Melody Torcolacci, a teaching adjunct at Queen's University, has taken a leave from teaching her first-year health course, Physical Determinants of Health (HLTH 102), after it was revealed some of her materials included slides questioning vaccinations.
According to the university, Torcolacci requested and was granted leave from teaching of HLTH 102 (which is a course at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) for the remainder of the term. Discussions around her other classes are ongoing, a spokesperson told The Huffington Post Canada.
Torcolacci's course material, which included websites that linked vaccines to cancer and AIDS, were opposed by students for years, according to the CBC.
Former Queen's student Isabelle Duchaine, who served as Academic Affairs Commissioner in 2012-13, put together a list of slides she'd received from people in the HLTH 102 course, noting she'd received complaints about this for years.
According to the Queen's Journal, new material will be taught going forward:
According to a student, Melody Torcolacci will no longer teach HLTH 102; a new professor will teach the course using a new syllabus #queensu— Queen's Journal News (@QJnews) February 9, 2015
The Faculty of Medicine at Queen's, for its part, made quite clear its policy on vaccine education in a blog post by Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Richard Reznick. He quoted other experts, such as Aesculapian Society President Jonathan Cluett, who explained how vaccines are taught to medical students:
"Our vaccination curriculum begins with the molecular science and expands to the epidemiological benefits and public health impacts. We are taught the process by which any new medication is meticulously tested to ensure safety before they are offered to the public. No medication is 100% safe, but vaccines – given that they will be provided to such a large population – are more rigorously tested than any other medication in Canada. Ultimately, Queen’s Medical students are taught that the recommendations for vaccinations are grounded in hard evidence and decades of highly scrutinized research."
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