Dr. Carmen Nadal recently completed the Department of Family Medicine’s Master of Clinical Science program and graduated from Western at the Spring Convocation on June 11, 2015. While in London to celebrate her achievement, she sat down with us to talk about her experience in the program and how she plans to implement her learnings in the future.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Rancagua, a small city near Santiago, Chile.
What degrees do you have?
Medical doctor, Master Management of Primary Care Services, Diploma Medical Anthropology,
Tell me a bit about yourself.
There are no doctors in my family. I come from a family of engineers. However I liked biology and the humanistic aspect of medicine, and family medicine in particular.
Where do you practice medicine and in what scope?
I studied in Santiago, Chile, and worked as a general practitioner for six years following my Family Medicine residency. I am currently the Director of a Family Health Centre, CESFAM Ignacio Caroca, in Rancagua. I work with vulnerable populations and the indigenous community, spearheading activities to include them in society.
What are your research interests?
I am interested in patient-centered primary care, health promotion and prevention and the elderly. Everywhere in the world people are getting older and we are not prepared for the chronic diseases that affect not only them but their families as well. This is a real challenge for Family Medicine.
Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies in the Department of Family Medicine at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
As the Director of a Family Health Centre and the leader of a 120 member multi-disciplinary team, time is valuable. I have students to teach, an annual regional conference to organize (CONGRESO APS) and administrative responsibilities that I knew would benefit from further research and education.
I choose Western’s Department of Family Medicine’s MClSc program because of Dr. Ian McWhinney and his legacy.
Can you tell me about your experience in the program?
The professors are excellent. You can feel the McWhinney spirit. They are kind and patient with us students who are ESL. My classmates from the program have become lifelong friends and we remain in touch. I believe social learning is very important. We shared knowledge and experiences from different countries and continents.
While the nature of the online program facilitates social learning, I like the on-site component as I think it’s important to meet the people we are talking with.
The MClSc prepared me to work in administration. I believe research is part of the development of any discipline and the course, Theoretical Foundations of Family Medicine, helped me a lot and provided me with the tools I need to manage the people I work with and to set targets for our clinic.
What inspires you in your work?
Family Medicine is the discipline that recovered the essential part of medicine, the human values, the people, and the community. In Family Medicine we see and treat our patients’ diseases but also the people behind the diseases.
In family practice you are a part of the whole cycle of a person and their family, from birth to death. You can’t experience that from reading books. This is life, you have to experience this. It doesn’t happen in the hospital.
What has been your greatest experience to date in your practice/research?
Working with the leaders of my community to develop and implement health plans that meet everyone’s needs. That mix of government and community is challenging but necessary.
My best friends are from work. I work with people with similar aspirations.
Established in 1977, our Master of Clinical Science program was the first Master's level program to prepare family physicians for academic family medicine roles. Since 1997, the program has been offered in a distance education format on the Internet.
The Master of Clinical Science program attracts Family Physicians from Canada and around the world who wish to enhance their knowledge, skills, and leadership within the discipline of Family Medicine. This program combines on-site (two weeks, once yearly) with distance education via the Internet. The course of study is designed to fit the needs of the individual student and utilizes the broad range of academic and research expertise of the faculty. The program is offered as both a part-time and a full-time program.