Faces of U of T Medicine: Muskaan Sachdeva

Aug 23, 2018

Muskaan Sachdeva is passionate about rural medicine, Zumba and learning new languages. As she prepares to join the MD Class of 2T2, she shares what she’s most excited about with Faculty of Medicine writer Julia Soudat.

What did you do before coming to UofTMed?

After I graduated from the Health Sciences Program at McMaster University, I took a year to explore wet-lab research, spend more time with family in Thunder Bay and perfect my guacamole-making skills.

What’s the secret to the perfect guacamole?

Don’t pre-mash avocados, add extra lime and limit the salt.

What made you want to become a doctor?

There wasn’t a single defining event in my life that made me decide to pursue a career in medicine. It was a gradual progression from living rural India to exploring my interest in science throughout university. I grew up in an underserved community in India, where I witnessed the limitations of not having an established health care system in my community, waiting for months to see a doctor and traveling long distances with family to visit urban hospitals for basic healthcare needs. I remember my grandparents often discussing if their health condition was “serious enough” to travel that far.

I moved to Kuwait, then Canada - first to Hamilton and then to Thunder Bay. The advanced and easily accessible healthcare systems in Kuwait and Hamilton were a complete contrast to that of rural India and Thunder Bay. Recognizing these disparities, I aspire to work in small communities.

What appeals to you about working in rural or small communities?

As a physician, I will have the knowledge and skills to serve rural populations with the sole purpose of making a positive impact on the physical and mental health of the patients during their most vulnerable times. That is something very rewarding and meaningful to me as a person.

I understand that it’s not an easy choice to commit to working in rural settings because of lack of resources and support. However, I grew up in underserved areas and experienced the difficulties that arise from not having access to a physician nearby. After acquiring expertise in medicine, I envision myself being part of the solution to rural physician shortages that had a profound impact on me. Apart from achieving personal and professional satisfaction, I’ll be able to provide continuity of care to rural residents.

How did it feel when you got your acceptance letter?

After reading the acceptance email exactly four times, I still could not digest the fact that I will be one of the 250+ students in the UofTMed 2T2 cohort. Truth be told, I still can’t believe it. It felt like receiving my first paycheck after years of hard work and multiple sleepless nights. It was the greatest tear-jerking, jaw-dropping and mind-numbing moment.

If you got accepted to other medical schools, why did you choose U of T?

Living in Toronto has been a dream ever since I moved to Canada. Being a foodie, I continue to be impressed by the quantity and quality of Italian, Mexican and Indian cuisines in the city. With numerous hospital partners and internationally-recognized facilities, I could not convince myself to say no to this wonderful opportunity. Being close to family was also a consideration for me. Although my family is in Thunder Bay, I’m only a 2-hour flight away!

Anything you’re going to miss about Thunder Bay?

I’m so excited to spend at least the next four years in my dream city: Toronto. Thunder Bay will be missed - especially the Sleeping Giant, the mountains, everything being a quick 8-minute drive away and of course, my family. I’m looking forward to visiting Thunder Bay during the breaks.

What are you most looking forward to as a UofTMed student?

I am looking forward to everything: carrying that radiant red backpack, getting to know most of my peers beyond school, being awed and overwhelmed by knowledge, joining U of T clubs, skipping breakfast to successfully catch the shuttle bus, study sessions that turn into pizza nights, racing the clock to prepare for a million and a half evaluations and in the process, gaining competency to be a compassionate physician.

What do you like to do outside of school?

When I am not in school, I’m either travelling, writing, zumba-ing, or learning new languages. Even though I’ve lived in Canada for ten years, I have never been outside of Ontario for travelling purposes. My goal is to explore every Canadian province, be left speechless by their picturesque beauty and of course, finally own an igloo.

Also, as a certified Zumba Instructor, I absolutely enjoy spending my time facilitating Zumba classes, attending jam sessions and coming up with bizarre moves.

 

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 medicine.communications@utoronto.ca.

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