Feature: New beginnings, bright futures
In September, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry welcomed a new cohort of medical and dental students. Meet eight of the students at the start of their professional journeys.
They share their unique experiences and perspectives, the issues that are important for them as future health care professionals, and a quote they live by.
Tubba Babar, Medicine
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Quote she lives by: Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
When it comes to equitable and culturally competent health care, Tubba Babar has a wealth of knowledge to share with her peers.
Growing up in a low-income family and as part of the Canadian South Asian community, she is bringing her perspectives as someone who has experienced marginalization but also shown great determination and resiliency, to her career in medicine.
Babar is passionate about advocacy and equipped with an intimate understanding of equity-deserving communities. She looks forward to volunteering with the Newcomer Health Project at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, an initiative that provides students with the opportunity to assist at newcomer health clinics in London.
“I hope to share my lived experiences and insights while emphasizing the importance of collaborating with community stakeholders to broaden perspectives and promote equitable access to health care.”
Madison Curtis, Medicine
Hometown: Windsor, Ontario
Quote she lives by: Everything that is meant to be… will be.
Despite the pressures of ‘hustle culture’, Madison Curtis, Medicine Class of 2025, believes strongly in fostering good mental health practices among medical students and physicians.
As an aspiring physician, she is committed to maintaining healthy work habits and finding time for activities she enjoys – and wants to empower her peers to do the same. As the social convener within student council, she is responsible for organizing much-needed opportunities for relaxation and socialization into their busy lives.
“I believe that my ability to prioritize being 'human' as much as being a 'medical student' will help me throughout my medical career. Prioritizing a healthy work-life balance allows us to be happier, mentally and physically healthier, and more capable of caring for our patients,” she shared.
Curtis is equally passionate about issues surrounding patient care as a result of health system shortcomings, including hospital emergency room wait times. She became intimately aware of this issue after witnessing her brother and father not receive timely treatment during exceptionally long ER waits.
She has recently also become involved in research in the field of radiation oncology, focusing on the psycho-social and physical impacts of diagnoses and treatment on patients’ lives.
Jennifer Guo, Dentistry (DDS/PhD)
Hometown: Markham, Ontario
Quotes she lives by: Why do we even try when the barriers are so high, and the odds are so low? Why don’t we just pack it in and go home? It’d be so, so much easier. It’s because, in the end, there’s no glory in easy. No one remembers easy. They remember the blood and the bones and the long, agonizing fight to the top. And that is how you become legendary. – Grey’s Anatomy
Jennifer Guo serves as a Naval Warfare Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. As a military officer she has endured physically and mentally demanding situations to develop resiliency and test her leadership. She is rightly proud of herself for enrolling in one of the most demanding training regimens, noting that the discipline it required will undoubtedly prepare her for the rigorous standards required of a dental clinician-scientist.
And in that role as dental clinician-scientist, she wants to develop a strategy to reverse advanced periodontal disease and to work with policy makers to ensure that dental care is accessible for everyone.
She’s also a strong advocate for women in science. Inspired by a successful female scientist, she says that she now has the confidence to pursue her DDS/PhD and the eight years of study that it will take to complete.
“Personally, I was initially afraid of committing to eight years of training, simply because most of my professors were male. I was lucky to work with a female scientist and I saw first-hand how female scientists can be successful and become leaders. Hopefully, I can inspire the next generation of female clinician-scientists. I want to urge all successful women scientists and clinician-scientists to talk about their experiences and share their accomplishments and to show the world that science does not need to be a male-dominated field.”
Nadia Khan, Medicine
Hometown: London, Ontario
Quote she lives by: Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? – L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Inspired by her mother’s experience living with Type 2 diabetes, Nadia Khan is working with the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine to study the disease. Her research focuses on hypoglycemia, sociodemographic factors and medication, and she is particularly interested in diabetes within under-reported populations.
Having experienced the intersection of immigration, language and socio-economic status in connection to her mother’s diabetes care, she says she will continue advocating for at-risk populations as a physician.
