We hope you’re having a great July and start to the new academic year. This month’s Resident Spotlight is with Dr. David Deng, a PGY-2 in Family Medicine. We chatted with him about the experience of being Chief Resident, his involvement in residency advocacy groups, studying overseas and love for photography.
You are a Chief Resident at your site of Family Medicine – Chilliwack. Can you tell us about any challenges you have faced during your time as a Chief Resident, and any words of advice for new Chiefs, or even the new residents that have started their R1s this year?
Being a chief resident has provided me with an amazing opportunity to explore my interests in academic medicine and administration. Besides my day-to-day responsibilities (which include organizing call schedules, coordinating social events and attending meetings with faculty), I have helped arrange bedside ultrasound training for residents and organized teaching sessions for medical students. These projects are often time-consuming and require a lot of dedication. Nevertheless, I have really enjoyed my experience so far and find the rewards of my effort to be highly worthwhile. I encourage other residents to explore the possibility of becoming a Chief Resident during their training. While there will inevitably be challenges, I strongly believe that the lessons you learn along the way will make you a better leader and a more effective clinician.
What inspired you to join CoPR as a representative for your program, and then to go one step further and get actively involved in the new Call Scheduling and Workload working group? What has the experience of representing your co-residents and programs been like?
Residents occupy a unique space within our healthcare system. While we are still learners, we are also employees and provide the majority of service to patients at many hospitals. I was motivated to join CoPR to not only advocate on behalf of my program but also be part of decisions that can impact the resident workforce as a whole. I have enjoyed meeting many other residents who share this interest. Earlier this year, I travelled with several other CoPR representatives to visit the provincial legislature as part of a RDBC delegation. I was grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with MLAs, educate them on what we do as residents and promote the importance of resident wellness.
I am also part of RDBC’s Call Scheduling and Workload working group. I actively collaborate with three residents from different disciplines to brainstorm ways to improve the current call compensation system. Some of the changes we are looking at include increased compensation for weekend and home calls. We recently had our first meeting with UBC, Health Employers Association of BC and other stakeholders. I am encouraged by the progress we made during this meeting and look forward to continuing this work in the months to come.
During medical school, you travelled to both Australia and China for electives. Please tell us a bit more about your experiences there: what was your time studying in both of these countries like? What are some of your favourite memories and/or experiences that you have taken with you?
The four weeks I spent at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing as a first year medical student were transformative in many ways. Having little clinical experience at the time, I was struck by the efficiency with which Chinese physicians operated while providing high quality care to patients. The high volume of patients also allowed me to see many rare pathologies for the first time. I was blown away by the kindness and generosity of those I encountered during my exchange. I still keep in touch with many of them and I intend on visiting them again in the future.
I also spent a month doing a Nephrology elective at a hospital in Melbourne, Australia after my third year. Clinically, it was easy for me to fit in, as the Australian medical system is very similar to ours. In my spare time, I made an effort to explore as much of Australia as I could. I discovered that I didn’t hate the taste of Vegemite and quickly fell in love with the weird but wonderful sport of Australian Football. Towards the end of my time in Australia, I completed a backpacking trip across Queensland. I finished my trip at the town of Cairns and went scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
You have started a podcast with a friend titled “Doctors Beyond Medicine”, with the intention of giving physicians a platform to speak on about passions outside of their work. How was the idea for this podcast born, and where do you plan on taking it?
This podcast is really the brainchild of my friend, Dr. Tarun Soni, a Family Medicine PGY2 in the Vancouver Fraser Program. I realized shortly after I met Tarun that we share an interest in promoting public discussion about medicine. Through this podcast, we invite physicians from diverse backgrounds to not only share their perspectives on important health topics, but also the paths they have taken to reach this point in their careers. We are particularly interested in showcasing the amazing accomplishments that many physicians have in different facets of life. Getting this project off the ground has been an exciting experience. There has definitely been a steep learning process! Nevertheless, we are excited about continuing this project and we hope that our work can help those listening to learn something new about medicine and the humans behind it.
Outside of your residency, you are an avid photographer. How long have you been a photographer for? What are some of your favourite things to photograph, and methods of photography?
While I have always enjoyed photography, I started pursuing it more seriously after returning from Australia. It quickly became my fav
ourite form of self-expression. I mostly specialize in landscape photography and I am always tinkering with my composition, camera settings and post-editing process in order to improve the quality of my work. In many ways, I find the process of obtaining a photograph as enjoyable as the end result itself. My love of photography has taken me to some unique places around the world. I took one of my favourite photos last year, outside the town of Manarola, in northwest Italy. I am blessed to now be completing my residency in the Fraser Valley, where there is an abundance of natural wonders. I now spend much of my spare time discovering new trails, chasing waterfalls and using my camera to try and capture the amazing scenery.