Resident Spotlight: Dr. Malcolm Howard

Stop talking and listen. This is one of the most important lessons that Dr. Malcolm Howard, has learned through patient care. The first-year Anesthesia resident moved from British Columbia to complete his residency at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and is growing increasingly more comfortable with navigating through the Ontario health care system. He’s grateful to his colleagues and the program for their support in managing the transition and points to the valuable lessons he learned during the Transition to Residency lectures.

A two-time Olympic medallist, Dr. Howard has faced some major challenges, and he has no doubt the next five years will have their own unique challenges, but he’s focused on the enjoying the journey.

What drew you to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?

The strength of the program and the quality of the medicine is what drew me to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. I’ve always liked London, ever since I came here as a rower for National Championships. Being here for residency is fantastic for my training as a physician and for my young family.

Why did you choose to pursue medicine?

I have always been fascinated by the human body. After retiring from the sport, medicine was a natural avenue to pursue my passion.

Describe your experience so far as a resident at Schulich Medicine?

It has been great. Excellent teachers, supportive co-residents, everything I could possibly hope for from the program.

What have you learned about yourself and others through your residency?

I have learned that I need to adapt my learning style to the demands of residency. I realize that I will not be able to sit down and read ‘everything,’ and that learning in residency is more practical and applied.

What was your greatest achievement?

That is a tough question to answer. I’ve won an Olympic Gold and Silver medal in rowing, set a world record, but at the risk of sounding corny, my greatest achievements are my children. My children amaze and delight me, even on the tough days they make me smile.

What activities/initiatives are you involved with that help bring balance in your life?

Balance is a struggle with two young children and residency. Exercise and fitness are critical parts of maintaining balance. I don’t have the time to read for pleasure, so I listen to audiobooks and podcasts as an escape.

Who inspires you?

There have been so many inspiring people in my life; it is difficult to choose one. One of my earliest inspirations was the rower Silken Laumann. I grew up just down the street from her. Her story is remarkable and inspiring. She recovered from a near career-ending injury and came back to race at the Barcelona Olympics.

What was your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge has luckily been outside of medicine. At the London Olympics, we had a disastrous first race. As team captain, I had to face the scrutiny of the national media and keep that pressure off my coach and teammates. I guided our team through this stressful event, not allowing people to assign blame and keeping everyone focused on our goal.

What project would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date?

As part of my master’s at Oxford University, I contributed to several genetic sequencing projects. My significant career accomplishment would be as part of the research team that uncovered several novel disease-causing genes and the impact it ultimately had on affected families.

What are the titles of the last three books you have read?

Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – Every physician would like to relate to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joseph Bell (the inspiration for the character of Sherlock Holmes). I appreciate the careful ‘science of observation,’ and hope to bring some of that to my practice.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
When: the scientific secrets of perfect timing by Daniel H Pink.