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Community Health

Do you follow the recommendations you give to your patients? 

  • Most of the time, but nobody's perfect...

  • Almost always... I received all my vaccinations!

What do you think is the most difficult medical practice? The easiest ? 

  • It all depends on what we define as "difficult"... The schedules? The mental load? Recognition from colleagues? Population? Public health is easier in some respects (more flexible hours, less pressure from patients). But more difficult in other respects (less recognition, effects of our interventions less visible in the short term).

  • Difficult for population decisions which have a lot of impact and which run through our heads. As I am part of the Committee on Immunization of Quebec, several decisions in which I participated in the last months had serious consequences because they involved many people. For example: the recommendation to give the 1st doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 to a greater number of Quebecers and to delay the 2nd dose, when everywhere else it was not recommended, even if it was supported by evidence, it was difficult. The first vaccine efficacy data that we subsequently monitored were scrutinized. Easy: So interesting and unroutine that it's easy to start each day.


Was there an aspect of the residency program that was unexpected and required adaptation on your part?

  • No, it was as I had imagined: good balance between basic clinical internships, clinical internships with at-risk or marginalized populations, training in research/epidemiology, public health internships  

What is your favorite alcoholic drink?

  • Gin and tonic


What personality traits are typical of your profession?

  • Passionate, creative, influencer, strategic

What specialty would you never do? Why?

  • Surgery, because I'm not very manual

Would you be friends with your colleagues if you had met them outside of work? 

  • Certainly with my public health colleagues!

  • YESIIIIII!  Bright, friendly people with a social conscience +++

What do you think is the most important factor for a successful residency in your specialty?  A career in your specialty?

  • The ability to constantly re-explain a specialty that few understand (although a little more with the pandemic 😉) More seriously, I would say the concern for social issues, political skills and communication.

  • Flexibility, ability to manage several files in parallel.

What is the best advice you have received? 

  • To not be afraid to make difficult choices

  • Honestly, I don't remember any advice in particular, but I gave it a lot... no kidding: love what you do and never ogle the rigor. Sometimes it takes longer, but it pays off in the end.  


What is the most common criticism you receive?

  • To recommend containment measures!?!

  • Do too much, see too much!


How would your colleagues describe you?

  • Colleagues would be better placed to respond; ) But probably as a team person. And who is not afraid of challenges.

  • Passion, listen!


Why did you choose public health?

  • I wanted to make a difference at the source. To act on health inequalities and with vulnerable populations. To contribute to profound changes in certain determinants. The possibility of reconciling work and family more easily also played a role (until the pandemic arrived!!)

  • A combination of circumstances because I didn't really have a career plan telling myself that I was choosing public health. But I worked as an omni MD and at the time I worked in the Community Health Department when it was in hospitals. I was immediately hooked and passionate, which is why I then did an M.Sc. in health comm then I did the specialty

  • Because I wanted to have a big influence on the health of the population, to change things upstream of the problems. The way I saw to get there was through this specialty

  • Because I love people from all angles and wanted to use several complementary disciplines, approaches and strategies to contribute to their health and well-being, the determinants of health going far beyond clinical care


Is it possible to have part of the practice devoted to seeing patients? If so, in what context?

  • Yes, it is always possible. The specialists who do this usually do so with a very specific clinical field (eg opiate substitution treatment, palliative care).

  • Yes, I have colleagues who do it, but in very specialized practices often in connection with public health interests and to be able to really stay up to date: eg: clinic with workers, STBBI clinic, etc.

  • Yes it is possible, methadone clinical example, environmental health clinic or occupational health, etc. But I would say the majority of public health MDs don't see patients


What does a public health day look like?

  • The beauty of public health is that there are no routines! Files are constantly changing. A day can be made up of meetings with public health teams, with school or municipal partners, meetings with citizens, and personal work on projects (including research for certain doctors).

  • No routine. Numerous meetings with various partners from the health network or outside the network, individual literature review work, drafting of opinions, preparation of communications, discussion with the media.

  • Never such a day! Since we are working on what is important for the population, and since this varies enormously over the weeks, and even days, our work is constantly adapting. In a day, I can work on 5-10 different files and with multiple partners from all sectors, other days (rarer) I look into a more in-depth file


If you had to specialize in something else, what would it be and why?

  • ENT. It was my first passion : ) I would probably have been happy in any medical specialty in fact.

  • Neurology to find out where the lesion is!


During your medical studies, what did you do on a Friday evening?

  • Hahaha, I don't know if it's good to tell the truth, but since I'm being honest: the party 🙂 on Thursdays too 😉 on the other hand, when I got back to my residence, I started to really dive into my health records public, and naturally I began to invest myself more in my profession.


How many hours of work per week on average?

  • Too much... Combining my duties as a doctor and a teacher, I have to do at least 55-60 hours. Outside of a pandemic, it's more like 45-50 hours, except in rush situations (in public health, emergencies happen without warning)


What do you dislike most about your practice?

  • I work a lot. Difficult to mentally pick up the evening, because my files are in depth. I am so passionate about my job that I often talk about it, I often think about it. But don't worry, I have a life lol. I have 5 children at home, a dog, I play sports, I like good food and I love to travel. I just think I have a lot of energy.


What are the difficulties, the least pleasant aspects that you encounter in your specialty?

  • Sometimes it is difficult to accept our defeat, especially when the reason is not related to health (e.g. our recommendation is not retained for political or economic reasons, whereas on the sanitary it is totally justified)


What car do you drive?

  • BMW 4 series, the electric car will come one day 😉


How do you plan your vacation?

  • I try to travel as soon as I can, to pick up. I try not to plan too much, just buy my plane tickets, we will see the opportunities there.  

Does your specialty take jokes well at work?

  • Absoutely! The CISSS calls us "the direction of happiness"!! There is a lot of laughter and fun in our daily work.

  • Yes and the sense of humor is of good quality!


Do students/residents sometimes make you feel overwhelmed? 

  • As in any specialty, there are more difficult times (eg end of master's degree and specialty exams). But public health specialists working on the determinants of health (including those of positive mental health!), the well-being of residents and the balance between life and work are at the center of the approach with residents.

  • In some cases or areas, but overall it's fine. But isn't it the master's job to teach his students to become independent?  and to overcome?


If your specialty had to have a romantic relationship with another which one would it choose? 

  • She would probably be the mother of the other specialties: The one who does deep work, to give the best possible foundations, often being poorly recognized; )

  • Medical rather than surgical specialties given the scope of practice profile. Internal medicine!

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