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PRIHS Submission Deadline Approaching – April 27

Alberta Health Services and Alberta Innovates are pleased to announce the 2018/19 Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System (PRIHS) competition.

This PRIHS opportunity targets the implementation of high quality, evidence informed solutions to “Enhancing Care in the Community” to address performance gaps (“Focus Areas”) in the health care system that prevent optimal patient care, resource use, delivery, and access to affordable and sustainable health services.

What is PRIHS?
The Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System (PRIHS) is a partnership between Alberta Innovates (AI) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) focused on supporting health research and innovation projects that will adopt and implement evidence to maintain or improve quality of patient care and services while substantially reducing costs in the healthcare system.

This partnered funding opportunity targets the implementation of high quality, evidence informed solutions to “Enhancing Care in the Community” to address performance gaps (“Focus Areas”) in the healthcare system that prevent optimal patient care, resource use, delivery, and access to affordable and sustainable health services.

Expression of Interest submission deadline is April 27, 2018

Research Showcase: 2018 Recap

One of the most valued opportunities in Alberta for primary care and family medicine researchers to share their projects–the ACFP’s What’s Up Doc? Research Showcase–was held on March 2, 2018 in Banff, AB. The selection process for abstracts is very competitive and often sees over 50 research abstracts submitted each year.

In 2018, a total of 45 research abstracts were selected for presentation or display at the Showcase. We are honoured to acknowledge our 2018 What’s Up Doc? Research Showcase award recipients:

Poster Display Category

1st Place: Integrating Elements of Observable Behaviour Into an Effective Progress Report to Make High Stakes Decisions About Resident Competence

  • Adam Mullen, University of Alberta
  • Deena Hamza, University of Alberta
  • Shelley Ross, University of Alberta

2nd Place: Development of Multi-Faceted Education Workshops to Enhance Safe Opioid Prescribing

  • Katrina Nicholson, PLP, University of Calgary
  • Sampson Law, PLP, University of Calgary
  • Ashi Mehta, PLP, University of Calgary
  • Antonia Stang, PLP, University of Calgary
  • Kelly Burak, PLP, University of Calgary

3rd Place: Physicians as Teachers and Lifelong Learners: The Roles of Basic Pscyhological Need Satisfaction and Involvement in Clinical Teaching

  • Mao Ding, University of Alberta
  • Oksana Babenko, University of Alberta
  • Sudha Koppula, University of Alberta
  • Anna Oswald, University of Alberta
  • Jonathan White, University of Alberta

Oral Presentation Category

1st Place: Chaperon Use–What Do Patients Want?

  • Sonya Lee, University of Calgary
  • Sarah Jacobs, University of Calgary
  • Maeve O’Beirne, University of Calgary

2nd Place: Knowledge Synthesis and Actionable Recommendations for Better Wise: Improving Cancer Surveillance for Breast, Colorectal, and Prostate Cancer Survivors

  • Melissa Shea-Budgell, University of Calgary
  • Denise Campbell-Scherer, University of Alberta
  • Carolina Aguilar, University of Alberta
  • Kris Aubrey-Bassler, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Aisha Lofters, University of Toronto
  • Eva Grunfeld, University of Toronto
  • Isabella Carneiro, University of Alberta
  • Donna Manca, University of Alberta

3rd Place: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to an App

  • Lee Green, University of Alberta
  • Sylvia Teare, PaCER
  • Jean Miller, PaCER
  • Deborah A. Marshall, PaCER
  • Jolanda Cibere, Arthritis Research Canada
  • Behnam Sharif, University of Calgary
  • Jacek Kopec, Arthritis Research Canada
  • Kelly Mrklas, Alberta Health Services
  • Tracy Wasylak, Alberta Health Services
  • Nancy Marlett, PaCER
  • Denise Campbell-Scherer, University of Alberta
  • Peter Faris, Alberta Health Services
  • Tanya Barber, University of Alberta
  • Brittany Shewchuk, University of Calgary

Congratulations to all our Research Award Winners! 

Award recipients were determined through a peer-review process and evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. Relevance and importance to family medicine;
  2. Relevance to primary care research and researchers;
  3. Innovations/originality;
  4. Clear, well-written description, well-defined objectives, and appropriate learning methods/style.

