By Jennifer Parraga, BA'93
Having a conversation with Monica Staley Liang and Dr. Wally Liang is akin to attending a rally about your favorite cause. You come away inspired by their words, energized and motivated by their enthusiasm.
They are passionate about education, health care, and the law, and how the intersection of the three disciplines is building a stronger community; they are proud of the positive impact the Schulich Medicine – Windsor Campus is having on the community, and are ‘all in’ when it comes to the city of Windsor.
Getting their start in health care and moving to the law, the two are a force to be reckoned with as they combine their expertise with an eye to enriching the community.
From a young age, Monica was often seen walking around with a doctor’s kit. Influenced by her mother, who was a nurse, she first trained in nursing, working for many years in emergency, medicine, surgery, critical care. A natural teacher, she began working with nursing students early in her career. However, it wasn’t long before Monica’s passion for learning and academics was once again ignited, and she decided to pursue a law degree. She began working in civil litigation once she graduated. Her passion for health care pulled her back to Windsor Regional Hospital and in 2010 she began a role as the Director of Patient Relations and Legal Affairs at Windsor Regional Hospital.
Growing up in Hong Kong, Wally studied medicine at the University of Toronto. His interest in health law led him to pursue a law degree, and then a master’s in bioethics. He became involved with the Schulich Medicine-Windsor Campus in 2008, when he was approached to create and lead the medical ethics and humanities program at what was then the brand new undergraduate campus in Windsor.
Today, Monica teaches the professional identities course and Wally the bioethics course to first- and second-year medical students. Wally’s early curriculum in medical ethics and humanities serves as the foundation for the courses he and Monica teach today.
“We love teaching,” said Monica. “We love the subject matter, and we love being able to share our experiences with the students to prepare them for the future.”
For the Liangs, it’s a good day when they get to teach, as students help to keep them current and real.
“We always learn from our students,” said Monica. “They give us great insight and perspective, I always leave teaching with my bucket full.”
In addition to their work with Schulich Medicine, Monica serves as the Regional Vice President, Erie St. Clair Cancer Care Program, and Wally is a family physician and lawyer working with a firm in the community.
In these roles, amongst many other contributions, they have helped to develop the new Goals of Care Policy for the hospitals in Windsor. The Policy focuses on the management of end-of-life care including medical assistance in dying.
“We are both very interested in patient-centred care,” said Wally. “Combining that with our backgrounds in the law and health care, we just felt that this was another way we could contribute to the community.”
As proud Windsorites, Monica and Wally aren’t shy to boast about the impact the Schulich Medicine – Windsor Campus is having on the community.
They both remember that not too long ago, there was a significant shortage of physicians in Windsor. And they have seen a difference since the charter class graduated five years ago.
“The students are now part of our culture and we as a community hospital have become a teaching centre,” said Monica. “It’s become part of the fabric of how we do health care in Windsor, to always ask how we can involve a student or team of students in what we are doing.”
“The people who thought about creating the campus in Windsor were visionaries,” added Wally. “Their passion and commitment to bettering health care in our community is being carried on by our students who are carrying the torch and giving back by teaching"
Through their health care, legal and education advocacy, Monica and Wally are visionaries in their own right as they enrich the community they love.