OMSA Medical Student of February: Justin Lam

The first OMSA Medical Student of 2015 comes in February, and we had a number of great nominations. We'd like to share with you the story of Justin Lam, a 2nd year UofT medical student, as told by his nominator:

My name is Jason and I’m a second year medical student at the University of Toronto. I have only known Justin Lam for a short time (since starting medical school with him) but in that time, he has had a significant impact on my life, for the better. He is a colleague, a friend, and an inspiration. I believe his focus on his peers and the genuine presence he brings to every interaction sets him apart as truly unique, and that is why I nominated him for OMSA’s Student of the Month for February.

Justin is an eager medical student with many varied interests, and a particular emphasis on the arts and humanities. When I learned that he’d done his undergraduate training in Art History at Stanford, I was blown away. Since getting into medical school, he has put his interest and his passion for the arts into his various endeavours.

Justin has a particular interest in the interaction between medicine and the humanities. Last summer, Justin was a part of the Social Paediatrics Research Student Summership (SPReSS) at SickKids, where he conducted research on the hidden curriculum as part of an exploration of his interests.

He is also one of the student leads for the Health Arts & Humanities program at UofT. In this capacity, he spearheaded the development of ArtBeat, a website for student art, and the electronic companion curriculum, which seeks to enrich our didactic learning with readings pertaining to the week’s material. If any stereotype about Toronto is true, it is that we have a lot of class. The companion curriculum is a welcome addition to break away from all of that.

Justin was instrumental in the recent development of a new initiative, called The Humans of 1T7, which features interesting stories and insights from students in our medical class. This initiative gives our large (259 strong!) medical class an opportunity to get to know each other a little better, and bring us a little closer.

So, I guess these are all examples of what really sets Justin apart. All of these initiatives put an emphasis, and a priority on human connection, and for good reason, because that is precisely where our priorities as budding medical professionals should be. He has managed to find that truth early, and nurture it.

Aside from all this, Justin is also an avid photographer with an eye for capturing unique moments of experience in his life, his friends’ lives, and the life of a medical student. He is self-described as a “documenter of moments and things,” and in doing so, is chronicling our journey through medical school. Justin also volunteers his time, skills, and energy for many different causes, including Smiling Over Sickness (a UofT-based recreation program for children at SickKids), and this year’s production of the Daffydil 2015 Musical (UofT Medicine’s annual musical in support of the Canadian Cancer Society), which debuted in February to laughter, tears, applause, and glowing praise.

Justin is a steadfast, caring friend, who takes the time to be present with his peers and injects meaning into every interaction. In this way, he stands as a role model for all of us, on remembering how to be human. I can only imagine that this will translate to exceptional patient-centered care in whichever field he pursues. Thank you Justin, for all that you do!