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Hometown pride

Dr. Joseph ZakariaDr. Joseph Zakaria, MD'08, was feeling somewhat nostalgic about his own medical school experience after welcoming the Class of 2019 at clerkship orientation this year.

He’s a member of the Medicine Class of 2008, and a proud Schulich Medicine & Dentistry alumnus. His experience during medical school was somewhat different than most of his peers as he spent his entire clerkship in his hometown of Windsor. And while the finishing touches were being put on the establishment of the Windsor Campus, he was blazing a trail during his clerkship.

He says his experience was second to none.

“A lot of my classmates were nervous to come down at that time,” he said. “But for me it was great to come back home. And we had a lot of one-to-one time with faculty, there was great interaction with the attendings; it was very hands-on. In fact, in surgery we were often times second assist. It made a big difference to see cases up close,” Dr. Zakaria said.

His experience was further enriched by the administrative team in Windsor. “They were great – and always happy to help you out,” he added.

His positive experience continued throughout his fourth year when he did his electives at the London hospitals. However, he returned to Windsor for his family medicine residency.

One year out from residency and Dr. Zakaria was ready to dive back into academia. He applied to be an adjunct professor at the Windsor Campus, and began teaching small group sessions, working with clinical skills and PCCM. He’s now been teaching for nearly seven years, and he continues to learn from the experience.

“The field continues to advance, there’s always new research. I am often surprised to see how well prepared the students are and what they know," he said. "I like to take what they contribute and build it into my own routine or practice."

Dr. Zakaria was wearing a new hat as he greeted students at their orientation this August. He’s the new Academic Director for Undergraduate Family Medicine (Clerkship) in Windsor. Clinical clerks have six-week rotations in family medicine, and his role is to support the students, deal with issues and expectations, and perform evaluations, among a long-list of other duties.

He’s enthusiastic about the role given the impact he believes the Family Medicine Residency Program has made in Windsor. He says that it has led to increased manpower and more access to health care for the community.

“You can really see it in the past five years,” he said. “There are a lot of new faces and physicians taking patients; it’s a direct result of the efforts of the Schulich Medicine - Windsor Campus.”