Donor & Scholarship Recipient Stories

Scotiabank Medical Education Scholarship and recipient Alexis Lamontagne

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Cycling across the picturesque vistas of southern New Brunswick, it’s easy for Alexis Lamontagne - a third-year Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick student – to imagine what life will be like when he graduates as a family doctor.

The avid cyclist, 25, is the recipient of the Scotiabank Medical Education Scholarship. He moved to Quispamsis at age 8, Alexis began medical school in September 2018 after completing his undergraduate degree in health sciences at Bishop’s University in Quebec.

Alexis says he plans to become a family physician to help meet the needs of the community he grew up in.

“You see everything within this realm of medicine,” he says. “Then there is this amazing social component of maintaining long-term relationships with patients over time and getting to know them so well.”

After participating in a rotation-based clerkship at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Alexis witnessed firsthand the impact timely primary care access can have on patients.

“If people who need primary care don’t access it, you can see a lot of chronic medical problems go unchecked – like high blood pressure or diabetes - which have significant impacts on their health later on.”  

Alexis is thankful for his scholarship – which covers approximately half of his annual tuition – because it helps shoulder the heavy cost of medical school. He originally learned about the New Brunswick Medical Foundation through word of mouth and, knowing he wanted to return to practice in his home province, it was the perfect fit.

Scott Allen, Scotiabank’s District Vice President for West New Brunswick, said the idea to attract, support and retain New Brunswick’s medical students is as important today as it was in 2010 – the year Scotiabank first became involved.

“By students making the decision to practice in their own province, it increases the likelihood of them growing a business and starting families here, while giving back to their communities and contributing to the overall goal of providing access to health care for all New Brunswick residents, especially in today’s climate and the importance of maintaining a healthy population,” says Scott.

Dr. Rajiv Teeluck and Dr. Nathalie White in Bathurst, NB

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A northern New Brunswick doctor couple, who met each other during their studies and received scholarships from the New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation, are now practising alongside each other in Bathurst, NB. Dr. Nathalie White, who hails from Beresford, NB and Dr. Rajiv Teeluck from Tracadie, NB are graduates from the Université de Sherbrooke. Dr. Teeluck is a recipient of the New Brunswick College of Physicians & Surgeons scholarship and Dr. White is a recipient of the Regional Development Corporation scholarship through the New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation.
 

Although both doctors had dreams to practise in New Brunswick to help the communities they grew up in, the scholarships they received from the Foundation “cemented that objective,” they said. “As you know, getting a medical degree is long and quite challenging so it helped relieve some of the financial stress,” says Dr. White.  Both doctors began work in Bathurst in northern New Brunswick in the summer of 2019. Dr. White is a family physician who treats patients at her office while also working at the city’s hospital and oncology clinic. Dr. Teeluck was recently named the chief of the Chaleur Regional Hospital Emergency Department, in addition to being a surgical assistant and attending to patients without a family physician at an after-hours clinic.

 

He described the Foundation’s annual ceremony as an incredible experience that allowed him to meet other new medical school graduates and network with the region’s established physicians. Meeting those future colleagues allowed him and others to obtain insight into what it means to fill certain physician roles in the province, be it a general surgeon or a family physician. Both doctors said that information was valuable before launching their medical careers in New Brunswick.

 

Two years later, both doctors described the quality of life for a physician in New Brunswick as “amazing”. “Working in a smaller community may require lots of teamwork and resourcefulness”, says Dr. White, but it also fosters a strong sense of family among the medical professionals. Plus, the appreciation from patients – who later recognize the doctors in and around the community – is unparalleled. “People notice you here,” says Dr. Teeluck.

Mr. John Clark III, Founder of The J. T. Clark Family Foundation

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After decades of leading fundraising efforts for hospitals and clinics across New Brunswick, John Clark, the founder of the J.T. Clark Family Foundation, understands the critical importance of recruiting physicians to maintain our first-class healthcare facilities and meet both current and future patient needs.

“It seems every month there is a story in the newspaper about the shortage of doctors,” he says. “But the New Brunswick Medical Foundation offers a way to encourage young people to become doctors, stay and practice in New Brunswick, and help solve the problem.”

Through his family’s foundation, Clark has endowed significant gifts that have led to the creation of not one, but two awards for aspiring doctors: The Dr. H. Miller MacSween Memorial Advanced Medical Education Scholarship and the Dr. Richard V. Snow Medical Education Bursary.

Clark says both awards honour the legacy left by two well-known friends from the New Brunswick medical community: Dr. Hugh Miller 'Bud' MacSween, a Fredericton-based gastroenterologist, who died in 2015 and Dr. Richard V. Snow, a general practitioner in Saint John, who died in 2018.

Both men were “wonderful” professionals who embodied what it means to not only be physicians, but also outstanding members of the community, says Clark. He is encouraged by the recipients of both awards to continue in their footsteps and help make the province of New Brunswick a better place.

Featured Alumnus: Dr. Robert Dunfield

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Dr. Dunfield is currently in his second year of residency in the integrated Family Medicine-Emergency Medicine program through Dalhousie in Saint John.

 

“I grew up in New Brunswick and was lucky enough to complete medical school at DMNB. Growing up and training in NB has given me the opportunity to understand and become passionate about the healthcare needs of our communities. New Brunswick is a great place to live; it is filled with lots of kind and hard-working people.”

 

“I was very grateful to receive the Hampton Community Scholarship in 2016. Receiving this scholarship was helpful in alleviating the costs associated with medical school, reducing the burden of stress that comes with paying off debt and allowing for more focus to be spent on my training.”

 

Looking forward, “I hope that the future of medicine in N.B. involves continued focus on collaboration and teamwork among all specialties, with the majority of any healthcare reform input coming from front line workers that have to function under policy and structural changes. Having done my medical school training in New Brunswick, I have lots of colleagues completing training in various specialties across the province. All of these colleagues are extremely bright, well-educated, and caring physicians who would serve New Brunswick’s healthcare system towards a meaningful and sustainable future. As a future family and emergency physician, I hope New Brunswick’s health authorities will work hard to recruit and create jobs for my colleagues because I would love to work alongside them some day.”

 

Thank you Dr. Dunfield for your work and commitment to our province!