March 2022 Invited Speaker Rounds


Body of Knowledge – Interpreting Touch in Medicine

Martina Ann Kelly

Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Hybrid: Life Sciences Centre 1312 CMR & Zoom*

Zoom Details: For connection details, please email


Touch is integral to medical practice. Physicians examine, palpate, assess and even incise, patient bodies; they cradle the newborn as she is born, and hold the hand of a dying man. Yet, touch is strangely distanced in medical education, draped in professional language, the body of the physician and patient are present, but rarely embodied. In this presentation, you are invited to an interpretive adventure to consider touch in medical practice and learning. For clinicians and patients, I will draw on interview data from physicians as they describe their experiences of touch during physical examinations, and when communicating with patients. For educators, I will present Body Pedagogics as a novel framework to consider how expertise becomes embodied in health professions education and the affordances ‘feeling with’ offer learners and patients to re-embody care. Finally, I will look to the future to think about the role of touch and the senses in a post-pandemic world of hybrid care.


Dr. Martina Ann Kelly is a family physician and professor of family medicine, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Most of her career has focused on undergraduate medical education. She is Co-Chair of the Undergraduate Education Committee for the College of Family Physicians of Canada and Co-Chair, of Canadian Undergraduate Family Medicine Education Directors. Her research is broad – projects include a community based participatory research project on harm reduction with older people with experience of homelessness and linked studies exploring the application of generalism in medical education. Her PhD focused on touch and embodied learning in medicine. She is presently collaborating with colleagues in sociology and STEM on a SSHRC funded study, using critical phenomenology, to study on the interface between technology, touch and sensory learning.

Accredited by UBC CPD

The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 15.0 Mainpro+ Group Learning credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity. CFPC Session ID#: 195173-001.

RCPSC Accreditation

The CHES Cutting Edge Speaker Series is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.