The GOC News | Spring 2018

Following the Fellows: Bruce Galloway Trainee Awards in Action



I wish to express my gratitude to both GOC and Ovarian Cancer Canada, for the generosity of the Bruce Galloway Trainee Award. The financial assistance offered through the award aided me to pursue an elective in gynecologic oncology at the University of Calgary. During this four week elective, I was exposed to medically complex patients, comprehensive and aggressive medical and surgical approaches, in an environment tailored to having trainees. I was inspired by the attendings, fellows, nurse practitioner, nurses, and administrative and support staff, as they formed an integral team seeking to provide the best care for the patients and families they served. Through both formal and informal teaching, I was able to advance my knowledge of cancer pathophysiology and treatment approaches. Additionally, I had ample exposure to the OR, greatly enhancing my surgical skills, not to mention my interest in the field. With the aid of the Bruce Galloway Trainee Award I was able to also bring my two little girls to Calgary while I pursued my elective, which I am so thankful for, as a month can be a very long time to be away! We found time to enjoy the close proximity of Calgary to Banff and Canmore, along with frequenting Calgary’s local attractions, such as the Calgary Zoo. I thoroughly enjoyed my elective in Calgary, and it has made me even more convinced that pursuing a career in gynecologic oncology is what I desire. I again would like to convey my sincere thanks for the financial assistance offered through GOC and Ovarian Cancer Canada for this wonderful opportunity.

I recently had the opportunity to spend four weeks at the University of Calgary, with accomplished attendings, fellows, residents, medical students, nurses and other health professionals who were all working towards the common goal of providing exceptional care for women with gynecologic malignancies. The GOC/Bruce Galloway Trainee Award was instrumental in providing me with this opportunity. It not only allowedme tomeet a new team, but to learn new techniques (Dr. Glaze’s pelvic breast expander technique is just one of them!), different ways to approach clinical dilemmas, differences in provincial health care systems, and to further my desire to pursue this profession. The days were sometimes long and emotionally charged, but so rewarding that I would not want to do anything else. I strongly believe that our personal practice is positively shaped by the things that we believe our mentors do very well, and I therefore hope that I left Calgary not only with new technical skills, but also with the ability to approach difficult conversations, work as team and become an overall better physician. I am therefore extremely grateful to Ovarian Care Canada and The Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada (GOC) for this opportunity. Photo: Lana Saciragic (fellow), Emma Markstrom (R4 Winnipeg), Laurence Bernard (R4 Ottawa), Vanessa Di Palma (R2 Calgary)



The Tom Baker Cancer Centre and Foothills Hospital welcomed me with great warmth upon my arrival in Calgary in June of 2017. The terrific members of the Gynecologic Oncology team in Calgary ensured I had an excellent elective experience. It was a privilege to receive mentorship from Dr. Ghatage, Dr. Nation, Dr. Chu, Dr. Nelson, and Dr. Glaze. I am also grateful to the fellows - Sophia, Anna, Lana, and Vanessa - who were kind enough to take me under their wings and provide some great tips along the way. Christine, Ahmed, Aleksi, and Mackenzie who made up the rest of the housestaff, and the nurses and allied staff, all helped ease the transition into the team.

Foothills Hospital and Tom Baker Cancer Centre are wonderful places to work and learn as I found both centres to be very collegial. Highlights of the elective were the interesting cases discussed atTumor Boards, the marathon Thursday clinics that were busy but gratifying to finish (just like a marathon!), and learning new surgical skills in the OR. Perhaps the most meaningful moments, however, were those that were also humbling: making a patient comfortable in palliation, counselling a patient regarding her treatment options after a new cancer diagnosis, or helping a patient get through a long postoperative course after a big surgery. Outside of the hospital, it was lovely to go for runs along the Bow River under the sunshine, catch up

with friends, and explore the city of Calgary and all of its neighbourhoods. I was also fortunate to be able to travel to Ottawa for a few days near the end of my elective to attend the GOC Annual General Meeting. The only extracurricular regrets, not making time to go tubing down the Bow River (looked fun!) and missing the Stampede by a few days – next time! Sincere gratitude to all involved in coordinating and facilitating this national elective. Special thanks to the Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada and Ovarian Cancer Canada for generously supporting the Bruce Galloway Trainee Awards, and to the gynecologic oncology team in Calgary for facilitating an outstanding learning experience.


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