Dear friends and colleagues:

It’s been a busy six months at the CCMG!  All of us have been buried under work – and many of us under snow as well.  Now that spring is finally greeting all of us (not just you tanned west-coasters) here is an update on the numerous initiatives that are moving forward thanks to the dedication and volunteerism of CCMG fellows.

The September 2015 Ottawa conference is coming together beautifully.  We have finalized our conference contract with CAGC, and regular combined CCMG-CAGC executive teleconferences are ensuring that both organizations are fully engaged and informed. We have also finalized our 2015 and 2016 conference contracts with our office in Kingston, Events Management Plus.  Our Treasurer, Sean Young, proposed and negotiated a new remuneration formula that rewards increased sponsorship dollars as well as increased delegate counts.  David Chitayat and our Scientific Program Committee have been collaborating with the CAGC to put together another high quality, relevant scientific program. Jenny Oh and our team at Events Management Plus are hard at work courting sponsors and are already ahead of last year’s record-breaking numbers.  We have a jazz trio lined up for our reception. Sarah Nikkel is working with our conference manager, Donna Dennison to finalize the “CCMG Gala” dinner location.  Ottawa is beautiful in September, and the meeting venue is right beside the canal, the Byward market and Parliament Hill. Registration is open

We have also made progress on the 2016 conference, to be held in partnership with the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists in Edmonton, and the 2017 meeting, to be held in Montreal. Save the dates: June 19-21, 2016 (Edmonton, AB) and May 1-3, 2017 (Montreal, QC).

Exam reform remains a top CCMG priority.  Our ad hoc Exam Advisory Group, expertly co-Chaired by Harriet Feilotter and Judy Chernos, has been drawing on the experience of several dedicated CCMG members.  After much thoughtful input and debate, the CCMG has settled on new exam formats and is continuing to refine the myriad of related details.  The new formats include a written general exam, a written specialty exam and a practical OSLE (objective structured laboratory exam).  A major change is the move to hold all components of the exam over consecutive days.  Exam reform is made all the more challenging by the move of the 2016 CCMG annual meeting from the fall to the spring, giving us less than the usual two-year interval to get it all finalized.  Communications about the new exam format and processes have been distributed to the training sites and are posted on the website.  The Examinations committee, with the experienced leadership of Kathy Chun, have beenrevamping the general examination questions, and each subcommittee is starting to develop questions related to their subspecialty.  The CCMG is supporting a working meeting for general exam question writing to take place in the near future in Toronto.

CoverThanks to Kym Boycott (first author), Christine Armour (senior author), and an impressive team of 25 co-authors that include members of our E2P2 and Clinical Practice committees (among others), the CCMG’s new position statement The clinical application of genome-wide sequencing for monogenic diseases was completed, posted on the website for membership input and endorsed by the Board.  Look for it soon!  It is currently in press in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

Over the past six months our committees have been engaged and active:

  1. Thanks to Accreditation Co-Chairs Paula Waters and Karen Harrison and their busy members, the Committee is in various stages of reviewing, visiting and finalizing applications from 5 different sites.  Two site visits are planned in the next few months.  They have also been responsible for updating the “Accreditation Application General Information” document posted on Alfresco and our website.
  2. Our Awards and Nominations co-Chairs, Helene Bruyere and Marjan Nezarati, and their members have populated our committees, reviewed their terms of reference and chosen the 2015 Founders award and John L. Hamerton service award recipients.  Congratulations have been extended to Barbara McGillivray and Wenda Greer. We look forward to honoring them at the upcoming annual conference.
  3. A subset of Clinical Practice and Lab Practice members are joining with additional prenatal stakeholders across the country to create CCMG guidelines for the use of prenatal microarray. Lab Practice has also led the creation of a molecular ad hoc working group, co-Chaired by Jim Stavropoulos and Tracy Stockley, to write CCMG laboratory guidelines for next generation sequencing.
  4. Credentials Chair Barb Morash and her team have waded deep into the pond of exam reform in order to adjust our credentials process to account for the new format and timing of the exams in June 2016.  Training Chair Suzanne Demczuk and her members have been consulted on those changes and have streamlined new trainee application processes and documents.  Check out Training/Registration_form_July2014.pdf
  5. Ethics, Education and Public Policy, fondly known as “E2P2” has a new Chair, Julie Richer, and at the Board’s request have already drafted a thoughtful letter highlighting the serious issues raised by direct to consumer (DTC) testing that is in the last stages of editing.  The letter will be sent to the Minister of Health, the Minister of Justice and the PMO’s office.  We all recognize that the CCMG has an advocacy role and responsibility; now we just need to make our provincial and federal governments aware of that!
  6. Many of you know that last year we completed the revision of our Bylaws to meet the requirements of the new not-for-profit act.  The Constitution and Bylaws committee has been ‘reconstituted’ with the guidance of Vice-President Judy Chernos as the Policy and Bylaws Committee.  Chaired by past-president, Marsha Speevak, this committee will have a new mandate to generate policy documents required for the College.  One action item is to develop a policy statement addressing requests for CCMG support for research projects.

In addition to many of the folks named above, our Board members Jean McGowan-Jordan and Roberto Mendoza have been invaluable in moving these various initiatives forward.  Our Association Manager Heather Dow brings a great work ethic, a sense of humour and a myriad of executive skills to our doorstep. Board of Directors teleconferences are now held monthly as opposed to quarterly, enabling us to respond in a more timely fashion to issues of import. Our Secretary Hilary Vallance has been stellar at keeping track of it all, while still managing to be thoughtfully involved in the issues. 

Finally, a warm welcome is extended to three new CCMG peeps: Maude Lefebvre, a new fellow, completed her residency training in Quebec.  Andrea Yu is a resident in Ottawa and Lauren MacNeil is a fellow in Hamilton.  Both have joined the CCMG as fellow-in-training (FIT) affiliates.

Here’s wishing everyone a healthy (and warm) spring and summer.  I look forward to seeing you all in September.

Gail Graham

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