Schulich Medicine shines at history conference

By Jennifer Parraga, BA'93

Walking through the hallways on her way to the lab, a poster caught Asma Amir Ali’s eye. It was advertising the History of Medicine Days Conference held annually at the University of Calgary.

Amir Ali, Medicine Class of 2019, had recently returned from her medical school interview at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, and although she hadn’t yet received her acceptance, she tucked away the idea about getting involved with the Conference when she was an undergraduate medical student.

Fast forward to the fall of 2015, and Amir Ali had the opportunity to hear Shelley McKellar, PhD, during a lecture in her Intro to Medicine Course. McKellar is the Hannah Chair for the History of Medicine and supports the Osler Society. Amir Ali contacted McKellar immediately following the class, and in a few short weeks, she became the Windsor contact for the Society.

When it came time to submit abstracts for the 2016 Conference, Amir Ali was excited to be able to share her research. Her topic was The Shift Away from Paternalistic Medicine: Pivotal Changes and Challenges, Then and Now. “This was the first time I presented my own critical appraisal of a topic,” she said.

Amir Ali joined 13 other classmates from Schulich Medicine who had abstracts accepted. It was record year for participants from the School in terms of attendees and award recipients – with eight students receiving official recognition for their work.

“It was a great experience to participate,” said Amir Ali. “I was able to meet people from other schools, engage in discussions with the physicians who were judges and listen to other talks.”

Amir Ali is already considering where to take her research. “I had a fairly narrow topic,” she said. “But I’d like to explore it a bit more and look at cultural influence on the physician-patient relationship.”

In the meantime, Amir Ali is continuing to be involved with the history of medicine. She presented at the History of Medicine Colloquium, she’s a junior editor for the history of medicine through the UWOMJ and she is a member of the Osler Society.