Dr. Brenna Velker: Close to home and close to heart

Dr. Brenna Velker feels fortunate to be working alongside such incredible physicians who make a difference in their patient’s lives. The second-year family medicine resident aspires to achieve the same level of care to her patients in her future practice.

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Windsor, Ontario and raised in Essex. I attended elementary school in the small town of McGregor before returning to Windsor for high school.

What degrees do you have, and from what universities?
I received my honors BSc in Biology from the University of Windsor. I then moved to London to pursue the combined MD/PhD program at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

What special interests or hobbies do you have?
In the summer months I enjoy training for and competing in triathlons. A future goal of mine is to complete an IRONMAN triathlon and I hope to start some intense training after finishing my residency.

Why did you choose to pursue your residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
It was important for me to be able to continue building the professional relationships that I developed during my time in medical school. The family medicine program offered at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is well-distinguished, and is recognized as a leader in the field. Last, but certainly not least, my husband recently completed his residency training in Radiation Oncology here at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry so this allowed me to be close to him, and to both of our families in Windsor.

What inspires you in your work?
It’s safe to say that I’m inspired by my mentors and my patients. I’ve been lucky enough to train with some incredible physicians who truly make a difference in their patient’s lives, which is something I aspire to achieve in my future practice. Family medicine is unique in that it gives me the opportunity to be involved in a patient’s life when they are ill, but also when they are healthy. This practise can have you dealing with anything from a newborn exam to an end-of-life discussion, so it really is full-circle.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your residency?
My greatest experience goes back to when I was on my palliative care rotation. I had the opportunity to be involved in the care of a woman with advanced cervical cancer. It was a trying situation for her and those close to her, but the positive outlook she had on life was admirable. I helped her care team arrange treatments to minimize her suffering, and was there by her side during a successful resuscitation effort. She was eventually transferred, meaning I wasn’t able to keep in touch with her, but I often find myself thinking about her optimistic approach to such a difficult situation.

What do you do when you’re not working?
As much as I love my work, I can’t wait to get home each day to spend time with my husband and our two-year-old twins. Their individual personalities are really starting to shine through and they never cease to amaze me. I also love cooking and baking, so you can usually find me in the kitchen with at least one of the kids helping.