AMS would like to introduce our new 2018 Phoenix Fellow Dr. Jay Shaw. Dr. Shaw is a scientist at Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care.
Why did you decide to become a healthcare professional?
Health care is the largest, and in my opinion most important domestic policy program in Canada (and in many other places in the world). I became interested in the directions in which the health system in Ontario was heading very early in my undergraduate degree, and knew that I would need some experience working in the system in order to help improve it. I learned about the aging population and the trend toward home and community care, and decided to become a home care physiotherapist to better understand the challenges associated with helping people remain independent in the community. This seemed to be the best way to understand the challenges and opportunities for bringing health care systems into the future.
What was the catalyst for your interest in compassion in healthcare?
Many brilliant thinkers have highlighted the importance of compassion on an interpersonal level as the foundation for ethical, person-centred health systems. My commitment has always been to promoting a health system that contributes to a more respectful, supportive society, and compassion in health care is essential for this important social program to accomplish that goal.
How were you introduced to the Phoenix Program?
I was introduced to the Phoenix Program by becoming aware of the extraordinary work of past Fellows, including Cynthia Whitehead, Ayelet Kuper and Paula Rowland. The ways in which these Fellows have been able to integrate rigorous conceptual foundations and a clear commitment to a more just health system has been a huge inspiration for my work. The Phoenix Program provides an opportunity to engage with the complex challenges that underlie health care systems in ways that illustrate how to promote a more responsible and sensitive approach to care. As soon as I discovered the program I knew I would apply at the right time; the work I had been doing to develop a research project on artificial intelligence in health care was the perfect opportunity.
What value does being an AMS Fellow bring to you professionally?
Being an AMS Fellow is a wonderful opportunity for me professionally. Beyond the resources provided to fund graduate students to collaborate with me on an important project, it gives me access to a community of past and current Fellows with similar interests and commitments. The Fellowship also means that others working on similar topics outside of the AMS community have expressed interest in my work, and my professional network has already begun to expand.
What one little thing could we do to make our healthcare system more compassionate?
Unfortunately, “little things” aren’t the right strategies to achieve a more compassionate health system. Health systems are incredibly complex, and the way to achieve more compassionate care is to support and promote inspiring leaders who have compassion as a core element of their mission. These leaders then go out to work in the system and educate the future generation of health care providers; this is the way to encourage a culture shift that embraces more compassionate care.
Have you ever been given advice by a patient that changed the way you practice medicine? If so, what was it?
Yes! I will never forget the second client I ever had as a physiotherapist. He interrupted me during my first phone call, and told me to go and do my homework (to acquire his hospital discharge information) and then get back to him. I did! I put in a few hours to chasing down the providers who cared for him in the hospital, and got the information I needed. He and I ended up having a wonderful provider-client relationship, and his input helped to form my understanding of the challenges facing health care in Ontario.
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