Graduate Student Profile: Dr. Reema Ray

Dr. Reema Ray

Graduate Name: Reema Ray
Year of completion: 2021
Supervisor(s): Dr. Judith Belle Brown and Dr. Bridget Ryan
Research Project Titles: Factors associated with significant others’ perceived knowledge and confidence in hypoglycemia management: A secondary analysis of the INHYPO-DMSOQ Study
Major Essay Titles: Using the patient-centered clinical method to enhance engagement of significant others in diabetes management

Tell me a little about you.

My name is Reema Ray. I am a family physician based in Windsor, Ontario. 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Canada and grew up in India. 

What degree(s) do you have, and from what universities?

I received my medical degree, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Calcutta, India. Following this, I completed a post graduate residency training program in Anesthesiology and received my Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree from the Utkal University, India. 

I completed family medicine residency program in 2009 from the University of Western Ontario, which lead to my certification in Family Medicine (CCFP) with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). Thereafter, I completed my master’s degree, MClSc-FM at the Western University in 2021. Also, during 2021, the CCFP awarded a fellowship designation (FCFP). 

Where do you practice medicine and in what scope? What are your research interests?

I have an office-based family practice in Windsor. Also, I work as a hospitalist at complex care and geriatric rehabilitation program of Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital. I am also an adjunct faculty in Family Medicine at the Windsor campus. 

My research interests include health promotion and prevention in the elderly, chronic disease management and the role of family in medicine. 

What special interests or hobbies do you have?

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shaped my hobbies and interests from being an outgoing individual to a more home-bound person. I am fascinated by the healing power of yoga and meditation, especially during the pandemic, and aspire to explore more in these fields. 

Why did you choose to pursue a MCISc/PhD in the Department of Family Medicine at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?

I have been working in family practice in a variety of settings in Windsor, including hospitals, clinics, office-based practice, and a community health center. My work was very clinically focused and as time progressed; I found that I had more questions than answers! There were some specific research questions which I thought could be answered if I could get involved in a master’s program. 

Is there an experience of your time in the program that stands out for you, an “ah hah” moment?

There were many realizations during my time in the master’s program; however, the one that stands out as foremost is the realization of personhood in both patients and physicians. And to analyze the relationship with the lens of patient centered care, which really helped me in understanding the patient-physician relationship in-depth. 

How do the writings and the person of Dr. Ian McWhinney influence your work in your career overall?

I did not get the opportunity to meet Dr Ian McWhinney in person. However, I realize how his teachings on understanding the patient, the community, and the wider world, affect the health and well-being of people. In my opinion, this is what shapes the very foundation on which we practice medicine. The value of being a generalist and to be there for patients as a physician and a healer and to be comfortable with ambiguity are some of his invaluable teachings that I use in daily practice.

What has been your greatest experience to date in your teaching / research career?

The scope of family medicine epistemology and theoretical foundations was one of the greatest learning experiences; It helped me to understand the values and appreciate qualitative research methodologies even more, which I hope to use in my future research career. 

What are your thoughts about the patient-centred clinical method as it relates to teaching, research and clinical practice?

The Patient-Centered Clinical method (PCCM) is the most important framework upon which the practice of family medicine is based. In teaching, this is a skill that can be difficult to teach explicitly; role-modelling and narrative based medicine can help to stimulate medical students’ professional development. Some of the research in family medicine is guided by patient experience which in turn is guided by the theoretical concepts of PCCM. At a practice level, this is an indispensable tool in gaining a fuller picture of patients’ personal illness narrative, as we explore their concept of health, disease, and illness, and their socio-cultural and family health contexts and try to achieve a common ground with them. PCCM helps to improve their overall functioning and their adherence to treatment options. 

What MClSc / PhD learning have you incorporated into your family medicine practice as a result of the program?

The MClSc program provided tools to better understand and care for patients through the PCCM. The knowledge of research methodology, theoretical foundations, and primary health care systems were valuable adjuncts to the community-based care. Also, the Teaching and Learning course helped in understanding the multi-faceted system of competency-based medical education. 

Tell us about your experience in developing your research idea for your thesis / research project/ major essay.

Having keen interests in chronic disease management and in understanding the role of family in medicine, I found that my research ideas aligned very well with some of the research studies conducted at Western. The faculty at Western helped in accessing the research database there which I used to work on a secondary analysis of the InHypo-DM Study. I am very thankful to the faculty and the team at Western for their guidance and their help in developing the research ideas for my project and the major essay. 

Please describe the role of your supervisor in completing your research project and major essay.

My supervisors Drs Judith Brown and Bridget Ryan were always very encouraging and supportive. They helped me in designing the research plan, interpreting the data and analyzing the results. They also helped me with editing my work and providing useful feedback. It was a great learning experience for me, and both my supervisors are remarkable mentors. 

Has your teaching / research changed as a result of the MClSc / PhD program?

Since completing my master’s degree, I have been more involved in designing courses and materials for medical students, which include some of the concepts that I have learned during my graduate studies. 

What would you consider the single most important benefit of the MClSc / PhD program?

The single most important benefit of the MClSc program has been the opportunity to receive guidance from such accomplished mentors with strong base in primary care research. 

Anything further you would like to add or share?

The master’s program helped me with personal growth that was much more profound than what I had anticipated.  I am happy to chat with anyone who may have questions about the program.