Resident Spotlight: Dr. Ranita Manocha - Devoted to making a difference in her patients’ lives

While the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation may be small, it is the reason Dr. Ranita Manocha decided to continue her studies at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Dr. Manocha enjoys a wide variety of hobbies and interests, but explains that the best part of her day is when she can make a difference in her patients’ lives.

Where were you born and raised?
Born: St. John's, Newfoundland
Raised: London, Ontario

What degrees do you have, and from what university?
MSc Candidate, Department of Medical Biophysics, Western University
MD, University of British Columbia
BA, Cross-Disciplinary Studies (Western Scholars Distinction), Western University

What special interests or hobbies do you have?
I love spending time outdoors, so whether that means I’m hiking, camping, canoeing or snowshoeing, it doesn’t matter — I’ll try anything. I’m also an avid reader, and my favourite books are biographies and fiction by Canadian authors.

Why did you choose to pursue your residency and Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, although relatively young and small, is very strong. We have a wonderful group of consultants and residents who have helped shape the program to be very learner-driven. They provide excellent one-on-one training and exposure to procedural skills at an early stage.

I am also completing a master’s degree in Medical Biophysics, carrying out my research at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre. Our graduate students and faculty in the Department and the Centre are working on really fascinating projects, and it’s inspiring to see how biology, physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering can come together to improve patient care.

What inspires you in your work?
The best part about my day is working with patients. Particularly in rehabilitation medicine, I am blessed to have the opportunity to see how patients figure out their own ways of navigating disability at a physical, social and even spiritual level. Our patients have a wonderful sense of humour, innovation and humility, and I learn something new from them every day.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your residency?
We are so lucky in medicine to get exposed to thousands of different people — patients, colleagues in medicine and allied health, researchers, and graduate students, so it has all taught me so much and it's hard to single out one greatest experience.

However, two months ago, a patient stopped me in the hall at our rehab hospital. She remembered when I had admitted her from the emergency department at a time in her life when she was unable to walk because of cancer in her spine. We had spent many days back then having some challenging conversations about what her life might look like. But now, almost two years later, she was walking with some assistance and was cancer-free. It's a privilege to be part of experiences like that.

What do you do when you're not working?
I like to spend time with my family and friends, go to concerts, or head to a yoga or Pilates class.