Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Sheina Macadam

Sheina Macadam2




Dr. Sheina Macadam

Clinical Associate Professor, Plastic Surgery, UBC






Why did Dr. Macadam pursue a career in medicine?

Dr. Macadam has always had an aptitude for science so a career in medicine seemed a likely choice for her from a young age. There was a satisfaction that came from identifying an issue, applying a solution and seeing a result.  What ultimately drove her towards medicine was an interest in connecting with people, making a difference in their lives and often, developing a long term relationship with them.

What was it that attracted her specifically to Plastic Surgery?

During her Plastic Surgery rotation as a UBC medical student, she was inspired by the work of Dr. Peter Lennox, current Division Head, and Dr. Patty Clugston. She appreciated that in this discipline you had the opportunity to perform both micro and macro surgeries and the opportunities to interact with all areas of the body and with a variety of other specialists.

What has kept her in Plastic Surgery at UBC and VGH is the support and connection she feels with the other plastic surgeons in her group. She is very grateful to be part of a division she has so much respect and appreciation for.

What does Dr. Macadam consider to be the biggest advance in Plastic Surgery since she started practicing?

Within the broader field of Plastic Surgery, she finds allotransplantation (the transplantation of cells, tissues, or organs, to a recipient from a genetically non-identical donor of the same species) to be the biggest advance. This means that we are now able to take, for example, the face from one human being to transfer it to another!

Within her specific area of focus, breast reconstruction, there are two main advances since she started practicing. The first is acellular dermal matrix which reduces the number of surgeries needed for breast reconstruction from two down to one. The second is the shift from using abdominal tissue with muscle to abdominal tissue with no muscle which has resulted in fewer complications.

Macadam has a strong research background. She has a Masters of Science in Epidemiology and Research Design from the Harvard School of Public Health. She has received the UBC Department of Surgery’s Hjalmer Johnson Young Investigator Award in 2014. She was also nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the category of Technology, Science and Research. Has her research influenced any changes in the health care system?

Dr. Macadam’s research has impacted both the health care system as well as how clinical care is delivered. After conducting a systematic review of acellular dermal matrices, together with Dr. Peter Lennox, they were able to develop a tool to determine the cost effectiveness of the procedure.  Though the procedure had shown promise for use in both aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery there is a significant cost associated with the product that needed to be better projected for decision-making. Clinically, she was part of a randomized clinical trial showing that the use of nitroglycerin appointment after a mastectomy was a simple, safe and effective way to improve skin recovery. This is now part of the standard care.

As a resident, she was the recipient of the UBC Department of Surgery’s Dr. I. B. Holubitsky Memorial Award which recognizes the highest qualities of surgical excellence and outstanding clinical teaching of medical students and residents. What does she find the most rewarding about teaching learners?

For Dr. Macadam, the greatest reward is seeing the residents progress from their first to fifth year of residency. Within the Division of Plastic Surgery, they often have clinical fellows join them to hone their skills and she really enjoys the international research collaborations that often stem from these interactions.

When not practicing medicine or doing research, where can we find her?

Like many Vancouverites, Dr. Macadam likes to keep active by attending spin classes, hot yoga or hiking up the Grouse Grind. A unique way she has also spent some time… she’s been the medical consultant for a TV episode of Arctic Air and for the movie Brain on Fire!