I failed the very first exam of medical school. I was ashamed of myself and worried what people would think of me if they ever found out, so I tried to protect myself by creating my very own survival guide...
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JUNE 2017
MD 1T7 Valedictorian - Omar Mourad
UofTMed Alum: MD 1T7 Valedictorian on Failure and Façades
I failed the very first exam of medical school.

You might imagine the impact that had on someone who was still suffering from imposter syndrome and feeling like he didn’t belong. I was ashamed of myself and worried what people would think of me if they ever found out. So I tried to protect myself by creating my very own survival guide:
  1. Put on a smile and talk in complex medical jargon to act like you are always in the know.
  2. Randomly throw out facts about things you’ve just looked up, so people think you’re intelligent and well-read.
  3. If things get really dicey, hide in the washroom until everything blows over.
The thing is, even after I had passed the remaining exams, this feeling that I didn’t deserve to be here never really went away. And I think this applies to a lot of us.

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Omar Mourad was chosen by his peers as the MD 1T7 Valedictorian, and is among our newest UofTMed alumni. He will soon be starting his internal medicine residency at Western University.
Shelly Dev
Doctors' Notes: Toronto Psychiatrist Weighs in on Netflix Show 13 Reasons Why
Professor Marshall Korenblum, MD '75, on dangers of show portraying suicide not only as a valid option, but an effective way to get even with people.

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Professor Sachdev Sidhu
Scientists Enlist Engineered Protein to Battle Mysterious MERS Virus
Donnelly Centre researchers have turned ubiquitin, a staple protein in every cell, into a drug that can thwart MERS in cultured human cells.
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Grocery aisle of probiotic yogurt
Study Shows Large Differences in Probiotic Yogurt Health Benefits
Probiotic yogurts can offer health benefits, but often the dosage is too low to meet the gains seen in clinical trials, a study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences reveals.
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Precilla Veigas, PhD 17
Precilla Veigas, PhD '17
Facing terminal cancer, U of T student completes PhD from the Institute of Medical Science in a private degree presentation ceremony with her teenage daughter, family and colleagues nearby.
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Dr. Nancy Down and Dr. Homer Yang
Drs. Nancy Down, MD '80 PGME '86 (Surgery) and Homer Yang, MD '80
Class of 8T0 colleagues on their U of T-matched award for MD students in financial need, and on setting off a flood of alumni support.
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Tiffanie Kei
Tiffanie Kei, MHSc '17
One of the first students to graduate from the new Translational Research Program on improving delivery of student mental health services through digital communications.
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Dr. Samuel Leitenberg
Dr. Samuel Leitenberg, MD '74, PGME '76
When the beloved family physician and UofTMed alumnus died in 2015, his family, colleagues and patients decided to help others become like him through an endowed scholarship for medical residents.
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Dr. Justin Lam
Dr. Justin Lam, MD '17
MD graduate on his undergraduate degree in humanities and the art of fitting small details into a larger picture.
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Dr. Joseph Marotta
Dr. Joseph Marotta, MD '49
An ode to the late alumnus and professor — the Master Teacher — by former student and friend, Dr. James Paupst, MD '62.
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Andre Picard
Andre Picard, PhD '17 (Honorary)
Honorary Doctor of Laws and Globe and Mail health columnist on his 30-year career covering health care policy, and on being a “relentless water torture test for the bureaucracy and politicians.”
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Professor Lisa Richardson
Human Beings, First and Foremost
It took Professor Lisa Richardson, PGME ’08 (Internal Medicine), an extra three years to finish her residency, taking time to care for her two children and her ill mother.
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Letters: Alumni Respond to MedAlumni and UofTMed Magazine’s Heal Thyself Edition
“It was both interesting and helpful to read about a physician's journey with a medical error. My son suffered catastrophic brain damage eighteen years ago, during birth. For me, the trauma of the legal aftermath exceeded the trauma of the medical mistake itself, and I’ve often wondered what the experience of the physician might have been. I wonder if a less punitive system would make it easier for good doctors to openly discuss errors in a way that helps both them and their patients.”
Laura MacGregor, BScOT '90, mother of Matthew
“This is a bold and majestically informative issue. Bravo on your ideas, authors, and courage.”
— Dr. Joseph B. MacInnis, MD '62
“The UofTMed Magazine featuring burnout, depression and suicide among physicians, medical residents and other learners is excellent. I couldn't stop reading and was disappointed when I reached end.”
Donna A Campbell, Dip. P&OT '67
“I found the lead article by Dr. Dev extremely refreshing and useful. Usually you treat us to never ending success stories of our renaissance colleagues who not only are the top of their field but also have time for a full family life, play the violin on a philharmonic level and volunteer in their spare time at one hospice or another. I think we need to stop portraying people who have gained a highly regarded position as faultless people with no end to their talents and no end to their luck, happiness or talent. It is exhausting and quite demoralizing.”
— Dr. Catarina Bitkover, PGME '02 (Cardiac Surgery), pediatric surgeon at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm
“The stories in the latest UofTMed magazine are by far the most powerful I have ever read in this or any other publication. As it happens, my group’s medical director recently asked if I felt burnt out — the first time anyone has asked me that. I’ve been in the operating room environment for almost 40 years, and work as an administrator and educator while maintaining a full clinical practice — but it’s becoming apparent I can no longer continue acute care coverage and sleepless nights. The realization that I may be reaching the end of my ‘shelf life’ is profoundly affecting me mentally, and to continue denying an element of ‘burnout’ isn’t going to do me service.”
— UofTMed MD alumnus in Michigan
“I read the latest UofTMed magazine from cover to cover in one sitting and had to write to let you know that it was fantastic. All of the stories provided human examples of the need to pay attention to health-care professionals' mental health, and to change attitudes on the real issues affecting them. Thank you for highlighting this important area.”
Heather McLaren, Dip. P&OT '62
“Kudos to all the contributors to the most recent issue — a 'gutsy' address of vitally important issues plaguing many physicians and colleagues. None of us is immune to the significant stressors during our careers. The efforts in this issue were illuminating and reassuring, showing we really do care about one another. Thank you for putting that message out there, and I look forward to future issues.”
— Dr. Mark Sluzar, MD '83 PGME '90 (Anesthesia and Critical Care)
Get in Touch! Share your thoughts or tell us your story ›

