Set up for success

Dr. Amanda Hu, Resident Alumnus ('11) was first exposed to the field of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery during a mandatory one-week rotation in her third year of medical school at the University of Toronto.

With a goal of pursuing general surgery in mind, she never thought much about the field of otolaryngology and what it had to offer. The rotation opened her eyes to another path that felt like an even better fit for the young medical professional.

“It was during that week that I thought to myself, ‘wow, this is exactly what I want to do’ — it had everything I had been looking for,” she said. “After that, I decided to change all of my rotations and electives and go for it 100 percent.”

And the switch paid off. Dr. Hu matched at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, where, she explained she received strong and rigorous training. “I felt like I came out of the whole five-year residency very well-rounded, very strong technically, and very confident in my own skills,” she said.

She also explained that since there were only two residents per year at the time she completed the program, she was able to get a significant amount of one-to-one time working with leaders in the Department, including Dr. Kevin Fung who became her mentor.

“Dr. Fung really inspired me to pursue the area I now specialize in, which is laryngology,” she said. “He was very enthusiastic about teaching, and it was obvious he loved what he does. Working with mentors like him really changed my career.”

Dr. Hu was also able to get involved with extracurricular activities while at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. She was a Western representative for the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO), a provincial organization that would discuss ways to improve resident wellness and advocate on behalf of residents. She was also on the Western Health Staff Committee for a couple of years, which also encouraged resident well-being.

Dr. Hu is now a Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Otolaryngology – HNS at the University of British Columbia, where she also serves as the Undergraduate Medical Education Director for the division. She is responsible for the delivery of otolaryngology education for the medical students, which gives her the opportunity to continue with one of the interests she developed while at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry: medical education.

When asked for advice for current medical students who may be interested in pursuing a career in otolaryngology, Dr. Hu’s answer is simple.

“I would tell medical students to just go for it,” she said. “I feel like otolaryngology is this hidden secret in medicine because not many people are aware of what it entails, but I am so happy with my choice and I would do it all over again if I had to.”