Summarizing the experience: HMC Qatar visitors from July

LMP Ice

This summer UHN’s Laboratory Medicine Program (LMP) welcomed nine members of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) laboratory team for Personalized learning Programs (PLP). In addition to the learning programs offered to HMC doctors and technologists, the HMC leadership team also paid a visit to LMP to better understand our operational structure and workflow.

The collaborative efforts stem from a partnership between HMC and UHN/ Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and gives each organization the opportunity to share expertise and advance laboratory medicine globally.

 

Meet five HMC visitors from the month of July:

 

Dr. Madiha Soofi (July 18 – August 5)

Group

(L-R) Dr. Runjan Chetty, LMP medical director; Rachel Whitty, LMP manager, International Partnerships; Dr. Emran Amir, HMC pathologist; Dr. Madiha Soofi, HMC head of Pathology; Michele Henry, LMP senior director; Dr. Adham Ammar, HMC pathologist; Brad Davis, LMP executive director. (Photo LMP)

Dr. Madiha Soofi spent her time in LMP working alongside subspecialty pathologists in gastrointestinal pathology and also focused on clinical leadership, including workflow processes and laboratory operations as she will be named the interim head of anatomic pathology upon her return to HMC.

 

  1. What surprised you most about your visit?

I was fascinated by the city of Toronto – it’s the most diverse city I’ve ever seen, and I’ve traveled and stayed in many places around the world. It reminds me of Doha in a way because there is every colour and race present, so as a visitor you don’t feel uncomfortable and really feel like part of the community.

At UHN specifically I was just so surprised by the hospitality shown by everyone. Staff were so welcoming and organized – it really made our stay comfortable.

  1. What will you take back with you to HMC?

As head of anatomic pathology at HMC, a major take away for me will be the level of organization I’ve seen here and the workflow in place that makes life easier for staff. I’ll also be going back with more experience in my GI subspecialty, and the intention of standardizing the work we do and how it’s reported.

  1. How would you summarize the experience?

For me, it’s been great learning operational strategies from a system that’s already faced challenges similar to those at HMC. It was a homey and comfortable environment to learn, and there was amazing support from everyone… It couldn’t have been better.

 

Dr. Emran Amir (July 18 – August 5)

Drs. Madiha and Emran

(L-R) Rachel Whitty, LMP manager, International Partnerships; Dr. Madiha Soofi, HMC head of Pathology; Dr. Emran Amir, HMC pathologist; Shannon Spencer, interim manager, UHN ICE; Michele Henry, LMP senior director. (Photo: LMP) 

Dr. Emran Amir spent his time in LMP working alongside subspecialty pathologists in solid organ hematopathology. He focused on molecular hematopathology, including test validation, and also reviewed various types of lymphoma cases. Once back at HMC Dr. Emran plans to introduce new World Health Organization classifications, expand and validate molecular testing, move to EBER in situ hybridizations for EBV instead of immunohistochemistry, and also start using digital microscopy.

 

  1. What surprised you most about your visit?

I was really taken back by the huge workload handled by the program – and how it’s managed in such an organized fashion. The size of the department, the number of staff, and how many patient cases come through was very surprising.

  1. What will you take back with you to HMC?

I’ll take back a lot of what I learned with Dr. Delabie (hematopathologist, and chief of hematology and transfusion medicine) including an extra focus on molecular exposure in my work.

  1. How would you summarize the experience?

Just wonderful! That alone sums it up.

 

Dr. Susanna Akiki, July 18 – 29

Dr.Susanna Akiki

(L-R) Madhura Thiagarajah, PM research technician; Dr. Zafar Nawaz, HMC clinical scientist; Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid, LMP chief of Laboratory Genetics; Dr. Susanna Akiki, HMC consultant scientist; Shannon Spencer, interim manager, UHN ICE; Rachel Whitty, LMP manager, International Partnerships. (Photo: LMP) 

Dr. Susanna Akiki, consultant clinical scientist spent her time in LMP working alongside genome diagnostic staff in a PLP focused on molecular oncology for laboratory directors. While here she worked specifically on gene sequencing as HMC plans to establish a 54 gene myeloid sequencing panel in Qatar. This was Dr. Akiki’s first time visiting Toronto and luckily she found time to not only embrace her role as a scientist while here, but also her role as a tourist while sightseeing with her four children.

 

  1. What surprised you most about your visit?

The food is fantastic here. With Doha relying largely on imported food, it’s been great getting to enjoy fresh organic produce for the last two weeks. The ‘farm to table’ restaurants are incredible as well – my family runs an organic farm back in England called Elm Farm, and we found a great restaurant close to the hospital called Elm Tree – so that was a nice added bonus.

  1. What will you take back with you to HMC?

The science and translational research seen in the lab and across UHN. It’s also the confidence of having trained at a centre with the kind of weight UHN has.

  1. How would you summarize the experience?

It was great! A really positive experience all round. As a Canadian I would say, ‘awesome’ and as an English woman I’d say, ‘very nice’.

 

Muna Al Zeyara (July 25 – August 5)

Muna.JPG

(L-R) Rachel Whitty, LMP manager, International Partnerships; Dr. Adham Ammar, HMC pathologist; Muna Al-Zeyara, HMC technologist; Shannon Spencer, coordinator, UHN ICE; Dr. Adam Smith, LMP cytogeneticist; Dr. Wafa Abualainin, HMC clinical scientist . (Photo LMP)

This was Muna Al-Zeyara’s second time in a Personalized Learning Program with LMP. She was first here last fall for cancer cytogenetics, focusing specifically on HER2, MYC, IGH/BCL2 and BCL 6. This time her two week program focused specifically on ALK, as well as continuing with other lymphoma testing. The HMC cytogenetics lab has since received the ALK probe, and once they receive test cases for ALK they will begin validation.

 

Dr. Ahmad Al-Sabbagh (July 11 – 22)

Dr. Ahmad Al-Sabbagh, head of hematology, HMC spent two screen 1weeks working alongside LMP staff in a PLP focusing on flow cytometry. He worked closely with Dr. Anne Tierens and Amr Rajab on 10-colour flow cytometry analysis and familiarizing himself with different flow panels and software. Additionally, Dr. Ahmad spent time in the hematology lab, which included touring the bone marrow bench, overview of hematology instruments and tests, review of Cellavision validation for morphology, and attending leukemia/lymphoma rounds.

 


 

That’s a wrap up on the first group of PLPs LMP has hosted this summer. As always, it’s been a great experience welcoming HMC staff into our labs and getting the opportunity to share laboratory expertise with one another. We look forward to the future of the partnership and the advances we’ll be able to make for cancer care in Qatar.

 

 

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