I was born and raised in a small, under serviced community in Northern, Ontario called Muskoka. As a child I always had an interest in health care. Whether I was reading the oral pathology books of my fathers (a local oral surgeon) or playing doctor with my dolls and my fisher price doctor kit, I was always drawn to medicine and its ability to help people.
During my early years in Muskoka I was always encouraged to take a strong interest in the sciences, arts, and the natural world. I not only learned about my environment from living on the “land” but I also spent a substantial part of my life living on a boat on the “water”. Living aboard and sailing on the water, I found, was actually one of the best classrooms I could have experienced. It truly teaches one to see and view all your everyday experiences from a whole different perspective. It taught me the value of being completely self-sufficient, and required me to rely on my own decision making abilities. It also taught me to live with total respect for the living environment and wildlife around me on both a local and global level. I have learned how fragile and threatened our environment has become. I came to realize that our lives are connected, in every way, to all the elements that make up our planet.
Being cognizant of the fragile environment that we live in and how that in turn effects of everyday wellbeing, made me realize the importance being fully aware of context when dealing with individual problems. This was especially emphasized as I grew older and became aware of my mother’s mental health problems. It was not enough just to pathologize my mother as mentally ill; in order to truly understand the nature of her problems and to best help her “feel better” again, the environmental and social contexts that shaped her life needed to be taken into consideration. I believe my ability to look at things from this vantage point and to take context into consideration will greatly assist me in...
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