JUN 28
OS&OT Thelma Cardwell Lecture and Research Day
The Faculty’s Co-lead in Indigenous Medical Education Dr. Lisa Richardson will speak about Indigenous Health Education, and graduate students will present their research projects.
JUL 12–15
Interventional Thoracic Surgery Training
Four days of hands-on experience and exposure to the latest technology — in minimally invasive surgery and advanced endoscopic procedures.
JUL 29
Otolaryngology Alumni & Friends Reception
Join the Department of Otolaryngology’s Reception at the World Congress on Thyroid Cancer in Boston.
SEP 15
Interventional Neuroradiology Symposium
This symposium integrates conceptual and practical aspects of interventional neuroradiology, neurology, neurosurgery and imaging — and features experts from across Canada, the US and Europe.
SEP 24
4th Annual Canadian Burn Symposium
A joint collaboration between U of T’s Department of Surgery and The Canadian Association of Burn Nurses, this symposium features burn disaster management, ethics in burn care, resuscitation and emergency burn care management and more.
SEP 25
Radiation Oncology (UTDRO) Astro Alumni Reception
Save the date for the annual U of T alumni reception during the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in San Diego.
SEP 26
Physical Therapy 100th anniversary with Rick and Amanda Hansen Lecture
Save the date for the Department of Physical Therapy’s 100th Anniversary discussion and reception, featuring Rick and Amanda Hansen.
SEP 27
Urology Update 2017
Canada's Premier Urology CPD Conference, this in-depth update features various topics in clinical urology and new developments presented by world-renowned experts in the field.
A Matter of Life: New Approaches to Care for Patients with Physical and Severe Mental Illness
The 2017 Medical Psychiatry Alliance Annual Conference will focus on new ways of caring for patients who are living with co-existing physical and severe mental illness.
OCT 13
Pulmonary Hypertension Conference
This year’s conference focuses on the translation of evolving concepts in the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension, including common diagnostic dilemmas faced by practicing clinicians.
OCT 13–15
Organ Imaging Review
Radiologists, radiology residents and fellows as well as sonographers and medical imaging technologists will benefit from this review program highlighting updates and advances in diagnostic imaging.
OCT 16–23
Leading and Influencing Change
A two-week intensive certificate program designed for professionals interested in promoting excellence, innovation and change in continuing education initiatives for health professionals. Of particular interest to those engaged in continuing health education, knowledge translation, patient safety, quality improvement, performance improvement initiatives or health policy.
OCT 20–21
BBDC Joslin UCPH Diabetes Conference 2017
Focusing on Diabetic Complications: from Molecular Mechanisms to Patient Orientated Research, this one and a half day event will bring together members of the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, Joslin Diabetes Center and University of Copenhagen and others to address the latest developments in this important field of diabetes research.
OCT 28
Arthritis Day for Primary Care Clinicians
Develop a structured and concise evidence-based approach to early assessment, investigation and management of musculoskeletal disorders.
NOV 10–11
Child Development Update 2017
This two-day conference will enhance the clinicians understanding of the link between current developmental paediatric research and its translation into clinical practice.
NOV 10–11
(IM)MaterialCulture: Health History Collections in a Digital Era
Hosted by U of T’s Health History Partnership, this interdisciplinary symposium and reception is focused on broadening perspectives on health, as represented through material culture. It will explore how collections can recover and present the histories of previously ‘invisible,’ or marginalized groups.
View all events ›
Raised to date!
from alumni
Inside the Issue panellists
“Clinician wellness is not self-serving — when we feel better, we give better care,” Dr. Susan Edwards told the audience at the recent UofTMed Inside the Issue event, focused on UofTMed magazine’s Heal Thyself issue. Edwards, family medicine resident Stephanie Klein, MD student Noam Berlin and Paediatrics Professor Trey Coffey all shared their opinions and experiences with editor Heidi Singer and an audience of 100 alumni and friends.
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