQS salary award for four


Drs. Mark Eisenberg, Christina Greenaway, Nathalie Johnson, Andy Karaplis, Wilson Miller received CIHR

operating grants in 2018.


The number of publications authored by members of the Department of Medicine was 443 in 2018.

VII. Departmental Activities

The Department continues to reinforce democratic and transparent management in all areas.

VIII. MUHC and McGill

Our relationship with the MUHC has been characterized by collaboration and collegiality. Our commitment to

excellence in teaching at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level continues to be valued by McGill


The Department continues to work towards maintaining its academic mission with improved staffing and resource


The Department gratefully recognizes the support of the University and Hospital Administration in its recruitment



The Department of Medicine continues to play a key national and international role with many members active

across Canada and in the international academic arena.

We remain dedicated to ensure that the department continues to provide the excellent care to the patients of the

hospital for which it is renowned, while at the same time maintaining its goals of excellence in teaching. The

recruitment of highly qualified and competitive physician scientists has reinforced the research capacity of the

department and has had a transformative effect on the ability of the hospital to serve as a translational science

center. It has been challenging to provide conditions that are competitive with the best North American centers due

to constraints in funding for personal support, operating monies and up-to-date equipment, as well as difficulties

in ensuring adequate space allocation and support services. Despite these difficulties and constraints, we have been

successful as can be seen above in already recruiting or about to recruit a considerable group of young physicianeducators

and physician-scientists in the areas of internal medicine, cardiology, endocrinology, hematology,

pulmonary medicine, rheumatology and nephrology, all of who have a good chance of success in scientific

competition for the scarce resources currently available locally, provincially and nationally. We have continued to

fund and enhance a program that helps support the research by contract academic staff (CAS, previously called

GFT-H) physicians.

 Academic Highlights 2017

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