Dr. Cheryl Lee, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Distributed Education Profile

By George Ardy, BA‘15

As a fourth-year resident at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. Cheryl Lee has had many impactful learning experiences. For this Obstetrics and Gynecology trainee, having the chance to do an elective at the Woodstock General Hospital stands out from the rest.

Dr. Lee’s main goal in pursuing the elective in Woodstock was to experience a practice in a regional community. She wanted an idea of what working in a facility outside of a major medical centre would be like after completing medical school at the University of Toronto and spending time training in London.

During her elective in Woodstock, she worked with three doctors: Drs. Jolie Pun, David Snider and Chris Smith. This was important to Dr. Lee because it was a chance to reconnect with Dr. Pun, a mentor of his.

“Dr. Pun was actually my chief resident when I started with the Obstetrics and Gynecology program,” the young resident explained. “Working together again was an amazing experience because she provided such great mentorship to me when I was starting my residency.”

Dr. Snider, who has years of surgical experience and a wealth of knowledge to pass on, was also a great resource for her.

Having a chance to see the two doctors in action gave her a unique perspective. Dr. Pun is a new consultant who knows what Dr. Lee is going through at this stage in her career. On the other hand, Dr. Snider is a seasoned veteran with many valuable lessons to share.

The up-and-coming specialist reaped the benefits of her distributed education experience. She believes that trainees in smaller communities, like Woodstock, receive more one-to-one training because they are often the only resident on site.

Dr. Lee also appreciated the emphasis on teaching methods that are more relevant to small communities. “You get more insight as to what it’s like working in a setting where there isn’t anesthesia two minutes away, or an operating room that can be set up in five minutes,” Dr. Lee elaborated. “You don’t have the same resources that a tertiary care centre may have, so it puts your training in context.”

The experience comes highly recommended from Dr. Lee. “Electives in smaller communities provide a great opportunity,” she said. “You get to know the consultant so much better. They work directly with you to improve your skills by tailoring the learning to what you want to do with the rest of your life.”