Our Stories

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    Giving hope to ALS patients

    Residency brings many unexpected challenges. For Resident Alumna, Brittney Parlett, it was her husband Jeff Perreault being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Instead of giving up hope, Dr. Parlett excelled in her residency, cared for her husband and raised money for ALS research...

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    Passion for a cause

    Through a careful balance of demanding academics and extra-curricular activities, Hunster Yang, Honors Specialization in Neuroscience, BSc'18 candidate, has discovered some of his true passions in life...

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    Spearheading humanitarian surgical missions

    Alumna Dr. Toni Zhong, MD’02, is featured in a video that recently won an award from the News Photographers Association of Canada...

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    Inspiring young girls through STEM

    The Canadian Association for Girls in Science (CAGIS) is inspiring young girls across Canada to join science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Founded in 1992 by Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s own Dr. Evelyn Vingilis and her then nine-year-old daughter Larissa Vingilis-Jaremko, CAGIS’ impact reaches far beyond the local community...

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    Building a stronger London

    Impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners is an ambitious task, but Vicki Douvalis is willing to take on the challenge...

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    Strengthening communities through research

    Gerald McKinley, PhD, believes that giving back to the community isn’t a single event, it’s a responsibility that should be fulfilled over a life-time. The assistant professor puts this belief into practice through his research and its application with First Nations communities across Ontario.

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    Connection Creator

    Nicole Dorssers aspires to make her community her family, volunteering with five local charities and groups.

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    Learning from Syrian refugee children

    Refugee children from Syria might not think that they have a lot to teach others. Mazen El-Baba, MA’17 thinks differently and is using his passion for research and his commitment to the community to help refugee children transition into Canadian society.

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    Simran Benipal – Taking action at home and around the world

    Simran Benipal is on a mission to make education more accessible to those in need, and encourages everyone in the community to find a cause they are passionate about and strive to make change.

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    Leading the Way

    Having witnessed first hand how some Londoners must go without, Holme wants to be sure the programs in the city supported by the United Way continue to provide necessary services.

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    Leaving an impression on the community

    For Natalie Wakabayashi, commitment to the community means going beyond writing a cheque. It’s about giving the time and engaging in her surroundings. It’s something she’s been doing since she was a teenager...

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    Putting community first

    "It's about community first. You're only as good as the community around you," said Vicki Hayter, senior development officer for the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Hayter is actively involved in community work, serving on different committees that aim to improve the community and the quality of life for those living in it...

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    The ROWE scholar program

    Eugene Wong, PhD, professor, Departments of Medical Biophysics and Oncology, found the ROWE Scholar Program, a peer-tutoring program that connects high school students who have an immediate family member battling cancer and are struggling with math and science with a Western University student tutor...

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    Making a splash in the community

    Lindsay Katchky, a third-year undergraduate student in BMSc with dreams of pursuing dentistry, volunteers for Making Waves London. The organization provides affordable and accessible swimming lessons for children that have disabilities...

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    Building homes and building hope

    Rachel Belanger finds intrinsic value in volunteering. Her studies keep her busy, but she still has time to give back to her community. She had her first volunteer experience before even setting foot on Western University's campus, building houses in the Dominican Republic...

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    Mental Health Awareness Comes Full-Circle

    Volunteering has always been an integral part of Zoe Letwin's life. As far back as she can remember she has been involved with different organizations. It took some time before finding a cause she could call her own...

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    Creating a stronger, healthier future

    Dr. Margaret Steele's work as a child and adolescent psychiatrist has provided first-hand exposure to the needs of children, adolescents, adults and families living in poverty who experience mental health problems and undergo significant transitions and new beginnings...

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    Violence Against Women Services Elgin County

    As an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and a practicing psychiatrist at Victoria Hospital, Dr. Heidi Haensel is a prime volunteer for Violence Against Women Services Elgin County. She possesses the theoretical and experiential knowledge that is valuable when dealing with the physical and mental well-being of victims...

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    Empowering first responders through education

    Anatomy workshop forms the foundation of a unique partnership between medical students and first responders...

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    Stephen Sims, PhD - Water Life Initiative

    Stephen Sims, PhD, a cellular physiologist in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, is a longstanding member of the Water Life Initiative: an organization that aims at ensuring the continued health and vitality of the water system within the District of Muskoka...

