A heartfelt journey

Dr. Hiren Desai arrived in Windsor in 1991.

A young neurologist, he had just completed a fellowship and was searching for an academic position. At the time, there was only one in the country, and that was in Saskatoon. The cold temperatures of western Canada were no longer appealing to him, so he took the advice of his mentor Dr. John Brown, and set up shop in Windsor.

Just 10 years later, Dr. Desai was the President of the Essex County Medical Society, and a member of the exploratory committee working to determine if there was feasibility in establishing a medical school is Windsor.

Fast forward to 2015, and Dr. Desai is now a faculty member, who serves as Neurosciences Course Co-Chair and Coordinator for the Neurosciences Program at the Windsor campus. It’s been a satisfying journey that has come full circle for Dr. Desai; from the planning and birth of the medical school in Windsor to teaching and contributing to the overall curriculum design and development. “It’s gratifying to see the evolution of the Program,” he said.

For Dr. Desai, being able to teach has been a welcome outcome of his participation in the work to establish the Program. “Teaching is in my heart,” he said. “It keeps me stimulated and helps me to keep up with my own knowledge.”

As a faculty member, Dr. Desai believes his role is to guide the students through the art and science of medicine.

In doing so, he helps them to explore the concept of empathy, he teaches them how to listen to the patient while taking a history, and how to understand the foundation for the fears and anxieties a patient may have. “Students today are really motivated and hungry for knowledge,” he said. “You don’t have to stimulate them, they are so keen, they come well prepared for class, and are willing to learn and explore.”

Now, one of those medical students is his daughter Karishma. After completing her Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree in 2014 at Western, she was accepted into the undergraduate medical program in Windsor. A proud father, Dr. Desai looks forward to being able to gain an even greater understanding of the needs of our medical students, through his daughter.

Dr. Desai hopes that more physicians will become involved with the Windsor Program. After teaching for seven years, he certainly understands the tremendous commitment required to serve as a faculty member.

In sharing his own enthusiasm for teaching, he hopes he can inspire others. “It’s satisfying to teach, to be part of the process, to share your experiences, and to pass on the baton of knowledge,” he said.