The Canadian Burn Symposium: A multidisciplinary event with national ambitions

In 2014, the inaugural Canadian Burn Symposium attracted an interprofessional cohort to Sunnybrook in Toronto. In the years since, the meeting has grown in both scope and attendance while also traveling across the country. Now, after stopping in Vancouver for the 2016 installment, the symposium will carry its momentum to Winnipeg for the 4th annual session this fall.

With burn care being one of the true multidisciplinary challenges, the appeal of the symposium extends well beyond the domain of healthcare specialists. Since its inception, the meeting has offered a concurrent program geared specifically towards first responders. Program Director Dr. Marc Jeschke of Sunnybrook’s Ross Tilley Burn Centre spoke about the importance of this element during a phone interview from his office in Toronto.

“We’ve learned over the last several years that the first responders have somewhat been ignored. They struggle when they become patients themselves and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress. This meeting is very unique because it combines all those aspects.”

Dr. Jeshcke views the symposium as a launching point to address the country’s most pressing needs in burn care. First and foremost, he says, is the establishment of a national organization. His ambition to create a Canadian Burn Association promises to provide a network by which burn care providers from across the country can gain exposure to unique cases and optimal treatment methods for the wide-ranging conditions associated with burn trauma. It will culminate in a national database made up of data from across the country. Such a network is proving necessary, as Dr. Jeschke indicated that different regions of the country face unique challenges in burn care.

“Communicating and identifying these needs for each province and each burn centre is crucial. Once you have captured national data, I think you can focus and streamline, and identify how we can actually improve our outcomes.”

Whether it’s through unifying the various specialties for three days each year, or the ongoing development of a national organization, Dr. Jeschke’s mission is clear: to establish an enduring and supportive dialogue that recognizes the integral interdependence of all who work in burn care.

The 4th Annual Canadian Burn Symposium will run from September 24-26, 2017 in Winnipeg. Visit the symposium website for more information.