Joanne Lau didn’t always know she would study medicine, but she’s glad the calling found her.
After completing her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in health sciences, HGMH’s newest family doctor first pursued a master’s of management of innovation at the University of Toronto. Her degree focused on technology management in the health care sector, especially on how to turn scientific research into viable businesses.
But as her program internship brought her into contact with more and more physicians, she began to think that theirs might be the path for her too.
Fast forward through a medical degree at the University of Ottawa and a residency at Queen’s University, and Lau is happy with her pivot. “Health is a very valuable asset to me, so being able to help others achieve good health is a rewarding experience,” says Lau.
She says she likes family medicine in particular because she can follow patients for many years. “Family medicine enables me to form long-term relationships with my patients, where, over time, I can watch their health improve,” she says. She’s also developed a special interest in caring for elderly patients, which she hopes to continue in her practice at HGMH.
Lau is also happy to have landed in a smaller community. After growing up in Markham, Ontario, near Toronto, she decided to pursue her medical residency training mostly in smaller centres like Napanee, Belleville, Picton and Collingwood, and found it suited her. “I enjoy working in smaller towns where family physicians can have a wide scope of practice,” she says.
She adds that she’s looking forward to getting to know her new community on a more permanent basis. “I hope I can eventually become a resource to the North Glengarry community and help patients there navigate through the healthcare system,” she says.
When she’s not at work, Lau likes playing team sports and being outdoors. In university, she played intramural volleyball, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee. She enjoys traveling for food and experiencing new cultures. At the moment, she’s settling into her new home with her husband, whom she had met in medical school. He’s currently in the middle of his ophthalmology training in Montreal.
As she sets up her practice at the end of the summer, Lau says she’s eager to get to know more of her new town and confirm her first impressions. “My impression so far is that it's a small, tight-knit community, and everyone seems very supportive of each other. I look forward to becoming a part of that.”