Faces of U of T Medicine: Anser Daud
This fall, Anser Daud will join the incoming MD Class of 2T2 as a first-year student. He spoke with writer Julia Soudat about his journey to medical school, his interest in advocacy, working with underprivileged populations and how his faith inspires his commitment to serving humanity.
What did you do before coming to UofTMed?
After completing an undergraduate degree in Life Sciences at McMaster University, I had the unique opportunity to spearhead a patient education project in interventional cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Collaborating with healthcare providers and patients, we developed an innovative tool called CardiacClinic.ca, to help patients of structural and congenital heart disease learn about their condition and treatment options. The website is live now, and we’re working on the second phase of this project, a physician education website where global authorities in the field offer mentorship and guidance to early career interventional cardiologists, TorontoCourse.com.
How did it feel when you got your acceptance letter?
I was overcome with emotions of joy. At first, it was very difficult to process that all of the years of struggle had finally materialized into certainty. I was - and continue to be - extremely grateful to have this opportunity, and I am very excited about the future.
You are a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. What does this mean to you and how has it influenced your journey into medicine?
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been at the forefront of a peaceful revival of Islam, and is the fastest growing Muslim denomination in the world, yet we are marginalized and persecuted by religious extremists in countries abroad. Many of family members have faced severe persecution and have been forced to abandon their homes to seek out better lives elsewhere. My parents came to Canada 25 years ago for this very reason. As a result of their decision, I have the opportunity to embark on a quality medical education at the University of Toronto, one of the best medical schools in the world.
From an early age, I have been taught that “Love of country is part of faith”and that service to humanity is a fundamental part of one’s faith. Our community is an advocate for universal human rights and protections for religious and other minorities. Our motto is “Love for All, Hatred for None”. Knowing that there are vulnerable people - both globally and domestically - who are not as lucky as us, my faith has instilled in me the responsibility to use the opportunities I have been granted for the betterment of humanity, whether it be through research, service work, or advocacy. My family makes it a point to demonstrate these teachings through our patriotism, whether it means celebrating Canada Day with pride or serving vulnerable and needy people in the Greater Toronto Area. These are the very underlying values that have constantly driven my desire to pursue a career in medicine.
What are your areas of interest? What do you hope to accomplish with a career in medicine?
I’m passionate about using technology and media to enhance the delivery of healthcare to patients. I also have a passion for advocacy through journalism. I have written in various newspapers about human rights issues such as freedom of religion and refugee health, and hope to shift my focus towards health advocacy. Lastly, I’m very passionate about serving vulnerable and poverty afflicted communities. I have been heavily involved with Humanity First, a charitable disaster relief and community development organization that is 100% volunteer based.
As a medical student, I hope to continue my efforts of advocacy and volunteerism, but in the context of medicine. I aspire to give a voice to the voiceless, and to serve the most marginalized populations. This is the reason I chose to be based out of FitzGerald Academy (and St. Michael’s Hospital), where I can be closely involved with tackling inner city health issues through the Centre for Urban Health Solutions.
Have you had any mentors who’ve helped you along the way?
I think mentorship is one of the most important things for anyone who aspires to pursue an education in medicine. I was fortunate to have endless support and guidance along the way. My mother and my father were my rocks and have helped me with whatever I needed. I was also surrounded by many positive influences, from my teachers and supervisors to my friends or community members. If you don’t have that kind of support, it’s going to be a very long journey, one where it’s hard to pick yourself up after your failures, of which I had many.
What are you most looking forward to as a UofTMed student?
I’m looking forward to meeting my new classmates from different walks of life, and learning from their unique experiences and perspectives. I’m also very much looking forward to gaining clinical skills that I will be using to help patients for the rest of my career. I’m eager to figure out my niche and discover where I will best fit in the very broad field of medicine!
Faces of U of T Medicine introduces you to some of the interesting people studying in the Faculty of Medicine. From advising political leaders to providing care to Toronto’s most vulnerable populations, members of our community are having an impact at home and around the world.
Do you have an interesting story to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.