Saturday Morning Research Workshop Presented at ACFP’s 63rd ASA

Asking Questions and Finding Answers

Tanvir Turin Chowdhury, MBBS, MS, PhD, Calgary, AB; Donna Manca, MD, MCISc, FCFP, Edmonton, AB; and Maeve O’Beirne, Calgary, AB

In this workshop, participants had the opportunity to identify and explore their own questions. Working in small groups, participants learned how to navigate evidence.

The workshop was conducted in an interactive manner and was built around the following manuscripts. These manuscripts are meant to provide a simplified outline for the beginner researcher.

Opioid Response Grant Announced

Primary Health Care Opioid Response Initiative

Alberta has dedicated $56 million towards urgent actions to address the opioid crisis, including $30 million dedicated to recommendations made by the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission. Of the $30 million, $9.5 million provincial grant (over three years) has been established for primary health care. The grant will support increased access to services and provide training for primary care providers to offer treatment, medication, and care to patients and families affected by the opioid crisis.

The Alberta College of Family Physicians, Alberta Medical Association (AMA), and Alberta Health Services (AHS), have committed to work together with Alberta Health (AH) to lead this essential work for primary care.

The ACFP will be the secretariat for the grant and will work alongside with key stakeholders to ensure the response includes engagement and guidance from primary care physicians, their teams, and Primary Care Networks (PCNs), and their patients. The ACFP’s support and focus in the Opioid Crisis response began since in late 2016 when it struck the Opioid Crisis Response Task Force—it is with their dedication, determination, and also the commitment of the Board, that ACFP remains driven to support the needs of their members and patient communities.

Primary Health Care Opioid Response Objectives
As front-line primary care providers, family physicians are well positioned to understand the complexity and scope of the opioid crisis and, therefore, must contribute to the design and delivery of a response that is both swift and decisive, and that can be implemented with the flexibility to work with supports available in any community. The response includes:

  • Urgent Opioid Response: Addressing urgent needs of those in crisis through distribution of naloxone kits and provision of Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) within primary care settings;
  • Enhanced Provider Decision Support, Knowledge Translation and Education: Changing current practice within primary care clinics and PCNs to better care for individuals using opioids;
  • Enhanced Opioid Related Service Delivery through PCN Zone Committees Engagement, Planning, and Implementation: Developing new integrated service delivery models coordinated with partners including Alberta Health Services (AHS) addiction and mental health services and community services.

Watch for opportunities to respond to the opioid crisis within your clinic and PCN and take part in upcoming training and practice planning to improve support for your patients using opioids or with opioid use disorder.

More information is available in the Alberta Health press release on the Primary Care Opioid Response Initiative.

Meet Your Newest Board Members

Dr. Anila Ramaliu, MD MSc CCFP
Director-at-Large (Term ending AMM 2021)

Dr. Anila Ramaliu is a practicing Family Physician in Calgary and a graduate of training programs in Family Medicine and Public Health and Preventive Medicine from the University of Calgary. She holds a Master of Sciences in Health Research and has been involved both in applied research and teaching, with the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services.

Her prior experiences include work with international, national and local government and non-government organizations, leading various health and social programs for women and children, marginalized and immigrant populations while building inter-sectorial and inter-disciplinary collaborations to advance the health of populations. Her professional interests also include quality improvement, evaluation, organizational performance, and governance, alongside preventive health in primary care, mental health, and chronic disease management.

She currently serves as a Director of the Board of Directors of the Calgary West Center PCN.

Why did you decide to join the ACFP board?

Behind my motivation to join the ACFP board, it was a sense of personal and collective responsibility that I felt. We are at a point of change and transformation being demanded from our health care system; and the best outcomes in a system and organizational change are achieved when its players, at all levels, are involved, engaged, and contributing. We have a collective responsibility as physicians, on behalf of the patients we serve and along with them, to provide our input into shaping the health care and, specifically, the primary health care system of the future.

If you had the power to fix one thing in the health system today, what would you fix?

I am not sure that fixing one thing can do the trick because of the complexities inherent in a system, and specifically the health system. So, I guess, I am suggesting that we move away from trying to fix one thing and hope for every other component of the health system to fall into place. Whatever “the fixing,” it should consider each integral part of the system; and indeed be considered at all times a fluid and dynamic system. However, to satisfy your question, transforming primary care with a focus on population health outcomes, and improving integration of services within health system are much needed “fixes” in our health system today.


