Happy National Physicians Day!

May 1, 2022

May 1 is Canada’s day to celebrate the contributions of physicians to their patients, communities and the profession. We are grateful for the hard work, passion and dedication put forward by Alberta's physicians, resident physicians and medical students.

We are celebrating National Physicians Day by shining a spotlight on the following specialties:

Have a specialty you want featured? Email us at webmaster@albertadoctors.org.

Photo supplied by Dr. Andrea Macyk-DaveyGeneral Pathology

Becoming a pathologist took Dr. Andrea Macyk-Davey of Edmonton nine years of education. Dr. Macyk-Davey has a wide range of patients:

“At my hospital, my colleagues and I see any kind of tissue specimen that is sent to us for examination. Besides tissue, I also look at blood, bone marrow and body fluids,” says Dr. Macyk-Davey. “They may not come to see me in-person, but in the lab we're keeping a watchful eye on our patients through the specimens sent to us. A lot goes on in the background of the clinical laboratory that isn't seen but is essential for patient care. Usually, people think of us as looking for cancer, but we might also diagnose infections, inflammatory diseases, benign tumours, and a long, long list of other things.”

Medical GeneticsStock photo by the National Cancer Institute via Unsplash.com

It took 11 years of education for Dr. Ashish Marwaha to become a medical geneticist. Patients are referred to geneticists from a Family Doctor, pediatrician or specialist. All types of patients are seen by medical geneticists, including:

  • Pregnant families
  • Neonates
  • Children
  • Adults

“If you have a medical condition that is unsolved or could be genetic,” Dr. Marwaha says, “ask your primary care provider or specialist to consider a referral to medical genetics. These specialists can investigate whether genetics are behind a particular medical condition.”

“We have 20,000 genes in our body of which around 5,000 have been linked to a medical disease. Still a long way to go - but now patients in Alberta are funded to get detailed genetic testing when needed.”

Palliative CareStock photo by the National Cancer Institute via Unsplash.com

To practice palliative care, Dr. Hollis Roth of Lethbridge completed a five-year double-major undergrad, four years of medical school, two years of family medicine residency followed by one year of palliative care training: 12 years in total! 

Dr. Roth treats anyone with a life-limiting illness (whether cancer or non-cancer) at any stage of their illness journey. Patients are referred to her from a physician or nurse practitioner.

Did you know palliative care is not restricted to end-of-life care? It is available to anyone with a life-limiting illness (whether cancer or non-cancer) at any point during their illness journey, including curative therapy, with a focus on improving quality of life. 

Dr. Roth says she is “…privileged to have the time to get to know my patients and their loved ones and see the impact our team's care can make. Those are the moments that stay with me.”

Rural Family MedicineStock photo by the CDC via unsplash.com

It took rural family physician Dr. Kristy Penner eight years of education to practice. In her family medical practice in Crowsnest Pass, Dr. Penner’s patients are rural residents aged 0-100+ and are seen in-person or virtually.

Dr. Penner says, “the variety of rural family medicine is second to none - both in case presentations and in practice locations.”

Dr. Shafeena Premji - image provided by Dr. PremjiWomen's Health

Dr Shafeena Premji of Calgary took 12 years of education to prepare for her specialty. Her patients are women of all ages and various stages of fertility as well as newborns, infants and toddlers. Dr. Premji is 60% referral based and 40% regular appointment booking for her family practice patients.

Dr. Premji says that “in order for me to care for my patients to the best of my ability, I spend countless hours before/after/in between their appointments to stay afloat all their health care updates including emergency department visits, medication review, profile updates and preventative screening and follow-up.” She documents everything so that nothing is missed. “I also document my patients’ FORD (family, occupation, recreation and dreams) as I see them as a full vibrant and holistic person I care for.”

Dr. Premji lives by this quote by Zig Ziglar: ‘You can have everything in life you want if you just give enough other people what they want.’ “This quote resonates with me day in and day out as I care/serve my patients,” says Dr. Premji. “What it means to me is that by giving/helping others with their needs/goals/desire it allows me to fill my need of living a life of purpose.”

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.