A newsletter of the Department of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Health Authority. 

We will celebrate our successes and learn from each other for the betterment of our students, our patients and our community. 


Welcome to the new year and a time of new hope as we start to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel.  The vaccine rollout for frontline healthcare workers has begun and some of you have already received your vaccinations. 

I appreciate your patience and acknowledge there have been some challenges particularly around transparency and communication of the vaccine distribution process. Member concerns have been communicated to Pandemic Leads who agree criteria for determining priority for vaccines will be reviewed to ensure more timely access to all DoM members.

While the Department is not the source of vaccine rollout information, nor part of the decision-making process, we do want to help you get answers to your questions. This special newsletter provides links to a variety of sources where you can get more information about Saskatchewan’s vaccine rollout plan.

Let us continue to support each other and learn from each other as we get through these challenging times.


SHA Emails

  • The SHA is attempting to communicate directly with physicians via SHA email Information on activating your SHA email account is available here.
  • Physicians are being contacted directly via SHA email as they become eligible to be vaccinated.
  • SHA emails are also being used to invite physicians to participate in weekly online Physician Town Hall Updates being every Thursday from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Past sessions can be found here. This appears to be the best opportunity to have your questions answered.

SHA Website

SHA Weekly Updates

  • A summary of SHA’s Weekly Update - COVID Vaccine Planning emails sent to Department Heads and other leaders within the SHA is available on the Department of Medicine COVID-19 sharepoint site in the Vaccine folder. You will need your USask NSID and password to sign into this site which you can access from the DoM homepage. medicine.usask.ca/medicine.


  • The SHA website has information and guidance about both vaccines being used in Saskatchewan. You can find it here.
  • Read the New England Journal of Medicine publications about both the Moderna vaccine and Pfizer vaccine.
  • Additional publications about these and other vaccines are posted as PDFs in a new Vaccine Folder in the Department of Medicine Sharepoint Drive. You will need your USsask NSID and password to access this site.


We are living through challenging times. I want to once again thank each and everyone one of you for your sacrifices, your extraordinary efforts and your commitment to the people of this province and to the mission of the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. 

We are also witnessing social unrest and growing frustration with systemic racism and sexism. It is a reminder for each of us to examine our unconscious biases and regularly check ourselves for stereotypes, prejudices and ultimately unintentional but still hurtful discrimination.

Earlier this year, the Department of Medicine created a Diversity Committee to promote an environment of equity, diversity and inclusion. Committee Chair Dr. Nassrein Hussein explains more about the committee below.

This newsletter also has important information about opportunities to share your research success. Not only does this help to attract graduate students and residents, it can lead to the identification of synergies and collaborative opportunities within the department. I encourage you to explore the information about your colleagues on our website at medicine.usask.ca/medicine.

This season’s newsletter also includes research profiles from a relatively new faculty members as well as a Distinguished Professor who has been at the University of Saskatchewan for more than 50 years.

And speaking of new arrivals, I extend a warm welcome to the 16 new faculty members who recently joined our team. I look forward to more opportunities to see all of you in person.

On a sad note, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the great contributions made to our community by Dr. Jose Tellez who recently passed away. He was a highly valued member of our department and he will be missed. 

Please enjoy this edition of our newsletter and consider submitting story ideas for the next issue.  

Dr. Haissam Haddad
Provincial Head

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee at the Dept of Medicine. 
Submitted by Nassrein Hussein – EDI Committee Chair

In the summer of this year the Department of Medicine Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee was initiated, with the inaugural meeting held July 6, 2020. The mission of this committee is to promote an environment of diversity and inclusion within the Department of Medicine, in line with the University of Saskatchewan’s Diversity and Inclusion Policy, using evidence-based initiatives to implement best practices. [Read More]

Welcome to new faculty who recently joined the Department of Medicine
(July, August and September, 2020)

  • Dr. Michael Cenkowski – Cardiology
  • Dr. Chris Pekrul - Cardiology
  • Dr. Steve Pylypchuk – Cardiology
  • Dr. Devon Houdek – Endocrinology & Metabolism
  • Dr. Krista Lagimodiere – Geriatric Medicine
  • Dr. Megan Surkan – Geriatric Medicine
  • Dr. Fahd Al-Dhalaan – General Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Anmol Cheema – General Internal Medicine (Regina)
  • Dr. Ben Leis - General Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Arthur Ling – General Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Michelle Lund – General Internal Medicine (Swift Current)
  • Dr. Regan Cooley – Neurology
  • Dr. Priya Figurdo – Neurology (Regina)
  • Dr. Sanchea Wasyliw – Neurology
  • Dr. Colin Ellis – Respirology, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
  • Dr. Cairistin McDougall - Rheumatology (Regina)

Return of Grand Rounds 
Grand Rounds have returned in Saskatoon. Up to 30 people are allowed in the Vivian K Asher Lecture Theatre, or you can attend live via WebEx.  All sessions will be recorded if you cannot attend the live event. Information about Grand Rounds is sent out each week from Lesley Reynolds and can be also accessed from the homepage of the Department’s website.


