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 show interesting cases around. As I was told prior to coming to Western, the department is very supportive of you and your goals. My interests have changed over time and I am now interested in pursuing community pathology.

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 the language 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.

I also enjoy playing video games and relaxing with my kitty, Lily.

What are your academic interests?

I am currently aiming to practice pathology in a smaller community center with a possible focus on Gastrointestinal pathology.

What are your career goals?

I see myself practicing in a community hospital. I come from a smaller community and prefer the lifestyle. I strongly value teaching and mentoring and am hoping to be in a center where there are learners. Having received excellent mentorship, I want to give back and incorporate this into my practice. 

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. Being in the same department for the last 2 ½ years has been a real privilege. The staff all know about our various interests and stop by often to chat about pathology, interests and life in general. I have also developed close relationships with the other residents because we see each other every day. In addition, London has a great network of biking trails and you can bike to work without really needing to go on the main roads. There is still a good variety of food options, concerts and festivals in the city for when you have some free time.