OMSA Student of the Month of December: Gerhard Dashi

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Gerhard is an energetic medical student who aspired to become an inspirational teacher and mentor long before deciding to become a doctor. Since entering medical school, Gerhard has eagerly pursued every opportunity to learn about and contribute to medical education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His interests lie in interprofessional training in high-risk settings and he is announcing his presence in this field through his various contributions. In two short years, he has conducted multiple successful research projects on topics such as leadership styles in operating rooms, life-saving interventions in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, and assessment of skills in bedside ultrasound (featured in Scrub-In, May 2015). His latest project involves using state-of-the-art gaze-tracking technology to learn about expert behaviours during resuscitations.

Gerhard was initially captivated while watching nearly flawless communication and teamwork in the Queen’s Simulation Olympics and the national Simulation Olympiad, where he participated as an actor. The inspiring group performances encouraged him to dig deeper into this field for his own education, as well as the benefit of his future patients and colleagues. This may explain his current ability to build jovial and therapeutic bonds with peers and patients on a daily basis. Because of his model behavior, Gerhard also represented the medical school in the Queen’s Healthcare Team Challenge and was awarded for his interprofessional research at the national event.

However, Gerhard’s interest in medical and interprofessional training extend far beyond the local context. As the first medical-school representative to the local chapter of “Friends of MSF”, he promoted medical training and care around the world. His dedication to this cause is best exemplified by his involvement with this group for the past 7 years, since joining it as a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto.

Additionally, as President of the International Students Association of Emergency Medicine (ISAEM), he fervently advocates for better acute care systems and education, especially in countries where emergency or pre-hospital services do not exist. He consistently collaborates with medical, nursing, and paramedic students around the globe to create and share clinical and research opportunities, while simultaneously promoting his message and garnering support at national conferences and events. With his dedicated team, he is currently working on translation services to extend the reach of Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) to the non-English speaking world. Not surprisingly, Gerhard’s first personal contribution to FOAM was a blog post meant to help medical students find successful mentors, published on BoringEM.org. This same website also publishes Gerhard’s interprofessionally-focused blog series, “Phone a Friend”.

Yet, despite his ambitious and inspirational work, what makes Gerhard truly deserving of this award are the small tasks he does without need for recognition. These include mentoring undergraduate students at Queen’s and U of T on a weekly basis, leading our class in exercise during breaks, packing toys for sick children each holiday season, and delivering anonymous cards to patients on their birthdays. These exemplary qualities cannot easily be taught.