Sep 23, 2021

Humans of LMP: Ian Sue-Chue-Lam

Programs: MHSc Lab Medicine, Programs: Graduate
Ian Sue-Chue-Lam

Each month we speak to a member of the Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology community and find out more about them.

This month it is Ian Sue-Chue-Lam, a Pathologists' Assistant (PA) who teaches on our MHSc in Laboratory Medicine.

If you would like to be featured, or know someone who should be, use the nomination form on our Humans of LMP page.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am a Pathologists’ Assistant (PA) at the University Health Network and a Lecturer at LMP.

As a pathologists’ assistant, I perform the macroscopic examination, dissection and sampling of surgical specimens and autopsies. The sections we take from each case are sent to histology and turned into slides to be interpreted by a pathologist.

We also have a significant role in instructing a wide range of learners, which most recently includes students with U of T’s very own MHSc PA Program! 

How long have you been at LMP and what was your previous role? 

My appointment with LMP began in June, just as the first cohort of U of T’s PA Program began their clinical placements. My current job at UHN is my first one since graduating from the PA Program at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the work I’ve done as Lead Organizer for the Online Pathologists’ Assistant Conference (OPAC), a virtual charity event that was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it became apparent that in-person meetings would be cancelled for the foreseeable future, there was a clear need for the landscape of PA continuing education to adapt to the realities of the pandemic. Moreover, our broader communities were grappling with an unprecedented medical and economical crisis. With these issues in mind, OPAC was founded through the efforts of a unified North American PA community.

We presented the second annual OPAC in June of this year. To date, the event has raised over $20,000 for charities combating the COVID-19 pandemic. OPAC has also given us the opportunity to broadcast lectures from across North America to our audience in over 20 different countries. Although I hope that OPAC remains impactful to PAs and our benefitting charities through the coming years, it will always remind me of the immense generosity of the people in laboratory medicine and pathology.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

The top of my to-do list is filled with creating and updating lectures I’ll be presenting to the PGY2 pathology residents and pathologists’ assistant students. The next lecture on the docket covers liver pathology, one of my favourite topics!

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I have a constantly changing, eclectic taste in music, but the Blue Album by Weezer has been a definite mainstay. I thoroughly enjoyed Interstellar – I find the vastness of space and the nature of the universe very interesting. When Breath Becomes Air is probably the most beautiful novel I’ve ever read.

What is your favourite joke?

What did the limestone say to the geologist? Don’t take me for granite!

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Barrack Obama, Stephen Hawking and Donald Glover.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Go with the flow – you’ll get to where you need to be.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

That my dream dinner guests are Barrack Obama, Stephen Hawking and Donald Glover.

Where/what is your favourite place?

There’s no place like home!