For Katie McLay, an incoming second year medical student at the University of Toronto, her summer internship with Grand River Hospital (GRH) was inspired by personal connections to the place of care. “I was born at Grand River Hospital, I grew up in Waterloo and I have a close family member who was treated at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre,” she explains. In the summer of 2021, she completed a research internship that was coordinated through the Office of Innovation and Research (OIR). Dr. Christine Peters, the Regional Oncology Lead for person-centered care at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre served as her supervisor.
“It’s really been an honour to meet and work alongside some of the amazing people who work hard to maintain the excellent standard of patient care here,” McLay says. “Throughout my internship, I met regularly with my supervisors and other researchers who have provided advice, feedback and support. It's really been a great environment for learning.” The research internship was focused on quality improvement. “I've been working on a project researching the relationship between cancer symptoms and malnutrition risk. One goal of this research is to potentially inform a new patient reported outcome measure to screen for malnutrition in cancer patients,” she recalls. “My responsibilities have included conducting a review of the literature [and] writing a report of the results. As a medical student, learning from leaders in person-centred care has really been inspiring and I hope to continue working on quality improvement projects through my education and career.”
The future physician thoroughly enjoyed her time with GRH. “I would definitely recommend an internship at Grand River Hospital to any students who are interested. In my experience, even while working remotely, there's been a ton of support and mentorship available to me. It's also been a great opportunity for my learning as I've had the chance to exercise and further develop my research-based skills which will serve me well in the future.” Without the generous support of donors from the Grand River Hospital Foundation, this internship would not have been possible. “I wanted to express my deep appreciation to the donors who funding gave me the opportunity to build my clinical research skills at Grand River Hospital,” McLay says.
“Donations in support of innovation and research are opening doors to discoveries that are making our community, our country, and our planet healthier and stronger. Thank you, I couldn't have been part of this without you. By supporting innovation and research, you are lighting the spark that ignites new discoveries, better patient outcomes, and a healthier future for us all.”