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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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March 31, 2005


Family Medicine takes the day

An outstanding day of research presentations on March 7 at the Fluvarium in St. John’s gave Family Medicine residents the opportunity to present work on topics ranging from a study of suicide in Nain to personal essays on key experiences in residencies. Surveys, reviews, audits and case studies were all part of the 15 presentations made during a day that also included a keynote address by Dr. Wayne Putnam of Dalhousie University.

Dr. Putnam is the interim director of the newly-formed Maritime Family Practice Research Network. He said that physicians do not have to be trained researchers to be involved in research. “It can be as simple as providing data for a one-shot deal, such as facilitating access to your patient or participating in interviews and surveys. You can also provide data on an ongoing basis, be a co-investigator or even a principal investigator yourself.”

Dr. Putnam gave several examples of successful research projects involving family physicians. One project he talked about was on anticoagulation in atrial fibrillation, describing the 30 per cent care gap in ambulatory patients. He said the implications of this study showed that data from primary care is needed to understand the care of many conditions and the patient must aid in decision making to ensure truly informed consent.

Another example was a study on the use of analgesics by seniors for osteoarthritis from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. “GPs helped us access the right kind of patients and we published a paper in September with management strategies. It showed that 43 per cent of patients are at risk for one or more interactions with non-prescription medications such as herbal and natural health products.” Dr. Putnam said the risk of serious interactions was low but patients need to be cautioned, particularly about interactions between ASA and an ACE inhibitor.

The Maritime Family Practice Research Network was founded Jan 17. The first investigation is on hypertension in patients with type 2 diabetes. “Funding has been obtained, ethics submissions made and six of seven different regional health authorities have given permission so far,” said Dr. Putnam. The objective is to obtain baseline data for a cohort of 1,000 diabetics, about 700 of whom will be hypertensive, and then explore the patient, physician and system level characteristics that impact the control. “We are involving our resident teaching undergrad preceptors in this research network and conducting studies in different clinical areas.”

Two awards were presented to Family Medicine residents at the research day. The Research Director’s Award went to Dr. Bhavin Patel for his study titled Slipping Through the Cracks? Suicides in Nain. The Chairman’s Award was won by Drs. Jackie Elliott and Greg Rideout for their presentation on Delivery of Reproductive Health Services to Adolescents by Family Physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador.