Opening medicine

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on September 3, 2013 - 15:08

If you’re on our Facebook group (and if you’re not, you should get on right away), or following this blog, or even if you ever read the daily newspaper, you’ll have heard about Tarek Loubani. Dr. Loubani is a London, Ontario emergency physician and humanitarian. He’s also Open Medicine’s technical advisor (he get our articles up on the web, and manages pretty much all other technical aspects of our bold venture into open access medical publishing).  Tarek normally works behind the scenes at OM, but does blog for us as well and has made front-page news over and over during the past 18 days. It was 18 days ago that Tarek and filmmaker John Greyson were arrested in Egypt. They continue to be held without charges in a prison in Cairo.

It’s a very distressing situation and we urge you to please join us in raising your voice (the petition linked here hit 100,000 signatories this weekend) to encourage the Canadian government to put every possible pressure to bear on Egyptian authorities to get him out.

This seems like a good time to talk a little about some of Tarek’s other work—beyond teaching Advanced Cardiac Life Support to doctors in Gaza, saving lives in London, advocating for health care for refugee claimants and keeping our site ticking and humming, of course.

Tarek’s association with Open Medicine derives both from a shared commitment to ethics in medical publishing and to a fascination with open access technology. One of his ongoing projects has been to open up the emergency room where he works. By filming Grand Rounds in emerg, the University of Western Ontario’s entire emergency curriculum is now available, free of charge, on the Web.

Of course, Dr. Loubani is not the only person engaged in this incredibly creative time for open access approaches to any number of things. Here are just a few initiatives and reviews relevant to medicine (obviously, I hope, none are endorsed by OM, and they represent only a fraction of the activity in this area):

  • An engaging set of evidence-based health information videos aimed at the general public (it’s called “Dr. Mike’s Med School for the Public”, natch). Dr. Evans is at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, where a number of creative initiatives are brewing (more on those for another day).
  • A Greece-based biomedical research institute that brings together many and varied open-access medical education resources here on its website.
  • Out of Australasia, a blog about all things e-learning and open-medicine.

We’ll continue the Tarek Loubani theme next week with a look at 3-D printing and its relevance to Open Access medicine. And stay tuned for a new peer-reviewed article coming up soon as well, as part of our busy fall publishing schedule.

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