  • Research Lunch and Learns (RLLs) are needs-driven topical meetings with the goal of:
    • increasing understanding of each other’s research
    • building a strong research community, and
    • fostering learning and growth.
RLLs take place once a month, on a Friday at noon. This academic year all sessions will be via WebEx only. If you would like to present or have a topic you think should be covered, please email Ozlem Sari with your presentation idea or title.

  • Check out the Recent Publication section at the top of the research page on the Department of Medicine website (medicine.usask.ca/medicine) where you can share your publications with your colleagues. The page is updated based on alerts from Pub Med. You can also send a note about your latest publication to the communications office at dom.communications@usask.ca.

  • Several faculty members in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw are actively involved in COVID-related studies. You can find a list here and on the research page of our website. If you have recently started COVID-related research, please let our research facilitator know. Ozlem Sari can be reached at ozlem.sari@usask.ca.

  • We want to showcase everyone’s research interests, so if you have not already done so, please fill out the one-page Faculty Information Form so you can be included in the Directory of Research Interests on the department website. The directory is meant to aid potential residents and graduate students who are searching for a research supervisor. You can find the form in the Research Faculty section on the Research page of our website. You may also want to check your faculty profile and send updated information to dom.communications@usask.ca.

  • Return to Research on campus. If your research was halted due to COVID, you may be able to start up again. Check out USask’s COVID information page, and the Request for Campus / Field Activity or Access to Campus. Resources you may need, including forms, are available on the Department of Medicine Sharepoint Covid Site in the Return to Work – Research folder.

Competent Learners make Competent Doctors
Submitted by Dr. Rahul Mainra – Director UGME

Competency By Design (CBD) has taken deep roots in our post-grad training programs and is now gearing up in undergraduate medical education.

Dr. Sharon Card gave a wonderful Grand Rounds on Entrustable Professional Activities (EPA) in post-grad residency education. Take home points which resonated with many included using the term “Readiness” instead of “Trustable.” Is your medical student “Ready” to do a history and physical exam on their own or do they need you to be present? [Read more]

Getting to Know You - Researcher Profile with Dr. Jay Shavadia

Using a question and answer format, we learn more about Dr. Jay Shavadia, Assistant Professor of Cardiology.

What is your area of research?
Most of my research work is focused around population outcomes within registries of patients across the spectrum of acute coronary syndromes. [Read more]

Getting to Know You - Researcher Profile with Dr. Ali Rajput

Using a question and answer format, we learn more about Dr. Ali Rajput, Distinguished Professor of Neurology. 

What is your area of research?
My area of research is movement disorder – parkinsonism, essential tremor, dystonia et., and ranges from epidemiology, clinical therapeutics, clinicopathological brain biochemistry, molecular genetics and translational research. [Read more]

In our next newsletter,  Researcher Profiles with Dr. Andrea Lavoie and Dr. Alex Wong.

Taking the Pressure Off: Ear Savers for Saskatoon’s Frontline Healthcare Workers

Infectious Diseases specialist Dr. Shaqil Peermohamed knows the importance of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of disease. But he also saw the discomfort, pain and damage to ear lobes that frontline healthcare workers were experiencing as a result of wearing masks for the entire duration of their shift, day after day, so he decided to do something about it. [Read more]

Dr. Jose Tellez-Zenteno
- in Memoriam

Dr. Tellez

Professor of Neurology, Dr. Jose Tellez-Zenteno, passed away on October 2, 2020. His expertise and compassion helped untold numbers of patients with epilepsy.  

Dr. Tellez-Zenteno received his medical degree from the National University of Mexico in 1996. After residencies in internal medicine and neurology, he came to Canada for clinical fellowships at the epilepsy program at the London Health Sciences Centre in London, Ontario and at the Foothills Medical Center in Calgary, Alberta.  

He arrived at the University of Saskatchewan in 2007 and was promoted to a full professor in 2013. A prolific author with an exceptional citation record, he was an internationally recognized expert in his field. At the University of Saskatchewan, he is remembered as an enthusiastic teacher, a relentless researcher and the founder of Saskatchewan’s first program for complex patients with epilepsy.  

His death is an extraordinary loss to all his patients, to the University of Saskatchewan and to his colleagues around the world. 


As we head into our third month of the novel corona virus outbreak here in Saskatchewan, I want to thank you all for your ongoing commitment and dedication. This has been a trying time and it is far from over. The generosity of spirit you have displayed in sharing your expertise and supporting each other has inspired me and affirms my belief in, and dedication to, our team.

I recognize that everyone has been working under unusual conditions and I want to thank all Department Area Leads and members of the provincial Department for stepping up in this crisis at the Department and/or Pandemic levels. And finally, I would like to thank our administrative team members who are working from home but are still helping us connect and carry on. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

I hope you find this issue of our newsletter informative and that you will consider contributing interesting stories in the future. Stay strong, stay safe and take care of yourselves.

Dr. Haissam Haddad
Provincial Head

Department of Medicine – COVID-19 Bootcamp

Join your colleagues in the Department of Medicine every Thursday from 12 – 1 for an online COVID-19 Bootcamp put on by USask Continuing Medical Education and the Department of Medicine. Watch for an invite in your USask Outlook calendars. All sessions are recorded and available for viewing. Watch recorded sessions here.