Khan is also passionate about student experience and representation in medicine. As a first-year student, she is participating in admissions programming and also hopes to contribute to initiatives that will foster inclusion and welcome people of all lived experience into the School community.
“With the movement toward a more wholistic approach to health care, it is important to have future physicians represent the diverse population they will eventually serve. I come from a low socio-economic background and have had limited exposure and mentorship in health care, but my lived experiences in other aspects of life are just as relevant to my medical career.”
Jayneel Limbachia, Medicine
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario
Quote he lives by: This too, shall pass.
With undergraduate and graduate training in physiology and health research methodology Jayneel Limbachia has explored his research interests in health promotion and the epidemiology of risk factors that increase structural barriers for ethnic minorities like South Asians.
This work and his lived experience are drivers for his goal to become an advocate for culturally specific care for unique populations.
He is equally passionate about improving access to medical education for marginalized populations and vulnerable groups. He considers himself privileged that many mentors, friends and family members guided him along the journey to medical school. He knows that this is not the reality for others. And he understands that there is a lack of access to social and capital resources for aspiring physicians. A five-time medical school applicant with work and research experience, he brings a unique perspective to his Class.
“I want to make the process of admissions more equitable. Working with my classmates, I hope to start an initiative that can provide resources for those people who want to apply to medical school who come from marginalized communities. We hope to provide one-on-one mentoring to applicants through the written application process and interviews while also advocating for and educating applicants on policies like the ACCESS pathway and similar programs across Ontario – with the hope of increasing the diversity of care providers.”
Emily Mundy, Dentistry
Hometown: Welland, Ontario
Quote she lives by: Jesus didn’t walk around telling people he was holy. He just was.
Growing up, Emily Mundy’s dad often shared this phrase, and it continues to ground her. “Success for me is being good in the dark, and humble in the spotlight.”
As she begins her dental school journey, she is looking forward to participating in community outreach initiatives and research projects that address inequality, accessibility and access to oral health care.
With a background in engineering and chemistry, Mundy also aims to bring an innovation mindset to her dental studies and future profession.
“I hope that my background in engineering will allow me to contribute a unique perspective towards innovation in dentistry, whether that means designing new or modifying existing products or systems. Having also spent time in the work force prior to coming to the School, I think I gained a greater appreciation for the importance of understanding individuality and hope to use this knowledge when establishing plans for inclusive, personalized care.”
Prateik Murali, Dentistry
Hometown: Born in India; raised in Brampton, Ontario
Quote he lives by: Everyone is on their own timeline. I’m right where I need to be.
As a future dental professional, Prateik Murali believes strongly in his responsibility to tackle health disparities in the community and promote health equity.
He is looking forward to volunteering and contributing to the School’s community outreach programs, and hopes to further explore the socio-cultural issues that lead to disparities in care and how dental professionals can bridge that gap.
After completing a Bachelor of Sciences degree and undergoing several application cycles for professional schools, Murali says he no longer shies away from failure. He appreciates the support from family and friends that helped him persevere and build resilience.
“I learned that failure is not something we should fear. I think it’s a vital part of growth and an essential feature on the road to success. I’m bringing this newfound attitude with me as I embark on my journey through dental school and aim to support and encourage my peers as we collectively work to succeed and become highly competent and trustworthy health care professionals.”
Chen Ling (Chloe) Shi, Dentistry
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Quote she lives by: Be kind to yourself.
After graduating with a double major in health and disease and nutritional sciences, Chloe Shi stepped into the world of digital marketing. No longer a student, she lost her health insurance and access to dental care. And while previous experiences shadowing dentists exposed her to the barriers to care others encounter, lack of access became personal. That experience motivated her more than ever to participate in initiatives to promote oral health awareness and provide care.
Tapping into her social media skills, she’s also hoping to participate in the growing use of social media as a channel to share dental health care information and provide details on where people care receive care.
“Recently there has been a surge of health care professionals using social media as a channel to share information. I plan to participate in this movement by sharing oral health facts from peer-reviewed articles. I also hope to use social media to share contact information on nearby dental clinics, and information regarding existing health care coverage or affordable insurance options.”