Dec. 15, 2023

UCalgary medical trainees travel the globe developing expertise

Advanced fellowship recipients return to Calgary with new knowledge, networks and experiences
Two women in a collage: both are simling at the camera

Dr. Raynell Lang and Dr. Kimberly Williams

Some of the world’s top health-care institutions have University of Calgary medical trainees at them right now, learning and developing greater expertise to serve people in need. All with one important academic mission — to return to Calgary with specific new skills to better serve our community in the future.

More than 50 clinical trainees from the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) have worked in health facilities in Toronto; Boston; Miami; London, England; Melbourne and other major centres since 2012. This has been made possible through a fellowship training opportunity supported by the Helios Wellness Centre, the University of Calgary Medical Group (UCMG) and Calgary Foundation, as well as CSM and several of its departments.

Dr. Kimberly Williams, MD’14, PGME’19, a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor, recently returned from further advanced fellowship training. Beginning in January 2023, she spent five weeks as a visiting scholar with Harvard University at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“I gained additional clinical skills that I now use with current patients. I also made connections that can improve my research through collaboration and mentorship,” says Williams. “Experiencing a different health-care and education system was an invaluable opportunity to broaden my skills and perspective.”

As a visiting scholar in neuropsychiatry and behavioural neurology, she practised in a mix of clinics, attended education sessions, met with researchers involved in active clinical trials, and visited different facilities, including a former naval base now being used for medical research.

“It was especially enjoyable to work with and meet new female physicians at a similar stage of their career who are also balancing research, clinical practices and a young family at home,” says Williams, a mother of three, including an eight-week-old.

Along with parenting, teaching and patient-care responsibilities, Williams continues to further neuropsychiatry research in Calgary and advocating for women’s health through her role as the 100th president of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada.

Collaborating on a global scale

Dr. Raynell Lang, MD, PGME '18, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor, has also benefited recently from international training. The UCMG member was selected to complete a two-year fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore from 2020 to 2022.

While there, she worked with the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD) to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in HIV epidemiology. In all, the global network involves more than 200 sites and serves 130,000 people living with HIV. Lang was first author of research published in JAMA Network Open, the journal AIDS and the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“I was able to gain experience and expertise with research methodology and data analysis for large-scale projects and broaden my research interest in areas like co-morbidities and co-infections among people living with HIV,” says Lang. She returned to UCalgary and works at the Southern Alberta HIV Clinic in a clinical and research capacity, working closely with NA-ACCORD colleagues.

In 2023, fellowship recipients received support to participate in training at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston; Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Precision Medicine Center of Excellence in Baltimore; the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland; King’s College Hospital, Guy’s Hospital and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, England; and the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Disease in Newcastle, Australia.

Raynell Lang is an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor in the in the Department of Medicine’s Infectious Disease Division and Department of Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine. She is a member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and the Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.

Kimberly Williams is a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the CSM. She is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education.

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