A self-funded effort at academic enrichment

Radiology Fellow Patrick Mc Laughlin and Clinical Assistant Professor Hugue Ouellette, in the Trauma Radiology Reading Room at Vancouver General Hospital. Photo credit: Rob Shaer

Radiology Fellow Patrick Mc Laughlin and Clinical Assistant Professor Hugue Ouellette, in the Trauma Radiology Reading Room at Vancouver General Hospital. Photo credit: Rob Shaer

For more than two decades, a contingent of radiology residents and newly-appointed radiology specialists has been coming from across Canada – and beyond – to spend a year or two at Vancouver General and UBC Hospitals.

They are drawn here to learn even more, through one of seven subspecialty fellowship programs – all of them made possible by the generosity of UBC radiologists.

Vancouver Imaging, the group that provides radiology services to these hospitals, has been quietly funding the fellowships since the 1990s. Their contributions total at least $16 million, making the group among the Faculty of Medicine’s top contributors.

Their tradition began with a handful of fellows, in a bid to position the Department of Radiology as a leading academic hub for teaching, research and innovation. This year alone, they committed $2.2 million to fund 27 fellows in nearly every subspecialty.

“They place us at the tip of the spur in terms of new thinking,” says Hugue Ouellette, CEO of Vancouver Imaging and a Clinical Assistant Professor. “We teach the fellows, but there is a lot of reciprocal learning. Fellows ask questions and challenge your understanding.”

Vancouver Imaging – comprised of 24 radiologists and even more fellows – puts an emphasis on technological advances and publishing papers. Because of their diverse backgrounds, the fellows help cross-fertilize that academic environment, bringing in new knowledge and ideas. For example, Patrick Mc Laughlin, from Ireland, helped demonstrate the viability of a new technology that dramatically lowers the radiation dose of CT scans.

“There is a longstanding tradition of clinical excellence and academic achievement in Vancouver,” says Dr. Mc Laughlin, one of the Emergency and Trauma fellows, lured by word-of-mouth and interviews with faculty. “I had no doubt that the Emergency and Trauma Fellowship I am completing was the best program of its kind in North America.”

“Thanks to these varied fellowships, UBC has become a training ground for radiologists from all over the world,” says Bruce Forster, Professor and Head of the Department of Radiology. “The fellowships help us develop international relationships. It has led to all sorts of collaborations and educational endeavours, and has enhanced UBC’s influence worldwide.” „