Take one Mini-Med and call me in the morning

Flagship Mini series celebrates 10th anniversary

By Neale McDevitt

Kappy Flanders doesn’t like to play favourites, but a first-born is a first-born.

“Mini-Med,” she stage whispered when asked which McGill Mini series was dearest to her heart. “It was my baby, after all – and the Mini that started it all.”

“It all” is the McGill Mini franchise, a wildly popular public lecture series that over the years has covered everything from music and pharmacology to business and the environment.

While there is usually a pair of Minis offered each semester, this fall Mini-Med will be flying solo – only fitting considering this is the 10th anniversary of the series.

“McGill’s Mini-Med was the first in Canada,” said Flanders, a McGill Governor Emerita and the series founder who was inspired by the Mini-Med founded at the University of Colorado by McGill grad John Cohen. “We’re particularly proud of how our Mini-Med spawned so many other Minis in Montreal institutions such as the Jewish General Hospital, the Montreal Children’s Hospital and the Cummings Centre.”

Running every Wednesday night from Oct. 13 to Nov. 17, the 2010 Mini-Med will cover a range of topics including cancer genetics, sleep disorders, osteoporosis, transplantations, prostate health, and the social contract between patients and doctors.

On top of being the longest running series at McGill, Mini-Med is also one of the most popular. “It sells out so quickly,” said Flanders, “partly because people are so concerned with their health, but also because our presenters are always so good.”

When asked if it is difficult to recruit presenters – who are often busy preparing classes and labs – Flanders laughs. “We absolutely drown in [presenters],” she said. “In 10 years, only one person has said no. I think the presenters love it as much as the audience.”

While that audience is partly made up of McGillians, a large portion come from beyond the Roddick Gates, making the Minis one of McGill’s most visible outreach programs. “We have some people who come to every single series, regardless of the topic. We’re doing something right.”

For more info on Mini-Med go to www.medicine.mcgill.ca/minimed/