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Resident spotlight: Dr. Russlan Abouhassan - Psychiatry

Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. I’ve spent pretty much my entire life here except for the four years my family and I moved to Lebanon during my adolescence and the first part of my residency that I did mostly in London, Ontario.

What degrees do you have, and from what universities?
I have a degree in Psychology and one in General Science, both from the University of Windsor. I also have my medical degree from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. I attended the Windsor Campus while in medical school.

Why did you choose to pursue your residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
My long-term goal has been to return to Windsor so I could practice as a psychiatrist. As such, I really wanted to be able to work in the community during my residency. I knew I would have the opportunity to do more rotations in Windsor at Schulich Medicine. I also knew that there was a good chance that I could be part of the new psychiatry residency program while it was in its infancy and was excited to be a part of that.

Did you or do you have any mentors who you can turn to for advice and guidance? If so, what is one of the best pieces of advice you have received from them?
I have truly been blessed to have so many people that I could turn to for support over the years. My cousin, Dr. Tyceer Abouhassan, is an endocrinologist in Windsor, and I think I have learned a lot from him. One thing that he told me that really resonated was that being a physician is more than knowing how to diagnose and treat. It is about connecting with patients, finding out what is really important to them and using our knowledge as physicians to help them live better.

Why did you decide to complete your residency in Windsor?
Windsor simply does not have enough psychiatrists and I want to help address that need. Finishing my training here in Windsor allows me the opportunity to help our community while I am still a resident. In addition, it should make it easier for me to work in Windsor once I complete my residency.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your residency?
The greatest experience I have had during my residency was the first time a patient told me that she was glad to have seen me as her physician because she had a better understanding about what was troubling her. It was really gratifying to feel that I had made a positive impact on a patient.

What inspires you in your work?
I feel that there has been a shift in the definition of being healthy. In the past, being healthy meant being free of illness. Now, I believe that being healthy means being able to live well, to enjoy life. It’s an honour to be able to help people try to do that.

What do you do when you're not working?
I love spending time with my family and friends. It’s cliché but there is nothing better than being around the people you love.

Rapid Round

TV or movies?
It has to be TV because of The Wire.

Digital or paper books?
Definitely digital books for studying and paperbooks for leisure.

Coffee or tea? (and favorite blend)
Is Diet Pepsi an option?

Favorite food?
A good cheeseburger is definitely one of life’s simple pleasures.

If you were a superhero, what power would you want to have?
I wish I had the ability to read people’s minds for a few reasons. One is because it would make my job a lot easier. The other would be because some people assume psychiatrists can read minds and are often disappointed when they find out we can't.