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Residents Committee Feature Series - Dr Naheed Dosani

Our Residents Committee sat down with Dr. Naheed Dosani to talk about what inspired him to pursue family medicine, his practice experience providing palliative care to homeless patients, his advice for residents and more.

Q&A with Dr. Naheed Dosani

Why did you choose family medicine?

I have always been interested in pursuing a subspecialty of medicine that optimized the opportunity for social change. In family medicine, I have the opportunity to be an agent of social change for my community and a resource for the population. I can provide continuity of care for my patients and be able to support social change at the population level, which can change communities and generations to come.

What does a typical week of clinical duties involve for you?

I work as a palliative care physician for the Inner City Health Associates (ICHA), where I go on home visits for palliative patients experiencing homelessness. Part of this position includes supporting shelters in delivering palliative care and working with caregivers. I also work as a palliative care physician with the William Osler Health System in Brampton, Ontario. In this position, I work in the acute palliative care unit, complete inpatient consults, make home visits and work in the outpatient palliative clinic. On weekends, I work with ICHA to provide primary care services at a refugee shelter. I also am the medical director for palliative care at the Central West Local Health Integration Network, where I work at the policy level to support palliative care provision and delivery.

Why did you choose your particular practice location and type of duties?

My practice gives me the opportunity to optimize social change for marginalized and vulnerable populations. Many of these individuals suffer from double vulnerabilities such as life-limiting illnesses and the vulnerability associated with social determinants of health. I have a long-standing interest in substance use disorders, mental health issues, homelessness, and palliative care, which stimulated my interest in creating the ICHA Palliative Education and Care for the Homeless (PEACH) program, with the aim of providing integrated, high quality palliative care for the homeless and vulnerably housed populations.

What has been your professional journey from residency to now? Did you do any locums or enhanced skills/additional training?

I completed my family medicine residency at St. Michael’s Hospital (University of Toronto). I then completed the enhanced skills program in palliative medicine following residency at the University of Toronto. After the year-long palliative medicine training, I started the PEACH program at ICHA and my other positions.

What are the most challenging aspects of your practice?

My practice is quite mobile and often involves moving from place-to-place for home visits, which can be challenging. There are also challenges dealing with the increased volume of patients requiring palliative care and the inherent emotional toll that providing palliative care can have on providers. Self-care is therefore an important part of my practice.

What is your work-life balance like, and how do you achieve it?

Often, we are constantly in motion and there is always a process that you’re working on. I found that there are key components for my self-care: spending time with family and friends, my faith, exercise, and setting time aside for reflection. As an individual who sees a lot of suffering, I think it is especially important to set time aside for critical reflection and open the opportunity for feedback and discussion.

Do you have any advice for residents finishing their training?

Never be afraid of the passion you have and innovative ideas you can bring to the forefront! We need to design a healthcare system to support health and well-being. As family physicians, we are in a unique position to drive innovative change.

About the Story Series

Read our interviews with family physicians in their earlier years of practice as they discuss why they chose the profession, a typical week in practice, advice for new grads, and more.

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