Leading scholar on medical practice communication named Honorary Fellow

October 7, 2020 | Author: Royal College Staff

In many areas of patient care, outcomes are only as strong as the teams in place – and in particular, how well those teams communicate. Lorelei Lingard, PhD, is a leading scholar in this field, both in Canada and internationally, and her work has improved medical education and training at all levels.

In recognition of her pioneering and transformative research on communication in medical practice, Dr. Lingard – inaugural director and now senior scientist at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s Centre for Education Research & Innovation (CERI) – has been named a 2020 Honorary Fellow of the Royal College.

Dr. Lorelei Lingard (Submitted photo)

Groundbreaking research

Dr. Lingard, who completed her PhD in Rhetoric from the English Department at Simon Fraser University, is a leader in interdisciplinary research exploring the communication practices and collaborative experiences of health care professionals in patient care – a field that barely existed when she started her work.

“When Dr. Lingard began working in this field, team work and communication were under-recognized as to their fundamental importance in effective health care delivery,” says Richard K. Reznick, MD, FRCSC, former dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University. Collaborative practice was “an emerging concept twenty years ago when Lorelei started writing about this.”

When ‘communication’ was discussed back then, it usually referred to communication between a provider and patient, says Dr. Lingard. “There had been very little consideration given to communication among physicians and other health care providers.”

Collective competence

Dr. Lingard’s research on medical team communication – in operating theatres, inpatient medicine wards, and many other clinical contexts – has changed thinking about best practices in health care.

“The concept of collective competence that was developed based on that work is influencing thinking about effective health care, how to organize it and how to educate professionals to contribute to it,” says Dr. Pim Teunissen, obstetrician/gynecologist and professor at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. “In my opinion, that is seminal work and we are only beginning to realize the implications of these concepts. I am confident her tremendous contributions and influence are just the starting point of a paradigm shift in health care quality and education.”

Dr. Lorelei Lingard discussing with students at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden (Submitted photo)

Dedicated mentor

As CERI’s founding director for 10 years, Dr. Lingard mentored many scientists, clinicians and graduate students at Western University – and helped shape their careers.

“As a result of Dr. Lingard’s mentorship, I obtained my PhD in Health Professions Education during residency, a feat I would not have considered if it was not for her support and encouragement,” says Taryn Taylor, assistant professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Western. “It is not uncommon to encounter other physicians and trainees with similar stories – Dr. Lingard has an amplifying effect on othersDr. Lingard says mentorship is one of most rewarding parts of her work. “I approach it in terms of the person’s humanity more than their career,” she says. “I ask about what feeds their joy and try to help them build a career around that.”

In learning she would be named an Honorary Fellow, Dr. Lingard says she was “enormously” moved.

“Partly because I came to the world of medical communication as an outsider,” she says. “I’m not a physician…To be recognized by my physician colleagues with this kind of honour is deeply moving for me.”

Read more about Royal College Honorary Fellowship.


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Wayne Weston | October 15, 2020
Congratulations on this well-deserved award. You put Western on the map for health sciences education research. We are so fortunate to have had you guiding our efforts over the last 10 years and I am sure your influence will continue to inspire and educate all of us.
Karen Scruton | October 14, 2020
Congratulations Lorelie❤ Your Number 1 fan would be so so proud of you, as we all are.
Sheila Waugh | October 14, 2020
Interesting! I think this is only the second time a non-physician has been admitted to Royal College Fellowship. The first time was inadvertent, and led to a painful debate about whether the new Fellow, being neither, should be admitted to the College of Physicians or the College of Surgeons . To which College has Dr, Lingard been admitted? Yours curiously, Sheila Waugh, Head, Credentials Section, 1975-1999
Royal College Staff | October 16, 2020
Dear Ms. Waugh,

Dr. Lingard has been extended Honorary Fellowship, which is distinct from Fellowship. The Royal College Council may bestow Honorary Fellowship on exceptional physicians, surgeons and lay persons who are not eligible for Fellowship. These individuals have demonstrated outstanding performance in a particular vocation or a specific area of professional activity directly or indirectly related to the field of medicine. Honorary Fellows may use the designation FRCPSC (Hon).

Up to four Honorary Fellows can be appointed per year by the Royal College Council.

More details about Royal College Honorary Fellowship, as well as a list of previous Honorary Fellows, can be found on our website.

Kind regards,
Royal College Communications