Dr. Vishal Singh Bhella, MD CCFP
President-Elect (Term ending AMM 2021)

Dr. Vishal Bhella completed a PGY 3 Academic Fellowship in Family Medicine at Western following his residency. He worked in Ontario in various capacities including clinic, hospitalist, and ER work during early practice.

Dr. Bhella relocated to Alberta to join the University of Calgary Department of Family Medicine as a Clinical Assistant Professor and Lead Preceptor at the South Health Campus Family Medicine Teaching Clinic in 2013.

He has previously served as an active member on the ACFP’s First Five Years in Family Practice Committee.

What are you most proud of as an ACFP Board member?

As an ACFP Board member I am proud of the commitment to Family Medicine shown by members of our board, staff, committees, and membership. It is important to have a strong Family Medicine voice and there are many initiatives that the ACFP is involved in and many people behind the scenes to move these initiatives forward and it is inspiring to see the hard work and dedication of so many members in supporting and promoting the role of primary care in our health care system.

What do you want to accomplish in the next year as an ACFP Board member?

Over the next year as an ACFP Board member, I hope to see continued engagement of our organization in important issues facing health care today. Over the last year, the ACFP’s leadership in creating an Opioid Task Force was instrumental in developing a set of key recommendations in the opioid crisis response as well as in securing a significant provincial grant in supporting the primary care response to the opioid crisis. It is just one example of how the commitment of our staff and members can impact an important system and societal issue and I hope to see continued examples in the year to come.


2018 Price Comparison of Commonly Prescribed Drugs Guide – Revision Made to Page 14 (Testosterone Replacement)

Please note, page 14 (Testosterone Replacement) has been updated as of Mar 31, 2018.

In Canada, prescription medications are the second most costly component of health care, upwards of $29 billion per year. These costs largely reflect the treatment of chronic medical conditions predominantly cared for by family physicians, including heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and depression.

The ACFP is pleased to share with you the annual Price Comparison of Commonly Prescribed Pharmaceuticals in Alberta document. Authored by Dr. Mike Kolber, Tony Nickonchuk, and Jayson Lee, the document identifies generic products (generally cheaper) from brand name products, a 90 day cost for standard doses (unless otherwise noted), and Alberta Blue Cross and Indian Affairs coverage.

The document is grouped by medication class and then ordered by cost. Please read the introduction for further explanation and specifically how the costs were calculated. While this document is not exhaustive, it contains many medications potentially used by office based primary care providers.

Simplified Guideline for Prescribing Medical Cannabinoids in Primary Care

Primary care physicians can incorporate medical cannabinoids into their prescribing practices by being informed with best available evidence and using a simplified, shared decision-making approach with their patients.

Visit the Toward Optimized Practice Clinical Guidelines page for more information.





New year, new Conflict of Interest form

January 1, 2018 marked the adoption of the National Standard for Support of Accredited CPD Activities. The intent of the Standard is to safeguard the integrity of accredited CPD activities from the influence of sponsoring organizations that could lead to bias and has been approved by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College), College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), and Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ). The implementation of the Standard is equally applied to all CPD Provider Organizations in Canada and, as such, the CFPC guidelines and policies for certified events have undergone changes.

As part of its Mainpro+® certification process, the CFPC requires all presenters and members of Planning Committees to complete the CFPC Mainpro+ Declaration of Conflict of Interest form which now includes all financial or in-kind relationships with for- and not-for-profit organizations.

A conflict of interest might be present in situations where the personal and professional interests of individuals have actual, potential, or apparent influence over their judgment and actions. For more information, visit the CFPC website.

December’s E-Panel Results Are In!

Results of the December e-panel on digestive health clinical care pathways show that most physicians find them useful and feel there is a way to integrate them into practice before seeking a specialist referral. The sample size of this survey was 29 family physicians from across Alberta.

87% of respondents state that clinical care pathways have a role in practice if used before considering a specialist referral. Over 80% of members agreed or strongly agreed that clinical care pathways are useful, relevant to their practice, and help them provide quality care to their patients.

Participants were asked a total of six questions in an online survey which was open for 10 days. One question asked participants to reflect on what would increase the likelihood of their using a clinical care pathway in their practice.

Full e-panel results are available for download here.

The Alberta Family Medicine E-Panel is an initiative supported by the Alberta College of Family Physicians, Alberta Health Services Clinical Networks, Alberta Health Services Primary Health Care Integration Network, and the Alberta Medical Association. If you have questions about or would like to be a member of this e-panel, please contact Adam Filiatreault.

