This month we interviewed Dr. Quinten Clarke. Dr. Clarke is a PGY-1 in Psychiatry – Research, and leads the Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities (CAPD) Trainee group. He also servers on the Board. We chatted with him about his work with CAPD, involvement opportunities for interested residents, and his research track in Psychiatry.
You lead the Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities Trainee Group and serve on their Board. Can you please speak more about your involvement with the group, and the work of the group itself?
The Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities (CAPD) is a group formed in 1999 as an affiliate of the Canadian Medical Association. It was founded by Dr. Ashok Muzumdar, who you may recognize from the CMA Award for Physicians with Disabilities named in his honour. Dr. Muzumdar aimed to form an organization that would bring together Canadian physicians with disabilities. The CAPD membership includes physicians and trainees with disabilities of various types including but not limited to mental health conditions, physical impairments, sensory impairments, neurological impairments, chronic conditions, and congenital anomalies.
As a whole, the CAPD Board and Trainee Group advocate for the needs of physicians and medical trainees with disabilities. I am the Vice President of the CAPD and lead of the Trainee Group. In those capacities I focus on organizational structure, and advocacy related to medical education, and residency training. Recently we have advocated for changes to the Medical Council of Canada’s disability accommodations process, advocated for changes to the University of Calgary’s medical school interview’s accommodations process, and produced documents on how to access accommodations at the various stages of training.
How did you first become involved with the Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities?
I became involved in the CAPD initially in December 2019. I happened upon the organization while looking for scholarship opportunities and became interested in their mission. The organization, up to that point, was very focused on the concerns of residents and staff physicians. After attending the inaugural Stanford Conference on Disability in Healthcare and Medicine and having the opportunity to see how many student groups for medical students with disabilities had been created in the US, I saw an opportunity for CAPD to expand its scope to include medical students. I then applied to join the CAPD Board and put out a call for interested medical students from across Canada to form a trainee group. Many interested medical students responded and we held our first meeting of the organization’s Trainee Group in December 2020. From there, our organization has continued to grow and attract new members.
What does the Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities look for in resident involvement? If any residents are interested in joining the Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities, what can they expect?
The CAPD Trainee Group consists of medical students and residents with disabilities who are passionate about improving medical education. One’s degree of involvement is variable and can vary from leading a project to contributing as a mentor. We recognize that clinical responsibilities for trainees vary throughout the year and that member’s disabilities may also pose a barrier to involvement. Thus, we do our best to ensure that the responsibilities of membership are not particularly burdensome.
Currently there are a number of opportunities to be involved including in the development of a national curriculum for undergraduate medical education related to disability, a mentorship program for students with disabilities, and several new projects that are in very early stages as part of our slate of initiatives for the new year.
Within your residency, you are currently doing the research track in Psychiatry. Can you tell us a bit more about what your experience has been like thus far, and where you want to go with it in the future
The research track is a unique program that can be entered both directly through CaRMS or once in the UBC Psychiatry program. The program allows residents protected time during residency to participate in research during PGY2-5. Residents also have the option of taking a research elective block in PGY1.
In the coming months, I look forward to having the opportunity to collaborate with academic researchers in the Faculty of Medicine and Department of Psychiatry and utilizing my epidemiological and psychiatric training to further the knowledge base in our discipline.
The opportunity to have dedicated research time allows for us to establish ourselves as physician-scientists. Further, our clinical learning is enhanced by the knowledge gained through our research initiatives. I look forward to a future career as a physician-scientist and the opportunity to complete a graduate degree as part of this program.
Please note, that they currently only accept members who identify as individuals with disabilities.