Profile on Medical Education Scholar Dr. Boris Zeven

Dr. Boris Zevin has lived in Kingston for less than two years, and has already had a major impact on the regional healthcare landscape. Until his arrival in August 2016, patients from SE-LHIN were assessed in town, but had to travel to Ottawa or Toronto for surgery. Since the launch of the bariatric surgery program in September 2016, Dr. Zevin and his partner Dr. David Robertson have performed 260 surgeries. Dr. Zevin wants to make Kingston Bariatric Centre of Excellence into a highly-regarded and desirable place for obesity and weight management. He’s well-placed to achieve this goal – the Centre’s outcomes are on par with major centres throughout rest of the province.

“I am able to have a meaningful impact on patient’s symptoms and quality of life in a relatively expeditious fashion,” says Dr. Zevin of his initial attraction to the surgical profession. Bariatric surgery proved to be particular appealing because of the dramatic improvement in obesity related conditions (diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, etc) following surgery.  Some diabetics go off their medications or insulin within 48-72 hours following surgery because of hormonal changes in the gastrointestinal tract.

Furthermore, Dr. Zevin uses a minimally invasive approach to bariatric surgery, which helps make the recovery quicker. In minimally-invasive Roux-En-Y bariatric surgery, 5-6 small incisions (5mm-2cm) are made in the belly as opposed to one long vertical incision. This reduces complications with wounds, reduces the rate of infections, and most patients can go home 24-48hrs later. Ultra hi-definition technology, stapling techniques and different ways to access the abdomen make minimally invasive form of the surgery possible.

Dr. Zevin’s other long term goal is to be an internationally-recognized leader in medical education research and scholarship.

His position as a Medical Education Scholar is a unique thing in the academic world. 50% of Dr. Zevin’s time is protected and devoted to research in medical education. To him, this shows that “…the institution recognizes the importance of research and understands that investments in medical education must be made.” The overarching question of his research is, “How do we develop novel approaches to education using simulation for medical students and post-grad students, as well as for practicing physicians?” Simulation is able to improve physician knowledge and technical skills as well as soft skills, and Dr. Zevin focuses on integrating simulation into the undergrad and postgrad curricula. Further integration of simulation means that students are able to master skills more quickly once they move into the clinical environment, and reduces the need for students to learn basic skills on patients.

Dr. Zevin expressed how grateful he was to the Department of Surgery, his colleagues and SEAMO for the support he receives in both his clinical and research practices. He says, “I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to do the work that I do.”