Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Taking #SciComm to #MedSchool

Science Communication was a fairly foreign concept to me up until a few years ago when a friend of mine was completing the graduate diploma. I was born and raised in Sudbury, so I had definitely been exposed to science communication through Science North, Dynamic Earth, local hospitals, and other science establishments, but I didn’t realize its magnitude and all of the opportunities this field holds.

My dream since I was a little girl has been to become a physician in Northern Ontario. Having type 1 diabetes and a father with the same chronic disease really opened my eyes to the world of healthcare and interdisciplinary medicine, and offered me a glimpse of the collaborations that occur behind the scenes. I have volunteered in many departments at Health Sciences North and have organized fundraisers for Families of Children with Cancer in Northern Ontario, both of which helped solidify my passion for medicine. Then, on May 8, I received some wonderful news. I am very happy to announce that I have been accepted to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s class of 2022. With this acceptance, I am moving closer to realizing my dreams (starting this September!!!!!!!).

A Bit of My Background
J’ai toujours vécu à Sudbury, donc j’ai une grande appréciation pour la beauté du Nord. Je suis aussi fière de faire partie de la communauté franco-ontarienne. C’est donc très important pour moi de rester proche de mes racines et d’embrasser les différences de tous ceux que je rencontre.

I graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science with Specialization in Forensic Science from Laurentian in 2016. In first year (2012), I started working as a research associate at the Northeast Cancer Centre doing research in multiple departments, including Radiation Oncology, Epidemiology, and Dental Oncology. I had a very “traditional” science background heavy in research. However, what was lacking at most of the meetings, conferences, and workshops I attended was effective communication. I really appreciated how difficult it was to translate science into something the public and specialists from different fields could understand. That’s what first lead me to the Science Communication program.

Coming in, I expected to learn a lot about communicating science efficiently to different audiences and was looking forward to exploring health sciences communication. What I didn’t expect is how much I would learn from the people around me in this program. My professors and classmates all have such varied and impressive backgrounds; I’m continually enlightened by their different perspectives and passions. Throughout the year, I’ve loved seeing my classmates present on topics that they undoubtedly care deeply about. Now, what’s even cooler is seeing them all immerse themselves in placements that suit them so well and will hopefully lead to long-term job opportunities. Mentorship is key at any stage in life, so these placements are invaluable.

Plusieurs personnes m’ont encouragé à poursuivre mes rêves au cours de nombreux stages de ma vie. Ces personnes sont altruistes en nature et ont sacrifié leur temps pour m’aider et m’offrir des opportunités qui n’auraient pas été accessible autrement. Je suis très reconnaissante de leur aide et j’espère avoir la chance de retourner la faveur un jour. Si vous êtes dans une position où vous pouvez offrir votre aide à quelqu’un, je vous encourage fortement de le faire. Vous allez laisser une emprunte permanente sur cette personne et leur motiver de faire le même.

Current Projects
My program internship is at Public Health Sudbury & Districts on the Health Equity team. It is a completely new atmosphere for me, having been at the Cancer Centre for about 6 years now. I am collaborating on a very exciting project with my fellow classmate and talented videographer, Brandon Gray, to develop 3 videos that will inspire millennials in Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ catchment areas to increase citizen engagement and compassion. Keep an eye out for those in the near future!

I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have had and for all of the people I’ve met throughout this program. This past year I’ve felt like a proud mom watching everyone grow, work hard and pursue something they’re extremely passionate about. As for me, I’m currently loving my placement and eagerly awaiting to begin my medical studies at NOSM here in my hometown. I’m excited to incorporate all of the valuable lessons I’ve learned during my time in #SciComm into my practice as a Northern Ontario physician. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it forever – you could have the soundest research with absolute ground-breaking results, but if you can’t effectively communicate it to your colleagues, family, friends, community members, strangers, and so on… then, what’s the point? 

-Sophie Lamoureux