Humans of LMP: Ngoc-Nhu Jennifer Nguyen
Each month we speak to a member of the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology community and find out more about them as part of an initiative from our Wellness, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee (WIDE).
This month we feature PGY2 Anatomical Pathology Resident Ngoc-Nhu Jennifer Nguyen.
Visit the Humans of LMP page to read more stories and nominate yourself or others to be featured.
What are you studying at LMP and why are you interested in studying it?
I’m a second-year resident physician in Anatomical Pathology. I chose this medical specialty because I like to diagnose tumours and medical diseases through pattern recognition by looking at pretty, colorful tissues and cells of different organ systems, which speaks to my love of photography. I find it intellectually satisfying to learn the physiopathology of diseases and to make clinico-pathological correlations. Moreover, pathologists have the chance to work closely with different medical specialists and a cordial lab team.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at LMP?
I have the honour to be elected as the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO) General Council Representative for Pathology residents.
I love advocating for my co-residents by making sure the Collective Agreement is respected or by finding ways to improve our academic wellness, whether it be within LMP or on a larger scale through liaison committees. Nominated as Toronto’s PARO Social Lead, I am also organizing many social events for all residents in Toronto (Ripley’s Aquarium Jazz Night, ROM After Dark, Blue Jays Game, Yuk Yuk’s Stand-Up Comedy Bar, you name it). I also plan the budget and act as the main resource for guidance to other PARO representatives with regards to any local initiatives and social events.
I have been having great fun organizing all these activities, for residents to reunite in person after so many years of COVID restrictions. Being engaged in the community makes the residency experience incredibly memorable.
Academically, I have started doing research projects with a Genitourinary Pathologist I've worked with at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Michelle Downes, well known for her work in prostate cancer and bladder cancer.
I am very enthusiastic to participate in these novel and innovating projects, and the prospect of presenting in international pathology conferences really excites me.
What was the best career advice you ever received?
To not give up on pursuing my goals and dreams despite some pitfalls and challenges.
What has been an important learning experience in your life?
My medical education journey has taught me that it is okay to change our career path at any point to follow our heart.
I discovered Pathology late in my medical training and absolutely loved my electives in it. However, when it came to CaRMS ranking, I was hesitating a lot still because I had always told myself that I want to do direct patient care and I remembered how my clinical staffs highlighted my empathy for patients. But I ended up following my heart and ranking Pathology as my first choice of specialty and I am more than happy with my decision!
Who is an influential person in your life and why?
An influential person in my life is a staff I had during clerkship in medical school, Dr. Martine Raymond. Although I only worked with Dr. Raymond for a week, she was able to make such a positive impact in my life through her strong passion for teaching.
Despite her extremely busy schedule, she always took the time to teach me new concepts and check in with me regularly before and after seeing patients to answer any questions I might have. Moreover, she took the initiative, in between patients, of giving me quick lectures on topics related to my cases using PowerPoint Presentations that she had prepared and presented at provincial conferences. She always recognized my work by thanking me at the end of each day. She was also happy to provide me support through my residency applications and to give me career guidance even after the completion of my elective in her department. She is a positive teaching role model that inspires me a lot because I have always been passionate about teaching and I wish to become a good teaching staff pathologist.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I did all my education in French before residency and speak three languages, my mother language being Vietnamese (I’ve recently started learning German but it is still an embryonal project!).
What activities do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I like to play all sorts of sports. I play volleyball year-round in a recreational league and at drop-ins. Over the summer, I love to hit up the tennis and beach volleyball courts. On weekends, you can find me on adventures with my Bernese-Aussie dog or studying at cafés. I also enjoy hiking trips (my favorite destination is the Rockies, having been three times), travel and event photography, music concerts, and in-person comedy shows.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
My favorite album, movie, TV show and novel are, respectively, Different World by Alan Walker, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, How I Met Your Mother, and Sans Famille by Hector Malot.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Marie Curie, Hippocrates, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, Molière, and Alexandre Dumas.
Where/what is your favourite place?
My favorite place in Montreal (my hometown) is the Old Port of Montreal, and my favorite place in Toronto is Woodbine beach/Ashbridge’s Bay.
If you were stuck on a deserted island but had all your basic needs taken care of (i.e. food and water), what two items would you bring with you and why?
My favorite novel and my piano, so I can dive into the wonderful worlds of literature and music.