Section of Neurology

Neurology resident Dr. Gordon Jewett (right) practises administering the stroke medication TPA in the e-SIM lab under the guidance of faculty member Dr. Chris Hahn.

Dr. Lara Cooke

Section Head: Dr. Lara Cooke

SIXTY-THREE NEUROLOGISTS contributed to the clinical and academic programs of the Section of Neurology during the 2017-18 academic year. Neurologists continued to lead projects and innovations in clinical care, research, and education. We were delighted to add three new residents to our five-year residency program and are proud of the success of all graduating neurology residents on their Royal College exams. 

Education

Dedicated neurologists lead our residency program (Dr. Michael Yeung), the undergraduate neuroscience course (Drs. Gary Klein, Philippe Couillard, Scott Jarvis), the neurology clerkship (Dr. Chris Hahn), and continuing medical education (Dr. Dawn Pearson). 

Members in the section are very involved in the education of medical students and residents in neurology, neurosurgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatric neurology, internal medicine, psychiatry, radiology, ophthalmology, medical genetics, family medicine and emergency medicine. During 2017-18 there were 10 stroke fellows, three MS/neuroimmunology fellows, two neuromuscular/EMG fellows, and one each in headache, epilepsy/EEG, and movement disorders. 

Neurologists have also been involved in the undergraduate Neuroscience and Bachelor of Health Science programs and many supervise graduate students. Many members provide continuing medical education to practicing physicians, pharmacists, nurses, psychologists, and Allied Health professionals. Neurologists also hold leadership positions in education: Dr. Kevin Busche is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Dr. Lara Cooke is leading development of Competence by Design (CBD) for the Royal College. So many neurologists volunteer for undergraduate teaching opportunities that none of us get as much teaching time as requested! 

Research

The Section of Neurology is recognized for research excellence and productivity as well as for the clinical impact of our research. We continue to demonstrate that care can be improved through innovative research. Our members include clinician scientists who spend 50-80 per cent of their time undertaking research, and clinician researchers who spend 30-50 per cent of their time doing research. Neurologists hold major research leadership positions within the University of Calgary: Dr. Sam Wiebe is Associate Dean of Clinical Research and Dr. Gregory Cairncross is Director of the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute. 

Health Care

We continue to develop and lead innovative care programs in collaboration with our colleagues in other specialties and disciplines. In partnership with community primary care providers, we provide specialized neurologic care to people in southern Alberta and southeastern British Columbia. Neurology is organized into a citywide general neurology program and subspecialty programs. We provide inpatient and outpatient EMG, evoked potentials, and EEG services in all adult acute care hospitals in the Calgary Zone and continuous EEG monitoring to all of Calgary’s intensive care units. Section members also play important roles in neuro-oncology and provide outreach services to the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) and ‘The Alex’ medical clinics. Some of our programs are regional or national resources for clinical expertise. 

Neurology provides four inpatient services at Foothills Medical Centre (FMC): two neurology teaching services, a seizure monitoring unit (SMU), and a stroke service. FMC is the lead site for several subspecialty programs: Stroke, Epilepsy, MS, Movement Disorders, Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Urgent Neurology Clinic (UNC). It is a secondary site for outpatient general neurology. Thirty-four neurologists were based at either FMC or the adjacent University of Calgary medical complex (20 academic faculty, 14 clinical faculty). There is also an inpatient neurology teaching unit with two SMU beds at South Health Campus (SHC).

Neurology Central Access and Triage (NCAT) and several subspecialty programs are based at SHC: Neuromuscular, ALS, Headache,Neuro-immunology, Neuro-vestibular, and Outpatient General Neurology. It is a secondary site for MS, Epilepsy, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Stroke. Fourteen neurologists were based at SHC (one academic faculty, 13 clinical faculty). Neurology provides consulting services at Rockyview General Hospital (RGH) and the Peter Lougheed Center (PLC). RGH is home to Neuro-ophthalmology and the neurology fellow-locum program and is a secondary site for Outpatient General Neurology. Eight neurologists were based at RGH (one academic faculty, three clinical faculty and four locums). The PLC is the highest volume site for Outpatient General Neurology and is a secondary site for Epilepsy. Five neurologists were based at PLC (three clinical faculty and two locums). FMC-based adult neurologists also run the Tourette’s and Pediatric Movement Disorders clinic, a small neuro-genetics epilepsy clinic, and an epilepsy transition clinic at ACH. Two division members practice in the community. Neurologists commonly work at more than one site for inpatient and outpatient care. 

Clinical Innovations:

Neurology Central Access and Triage (NCAT) manages all non-acute neurology referrals. This program has allowed the neurology wait list to continue to drop. It allows non-urgent neurology referrals to be sent to one place where they are triaged by neurologists. 

Specialist Link: Neurologists participation in Specialist Link has continued and call volumes have increased gradually to about 90 per month. This program is led by Primary Care and enhances system integration in the Calgary Zone. 

Standardization of Outpatient Clinic Processes: The division began a process to standardize referral management in our neurology outpatient clinics. This work is ongoing but clinic manager across all four adult acute care sites worked together to assure that clinic processes follow best practices. 

Enhanced Hospital Care: We continue to improve hospital care by improving the hand over process, by monthly inpatient service meetings that focus on processes, and by developing a plan to restructure the FMC service. The new service structure was planned in the 2017-18 academic year but will be implemented in July 2018. 

Individual Highlights 

  • Dr. Tom Feasby, former head of the department and former dean of the Cumming School of Medicine, was named a Member of the Order of Canada on Dec. 30, 2017.
  • Dr. Werner Becker was honoured with a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Headache Cooperative of New England.
  • Dr. Tamara Pringsheim was honoured with the Richard Stein Memorial Award (Quality of Life) from Tourette Canada.
  • Dr. Fiona Costello was named President of the Canadian Neurological Society.
  • Dr. Shaily Singh, a clinical faculty member who completed her neurology training in India before joining us, successfully challenged the Canadian Royal College exam in 2018.
  • Neurology resident Dr. Theo Mobach was recognized by PARA with the Resident Physician of the Month Award for April 2018.
  • Dr. Colin Josephson received the Junior Investigator Award from the Canadian League Against Epilepsy. 
  • Sharon Peters was awarded the 2018 June Halper Award for Excellence in MS Nursing from the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses.
  • Dr. Veronica Bruno joined the Movement Disorders Clinic and is developing a program of clinical research in Parkinson’s disease.