Melissa Menard

Tell me about your background before pathology/medical school?

Undergraduate degree in Biologie Biomédicale at Laurentian University and MSc in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. I completed my MD at NOSM at the Sudbury campus.

What made you choose pathology as a career?

I knew I wanted pathology early on due to my experience in my Masters. Pathologists have optimized the art of diagnosis. I loved the challenge of synthesizing clinical history with what you see under the microscope to come up with a diagnosis. It is also a specialty at the forefront of medical advancement with new diagnostic modalities such as personalized medicine and molecular genetics so there is always something new to learn.

What attracted you to Western’s pathology program?

Despite not being able to do an elective at Western (Thanks COVID), I was able to talk to a few residents and staff who all had great things to say about the department regarding its work environment and resources. It had a “goldilocks” ratio between size and resource availability. The smaller size of the program allows for one-on-one training with subspecialists while still having access to various cases and resources. Having been here now I can confirm everyone here is very welcoming and passionate about teaching.

What are some specific things that you like about Western’s AP program?

The pathology department is located at one hospital (UH) therefore you become familiar with all the residents and staff. The residents are all in the same space, which allows the residents to interact daily and get together when possible, COVID allowing…As I was told prior to coming to Western, the department is very supportive of you and your goals. I have an interest in forensics, so I like that LHSC is a regional forensics unit with four forensic pathologists to learn from.

What are your hobbies outside of medicine?

I have recently gotten into interior decorating and refurbishing old furniture for our home. I always have an art project on the go.

I’m in the process of learning Italian, I am third generation Italian but never learned and figured its time. I also like cooking and trying new recipes with family and friends. In the summer we have a small vineyard in our backyard and am learning about wine making.

To relax, I like to play video games and chill with my kitty, Lily.

What are your academic interests?

I am currently interested in forensics I like the challenge of synthesizing pieces of information such as the coroner’s history, post-mortem examination, and toxicology report to determine a cause of death and bring closure to families. I am only in the beginning of my training and am open to exploring all fields.

What are your career goals?

I see myself practicing in an academic hospital in an urban center. After residency, I have the intention to pursue further subspecialty training in Forensic pathology. I strongly value teaching and mentoring, having participated in various student-led sessions and journal clubs. Having received excellent mentorship, I want to give back and incorporate this into my practice. I plan on practicing in an academic center where there will be opportunities to teach and pursue research. 

What is something you would like to tell students who may not be able to do an AP elective at Western?

I was not able to do an elective here and one thing I did not truly grasp was the sense of belonging you get once you are a part of this group. Everyone looks out for each other, even though we didn’t know each other that well yet. This was especially crucial during off service rotations.