Open Access Publications

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Professional Regulation: A Potentially Valuable Tool in Responding to ‘‘Stem Cell Tourism’’
    (Elsevier, 2014-09-09) Zarzeczny, Amy; Caulfield, Timothy; Ogbogu, Ubaka; Bell, Peter; Crooks, Valorie A.; Kamenova, Kalina; Master, Zubin; Rachul, Christen; Snyder, Jeremy; Toews, Maeghan; Zoeller, Sonja
    The growing international market for unproven stem cell-based interventions advertised on a direct-to-consumer basis over the internet (‘‘stem cell tourism’’) is a source of concern because of the risks it presents to patients as well as their supporters, domestic health care systems, and the stem cell research field. Emerging responses such as public and health provider-focused education and national regulatory efforts are encouraging, but the market continues to grow. Physicians play a number of roles in the stem cell tourism market and, in many jurisdictions, are members of a regulated profession. In this article, we consider the use of professional regulation to address physician involvement in stem cell tourism. Although it is not without its limitations, professional regulation is a potentially valuable tool that can be employed in response to problematic types of physician involvement in the stem cell tourism market.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Unproven stem cell-based interventions & physicians’ professional obligations; a qualitative study with medical regulatory authorities in Canada
    (BMC Medical Ethics, 2014-10) Zarzeczny, Amy; Clark, Marianne
    Background - The pursuit of unproven stem cell-based interventions (“stem cell tourism”) is an emerging issue that raises various concerns. Physicians play different roles in this market, many of which engage their legal, ethical and professional obligations. In Canada, physicians are members of a self-regulated profession and their professional regulatory bodies are responsible for regulating the practice of medicine and protecting the public interest. They also provide policy guidance to their members and discipline members for unprofessional conduct. Methods - We conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with representatives from six different provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada to discuss their experiences and perspectives regarding stem cell tourism. Our focus was on exploring how different types of physician involvement in this market would be viewed by physicians’ professional regulatory bodies in Canada. Results - When considering physicians’ professional obligations, participants drew analogies between stem cell tourism and other areas of medical tourism as well as with some aspects of complementary alternative medicine where existing policies, codes of ethics and regulations provide some guidance. Canadian physicians are required to act in the best interests of their patients, respect patient autonomy, avoid conflicts of interest and pursue evidence-based practice in accordance with accepted standards of care. Physicians who provide unproven treatments falling outside the standard of care, not in the context of an approved research protocol, could be subject to professional discipline. Other types of problematic conduct include referrals involving financial conflict of interest and failure to provide urgent medically necessary care. Areas of ambiguity include physicians’ obligations when asked for information and advice about seeking unproven medical treatments, in terms of providing non-urgent follow-up care, and when asked to support efforts to go abroad by providing tests or procedures in advance that would not otherwise be medically indicated. Conclusions - Specific policy guidance regarding the identified areas of tension or ambiguity may prove helpful for physicians struggling with these issues. Further consideration of the complex interplay of factors at issue in how physicians may (should) respond to patient demands related to unproven medical interventions while meeting their professional, legal and ethical obligations, is warranted.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Identification of a Pantoea Biosynthetic Cluster That Directs the Synthesis of an Antimicrobial Natural Product
    (PLOS ONE, 2014-05-15) Stavrinides, John; Smith, Derek D. N.; Walterson, Alyssa M.
    Fire Blight is a destructive disease of apple and pear caused by the enteric bacterial pathogen, Erwinia amylovora. E. amylovora initiates infection by colonizing the stigmata of apple and pear trees, and entering the plants through natural openings. Epiphytic populations of the related enteric bacterium, Pantoea, reduce the incidence of disease through competition and antibiotic production. In this study, we identify an antibiotic from Pantoea ananatis BRT175, which is effective against E. amylovora and select species of Pantoea. We used transposon mutagenesis to create a mutant library, screened approximately 5,000 mutants for loss of antibiotic production, and recovered 29 mutants. Sequencing of the transposon insertion sites of these mutants revealed multiple independent disruptions of an 8.2 kb cluster consisting of seven genes, which appear to be coregulated. An analysis of the distribution of this cluster revealed that it was not present in any other of our 115 Pantoea isolates, or in any of the fully sequenced Pantoea genomes, and is most closely related to antibiotic biosynthetic clusters found in three different species of Pseudomonas. This identification of this biosynthetic cluster highlights the diversity of natural products produced by Pantoea.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Is All Bullying the Same?
    (Archives of Public Health, 2014) Zhang, Lihui; Osberg, Lars; Phipps, Shelley
    We ask whether verbal abuse, threats of violence and physical assault among Canadian youth have the same determinants and whether these determinants are the same for boys and girls. If these are different, the catch-all term “bullying” may mis-specify analysis of what are really different types of behavior
  • ItemOpen Access
    Conceptualizing an Expanded Role for RNs
    (Open Journal of Nursing, 2014-02) Donnelly, Glenn; Domm, Liz
    In our changing health care system, the role of registered nurses (RNs) has become indistinguishable from other nursing and health care providers’ roles. The purpose of this research was to explore the perspectives of nurse leaders and direct care RNs about the existing and future RN scope of practice. This research used an interpretive description analysis on data that was garnered from nurse leaders and RNs through separate focus groups. Participants identified existing threats to their roles, examined their scope of practice and proposed changes to the RN scope of practice. Specific areas that were identified included leadership, advocacy and expansion of RNs practices were dominant themes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Open Textbook Project
    (2014-04-28) Burgess, Mary
    In October 2012, the government of British Columbia announced its support for the creation of open textbooks for the 40 highest impact first-and second-year courses in the province’s public post-secondary system. BCcampus was tasked with coordinating the project because of their 10-year experience with the Online Program Development Fund. The texts will be available for free online, or at a low cost for printed versions, to approximately 200,000 students.