New! CanMEDS-Family Medicine Competency Framework 2017

CanMEDS-FM 2017 is a competency framework designed for all family physicians regardless of practice type, location, or populations served. Together with the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s (CFPC) Family Medicine Professional Profile, it forms an overall picture of the roles and responsibilities of Canadian family physicians along with the competencies required to support their work.

Key changes and new elements in this version compared to CanMEDS-FM 2009 include:

  • An emphasis on generalism, and as part of this, community-adaptive expertise introduced within the Family Medicine Expert Role
  • Cultural safety introduced as an important feature of care provided by family physicians, with a description of related enabling competencies
  • Increased emphasis on patient safety
  • Continuous quality improvement introduced within the Leader, Scholar and Health Advocate Roles
  • The CFPC’s Four Principles of Family Medicine strengthened and reaffirmed
  • The Leader Role replaces the CanMEDS-FM 2009 Manager Role, as per changes made in CanMEDS 2015

All seven Roles were revised; however, the Family Medicine Expert Role underwent the most extensive adaptation, aiming to integrate competencies across all Roles.

How to use CanMEDS-FM 2017

Principles and suggestions for using CanMEDS-FM 2017 are as follows:

  • It applies to all family physicians. The Role descriptions and enabling competencies are independent of practice context, practice type, and population served. Taken as a whole, it captures both the common and distinctive competency requirements for family physicians
  • It defines the abilities needed by family physicians across the educational continuum of undergraduate, postgraduate, enhanced skills training, and continuing professional development
  • It does not define levels of competence, also referred to as benchmarks or milestones
  • It can be used by others who work with family physicians in medical education, family medicine research, quality improvement, and more broadly within the health care system.

Tools for Practice publishes 200th article!

With their recent article, “Harms of Medical Cannabinoids: Up in Smoke!” our Tools for Practice team celebrated their 200th article! For over eight years, this ACFP-supported team has been creating bi-weekly articles to summarize medical evidence on a clinical question, with a focus on information that can modify your day-to-day practice.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, we asked the team to tell us about their favourite article, or biggest accomplishment so far.

Mike Allan: Controversial ones like cannabinoids, vaccines, salt, etc., are often the ones I feel we need to do but I dislike doing as I get tired of tilting at beliefs. The first ones were educational and I think by year two we were really starting to improve the methods. Santa (#177) was the funnest.

Mike Kolber:

  1. Zostavax (#77) for its excellent review of why it’s important to look at absolute (not relative) benefits,
  2. Zamboni procedure for MS (#43) for shedding light on a non-beneficial therapy.

Tina Korownyk: My favourite is Motivating Patients to Move (#5) because it provided an easy recommendation for a tool (pedometer to track physical activity) to incorporate into practice that also provides tangible results for patients.

Adrienne Lindblad: This is tough. Here are my top 10 and my reasons:

  1. Aldosterone antagonists in HF (#104): It isn’t the best tool to read, but it was the first one I wrote and it definitely challenged my ideas of heart failure management, particularly around target doses,
  2. Flu shot (#99, 100): I loved the controversy over this one. Some people said “wow it works better than I thought!” while others said “wow this is terrible!”
  3. Santa (#177): It was fun and involved the whole group,
  4. Diclectin (#186): It was very interesting to research, particularly with the attention the media was paying to the topic,
  5. Salt (#86): I love the controversy and the sponsorship bias,
  6. Treating to target (#110): Because it was an idea of Mike’s and I never thought I would be able to write it,
  7. Antidepressant onset (#13): Because it changes our beliefs,
  8. Infant sleep (#196): Because I have three kids and I like knowing that I haven’t permanently screwed up my kids … at least not from sleep training them!
  9. MMR (#29): Because it made me really angry and highlights the importance of what we do,
  10. Zostavax (#77): The best example of knowing absolute vs relative benefits. It was short, simple, and memorable.

With a sample size of 200, the evidence is clear: family physicians find Tools for Practice valuable. But we want to hear from you! What has been your favourite article? How has Tools for Practice impacted you and/or your practice?

Let us know through Twitter (use the hashtag #ToolsForPractice), on Facebook (follow “Alberta College of Family Physicians”), or in the comments below.

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