Winter 2013 (Volume 23, Number 4)

In Memoriam: Janet Markland

By Bindu Nair, MD, FRCPC

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1948 - 2013

Our colleague Dr. Janet Markland passed away on August 30, 2013 from chronic lymphocytic leukemia. At the time of her passing, Janet was a Clinical Professor of Medicine and had practiced as a rheumatologist in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for over 30 years. Janet received her Honours degree in biology at the University of Saskatchewan in 1970 with a special interest in molecular genetics. She then attended the College of Medicine and completed her medical degree in 1975. Her certification in Internal Medicine was received in 1979 and she completed a subspecialty residency in rheumatology in 1982. During her studies, Janet met and married her husband Don Drysdale, and subsequently took periods of leave to have her children, Heather and Mark.

Janet had one of the largest clinical rheumatology practices in Saskatoon. Her dedication to her patients was well known and served as a model to the trainees that she would supervise. Janet would not only hold a regular workweek of clinics in Saskatoon, but frequently travelled to hold satellite clinics on the weekend in the smaller communities of Saskatchewan. In recent years, she oversaw telehealth clinics to reach patients who lived far away from urban centers. As many of us know, Janet was the clinician whom when called upon, could always be relied upon to add that extra patient to her clinic or fill in for that empty space on the call schedule. Her work ethic was amazing and always accompanied by her boundless optimism. In a meeting last year, during a discussion of the local growing local shortfall in resources for patient care and teaching, Janet’s response was to smile and say, “Tell me what I can do to help. We can do this.”

Janet was an enthusiastic educator; over the years, she served as mentor to many medical residents and students. Janet was active in the CRA, especially on the Human Resources Committee and on the editorial board of the CRAJ. One of the CRA projects closest to her heart was the CRA’s effort to ensure that residents across the country were provided with rheumatology textbooks. In 2007, the University of Saskatchewan recognized her work in education with the College of Medicine’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Janet was always interested in the pursuit of new knowledge which led to her being one of the first clinicians in Saskatoon to adopt an electronic medical record (EMR) system. Janet later worked as an EMR peer-to-peer advisor with the Saskatchewan Medical Association. Her enthusiasm also extended to research; she served as the Saskatchewan site director for the Canadian Scleroderma Registry and contributed to many research publications.

As many of us know, Janet’s true passion was gardening. Her garden was an incredibly beautiful gathering place for her family and friends. Tours of her garden served as fundraising events for the local Scleroderma and Lupus Societies.

Janet made her best efforts to keep caring for her patients, even after her diagnosis and between sessions of chemotherapy. After the closure of her medical practice, she planned to continue participation with teaching. At the time of her passing, messages came from colleagues across the country, remarking on her dedication and advocacy for rheumatology care and education. We will greatly miss our dear colleague and friend,
Dr. Janet Markland.

Bindu Nair, MD, FRCPC
Associate Professor,
University of Saskatchewan
Division of Rheumatology,
Department of Medicine,
Royal University Hospital
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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