Author: Jacalyn Duffin

Medical Humanities

When I retired, Meds 2020 launched a Humanities in Medicine symposium; the cheeky students put my name on it. Cheeky — because I had nothing to do with it. It featured presentations from history, music, poetry, and art, and it was an amazing success.

Even more cheekily they labelled it “Inaugural.” To my amazement a second iteration has just happened, organized by students in Meds 2021 with help from Meds 2022, led by Palika Kohli. I have never taught these people, scarcely know them. I am impressed that they would find time to take on the extra work of organizing a symposium and retain the name of someone unknown.

Dr Karen Yeates (Queen’s MD, 1997) and Palika Kohli Meds 2021 at the registration desk.

The keynote speaker was Ophira Calef who used music, humour, and narrative to describe health-care-system encounters for the disabled. All the presenters delivered their offerings with heart in a packed program. The audience was engaged and the atmosphere inspiring!

They say that it will happen again next year. We’ll see. Institutional memory is short and students are very busy. But in the meantime, lots remarkable encounters to remember. Thank you!

Audience and presentations in Panel 4 “On Being”

Hippochromatic Notes sing an a cappella
wrap up in the Walker Atrium

Students are the best

Queen’s University launched a new event, called Ignite, ostensibly designed to demystify academic life and research to a wide public (see also here). Though retired for a year, I was very flattered to be invited to speak about one of my projects, alongside enthusiastic young physics Professor Ken Clark, who arrived at Queen’s just as I left. To my great surprise, members of Meds 2020 and Meds 2021 showed up too, and we celebrated our little reunion together with this photo.

Thank you everyone!

With Lindsay Mainhood, Andrew Belyea, Hissan Butt, Yannay Khaikin, and Harry Chandrakumaran

A busy year

One year into retirement and it feels like permanent sabbatical–i.e., wonderful!

I completed the book manuscript on Easter Island and sent it off to the publisher, and with Dr. Brian White-Guay and two great students we published a research report measuring the drug shortage problem in Canada – -a spot of work that grabbed some media attention and an op ed, although no sign of anyone trying to solve it yet.

Looking forward to a summer that will entail seeing all four of my grandchildren — 3 boys and a tiny girl born June 19–and more time at the chalet at Lac Mégantic and morning coffee on my dock on Colonel By Lake near Kingston Ontario.




Welcome to my new site

I retired in 30 June 2017. In the last class, the medical students held a beautiful surprise party and presented an amazing video of tributes stretching way back in time, which they have posted online here. It has been a huge privilege to know them, and I learned more from them than they ever did from me.

My colleagues at AMS threw a big party in Toronto and there was a good representation from Queen’s students, former students and colleague Dr. Maxine Clarke.

Since retiring, I’ve been busy completing a book manuscript, working on articles and guest lectures, and enjoying time in Glenburnie, Lac-Mégantic, Switzerland, and the south of France. A commentary that I published in October 2017 CMAJ on bloody sweat (hematohidrosis) went slightly viral, thanks to Kas Roussy of CBC.

This new website is for my current projects now that I’ve moved on from Queen’s University.