Practising the art of medicine: From the classroom to the clinic

For as long as Dr. Hema Gangam can recall, her passion for working with children and teaching have been a constant in her life.

Today, as Windsor’s only Paediatric Neurologist and the Academic Director for the Undergraduate Paediatric Program at The Schulich Medicine Windsor Program, she has found a way to pursue both and is living her dream.

Dr. Gangam credits her mother, a family doctor, for inspiring her to follow a health care career path. She attended medical school overseas. Following which she completed her residency training in Paediatrics at Penn State University and paediatric neurology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh which included a role as chief resident.

With a young family, Dr. Gangam and her husband set their sights on Windsor as their new home when they completed their residency. It’s a decision they have never regretted. “The community has been so supportive and nurturing”.

During the fall of 2014, she became the Academic Director for the Paediatric Program. She is enjoying the transition to this new aspect of her career. “I love the art of medicine,” she said enthusiastically. “And being in this role I can get back to the core ideals of medicine that I was taught. In doing so, I become a better physician."

For Dr. Gangam, being part of Schulich Medicine reflects a higher purpose. “As physicians,” she said, “we have a social responsibility to be leaders in our community and in our field,” she said. “By getting involved with the community from an academic or political standpoint, we remodel ourselves and in turn can improve ourselves. This can only improve the care we deliver to our patients.”

When Dr. Gangam isn’t teaching she turns her attention to her office practice, something she is equally passionate about. “I love working with kids of all ages,” she said.

As the only Paediatric Neurologist in Windsor, she makes herself available throughout the year for urgent paediatric neurology issues at Windsor Regional Hospital.

She also extends to practice to include taking call at Children’s Hospital in London. Dr. Gangam works with her colleagues at London Health Sciences Centre including Dr. Simon Levine, Dr. Narayan Prasad, and Dr. Craig Campbell and shares a collegial relationship with them.

Meanwhile, she is embracing the dynamic nature of the undergraduate medical education curriculum and has introduced some new elements to her teaching. She has a few plans filed away on her laptop that she hopes to bring online with the new academic year.

For Dr. Gangam, the most challenging aspect about her teaching is that she’d like to do more.