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    A recipe for happiness

    “It’s as easy as making a decision and sticking to it,” said Krista Cook, MSc Candidate. Cook's attitude toward her commitments has helped guide her academic career, taken her from Kingston, Ontario to St. John’s, Newfoundland by bicycle, and opened her mind to a unique volunteering experience with Growing Chefs London...

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    Creating a community to grow, live, study, work and play

    One of Ghandi’s famous proverbs: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” resonates with Melanie Katsivo, PhD, research officer, as she volunteers for a third time with Western Serves...

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    Diversifying perspectives to strengthen our community

    Steven Brunet, a fourth-year BMSc student, isn’t deterred by his busy school schedule to provide health care education to students in underprivileged communities. He believes that contributing his time and effort to work internationally will gradually help underprivileged communities reach self-sufficiency...

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    Enhancing self-esteem through smiles

    When Dr. Bruce Hill, adjunct clinical professor, is not instructing with the Graduate Orthodontics program, he is giving back to the community by volunteering his time with the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex...

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    The importance of the human connection

    Kara Ruicci’s life can be busy and stressful, but she finds time to give back to her local community. The fourth year BMSc student feels that her experience with volunteering has taught her the importance of human connection that seems to be, at times, lost...

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    Paying it forward

    “As I was growing up, a lot of the things that were necessary to help assimilate into Canadian life were available to me through United Way programs," said Maly Bun. The positive impact that these programs had on Bun left her with a desire to give back to the community...

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    Exercising a right to read in our community

    “Growing up, I would try to support my parents, who emigrated from India, when they faced the challenges and barriers of reading, writing and speaking English,” said Harpreet Singh Chahal, BMSc’13. Chahal has always understood the importance of literacy and its ability to help people achieve their goals, develop their knowledge and potential and participate fully in their community...

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    You are only as strong as your weakest link

    “We’re all a part of this community," said Brenda Davis, academic affairs officer, Dentistry. "And we need to be helping each other out for the betterment of society as a whole.” That's why Davis is passionate about volunteering her time with the London Food Bank...

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    Empowering youth living with epilepsy

    Justin Cottrell’s unique mix of educational experiences and his new path in medicine sparked his interest in working on a career management resource for youth living with epilepsy...

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    Providing a refuge of tranquility and friendship

    Dr. Richard Philp, professor emeritus, Physiology and Pharmacology, devoted years of his life to educating students. It's that same enjoyment and connection he felt while teaching that makes volunteering his time as an art instructor at the Horton Street Seniors’ Centre – Boys and Girls Club of London a satisfying commitment to the community...

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    Life after cancer – Sweep for Southlake fundraiser

    Alexandra Boasie, HBSc ‘10 with a double major in biology and medical sciences, and Michael Goodman, a Western University alumnus, have always been passionate about giving back to their community, but it was Boasie’s mother, who has been battling breast cancer for a number of years, which inspired the two to organize the Sweep for Southlake curling bonspiel...

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    Reaching out to the global community

    Dr. Dwight Moulin, professor in the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences and Oncology, travelled in February 2012 with a Haitian outreach program to volunteer his time treating the Haitian community in an outpatient clinic...

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    Connecting with at risk youth

    Mei Wen, BMSc ’14 and incoming MPH student, volunteered her time on a weekly basis at Street Connection, a drop in centre founded in London for at risk youth, for more than a year...

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    Supporting dignity and pride in our community

    For Victoria Thorburn, a third year BMSc student, working with the Christian Benefit Thrift Shop has expanded her community awareness...

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    Ron Vander - Discovering the best in himself and others

    Ron Vander, facilities manager at Robarts Research Institute, volunteers his time as an area commissioner for Scouts Canada, providing outdoor and adventure programming to young people in the London area...

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    Improving the lives of children with barrier-free swim instruction

    Andrew Helt, Medicine Class of 2016, shares his love of swimming with special needs children as an instructor for Making Waves London...

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    Educating the community on injury prevention

    Dr. Wai Ng, associate professor of clinical neurology, is the Chapter Director of the Think First London Chapter, an international organization whose mandate is to bring injury prevention to the primary school curriculum

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    Seeing the joy of community work

    Kunal Jain, third year BMSc student, connects on a personal level with his community work. He volunteers with Adult Blind Swim London and Making Waves London as a swimming instructor, working with special needs individuals...