COVID-19 Info & Updates Sharepoint Site

To assist department members in keeping track of Covid-19-related information, a COVID Info & Updates Sharepoint site has been created. It is only accessible to members of the Department of Medicine and you will need your USask NSID to sign in. The site serves as an archive of information that may be of particular relevance to department members. Weekly updates, emailed from Lesley Reynolds, provide a list of new information added to the site.

Dispelling Covid-19 Myths via Social Media
Dr. Hassan Masri, GIM and Emergency specialist, is hoping to inspire others to be part of the solution when it comes to battling COVID-19. He has a steadily growing following for his Facebook videos where he answers questions about the virus. Read more…

PGY1 Research Days June 2 and 9th

Watch your email for invite and link for the PGY1 presentations. They will take place via WebEx on June 2 and June 9 from 1 to 5pm. The link will be available to anyone who wants to attend.
Plans are still being developed for the PGY2 poster presentations.

Keeping Students on Track

Shout out to the UGME and PGME Administrators who have been working from home to reschedule clinical courses, organize online academic half days, reschedule research days and respond to student queries. Read more here to see what four of them have been working on.  


SHRF Grant Success

Congratulations to three Department of Medicine researchers who recently received grants from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF). Dr. Bhanu Prasad (MD) and Dr. Donna Goodridge (PhD) received 2019-20 Collaborative Innovation Development Grants, which are designed to address health challenges particularly relevant to Saskatchewan. Dr. Sharyl Fowler (MD) received a 2019-20 Sprout Grant for patient-oriented research. Read more.

International Film Award

Congratulations to Dr. Stuart Skinner and the rest of the Wellness Wheel team in Regina for international recognition of your HIV and Hepatitis C program at Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation.
An award wining video, Connecting with Care Ahtahkakoop, focussed on the Ahtahkakoop Health Centre’s Know Your Status program.  The video took home the grand prize in the first annual Hepatitis Elimination Video Contest sponsored by the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination. It highlights the work being done in Saskatchewan and in First Nation communities to address Hepatitis C. View the video.

 2019 David Cotton Award Winner

Dr CC Tyan

     Congratulations to Dr. Chung Chun (Anderson) Tyan for being awarded the
     2019 David Cotton Award. The award recognizes an outstanding faculty
     member who has contributed to the care of respiratory patients in
     Saskatchewan and to the academic life of the Division of Respiratory,
     Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.

Welcome to the first edition of the Department of Medicine newsletter. Please take a few moments to browse the contents. We hope you will find it informative.

Our goal for the newsletter is to help build a closer-knit community of internists throughout the province of Saskatchewan.

With that in mind, we ask you to submit your news, including achievements and upcoming activities, so we can share with your colleagues. Photos are great too. Happy reading!
Dr. Haissam Haddad
Provincial Head

Faculty Retreat 
More than 60 department members from throughout the province came to Saskatoon for the first all faculty retreat this past fall. Along with meeting colleagues from other communities, and putting faces to names, it was an opportunity to ask questions and have lively discussions about provincial standardization.
Read more

Getting to Know You
In each edition of Internal Insights, we will introduce you to one or two members of the Department of Medicine. If you would like to participate in the Getting to Know you section of Internal Insights, send a note to DoM.communications@usask.ca.

Research support is the focus of this edition, as we introduce you to Ozlem Sari, Department Research Facilitator, and Masud Rana, Department Biostatistician.
Click here to read more about Ozlem.  Click here to read more about Rana.

Dr. Haissam Haddad was recently awarded the Canadian Certified Physician Executive (CCPE) credential.

The certification from the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders recognizes Dr. Haddad’s leadership capabilities described in the “LEADS in a Caring Environment Framework.” This is a significant accomplishment and indicates a high level of professional leadership competence. Congratulations Dr. Haddad!

Does Your Profile Page Need Updating?
Under the One Faculty Model, all members of the Department of Medicine who are involved in teaching or research are faculty with the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine. So why not get your information up, or up to date, on the profile pages of the USask website.
Read more about suggested content. 

Call for Content
Internal Insights is YOUR newsletter. Get to know each other by sharing information about your special projects, upcoming events, as well as personal and professional success stories. 
What are we looking for?
Quality improvement initiatives/ Research updates/  Education updates / Department events/ Community engagement activities / PHOTOS / Information you think would be interesting for your colleagues. 
Please send your content to DoM.communications@usask.ca.

Save the Dates - Residents Research Days 2020
Department of Medicine
PGY1 - Case Presentations Tuesday April 21, 11:30am - 3:30pm 
PGY1 - Case Presentations Tuesday April 28, 11:30am - 3:30pm
PGY 2 & 3 - Poster/ Podium Presentations Friday May 1, 2020 8:30am - 4:00pm
Residents' Banquet - Friday May 1, 2020 Cocktails 5:30
For more information contact: yimika.plumptre@usask.ca.

Upcoming Events
Send us information about local events you are organizing or participating in, and we will share with your colleagues.