Manitoba Annual Travel Health Conference, April 7 & 8, 2016

On April 7 & 8, 2016 at the Viscount Gort Hotel, 125  health care providers attended the Manitoba 13th Annual Travel Health Conference hosted by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) Travel Health & Tropical Medicine Services, in collaboration with Manitoba Health.

The theme of this year’s conference was “The AMAZING World of Travel”, “borrowed” from our Thursday evening entertainment, where we featured Season Two contestants from the Amazing Race Canada mother and son team Cormac and Nicole Foster, who captured the hearts of fans across the country and the world. From Winnipeg, the dynamic duo showcased their unwavering commitment to demonstrating grit and determination to finish what they started no matter what. Each episode showed their inspirational “Never give up spirit.” Currently the team is sharing their Never Give Up message to audiences everywhere, and we were fortunate to have them share their inspirational story with us. 

Jacquie Shackel, Travel Health Coordinator and Dr. Pierre Plourde, Medical Director for WRHA Travel Health & Tropical Medicine Services shared the MC role this year, with Jacquie facilitating the two day event and Dr. Plourde introducing the speakers. To actively encourage delegates back to their seats following breaks, entertaining and interactive questions about “How well do we know Manitoba?” were posed to the audience this year. An innovative approach with “Google Search” was utilized for the purposes of creatively introducing each of the speakers and this was well received by the speakers and participants alike.

Kris Hastie, Team Manager, for the Communicable Diseases, Immunization & Travel Health Programs with the WRHA, provided opening remarks for the conference once again this year and we thank her for her continuous support of our team’s efforts.

Great networking opportunities took place as 74% of the conference attendees were from within the province of Manitoba, but we also drew from as far east as Newfoundland, right to the west coast of British Columbia and as far north as the Yukon and down south to Alabama. Conference participants ranged from 44% being nurses, 2% nurse practitioners, to 20% physicians, 12% pharmacists, 2% students/medical residents, 2% Medical Technicians and to 18% being of the “other” category, which mostly consisted of sponsors or individuals with no professional classification listed.

According to our evaluations forms, delegates ranged in professional classification, mainly working in the areas of Public Health and Travel Health, but also specializing in areas such as Pharmacy, Occupational Health, Family Practice and Primary care, as well as Infectious Diseases and Pediatrics.  Several students also participated in the conference, but we would like to develop this niche further in the coming years.  Based on comments from the conference evaluation forms and verbal feedback that we received, our goal of providing a forum of information exchange among health professionals on practical applications in the field of Travel Health was very much a success! One participant noted that we have a “great Travel Health Community and Culture in Manitoba”.  Participants shared both positive feedback and valuable information to better assist us with planning for next year’s conference.

A total of 47 sponsors and supporters contributed their time and resources to make this conference a success. Many of our purchased door prizes this year came from “Ten Thousand Villages”, which is a Fair Trade Retailer. They partner with thousands of artisans from around the world and their philosophy is to help build a sustainable future for these individuals.  Through Fair Trade, these artisans receive the respect, dignity and hope that come from working hard and earning fair value for their work. In turn, our hope was that the participants too, could enjoy their beautiful works of art!

We would like to offer a very special “Thank You” to the three conference “Gold Sponsors”, Pfizer Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. and Valneva, as well as our “Bronze Sponsor” Merck Canada.  Their ongoing support to the efforts of our annual conference is remarkable! 

In addition to our 9 exhibits, which were well attended by the delegates during the break times, we also highlighted various poster presentations that were originally developed for the ISTM (International Society of Travel Medicine) Conference in Québec City last May, 2015.  We wanted to bring this innovative information to the travel health providers of Manitoba as we know that many were not able to attend in Québec City, and I believe they were well received by the participants.

Our Exhibitors included:

1. Sanofi Pasteur Ltd. – Gold Sponsor
2. Valneva – Gold Sponsor
3. Canada Vigilance Regional Office, Health Canada
4. Merck Canada – Bronze Sponsor
6. Global Medikit
7. Global Affairs Canada
8. VaxisEHR
9. Pfizer Vaccines – Gold Sponsor

This year we are very proud to say that we also met the accreditation criteria for the following:

  • The College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Manitoba Chapter for up to 9 Mainpro-M1 credits.
  • The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, as an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by the University of Manitoba for a maximum of 9.0 credits.
  • The Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association for a maximum of 9.0 CEU by the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba for pharmacists in Manitoba.
  • Attendance by Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners, may contribute to fulfillment of their continuing competence program self-development plan.

