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Karen Devon


Karen Devon
Karen Devon

Karen Devon is an endocrine and general surgeon at Women’s College Hospital and the UHN. She teaches ethics to students, residents and colleagues in various original formats. She leads a popular ethics quality of care rounds each month at General Surgery Quality of Care Conference for UHN and hopes to roll this out Department wide. She is engaged in a variety of writing projects, including an article on the ethics of personalized genomic medicine for a surgical oncology journal, a popular article on chefs and surgery for the popular health blog “kevinmd” which was published by the Culinary Institute of America, and she contributes actively to patient advocacy conversations on Twitter.

Karen founded the Surgery Department Book Club with a discussion of Open Wound, a historical novel based on the gastric fistula experiments conducted on Alexis St. Martin by frontier surgeon William Beaumont. She is interested in studying social media in health care and medical education, and conducts numerous projects with this focus through the Education Scholars Program at the Center for Faculty Development. She has given rounds locally and internationally on the ethics of using social media by healthcare personnel, emphasizing the importance of physicians input to balance the medical misinformation and other open sourced miseducation in wide circulation.

Karen founded an Endocrine Surgery Journal Club to bring together surgeons from Otolaryngology and General Surgery as well as endocrinology, pathology and radiology representatives. She asks residents who are rotating on the Womens’ College ambulatory service to keep a reflective journal which she discusses with them. She will start an Ambulatory Surgery rotation for Medical Students as a multidisciplinary course that will explore this model of surgery for the future. She moderated a one hour Twitter chat for Colleen Young, the social media manager and health writer at Princess Margaret Hospital who runs a popular weekly twitter chat about health care and social media in Canada.

Karen is studying surgeon-directed ultrasound, a tool for locating the parathyroid glands and guiding fine needle aspiration biopsies. She introduced the use of the parathormone (PTH) assay at Women’s College Hospital - if an abnormal PTH drops to normal in 10 minutes after excising the suspected parathyroid gland, it ensures cure of hyperparathyroidism.

Karen received her medical education at McGill, surgical training in Toronto, and completed a fellowship in endocrine surgery and surgical ethics at the University of Chicago. She has traveled to Turkey, India, South America and a thyroid surgery mission to the Philippines. “I am usually planning my next trip.” Her next trip, with her fiancée Jordan Lerner-Ellis, will be an African Safari. She skydives, “tries every food known to humans”, and is an avid reader. Her latest book is “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman, which she introduced to the Surgery Department Book Club. She participates in yoga and spinning, and runs a ‘lean-in circle’ of ten women at a similar career stage from a mix of professions.


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