2019-2020 RDoC Outstanding Volunteers of the Year

Four RDoC volunteers were announced as RDoC Outstanding Volunteers of the Year at the virtual Annual General Meeting held on June 13, 2020. Through their service to our members, each of these exemplary individuals has demonstrated leadership and dedication to RDoC’s mission, “Champion excellence in medical education, resident wellness, and health systems as the national voice of resident doctors.” Congratulations Drs Ahmad, Bhatia, Ho, and Tam, and thank you!

Dr. Tehmina Ahmad

Dr. Ahmad is a graduating Internal Medicine Resident at the University of Toronto who has a keen interest in developing policies and practices to alleviate structurally driven health inequities. She continues her journey in Toronto as a newly appointed Adult Endocrinology & Metabolism Fellow with an interest in providing Transgender care.

Nationally, Dr. Ahmad has served three terms as a Board of Directors Member of Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC). She is currently the Board Liaison and Chair of the National Resident Survey. In this role, she propelled evidence-based changes to ensure that RDoC’s biennial questionnaire was developed with rigor and validity. Through this position, she has thoughtfully incorporated gender identity demographics to improve the collection of diversity data on resident physicians. She has additionally highlighted the importance of gathering data on residents facing bullying, intimidation, and harassment to drive institutional change. Dr. Ahmad’s research and advocacy focuses on the importance of collaboration, physician leadership, and communication to better protect and serve resident physicians across the country.

Her proudest accomplishment with RDoC is collaborating with the RDoC Executive and Royal College to jettison regressive and inequitable exam-taking policies targeting residents who are pregnant or in labour. Dr. Ahmad collected and amalgamated resident experiences from August – December 2019, upon which the RDoC Executive presented these narratives, resulting in the Royal College quickly implementing positive changes such as:

  1. Exam fee refunds will be issued in cases of unforeseen and exceptional circumstances (e.g., giving birth early);
  2. A complicated pregnancy or miscarriage affecting a candidate’s ability to sit for the exam will no longer be considered a year of exhausted eligibility (e.g., count as an exam attempt); and
  3. Elimination of the time-based policy that requires residents to write exams in the same calendar year as completion of training.

Motivated by medicine and driven by dreams, Dr. Ahmad attributes her success to her mentors, colleagues, communities, and resident doctors that she continues to serve.

Dr. Meghan Bhatia

Dr. Bhatia is from Ajax, Ontario. She completed her undergraduate degree at Western before attending Queen’s School of Medicine for her medical training. Dr. Bhatia is currently finishing up her Family Medicine Residency at the University of Toronto and is about to begin an Enhanced Clinical Skills year in Emergency Medicine at NOSM in Sudbury. Dr. Bhatia worked as a Zumba instructor & Dragonboat coach throughout her degrees, working to maintain steady involvement in health advocacy, including during her time with RDoC.

As an RDoC volunteer, Dr. Bhatia has been involved in various initiatives, from being a liaison to a resident surveyor. Every experience brought its unique responsibilities and insights into how the resident voice could effectively contribute and advocate when needed. This past year, ahead of the 2019 Federal Election, Dr. Bhatia was project team lead for RDoC’s new Government Affairs Project Team. In this role, she helped to identify the unique challenges that residents face when participating in the democratic process. In response to these challenges, she spearheaded the development of RDoC The Vote, a website with information catered specifically to residents on the how, the when and the where of voting. As part of this campaign, Dr. Bhatia oversaw the collection of inspiring video testimonials from healthcare practitioners from across Canada. It made her very proud to see that all of us, as residents, could instigate positive change by empowering fellow residents across Canada to increase their involvement in health advocacy.

The best advice Dr. Bhatia has for incoming RDoC volunteers is to seek out and pursue the opportunities that you are passionate about, as the possibilities are limitless when volunteering with RDoC!

Dr. Bernard Ho

Dr. Ho was born and raised in Markham, Ontario. He completed his Bachelor of Health Science degree at McMaster University and his medical school training at the University of Toronto. Currently, he is finishing his Family Medicine residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and will then move to Vancouver, BC to complete a one-year fellowship in Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Ho became involved with RDoC at the beginning of his residency and has held numerous positions. This year, he was part of the National Licensure Project Team, a group that advocates for the creation of a single pan-Canadian licensure system to improve physician mobility. In this role, he wrote an article on the benefits of  national licensure and interviewed key stakeholders like Dr. Jane Philpott. He will be presenting the group’s work at ICRE in the fall.

Dr. Ho has also held several liaison positions, most recently on the Virtual Interview and Program Promotion Committee, where he is working alongside physician leaders from across the country to implement a novel CaRMS virtual interview system that is equitable and meets the needs of programs and candidates.

His favourite part of volunteering for RDoC has been meeting and working with so many passionate resident leaders across Canada. He is constantly inspired by the work that they do and feels privileged to have learned from them.

Dr. Ho’s advice for incoming volunteers is to look for projects and initiatives within RDoC that you are passionate about. There are so many opportunities for collaboration and committees to join that you are sure to find one (or many) that are important to you, where you can engage with like-minded residents and build from each other.

Dr. Vivian Tam

Dr. Tam is an Integrated 3 Year Program (I3P) Family Medicine resident at the University of Toronto. She is completing her MSc in Health Policy, Management and Evaluation with a specialization in System Leadership and Innovation. Simply put, Dr. Tam is interested in designing public policy as a tool to mitigate health inequities. She completed her undergraduate studies in Arts & Science at McMaster, where she developed her passion for diplomacy, community engagement and teaching. She is thrilled to be able to combine these interests in her career in medicine and looks forward to practicing full scope family and emergency medicine in future.

Her proudest accomplishment with RDoC is seeing its first anthology of resident stories from idea generation through to completion. She is looking forward to celebrating the anthology and its many contributors through the upcoming virtual book launch that is open to all.

She has held various other positions within RDoC, most recently serving as the Communications Team Lead and previously working with the national licensure sub-committee. What’s made her time with RDoC most enjoyable is the breadth of talent and unwavering enthusiasm for the work that she has experienced when working with her peers. She strongly believes in the importance of RDoC’s role in representing her fellow residents, and recommends that incoming volunteers be goal-oriented, open-minded and willing to learn from their colleagues.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading accounts of narrative medicine, finding new parks and beaches to enjoy the sun in and getting to and fro by bicycle.

Previous Residents recognized as Outstanding Volunteers by RDoC

Dr. Aditi Amin
Dr. Michael Benusic
Dr. Brandon Tang