If you did not receive your proper certificate of attendance, please contact our conference secretariat, Crystal Shea at 204-940-8587. 

There was a wide range of topics this year, with both a pre and post travel “flavour”, which incorporated a broad scope of the ISTM Body of Knowledge.  Speakers were of international, national and provincial acclaim, with significant representation from the Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine & Travel (CATMAT), with 4 out of 7 of the speakers representing CATMAT. We received a 48 % response rate on the evaluation forms and based on these comments, participants rated the speaker presentations on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 4 being “strongly agree” in three areas:

Informative: ranged from 3.12 to 3.81, with an average of 3.63 (increased by 0.11 % from last year)

Effective Delivery of Information: ranged from 2.83 to 3.8, with an average of 3.56 (increased by 0.1% from last year)

Relevant to your Practice: ranged from 2.1 to 3.68, with an average of 3.28 (decreased by 0.04% from last year)

Invited speakers and their topics were as follows:

  • Dr. Maryanne Crockett, is a Pediatric Infectious Diseases physician and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health and Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba as well as a member of CATMAT. This was her third year providing us with a CATMAT Update, which set the stage for the remainder of the conference.  She followed with an excellent presentation and personal account of Preparing Children for Travel to India.
  • Anjli Acharya, practices as an independent travel health consultant at the Bowmont Travel Clinic in Calgary, Alberta as a pharmacist and  is currently a Member of CATMAT as well as the Vice President of the Canadian National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA). She engaged the audience with a superb and thorough overview of a Patient Consult 101: How to Perform a TH Risk Assessment.
  • Dr. Michael Libman is the Director of the J.D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University and former Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre, and he is also a current member of CATMAT. He engaged the audience in an entertaining and informative presentation on Travellers’ Diarrhea: What Do I Do with this Mess as well as provided a very visual and clinical overview on Leishmaniasis 101.
  • Dr. Andrea Boggild is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and is the Clinical Director of the Tropical Disease Unit in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Toronto General Hospital as well as a member of CATMAT. She educated the audience on interpreting malaria microscopy through various Malaria Case Studies and very efficiently navigated the audience through the new diagnosis and treatment algorithms for Larva Currens and Strongyloidiasis, which were based on the newly released 2016 CATMAT Statement on Disseminated Strongyloidiasis: Prevention, Assessment and Management Guidelines.
  • Dr. David O Freedman is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and serves as the Chief Medical Advisor to Shoreland, Inc. publishers of Travax.  He also directs the Gorgas Courses in Clinical Tropical Medicine that are given in Peru. His first presentation was on Special Need Travellers – Immunocompromised, which focused on children, pregnancy, those with HIV and other immunocompromising conditions as well as those with chronic diseases.  His second talk steered us through various interesting Post Travel Case Studiesand then he concluded his talks with a provocative session on Yellow Fever Update, which included differing recommendations for those “considered” to have lifelong immunity to yellow fever according to the World Health Organization (WHO) versus those where booster doses may be warranted, according to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). 
  • Eleanor Percy, is an Occupational Health Manager at the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health and Julie Russo Introito, is an Occupational Hygienist with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), both in Winnipeg.  As a duo team, they offered insight on Behind the Scenes: Preparing Workers for Travel to Areas Experiencing Outbreaks.  

The conference organizing committee would like to once again thank everyone who helped make this conference a success!  A very special thank you is extended to Crystal Shea, conference secretariat, for her dedicated efforts in ensuring all of the fine details in the conference planning were timely and efficiently taken care of.  It has been a pleasure working with you once again!  

The Manitoba 14th Annual Conference is planned for April 20 & 21, 2017, so mark your calendars now! Refer to this website sometime in January 2017 for further details.

Jacquie Shackel RN, BN
Conference Chair
Coordinator, WRHA Travel Health & Tropical Medicine Services
490 Hargrave Street
Winnipeg, MB     R3A 0X7
Phone: (204) 940-2538
Fax: (204) 940-8409

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