The Medical Joyworks Monthly

 

Connect to MJ's thriving community

Issue #17 (February 2021)

FROM OUR TEAM

Dear Reader,

Vaccine development has come a long way since the smallpox vaccine was first created in the 1790s. What took years–and even decades–of hard work is now being done in half the time (and sooner). The successes we are seeing with the first SARS-COV2 vaccines are a testament to these innovations.
Nevertheless, the intricate public-private partnerships necessary to approve, produce, distribute, administer, and safeguard vaccines do not seem to have advanced much since the 1990s. We continue to experience breakdowns in stakeholder goal alignments, communications, and other aspects determining critical interfaces.

As leaders in research, education, policy, and business, we must address this head on. MJ is focused mainly on improving clinical skills development. But we are also working to improve the interfaces among specialists, generalists and other HCPs. The IMB program, Clinical Odyssey's discussion board, and our university/industry partnerships are some examples of this.

More is to come, and you are always welcome to join us. Together, we can continue innovating where it matters: at those points where people need to connect and interact.

All the best, 


Miguel Angel Molina
Chief Operating Officer
Medical Joyworks

IN THE NEWS

The latest from MJ

  • In this month's edition of Meet Your IMB, our chat with Dr. Dinuka Ariyaratne delves into the world of immunology and the future of medicine. 
     
  • The MJ International Medical Board is seeking specialists to join as peer-reviewers for the following specialties: general surgery; orthopedic surgery; pediatrics; obstetrics and gynecology; neurosurgery; intensive care/critical care; psychiatry; urology; ear, nose and throat surgery; and dermatology. Join the program at https://www.medicaljoyworks.com/international-medical-board/join
     
  • Finally, we are excited to announce MJ's recent sponsorship of the University of Queensland Student Medical Society's First Year Orientation 2021 event, which ran from January 25th to January 29th. Unlike previous years, the event was a digital affair this time around. We were happy to support it by demonstrating to students how they can safely improve their skills with Clinical Odyssey's plethora of evidence-based, peer-reviewed simulations; physician-led discussion boards; and growing library of reference articles and MCQs–all designed to make medical learning more engaging and effective.
     
  • If you would like to have your organization explore Clinical Odyssey, let us know.
     
    That's it for now. Stay healthy, and curious!

MEET YOUR IMB

International Medical Board Members

Name: Dr. Dinuka Ariyaratne MBBS, MSc
Speciality: Immunology
Designation: PhD Student
Work institute: Center for Dengue Research, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Sri Lanka.
Graduated from: The Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Sri Lanka; The Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Colombo.
What attracted you to your specialty?
I first learned about the importance of immunology by reading the works of Louis Pasteur and Edward Jenner. As a child, my first dream was to become a scientist who created vaccines. After entering medical school I realized that immunology is a incredibly vast, an exciting field that is the future of medicine itself. It is one of those specialties that relates to almost every other medical specialty. The interconnectedness to infection, cancer, rheumatology is fascinating.

What have you learned about your specialty solely from experience?
Immunology relates to almost all other medical specialties. The immune system is usually what connects all other organ systems together. 

The specialty is fast evolving, and what you thought you knew about a certain area can change very suddenly. Therefore, you must keep up to stay up to date. Additionally, some of the great physicians and scientists to have spearheaded major public health initiatives that have changed the world have been immunologists. Immunology is not just a solely lab-based or clinical specialty. Rather, it is perhaps the single most medical specialty, effecting real change in the world of medicine. The current pandemic is proof of this.

What is a common misconception associated with your field of study?
Pre-COVID, a very common misconception was that immunology was not quite relevant or interesting. Post-COVID, with the general public becoming more aware of immunity to SARS-COV2 and the need for vaccines, that has clearly changed.

What is your biggest research interest today?
Currently, my interest is in viral immunology. I was a researcher of dengue, but had to quickly adapt to SARS-COV2 immunology. Nevertheless, viruses have always fascinated me. Learning about how viruses interact with, and evade, the immune system gives us so much insight into understanding immunity itself. Moreover, it is often the starting point in developing new therapeutics.

What publication/research are you most proud of?
So far, I believe that the best contribution that I have made is to have been a part of the team effort dedicated to rapid sequencing of SARS-COV2 in my country, Sri Lanka. As a part of our efforts, we have been able to track new variants and contribute to the ongoing nationwide effort to contain the spread of the infection.

In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge in your field today?
Right now, the biggest challenge immunology faces is fighting against the clock. We must conduct decades worth of viral immunological research in just a few months. But the more we learn about the human immune system, the more complicated this seems. 

What will be a game-changer innovation in your field?
Today’s game-changer is the series of mechanisms that have come together to rapidly develop vaccines. We used to require decades of research on a single organism to create an effective vaccine. For instance, the dengue vaccines that have recently been released took nearly a decade to create (and are still experiencing problems). Meanwhile, the current pandemic has forced us to improvise in order to expedite vaccine development for SARS-COV2. 

Of course, within all the mechanisms affecting vaccine development, the real game-changer is the development of mRNA vaccines. This technology has really made vaccine creation faster and safer. I am personally excited to be alive at the dawn of the era of mRNA vaccines!

How has MJ helped advance your professional objectives (in terms of teaching, research, management, personal development, etc.)?
Working with an international and multicultural team really helped me gain new perspectives and a deeper appreciation of collaborative work. The learning apps are fun and creative, and they make medical learning truly fun. I enjoy being part of something that makes a true difference in how we learn and teach medicine.

DOCTORS' LOUNGE

Q&As from our user community

Clinical Sense: Communal (Community-Acquired Pneumonia)

Q: Why didn't you order cultures here?
A: As per current guidelines, blood and sputum cultures are not indicated for mild community-acquired pneumonia that is to be treated on an outpatient basis. If the pneumonia had been more severe, then, yes, cultures would have been indicated prior to starting empirical antibiotic therapy. Please find the relevant guidelines here: https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.201908-1581ST
If you would like to play this scenario or join the conversation, go to the Clinical Sense app in your mobile device.

Prognosis: Your Diagnosis: Impacted (Mirizzi Syndrome)

Q: Why order magnetic resonance cholangio-pancreatography (MRCP) here? The abdominal ultrasound seems to provide enough information.
A: You are correct that the abdominal ultrasound was strongly suggestive of Mirizzi Syndrome. That said, most centers will generally perform an MRCP to confirm ultrasound findings, both because ultrasound is often not specific enough—and because MRCP usually provides additional valuable information. However, protocols differ between units; and your local guidelines should always be followed. Please find here an article discussing this further: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794376/
If you would like to play this scenario or join the conversation, go to the Prognosis: Your Diagnosis app in your mobile device.

IN CASE YOU MISSED THEM

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... and more.
That's all for now!

Tell us what you think or share valuable insights with the community by writing to us at: penelope@medicaljoyworks.com.

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