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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 5 | Mar. 7, 2002

Improved delivery of inner-city health care focus of research

by Hilary Thomson staff writer

A research career in the question phase is how an inner-city doctor in UBC’s Dept. of Family Practice describes his spot on the investigation spectrum.

"There are so many questions to be pursued here -- both as qualitative and quantitative research," says Dr. Trevor Corneil, assistant clinical professor of Family Practice who is also the lead faculty for curriculum development for the department’s post-graduate programs.

He works at Three Bridges Community Health Centre, a multi-disciplinary clinic providing primary care to downtown Vancouver residents many of whom have limited access to private practice physicians.

Patients include people who are poor, homeless, and mentally ill and street youth involved in the sex trade. Medical concerns range from addictions and HIV/AIDS to common infections.

The 31-year-old became interested in delivering health care to under-served communities when he spent time in Guyana as a medical student and in clinics serving Vancouver’s West End gay community during his residency.

"There’s an underlying paradox in our lives as inner-city docs -- we’re haves working in a have-not world," he says. "By sharing experiences and knowledge with our peers we remember that what at times seems a huge effort for the smallest of outcomes is important and relevant."

In addition to faculty and clinical work, he and colleagues have recently launched a research group focused on inner-city primary care, under the leadership of Dr. Stefan Grzybowski, UBC associate professor of Family Practice and head of the department’s research division. Research planning is undertaken in the evenings at Corneil’s nearby home

"The focus of my clinical, research and administrative work is looking at community health from a primary care, grass-roots perspective," says Corneil, who completed his own residency in St. Paul’s Hospital Family Practice Program.

Issues the group wants to investigate include community demography, primary health-care delivery models for care ranging from alcohol and drug programming to HIV treatment as well as curriculum development for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Corneil has also made innovations to residents’ programming such as community skills course and the introduction of HIV and addictions training. He has also contributed to the reorganization of both clinical and academic experiences for residents. Other teaching initiatives include primary care addiction management at St. Paul’s Family Practice Program and HIV/AIDS management through UBC’s Family Practice program.

A consultant at both St. Paul’s Hospital and Children’s and Women’s Hospital, Corneil helped to develop medical guidelines for managing substance use in pregnancy and was a major contributor to a study on the street value of prescription drugs. He is now completing a strategic analysis of Three Bridges’ methadone program.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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