Hands-On Discovery Goes a Long Way

May 16, 2017

Dean Trevor YoungDean Trevor Young There’s a reason I didn’t go into surgery.

Trying my hand at a laparoscopic demonstration last week — one of 15 stations at the first UofTMed Student Showcase for donors and friends — it was bracingly clear that psychiatry was the right calling for me.

Seeing the curiosity and drive of those students was energizing and uplifting. Students exhibited their work in nanodiagnostics, 3D mapping of drug distribution, rehabilitating robots, role playing to learn about social determinants of health, the effect of the microbiome on bone health and much more.

Donors were thrilled to get in on the excitement of learning and research — and to see their impact in action.

So often we think our supporters want science and medicine to be “all-knowing,” when really they want to make an impact. And they know that advances come when we question what we know and strive for change.

For instance, philanthropists Joannah and Brian Lawson know we haven’t figured everything out when it comes to child nutrition. If we had, there would be no reason for them to invest in us. Their visionary donation to The Joannah and Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition is aimed not at fully-baked answers, but at impact. They know we’re asking the questions, training the next generation of health care leaders and are uniquely positioned to enhance child nutrition. They often attend Lawson Centre lectures and research updates — and an event held in their honour this week focused on research highlights. They know that progress takes time, and they actively seek out the continually fascinating world of discovery, where researchers thrive.

We’re all keen on answers and solutions, but we’ll only get the right ones if we keep asking questions.

Just don’t ask me to scrub in or wield a scalpel.

Trevor Young
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice-Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions

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Burnout, suicide, depression, and the emotional effects of mistakes. We address physician wellness in the next issue of UofTMed magazine, out May 30.

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