Preparing Future Medical Leaders

Advocate, actor, comedian and author Rob Hawke led a Dynamic Speaking for Leadership workshop for students in the Leadership in Medicine Elective (LiME) on February 4.


Hawke — who is an alumnus of Second City — is a respected patient advocate who draws upon his own experience as a cancer patient. His one-man show, “Norm versus Cancer: A Terminally Funny One Man Show,” was nominated for a 2011 Canadian Comedy Award.


One of LiME’s central messages to students by bringing in Rob is that they could learn about being leaders in medicine from other professionals — not just doctors.


Physicians who are leaders and role models teach students every day at U of T, but other professionals can provide a fresh perspective on what they value in physician leaders. As the field of medicine becomes more interprofessional and patient centred, it is important that medical students learn from other professionals. Hawke, who has worked with medical professionals in a variety of setting for a number of years now, understands this.


In the workshop, Hawke and the students began with reviewing key messages in public speaking, including the need for effective leaders to convey their ideas confidently. The workshop engaged each participant to practice their public speaking skills through group games and activities and individual solo mini-speeches. Students received helpful critiques following their speech from both Rob and the group.


The workshop is part of LiME — a preclerkship elective run by 2nd year medical students for their first and second year peers. The elective focuses on developing leadership skills through a variety of workshops, as well as small and large group seminars and lectures. This is the second year in a row Hawke has spoken to LiME students.


“This session was the perfect start to LiME. Rob is engaging, friendly and knowledgeable, and he was able to create an environment that encouraged participation from students who have not worked with each other previously. It was an effective icebreaker and valuable lesson in personal development of leadership skills.” — Jennifer Hunter, organizer


“The activities really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was really good, we don’t get pushed out of our comfort zone that often.” — Liza Abraham, 1st year medical student


“His feedback was very insightful and clearly based on a wealth of experience.” — Davis Holmes, 2nd year medical student


For more information about the Leadership in Medicine Elective, contact


Thank-you Rob, from the Leadership in Medicine Elective Directors.


Jennifer H., Class of 2016, University of Toronto