Faces of U of T Medicine: Sina Hadipour-Lakmehsari

Aug 22, 2018
After a being diagnosed with a serious illness as a teen, Sina Hadipour-Lakmehsari got a first-hand look at how health care teams work to deliver patient care. This experience inspired him to pursue medicine and support patients and their families in their most vulnerable times. Hadipour-Lakmehsari spoke to writer Julia Soudat about his journey and what he’s looking forward to as an incoming MD student with the Class of 2T2.

What did you do before coming to UofTMed?

I did my MSc in Physiology with Dr. Anthony Gramolini at U of T. My work here focused on using various techniques to figure out the molecular mechanisms of cardiac diseases. This exposure to basic science research and its application to shed light on unknown disease pathways planted a deep-rooted interest in research, which will definitely be a component of my career in the future.

What made you want to become a doctor?

I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 17 and this experience gave me a front row seat to the world of medicine as a patient. I was able to see how a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses, nutritionists and social workers were able to work together to make my care as efficient and smooth as possible. The doctor’s role stood out the most to me. Their ability to orchestrate and facilitate my treatment and care - while being the point-person for any concerns or questions my parents or I had - fascinated me. With their guidance and support, I went through my treatments and surgeries successfully and I am now 7 years post-diagnosis and cancer-free. This was how I realized that I have a passion for medicine and I wanted to give back by having the same positive impact on patients and their families in my career.

Who were some of the people that helped you along the way?

There have been many people in my life who have had a huge positive impact on my journey, but a few of them really stand out. My father has been the greatest role model in my life. His infinite wisdom and knowledge have been indispensable and have gotten me through many tough times.

My oncologist, Dr. Abha Gupta, has been a huge role model for me professionally. The way she communicates with her patients and their families – giving them confidence and support – is something that I hope to emulate in my own career. Her time-management skills are also amazing; she runs a very busy clinic, is active in research and has a family. It’s a lot to juggle and I really look up to her.

Lastly, my MSc supervisor, Dr. Anthony Gramolini, has been an incredible mentor to me. His advice on research and life has been invaluable and taught me many lessons that I will use in the future.

Do you know which specialty you’d like to pursue?

Right now, I have a deeply vested interest in pediatric oncology and would like to pursue that in the future. In addition to being a pediatric oncologist in the clinic, I’d like to do research investigating the effects of cancer therapies on the heart and the molecular mechanisms behind that.

How did it feel when you got your acceptance letter?

Getting my acceptance letter from U of T was a very happy moment. A lot of effort was put in before that moment and it felt great that it all paid off. Being able to tell my support systems that their investment in me was fruitful was also a very satisfying and joyful moment.

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

Actually, I only applied to U of T. I think the resources that are present in Toronto for medical trainees is unmatched anywhere else in Canada. Just considering the stretch of University Avenue which has 5 hospitals with world-class physicians, surgeons, and health-care professionals is an excellent indication of that. Also, the integrated system of the Foundations Curriculum was a major attractant to me and I feel that it really matches my learning style. In addition to that, I’ve lived in Toronto most of my life and I love it here!

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

I’m really looking forward to meeting my classmates! It’s an incredible opportunity to meet and learn from people from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences. I’m also really looking forward to shadowing and learning about many different specialties and exploring the world of medicine.

What do you think the biggest challenges will be?

I think the biggest challenge will be finding time for myself and making sure I take care of my mental and physical well-being. Between school, shadowing and joining different clubs, I’m sure it will be difficult to carve out time to relax.

What do you like to do outside of school?

I love camping, canoeing, and hiking! I’ve been to many of Ontario’s parks and I try to do at least one multi-day trip every summer. I also love cooking and trying new recipes. My girlfriend and I try to make a meal from every country to gain an appreciation for the different flavours and ingredients popular in different parts of the world.