Field experience encourages aspiring doctor

Ravi Seyed-Mahmoud explains his reasons for coming to the University of Lethbridge were simple: it was close to home and offered some of the best programs and facilities available.

The aspiring doctor says nearly four years later, his post-secondary education has provided more opportunities than he could have ever imagined, giving him the chance to travel abroad and gain valuable experience in his field.

Seyed-Mahmoud came to the U of L in the fall of 2005 and is enrolled in a five-year combined bachelor of science in psychology and bachelor of general management double degree, with one year remaining. He says he had different motivations for taking the two degrees.

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Ravi Seyed-Mahmoud eyes a future in medicine.

"I find psychology fascinating because the subject matter is always applicable," says Seyed-Mahmoud.

He explains he was drawn to the management degree because of its versatility and the opportunity to develop a new skill set. His long-term goal however is to pursue a career in medicine.

"I find surgery to be the most appealing; specifically orthopedic or cosmetic. As I am a veteran of knee surgery, orthopedics has a personal connection," he says. "However, I could be happy working as a family physician."

Less than a year ago, Seyed-Mahmoud came one step closer to reaching his goal when he applied for the Doctors of Tomorrow (DOT) program. The initiative, offered by the Flying Doctors of Canada, gives pre-professional students the opportunity to participate in medical missions throughout South America by way of fundraising. After reading about the initiative in a U of L alumni publication, he decided to give it a try.

"As part of our fundraising efforts, we organized a benefit concert entitled, For the Love of Music," he says. "The concert was a huge success and the group netted $7,000."

Due to the success of the fundraiser and weeks of preparation, Seyed-Mahmoud was able to travel to Nicaragua on an 11-day mission with five other pre-medical students from the U of L. He says the experience he gained was invaluable.

"Certainly, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a DOT was the opportunity to practice and observe skills related to both management and medicine," he says. "In addition, being a DOT meant having the opportunity to travel with purpose. I love travel but I much prefer taking in the culture and landscape while achieving a concrete goal."

One of these goals included delivering bio-sand filters to nearby communities. He says while this work was rewarding, the more intense experiences happened inside the medical facilities.

"The most permanent memories occurred in the clinics," he notes. "When a patient is diagnosed with something like terminal cancer, it doesn't matter what language is being spoken, the reactions are unmistakable."

After returning from Nicaragua, Seyed-Mahmoud moved to Edmonton to work a four-month co-op with Western Economic Diversification. After spending last Christmas in Lethbridge, he moved to Tanzania for a seven-and-a-half month volunteer placement at a not-for-profit school to tutor younger adults in both general and business-related concepts. He says in the future, he would like to use his business skills to work with similar organizations.

"I would love to help finance and design business dyads that pair for-profits with related not-for-profits. For example, pairing restaurants and soup kitchens, but those are just evanescent imaginings at this point. Without a doubt, the primary goal is to make it into medical school."

To learn more about the Faculty of Management at the University of Lethbridge, visit this link.