PGY-1 Public Health and Preventive Medicine – University of Manitoba
My name is Jordyn Lerner. I’m a PGY-1 in public health and preventive medicine at the University of Manitoba. This program includes family medicine. I was born and raised in Winnipeg and completed my B. Sc. at the University of Winnipeg. I attended medical school at the University of Manitoba.
When I first got into medical school, I wasn’t sure what my focus would be. First, I wanted be a radiologist, then an internist, and then an anesthesiologist. Soon I realized the limitations of clinical medicine in influencing health. I thought that instead of treating people when they get sick, why don’t we prevent them from getting sick in the first place? That’s when I seriously started to consider a career in public health and preventive medicine.
What does a typical day of clinical duties involve?
The first two years of my residency are identical to family medicine residency. Most of my PGY-1 year is spent in family medicine clinic.
What kinds of rotations are required in your program?
In the first two years we do rotations in family medicine, emergency, obstetrics, internal, palliative, surgery, and pediatrics. Year three is an academic year, when I will take courses towards a Master’s of Public Health. In years four and five I will finally get to do rotations in public health & preventive medicine.
Currently, I do rotations with urban health authorities, rural health authorities, the provincial government, and the federal government.
Which of your personality characteristics have been particularly helpful in your field?
Curiosity is so important in public health and preventive medicine. No one is going to give you a list of 10 in-patients to see before sign-over. Instead, a lot of learning on public health rotations is driven by your curiosity with the subject matter.
What are the best aspects of your residency?
Public health and preventive medicine is such a broad field. It includes medical science topics like disease outbreak, and social science topics like poverty. You can easily find an area of interest within the scope of public health & preventive medicine.
What are the most challenging aspects of your residency?
My residency has three distinct stages: family medicine, graduate studies, and public health and preventive medicine rotations. The skill set needed for one stage isn’t necessarily relevant to the others. So it can be a bit of a rocky transition from family medicine to graduate studies, and from graduate studies to public health & preventive medicine rotations.
What is one question you’re often asked about your residency?
I often hear: “Public health? Is that a real residency?” The answer is YES, It’s a real residency! It’s a five-year Royal College accredited residency program. And yes, I am doctor.
What are your future practice plans?
I’d like to work full time in public health and preventive medicine. My area of interest is the built environment. I want to look at ways that we can shape our built environment so people make healthy choices without even realizing that they’re making healthy choices.
I’d like to maintain a clinical practice. I’ll probably do clinic one day a week with a focused practice within family medicine.
What are your fellow residents like and how do you interact with each other?
We’re a bunch of nerds. We’re always ready to talk about the latest government announcement and analyze its effect on the health of the population. My peers come from diverse educational backgrounds (science, psychology, social work, business, etc.), so everyone has a different perspective to add to the discussion.
We get along great. Public health and preventive medicine is not a competitive environment. There are more than enough public health problems for everyone to work on!
What are your academic interests (e.g. leadership activities, research)?
I’ve been very involved with accreditation over my medical career. In medical school, I sat on the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools, which, as its name implies, is the national body that accredits undergraduate medical education programs. In residency, I did an internal review of a residency program at my university. I sit on a College of Family Physicians of Canada working group that’s revising the accreditation standards for family medicine residency programs. If my schedule allows it, I’ll be attending an external accreditation site visit next year.
What is your work-life balance like, and how do you achieve this?
I’m a politics and news junkie. This works well with my residency program, because politics and current events have a huge impact on public health.
I ride my bike to work, even in the Winnipeg winter. It’s a great way to get exercise and save on gas and parking.
As Oscar Wilde said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” That means I sometimes visit the McDonalds beside my clinic for some Chicken McNuggets or the latest McFlurry.
Connect with and follow Jordyn on Twitter at @jordynlerner