MD NextStep Awards


Congratulations to University of British Columbia graduates Dr. Jordyn Vanderveen and Dr. Haitham Kharrat on winning two of the top prizes in the MD NextStep Awards!

MD Financial Management (MD) launched the award program to celebrate the achievements of the 2016 graduating class of medical residents who have transitioned into medical practice.

New-in-practice physicians were invited to submit a video entry to tell their stories and highlight their successes, with a focus on either community involvement, leadership, personal achievements or work/life balance.

Work-Life Balance Award

NextStep Award WinnerDr. Jordyn Vanderveen, a new family physician in Campbell River, B.C., won $10,000 for her video entry in the Work-Life Balance category. Like many residents, she had competing priorities—all converging at the same time.

During her last trimester of pregnancy, Dr. Vanderveen managed to write her papers and exams, finish her residency and start work as an independent family doctor. In July 2016, she and her husband, John, welcomed their first child, Ada.

Needless to say, life has changed drastically for the Vanderveens. “During med school and residency, John and I had to learn how to balance my intensive studies with his career, our athletic goals and quality time with family and friends,” says Dr. Vanderveen. “I used to get a lot done in a day but everything takes longer with a kid in tow.”

At the time of her video entry, Dr. Vanderveen said she planned to go back to work part-time when Ada was five months old. To find that balance, she and her husband plan to do fewer things so they can do each thing well.

This means limiting work hours, sharing childcare, putting time in their schedule for things like weekend hikes, evening board games and morning swims, and asking for help from friends and colleagues.

Dr. Vanderveen has been surprised to find how stepping away from her job has made her see how truly amazing it is.

“I’m finding I enjoy listening to medical podcasts and attending medical meetings now that they don’t run my life,” she says. “I have no doubt that becoming a mom and being more intentional with my time will make me a better physician, a better wife, and a better mom.”

NextStep Award Winner
Jordyn Vanderveen (winner) and Mitchell Seper, Senior Financial Consultant, MD Management Ltd.

Community/Charity Involvement Award

NextStep Award WinnerDr. Haitham Kharrat, a graduate of UBC’s Abbotsford-Mission family medicine residency program, won $10,000 for his video entry in the Community/Charity Involvement category. He’s currently working as a locum physician, practising full-scope family medicine in the Fraser Valley.

During residency, Dr. Kharrat realized that there was a large homeless population in Abbotsford whose needs were mostly unmet. “Abundant research shows that going into homeless communities versus allowing them to come to you increases the uptake,” he says.

Dr. Kharrat thought it would be a perfect opportunity to give to the community by setting up a clinic for the homeless in Abbotsford. He brought together other physicians, Fraser Health and the Salvation Army, which lent them space to use as a clinic half a day each week.

“It was quite challenging, especially trying to get all the players together,” says Dr. Kharrat. “Setting up a clinic was a lot more complicated than I anticipated.”

The first clinic was held in August 2016 and within the first two months, Dr. Kharrat says, the clinic has already welcomed many new patients from the homeless community.

He feels he has been able to connect with a community of patients who are often judged and stigmatized, and developed a rapport with them. “I’m thankful and hope this clinic can continue to have an impact on the community.”

In addition to the video awards, as part of the NextStep program, MD also made a $50,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders on behalf of all 2016 graduating residents. Participants’ votes determined which charities would share the gift.

NextStep Award Winner
Haitham Kharrat (winner) and Joni Kilner, Assistant Regional Administrator, MD Management Ltd.
NextStep Award Winner
Haitham Kharrat (winner) and Devinder Khangura, Financial Consultant

MD Financial Management provides financial products and services, the MD Family of Funds and investment counselling services through the MD Group of Companies. For a detailed list of these companies, visit md.cma.ca.

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author: Melissa Nilan