Cohort 4 Action Learning Projects

Cohort 4 Action Learning Projects

The fourth cohort of the PLDP completed the program in the April 2022. A significant portion of their work was on action learning projects.

Screenshot of participants on a Zoom call
  • Dr. Kory Arsenault, Director, Simulation Education Program, Cobequid Community Health Center
  • Dr. Idelette Botha, Family physician, Wolfville
  • Dr. Don Brien, Medical Executive Director, Eastern Zone, NSH
  • Dr. Natalie Cheng, Chief of Staff, Dartmouth General Hospital
  • Dr. Abdulmajeed Dayyat, radiation oncologist, Sydney
  • Dr. Ian Epstein, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Neil Finkle, Director, Royal College Subspecialty Residency Program in Nephrology, Dalhousie University and Director of Education, Division of Nephrology, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Roetka Gradstein, family physician and NSH co-lead community clinic
  • Dr. Claire Hamilton, ophthalmologist, Antigonish
  • Dr. Lucy Helyer, General surgery/surgical oncology, Halifax
  • Dr. Liane Johnson, pediatric otolaryngology, IWK Health and Chair, Women in Surgery, Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Daniela Kempkens, Medical Officer of Health, Eastern Zone, NSH
  • Dr. Baharak Khalkhali, Chief, Division of Gynaecology, IWK Health and Associate Professor, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Heather Maxwell, family physician, Halifax
  • Dr. Nikhilesh Patil, radiation oncologist, Halifax
  • Dr. Gwynedd Pickett, Associate professor, neurosurgery, Dalhousie University and Director, Cerebrovascular Surgery program, NSH
  • Dr. Carla Pittman, Radiologist and Co-chair, Dartmouth General Above and Beyond Capital Campaign
  • Dr. Madelaine Plourde, thoracic surgeon, Halifax
  • Dr. Alexandra Preston, Family physician, Dartmouth
  • Dr. Victoria Price, Interim division head, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Glen Richardson, orthopedic surgeon
  • Dr. Lucas Richardson, emergency physician, Aylesford
  • Dr. Rodrigo Romao, Division Head, Pediatric Urology, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Vishal Uppal, Associate professor, Dept. of Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine, Dalhousie University
  • Dr. Zenovia Ursuliak, Assistant professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University

Action learning projects

Each group was tasked with an action learning project, which called on participants to create solutions to real-life issues in the health-care system.

1. Promoting health systems science

Project sponsor: Dean Dr. David Anderson, Dalhousie Medical School

Group members: Drs. Idelette Botha, Roetka Gradstein, Daniela Kempkens, Victoria Price, Glen Richardson and Rodrigo Romao

About the project: This group were asked to make recommendations for implementing and promoting health systems science (HSS) education at Dalhousie Medical School, to be used across all medical training.

The group recommended that the university do three things: create a HSS Hub with dedicated leadership to help integrate already existing curricular work; create urgency of change and provide resources and promotion; use a multi-pronged approach.

See the full project here.

2. Supporting youth mental health

Project sponsor: Dr. Doug Sinclair, the vice-president of Medicine/Quality/Safety, IWK Health

Group members: Drs. Kory Arsenault, Baharak Khalkhali, Heather Maxwell, Carla Pittman, Madelaine Plourde and Lucas Richardson

About the project: This group was asked to make trans-sectorial recommendations to improve mental health outcomes in youth care.

The group recommended early intervention for youth 12 and older who demonstrate criminality in Nova Scotia. The group also recommended the IWK strike a pilot project in the Halifax Regional Municipality (where youth justice is based) in partnership with the Forensic School of Social Work or Public Health. A screening tool using trauma-based approaches would identify youth in need of support.

See the full project here.

3. Financial help for IMGs

Project sponsor: Katie Mallam, director, policy and physician wellness initiatives, Doctors Nova Scotia

Group members: Drs. Don Brien, Claire Hamilton, Lucy Helyer, Liane Johnson, Nikhilesh Patil and Vishal Uppal

About the project: The group was asked to develop a program to support the distribution of trust funds to international medical graduates (IMGs) entering practice in Nova Scotia applying an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lens to its work.

This group identified the costs associated with practice in Nova Scotia prior to eligibility to practice as a barrier to IMGs. They recommend that funds be supplied in a one-time award of $10,000 per physician, and that the eligibility criteria target IMGs providing community-based primary care in under-served communities.

See the full project here.

4. Working for better representation

Project sponsor: Dr. Nicole Boutilier, vice-president of medicine and integrated health services, Nova Scotia Health

Group members: Drs. Natalie Cheng, Abdulmajeed Dayyat, Ian Epstein, Neil Finkle, Gwynedd Pickett, Alexandra Preston and Zenovia Ursuliak

About the project: This group was asked to explore why physicians belonging to equity-deserving groups aren’t applying for leadership roles/opportunities and to suggest ways the NSH could reverse that trend.

This group identified three priority areas for the NSH: data collection, evaluation and research; developing a safe, positive workplace culture; and focusing recruitment and retention efforts on supporting equity-deserving groups.

See the full project here.


Katie Mallam
Director, policy and physician wellness initiatives