Division of General Internal Medicine

The Academic Division of Internal Medicine at the Ottawa Hospital consists of 26 full and part time academic Internal medicine specialists. These internists have a very active role in both the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital, providing patient care for up to 200 patients daily. One of the strengths of GIM in this Department of Medicine is the fact that it’s core membership is comprised of General Internists. This provides a high and consistent level of patient care and housestaff learning on our clinical units.

In-patient and Consult Service

Twenty-five percent of the hospital Emergency admissions are admitted to Internal Medicine. The in-patient responsibilities include designated monitored bed units and clinical supervision of a non-teaching unit staffed by physician assistants.

In addition to the in-patient care, the division provides a very active ward and ER consultative service at both in-patient sites (Civic and General campuses).

Out-patient and Special Interest Clinics

General Medicine clinics are held at the General and Riverside sites of The Ottawa Hospital. These clinics see newly referred patients for diagnostic workup, difficult pre-operative assessment cases and follow ups from the in-patient wards. The division has an expanding interest in pre-operative medicine and as a result we currently have a dedicated pre-operative ambulatory care program. In addition, we provide a longitudinal educational clinic for our GIM fellows.

Many in the group have varied special clinical interests and training such as thrombosis, HIV, obstetrics, diabetes, rheumatology and critical care.

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The division’s research activities follow two main themes – Epidemiology and Education. The epidemiology group, currently lead by Drs Forster, Van Walraven and Wilson, are currently developing initiatives in the areas of Data Warehouse (Ottawa ICES satellite), Patient Safety and Public Policy.

The educational research group, lead by Drs Touchie, Pugh and Chan are active in AIME (Academy of Innovation & Medical Education) and have outside links to the Medical Council of Canada for research and evaluation.

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All members of the Division are clinical teachers at the clerkship and residency level and many are also involved in pre-clerkship teaching, especially CBL (Case based learning) and PSD (physical skills development). Several of our members hold Masters degrees in Education.

Our physicians teach up to 18 med students at any one time and the average team mentors between 11 to 14 residents on the wards and 13 on consults.

The division of GIM holds a large number of education leadership roles within the Department and at the University. These include the core internal medicine program director (Cathy Code) the assistant core internal medicine program director (Jim Nishikawa), the department of medicine director of undergraduate medical education (Heather Clark) and the two site clerkship coordinators (Dr. Vlad Contreras-Dominguez and in 2012, Isabelle Desjardins). In addition we also hold the positions of the director of the exam centre for the University (Debra Pugh), the link block chair (Krista Wooller) and finally the resident research coordinator (Alan Forster).

The division is very active with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. At least 6 of our division members have been active as internal medicine examiners for the oral exams. Dr. Claire Touchie was involved as the Vice Chair of the Central Examination Committee at the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) but will be stepping down from this position at the end of 2011. Dr. Debra Pugh will be taking over this job in 2012. Claire Touchie will become the Chief Medical Education Advisor with the MCC. Isabelle Desjardins has been nominated to become a committee member for the Medicine Test Committee at the MCC as well.

The Department of Medicine will be rolling out an education bursary for medical education clinical scholars. This will mirror the one available for researchers and will be for $40,000 a year for a possible period of 2 years. This will be offered in on a competitive basis with the deadline being in February 2012. Clinical scholars will be encouraged to apply.


Many members of our staff play key roles in administrative areas within the medical community, university, Department of Medicine and The Ottawa Hospital. These include Chief of Staff of The Ottawa Hospital, Director of ICES Ottawa, Director of Exam Centre – Medical Counsel of Canada, Vice Chair of Finance, Department of Medicine, Canada Research Chair in Public Health Policy Scientist and Scientific Director, Performance Measurement, The Ottawa Hospital.

Notable Honours and Achievements

  • Dr. Cathy Code—TOH Clinical Recognition Award
  • Dr. Vladimir Contreras-Dominquez—CAME Certificate of Merit Award
  • Dr. Vladimir Contreras-Dominquez—DoM Professionalism and Collegiality Award
  • Dr. Claire Touchie—Dr. Meridith Marks Educator Award for Innovation and Scholarship in Medical Education
  • Dr. Jim Nishikawa—CSIM-Royal College Olser Lecturer 2015
  • Dr. Samantha Halman—CAME Foundation Wooster Family Grant in Medical Education

Quality and Collaboration

General Internal Medicine has been actively involved in many Ottawa Hospital quality projects.

Our Patient Safety and Quality committee is lead by Dr. Delvina Hasimja.

  • General Internal Medicine has been actively involved in many Ottawa Hospital quality projects. Our Patient Safety and Quality committee is led by Dr. Delvina Hasimja.
  • Dr. Delvina Hasimja and Dr. Krista Wooller have created a Foundation of Quality Improvement curriculum for the core IM and GIM programs.
  • We have expanded our M and M rounds with dissemination of information.
  • We are establishing resident led M and M rounds are part of their core education.
  • We have hired two clinical scholars who are doing focussed training and education in Patient Safety/Quality and Medical Informatics.
  • Under the leadership of Dr. James Chan we have expanded our peri-operative clinic. Particularly we are part of the Peri-op Glucose Initiative. This is an active dysglycemia case finding initiative with the goal of decreasing LOS for surgical patients.
  • We participate in a variety of discharge projects at TOH including the COPD Outreach Program and the CHF Gap Tool initiative.
  • We have a variety of ongoing PSQ projects. These include a Code Blue Simulation project, End of Life Communication project and expansion of our Catheter Associated UTI prevention project.
  • We have established ADT (Admit, Discharge, Transfer) criteria for our Advanced Monitoring Areas (AMA). The AMA ADT criteria we established as part of a wider IHO project examining patient flow at TOH.