By Kevin Ren, HBSc, MD (Class of 2013)

Kevin obtained his HBSc in Physiology at the University of Toronto in 2008. He then completed a year of pharmacy at the University of Toronto before pursuing his MD at Queen’s University (Class of 2013). Kevin is currently an Anatomical Pathology resident at Queen’s (Class of 2018). Here he shares the reasons behind choosing each step of his academic career.

During undergraduate studies, I was one of those students who entered university with an open mind, but did not specifically know what to pursue as a career. After exploring different areas including the life sciences, physics, and art history, I developed an interest in the biological sciences. I chose to specialize in physiology because the physiology program offered a variety of laboratory oriented courses and provided a lot of hands-on experience. The University of Toronto also had excellent research opportunities, and I was able to enroll in the Research Opportunity Program (ROP) and spend a year learning experimental skills in neurophysiology. During these research experiences, I became quite fascinated with the ability of pharmaceutical agents to change animal and human physiology.

I had always wanted to apply the knowledge that I learned in labs and lecture halls to real life situations. Specifically, with a physiology background, I was interested in understanding how medications affect people. Pharmacy training offered exactly that and provided many other business and research opportunities. All of these compelling reasons made me pursue training in pharmacy.

After submitting my application to pharmacy, I took a very popular anatomy and histology course at the University of Toronto taught by an exceptional professor, who also ran the anatomy and histology curriculum for Toronto medical students. It still ranks as one of the best courses that I have ever taken. What fascinated me was how my professor was able to connect the dots between structure (anatomy and histology) and function (physiology) and ultimately branch that to clinical medicine. It became apparent to me that a career in medicine offered the complete and integrated training I desired. It involved assessing patients, interpreting test results, making diagnoses, and selecting treatments. Physicians are also trained as leaders in our health care system to make important decisions at critical moments. The profession demands a tremendous amount of responsibility and is showered with great respect in return.

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