Leading the way with Schulich Medicine 2013 Graduate Michael Verbora

Thursday, May 16, 2013

There's that time in each of our lives, where things suddenly get real. You can probably recall how you felt the actual moment it happened - the world stood still, and feelings of fear, excitement, anxiety and hope collided. For Michael Verbora, Class of 2013, that was a defining moment in his journey to become a physician and when he had to take everything he learned in the classroom and apply it to help his patients.

Giving him confidence to get through that moment was a strong foundation of knowledge provided by Schulich Medicine's undergraduate medical education curriculum, which had been nurtured through a system of support offered by faculty and his fellow students.

Born and raised in Windsor Ontario, Verbora had a strong interest in math and the sciences growing up. It was when his father was hospitalized and diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease, when the seeds of what would grow into a passion for medicine first took root.

An undergraduate degree in biochemistry was the first step toward achieving his goal in becoming a doctor. With a strong desire to become a medical leader who could provide care, as well as advance health care change, Verbora pursued his MBA, knowing the business acumen would be invaluable.

His growing passion was fueled further by experiences working with an HIV mobile clinic in South Africa and in a paediatric clinic in Guatemala.

It was then that Schulich Medicine became home for Verbora. He was welcomed by a tight knit family, with a shared goal of becoming exceptional physicians focussed on social responsibility while maintaining a balanced life.

He discovered a program offering a wide variety of unique learning experiences. During the past four years, he has had the opportunity to work in a multitude of different clinical and hospital environments, travel across the country for organ harvesting and transplantation, and learn from experts via surgical simulation at the world renowned Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics (CSTAR) Centre.

When Verbora wasn't in the classroom, hospital or clinic, he took on leadership and advocacy roles. He served as class president for two years and School president for one year. He also mentored junior medical students, initiated an Innovator Grant for students, inspired an Ivey-Schulich Medicine partnership for business education for medical students and helped to initiate a podcast project.

Taking the School's value of social responsibility to heart, he became involved with numerous class charitable causes, including volunteering at the Salvation Army, as well as Camp Trillium, a summer camp for children and their families living with cancer.

And most surprising of all his medical school experiences, Verbora became a DJ. It was in his second year when he identified the Hippo Council could better balance their budget by providing music for their events through in-house sources. So he became the house DJ, headlining several social and charity functions. What began as business opportunity has turned into a new hobby for Verbora.

Verbora will celebrate his convocation on May 17 with 156 of his classmates. With all that he has accomplished, it will be a well-deserved celebration.

The road to learning for Verbora doesn't stop here however. In a few short weeks, he will begin the residency program in family medicine at the University of Toronto. He then hopes to complete an additional year of training in emergency medicine. Along the way he will continue developing his leadership skills taking them to the next level, and hopefully opening doors for physician advocacy and health care policy development through the Ontario Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association.

Knowing that things will likely continue to get real at every stage of his medical education journey, Verbora wants to enhance his skills to help his patients understand, come to terms and manage their own health, chronic illnesses, challenging disabilities and end of life care.

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry congratulates Michael and the entire Class of 2013 on all they have achieved during the past four years and on their graduation from Schulich Medicine.