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Katie Armstrong grew up in Toronto, then lived in Chicago and Cleveland, returning to Mississauga when she was 13 years old, where she was an honor student and volunteer. She is very enthusiastic about the Mississauga medical school campus and its beautiful new building. “It looks like it was made by Apple [a reference to the brilliant talents of Apple’s Chief of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive]. The students love it. Instead of raising their hands, they use an audience response system, so all are given a chance to participate.” She was one of the first six students from the Toronto campus to attend our new medical school in Mississauga. She gave a talk to the entering class there on the theme “The City of Mississauga already embraces you, and I hope you will come to consider it your city”.

Building photo

Mississauga Academy of Medicine

Katie has participated as a facilitator in Pier Bryden’s popular ethics seminars for undergraduate medical students - supported in this activity by her program director in Plastic Surgery, Mitch Brown. She wants to be an academic surgeon with a focus on telemedicine, teaching, and healthcare management. She has done research in telemedicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked on the identification of dermatologic diseases using cell phone images sent in to a central diagnostic unit from various free clinics across Philadelphia. The Philadelphia patients were referred to the Wal-Mart $4 formulary for their medications. As a senior medical student, she continued this work in Botswana, where the University of Pennsylvania maintains a program of continuous telemedicine coverage.

Katie became fascinated with surgery during a rotation as a third year student on general surgery where she “learned that I could actually do things to help people. This was followed by an amazing experience in Plastic Surgery with Stefan Hofer”. She enjoys the reconstructive nature of Plastic Surgery, especially free flaps and other complex interventions.

Katie with poster

Katie speaking at a MedInfo conference in Cape Town about her telemedicine experience

In her spare time, she snowboards, runs, and attends a fitness bootcamp in Mississauga with her mother and two sisters. She has read all of Atul Gawande’s books, Collins’ “Good to Great” and is currently reading “MBA in a Book” She likes the efficiency introduced by telemedicine and is interested in time management in the OR. She hopes to do an MBA or MSc in Health Technology during her Surgeon Scientist period.

Dylan Pannell
Dylan Pannell

Dylan Pannell is a first year general surgery resident and a third generation military man, whose great grandfather and grandfather served in the Boer War and the 1st and 2nd World Wars. “The profession of arms is a true vocation. It carries danger and allows service to country, while working with great people. Trust in your fellow soldiers is the dominant value of the vocation”.

“The Afghanistan campaign has defined a generation of young Canadians who are now war veterans; all are proud to have served. Canadian warriors are now serving in a mentoring role, having completed their military mission in Afghanistan. Because the country is tribal, no one will be able to force a solution on the Afghan people. It’s their country. We did the military component and now it is a diplomatic mission.”

Dylan’s initial experience with surgery and the surgery of trauma began when he was a medical student and later a family practice resident at St. Michael’s Hospital. His role model and mentor is Homer Tien (http://www.surgicalspotlight.ca/Article.aspx? ver=Spring_2009&f=Main). He met Homer in 2004 when he was a medical student at Sunnybrook. They have published 8 papers together on trauma. As a military surgeon, Dylan will be embedded in a civilian hospital, as Homer is embedded at Sunnybrook. There are military surgeons in similar positions in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec. Dylan will continue to do research on brain injury, building on his PhD background in molecular genetics, secured at the Hospital for Sick Children. He meets regularly with researchers in the US, focusing on brain injury and combat trauma.

Another important mentor was Colonel Howard Coombs, “a PhD war historian and a great officer and thinker in the airborne regiment.” Coombs is a professor of strategy at the Royal Military College in Kingston. Following undergraduate training at the University of Toronto, Dylan completed a PhD at the Hospital for Sick Children, working with James Ellis and Howard D. Lipschitz. Dylan describes his experience at the Hospital for Sick Children as “a phenomenal opportunity to be on the cutting edge of the world in research, surrounded by amazing staff. World experts were just down the hall.” He started as a summer student and then entered the graduate program and completed a PhD. He was writing his PhD thesis on September 11th 2001. He entered the military, completed basic training and went to Afghanistan.

The military offered him an opportunity to complete medical school and his enlisted colleagues pushed him to do so. “Sir, we need doctors. Go to medical school.” “I was an ivory tower dweller in the scientific world, when the world changed and I became a soldier, then a doctor and then a surgeon. My two vocations are as a soldier - to serve my country, and as a doctor to serve my patients. A basic lesson I have learned is that life can change in unexpected ways. I plan to use research to help soldiers, emphasizing tactical combat trauma care, something you can write about only if you’ve been there. Military surgical care is now well developed. The survival rate is 98% if a soldier gets to the Kandahar hospital, but there is a new population of injured soldiers. We are teaching them through the “Soldier On” program (see also http:// www.cfpsa.com/en/psp/soldieron/index.asp). We teach them to use their prostheses and to regain a normal life. They are 100% motivated. ”

Dylan developed a sense of the broad scope of medicine in his family practice training and on military assignment in the Arctic at 83 degrees north, where he handled every aspect of care of his troops even including dental care. He also learned to operate on dog soldiers injured in Afghanistan. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the broad training that he received in family practice. Griff Pearson and Bob Bell had similar background experience as family practitioners and emergency room doctors before entering their surgical training.

Dylan’s hobbies are hunting, fishing, canoeing and running. He is married to Kellie, an emergency room doctor in Georgetown; they have a two year old daughter Sophie.

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