#UofTGrad17 Jeffrey Wong: Global Health, HIV Outreach and Smartphones
As Jeffrey Wong prepares to graduate from the MD program on June 6 – and before starting his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Vancouver – he is fitting in trips to Peru and Vietnam. With a keen interest in global health and the role of new technology in HIV education outreach, he shared his thoughts on his studies and future career with Faculty of Medicine writer Carolyn Morris.
As an MD student you looked into HIV education outreach to LGBT populations – what did you find out?
I did a review of community support for the LGBT population, and realized how resources are predominantly concentrated in large urban centres. With advances in technology, we are now able to reach populations that traditional forms of outreach could not access. Smartphone-based applications transcend geographical distances for communication, as well as provide anonymity for individuals who would hesitate to access traditional outreach programs. It was really interesting to connect with the Asian Community AIDS Services and learn how they’ve been putting their outreach programs onto the smartphone platform.
What was your favourite part of being a U of T MD student?
At U of T there are so many opportunities to explore different areas of medicine. Whatever your research interests are, there are probably multiple faculty members who share similar interests as you and are willing to nurture them. This is reflected in all the amazing things my peers have been involved in – whether it is in basic science research, clinical research or advocacy work. Being an MD student at U of T made me feel like the world is my oyster.
What are your future plans in medicine?
After my vacations to Peru and Vietnam, I will concentrate on packing up my life and transitioning to Vancouver to start my residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. It's hard to say what will happen after that. If you were to tell my first-year self that I would be pursuing a career in OBGYN, I wouldn’t have believed it – so I think I'll take things one step at a time and start my residency with an open mind. However, I hope I’ll continue to be involved in improving access to medicine, either in local marginalized populations or in global health.
Do you have any message for first-year students – anything you’d have wanted to know when you first started medical school?
I’d say that what will make you standout to colleagues and patients will be your interpersonal skills and work ethic. Don't forget those very important aspects of medicine. And take every opportunity to travel the world – they’ll become fewer and farther in between.
For the full schedule of #UofTGrad17 convocation ceremonies, visit http://www.convocation.utoronto.ca/events.