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    A shared sense of belonging

    Milani Sivapragasm, a fourth year BMSc student at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, volunteers with the London Regional AIDS hospice at the John Gordon Home, providing support for people living with HIV, AIDS and HVC...

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    Serving the less fortunate members of London’s community

    For Christine Koustrup, a CaRTT program coordinator with the Department of Oncology, giving back means serving the less fortunate members of London’s community. She volunteers with the weekly Hospitality Meal program at First-St. Andrew’s United Church...

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    Sharing the support

    Melanie Kok, a PhD candidate in neuroscience, works with Olympians Canada as the Vice President, Ontario Chapter. In this leadership role, she brings together Canada’s Olympic athletes and connects them with the general public to celebrate achievements in sport...

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    Dr. Rick Quinn is improving the health of Great Ape populations and the surrounding communities

    With his volunteer work, Dr. Rick Quinn, adjunct professor with the Department of Ophthalmology and veterinary eye specialist, focuses on the plight of the Great Apes in Africa. It is a species at risk of extinction and one that greatly intrigues the veterinarian...

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    Dr. Les Kalman - giving back through the gift of photography

    Dr. Les Kalman, assistant professor, Schulich Dentistry, gives back to the community by using his professional photography skills...

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    Liwei Zhou - taking pride in making a difference

    Pride is important to Liwei Zhou, a fourth-year BMSc student. For the past two years she has been involved in queer and trans awareness and outreach in both London and Toronto...

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    Tehmina Ahmad - removing barriers to treatment

    Tehmina Ahmad, Medicine Class of 2017, first started volunteering in the local community to expand her comfort zone and to better understand the daily realities of Londoners living on the edge

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    Sharing a love of science and research with community members

    For Hilary Brown, PhD candidate, Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, sharing a love of science and research with community members is a fulfilling experience. She is the coordinator for Strong Bones, Strong Minds, Strong Muscles (SBSMSM), a student initiative...

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    Raising awareness and supporting patients and families living with brain cancer

    Dr. Joseph Megyesi, Department of Neurosurgery, has been fascinated with the brain since medical school, an interest that inspired his involvement with the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada (BTFC)...

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    Promoting treatment, medication and access to care for refugees

    Family history led Alexandra Farag, Meds 2015, to the Newcomer Health Project, a program that provides health care to government-assisted refugees...

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    A cause close to heart - Katrina Leung

    Katrina Leung, BMSc student, has been actively volunteering with the Catholic Diocese for the past two years. From event planning, and assisting with promotions to participating in parish events she has been giving her time and energy to a cause that is close to her heart...

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    Busting a move for breast cancer

    For Mair Hughes, administrative officer, Department of Pathology, being a member of the School’s Breast for Success Bust a Move team was personal. The fitness event gave her the chance to participate with her colleagues on something focused on health...

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    Working to ease world-wide suffering due to HIV/AIDS

    Stephen Barr’s research is providing a deeper understanding of the human innate immune response toward HIV, which will in turn lead to novel approaches for antiviral therapeutics and personalized medicine for HIV-infected individuals...

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    Hungry for Change

    Hungry for Change is an annual event which raises awareness of global health issues, and funds in support of research scholarships in global health, as well as global health issues such as outreach programs and Orphanages in third-world countries...

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    Creating a special place called home

    Kathy Wallis, media relations officer, first learned about Participation House Support Services (PHSS) while working as a health reporter. Her nephew, Harry is developmentally handicapped, so she took a personal interest in the story...

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    Feeding the community’s soul through music

    For the past 25years, Dr. J. David Spence, professor, Clinical Neurological Sciences, has been bringing music to the lives of people in our community. As a choral performer with local choirs London Pro Musica and London Fanshawe Chorus...

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    Volunteer work in the community builds comaraderie on campus

    For members of the Department of Biochemistry, volunteering their time in a local soup kitchen has become part of their culture...

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    Sharing a love of science in the community

    For the past two years, Sarah Mattonen, PhD, candidate has been sharing her own love and enthusiasm for science with young children from across the community...

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    Paying it forward with coaching

    Fortunate to be able to play sports, Dr. Hammond, associate dean, Admissions, developed a great appreciation for the coaches and the other volunteers who made it all possible...

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    A favorite pastime brings comfort and warmth for those in need

    Sharon Rasul, administration officer, Dentistry Finance, learned how to knit from her mother when she was five years old. Hooked from the moment, she had no idea this new hobby would later provide her with the perfect opportunity to help others in need...