As a Laidlaw Scholar, my journey has been one of self-discovery, learning, and transformation. I've had the privilege of engaging in two remarkable experiences. In Summer 1, I delved into a research project focused on sleep apnoea, while in Summer 2, I undertook a Leadership-in-Action (LiA) project, collaborating with Indigenous communities. These experiences not only expanded my knowledge but also reshaped my perspective on leadership and global citizenship.
During Summer 1, I undertook a research project focusing on new diagnostic tools for sleep apnoea. While the project centered on medical research, it was also a significant opportunity for me to develop essential leadership skills. There were four main learning points I took away from this summer.
- Effective Communication. Gathering data from multiple hospital sites and interacting with diverse teams and patients demanded clear and empathetic communication. It taught me the art of active listening, especially when discussing sensitive diagnoses.
- Collaboration. I aimed to learn from everyone involved, from physiologists to administrative staff and patients. This experience reinforced the significance of teamwork and the idea that we achieve more when we work together.
- Resilience. Balancing research, exams, and clinical work pushed me to develop resilience. There were moments of exhaustion and self-doubt, but I learned to set realistic goals and manage stress effectively.
- Self-Awareness and Feedback. Reflecting on my journey, accepting feedback from my supervisor, and recognizing my strengths and areas for improvement were instrumental in enhancing my research skills. Self-awareness is key to effective leadership.
Summer 2 brought a different yet equally important experience during the LiA project. I worked alongside Northern Vision, a non-profit organization, with the goal of assessing and creating a healthcare curriculum that addresses Indigenous needs in Northern Canada. This experience exposed me to the challenges faced by Indigenous communities, including geographic isolation, historical mistrust, and healthcare disparities. It also emphasized the power of inclusivity and community-driven collaboration.
A pivotal moment was receiving feedback from over 100 Indigenous community members and healthcare providers. Their insights helped shape a more applicable medical curriculum. Empathy played a significant role throughout the LiA project. Listening to the experiences of these communities deepened my understanding of their struggles and resilience. I continue to carry the voices of those who have trusted me with their stories.
Through these two summers, I've evolved as a global citizen and leader. My research project taught me collaboration, communication skills, resilience, and a deeper understanding of evidence-based medicine. The LiA project further honed my leadership skills, highlighting inclusivity, empathy, community engagement and presentation skills. I realized that leadership isn't about dictating solutions but about valuing diverse perspectives.
The Future: Leading with Purpose
As I reflect on my journey as a Laidlaw Scholar, I see a future where I can combine my research skills and leadership qualities to make a meaningful impact on healthcare. I envision myself working alongside underserved communities, bridging gaps in healthcare, and advocating for equitable access to medical services.
My experiences have equipped me with the skills and mindset needed to lead with purpose. I will continue to seek feedback, collaborate with diverse teams, and remain resilient in the face of challenges. My goal is to be a leader who not only generates knowledge but also ensures that this knowledge translates into positive changes in healthcare.
Overall, my journey as a Laidlaw Scholar has been a transformative one. It has shaped me into a more conscientious global citizen and a purpose-driven leader. I look forward to the future and the chances to lead with empathy, inclusivity, and a commitment to positive change.