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Congress of Inspiration event inspired by patient care

by OslerStaff | Jan 23, 2019

From Left: Osler RPN staff Alina Lobianco, Dr. Jeff Handler, Dr. Phillip Vayalumkal and Dr. Prashant Phalpher at the inaugural Congress of Inspiration at Brampton Civic Hospital.  

It was a day devoted to “understanding our purpose and why we do what we do for patient care.” That is how Osler Emergency Department doctors, Jeff Handler, Prashant Phalpher and Phillip Vayalumkal describe Osler’s inaugural Congress of Inspiration, held at Brampton Civic in late November 2018.

“We wanted to focus on the principles of care – altruism, empathy and compassionate service,” said Dr. Vayalumkal, concepts which clearly struck a chord.  More than 90 people representing a true cross section of Osler staff – physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, administrators, volunteers and other support staff – attended the one-day event. The Congress was presented by Osler’s ED Book Club, a unique club open to all Osler staff and dedicated to “encouraging ways to deepen clinical connections with patients,” explained Dr. Handler.  

The Congress boasted six exceptional guest speakers, including Global Medic Mr. Rahul Singh, retiring Deputy Health Minister Dr. Robert Bell, Professor Dr. Anna Jarvis, and others, who graciously donated their time. They covered topics ranging from innovations in global humanitarianism and Canada’s national sarcoma program, to resiliency, sustainability and an exploration of the “Art of Medicine.”

Sam Bastien, founder of the Haitian Health Education Project, made the journey all the way from Haiti to speak at the Congress. Bastien’s interest in non-governmental organizations began after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that tragically took the lives of many of his medical school classmates. In 2016, Dr. Phalpher led a mission to a Port-au-Prince trauma hospital in Haiti to help provide medical relief and assist in the training of Haitian health care providers.

The Congress’ closing speaker was Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, a preeminent internist from the University Health Network of Toronto and author of The Art of Medicine – Healing and the Limits of Technology who spoke about the active use of patient-centered care. He noted that we must all strive to “use our senses of seeing, hearing and touch to help achieve a holistic approach to patient care” in an age of technology, where tests such as CT scans and MRIs often overwhelm our focus.

If you missed this event, don’t worry. Plans are already underway for the next Congress of Inspiration in November 2019.  “The goal of the Congress was to start a conversation about joy at work … to get health care workers from all walks of life to come together and share ideas” said Dr. Phalpher. “It was truly an amazing and inspiring day for all in attendance.” 

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