Winter 2017 (Volume 27, Number 4)

Human Resources Committee Update

By Diane Crawshaw, TROT Project Coordinator

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The CRA Human Resources Program, Training the Rheumatologists of Tomorrow (TROT), and the Manpower Committee of the Ontario Rheumatology Association (ORA) hosted a booth at the Ontario Medical Students Weekend (OMSW) in Sudbury, Ontario, on October 21st, 2017. This annual event is held in one of the six medical-school cities, and this year saw 450 first-year medical students in attendance.

This is the third year of our participation at the OMSW, and each year a portion of visitors to the booth have been asked to fill out a survey to help gauge impact. There have been a total of 115 surveys completed, with 53 from 2017. The data throughout the years seem consistent with the clear majority of respondents (70%; n=80/115) not having considered pursuing an opportunity for more exposure to rheumatology, such as clinical or research selective or shadowing a rheumatologist. However, this number rose to an impressive majority (94% n=92) considering an experience in rheumatology after interacting with a passionate and informative rheumatologist at the booth. Approximately half of the respondents provided their email addresses, saying that they would like to receive information about rheumatology education and events. The combination of the large "Hero" posters, the now famous bone-shaped RheumCareer pens and the gloves that simulate deforming rheumatoid arthritis (RA) draws people into the booth. Having said that, it is the opportunity to speak to a passionate rheumatologist that has the most impact. Messaging included: rheumatology is the best, most interesting, most flexible medical subspecialty; it is academically interesting; patient function is improved; and the therapies are interesting and new. Students reported: “I didn’t know how the field was expanding and how flexible the job prospects are” and “It sounds very interesting and with the possibility of good job opportunities.” They are also swayed by the long-term relationships with patients and the intellectual challenge of the diseases.

It was helpful to be able to reference a document that was written by and for medical students, entitled “Insights into Physician Workforce Trends in Ontario” ( It rates rheumatology as having excellent job prospects.

Participation in OMSW continues to be a valuable opportunity to reach medical students early in their careers and let them know that rheumatology is an excellent career choice, as we all know it to be.

Students buy into being a hero! Dr. Saara Rawn (3rd from left) and Dr. Jane Purvis (far right) pose with students and RA gloves.

Diane Crawshaw
TROT Project Coordinator,
Canadian Rheumatology Association
Hamilton, Ontario

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