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Dr. Supriya Singh: Learning from the best

Second-year orthopaedic surgery resident Dr. Supriya Singh chose the residency program at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry believing it was the strongest surgical training program in Canada. Although she is only in her second year, the program has provided her with the opportunity for personal growth, both inside the operating room and out.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Peterborough and spent time growing up in Carrying Place, Ontario, which is just west of Belleville. They are both small towns, and very lovely places.

What degrees do you have, and from what universities?
I have my BSc from Queen’s University and completed medical school at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

What special interests or hobbies do you have?
I would have to choose running and playing soccer as my two favourite activities for when I have spare time, but I also love travelling. Before I started my residency I had an opportunity to travel to Brazil and watch the 2014 World Cup in person. For a soccer fan it was a dream come true.

Why did you choose to pursue your residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
I was impressed with the orthopaedics group in London and wanted to stay here to train and be part of the team. I also believe that the School has the strongest orthopaedic surgical training program in Canada, so I feel very lucky to be training here.

What inspires you in your work?
My inspiration comes mainly from working for an organization called Children for Children’s Future that works with impoverished children in Tanzania, Africa. These children inspire me in so many ways: their daily struggle for food, water and shelter are constant reminders to appreciate all that I have; their everlasting perseverance despite the harsh poverty that consumes them reminds me to never lose hope; their fearless attitudes challenge me to step outside my boundaries; their pure kindness and love for each other is something I wish to embody; and finally, their constant belief that things can change for the better, no matter how bad things are, is what inspires me to be the best I can be.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your residency?
I’ve had impactful experiences outside of the operating room. I was involved in the care of a palliative patient who was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and was decompensating rapidly in the hospital. We connected my first night on-call, and in our daily visits she taught me something new every day. I was able to experience her initial denial, her process of accepting and then her final death. She inspired me with her constant fight to survive and her remarkable outlook on life even in the face of death, and I feel certain that she has made me a better doctor.

What do you do when you’re not working?
Other than running and playing soccer, I enjoy dancing and singing like a fool with my friends. But I suppose for the sake of honesty, when I’m not working I’m probably studying. We are residents after all, so for us the learning never stops.