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St. Joseph's Health Centre Toronto

Caring for those experiencing disadvantage inspires chief resident Dr. Marisa Leon-Carlyle

Dr. Marisa Leon-Carlyle Each year, St. Joseph’s Health Centre welcomes new chief residents (CRs) to guide the experience we offer to incoming medical students. The CR role honours the skills and abilities of stand-out residents and places them in a position to help formally train and mentor the next generation of students.

For 2019-20, St. Joseph’s welcomed four new CRs in July: Dr. David Anderson and Dr. Ellen Ann Thompson for Family Medicine; Dr. Marisa Leon-Carlyle for Psychiatry; and Dr. Stephanie Tung for Surgery.

We are sharing their stories over the month as they move into this important role. Dr. Leon-Carlyle tells us what inspired a career in medicine, what she’s looking forward to in the coming year, and what she values about working at St. Joseph’s.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in medicine and what keeps you inspired?
I decided on medicine after doing research with inspiring physician leaders in Canada and abroad. These experiences showed me the immense impact a single physician can have on their patients’ wellbeing, and the broader impact of even small health-care system changes. I am fascinated by the complex systems and resource-management problems we face in Canada. As a future mental health clinician, I look forward to using the tools acquired from my medical education to care for patients in socially disadvantaged communities and to create healthy and sustainable solutions to promote mental wellness for future generations.

How will this role allow you to mentor and train this cohort of residents?
I will have an opportunity to guide the clinical, education, and social experiences for medical residents completing their psychiatry rotations. I look forward to facilitating seminars based around residents’ learning goals, and optimizing their clinical experiences. Being chief resident is also an important opportunity to advocate on behalf of my peers and to ensure that wellness is more than a buzzword in health-care training.

What drew you to St. Joseph’s for your residency?
I was very fortunate to spend five years of my medical training at the St. Michael’s Hospital site of Unity Health Toronto, whose mandate is to care for the ‘sick and poor of Toronto’s inner city’. I witnessed the many ways in which social factors – poverty, underemployment, lack of housing, food insecurity, immigration status, even language and culture – affect health. I have an active interest in serving Toronto’s disadvantaged and look forward to continuing to do so while at St. Joseph’s.

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