Alexander (Sandy) Wright celebrates his medical degree with his family at a convocation ceremony. Photo: UBC Okanagan

UBC Okanagan student earns MD and PhD at the same time

Alexander (Sandy) Wright is the first UBCO student to graduate from MD/PhD program

As a newly graduated doctor from the Southern Medical Program (SMP) at UBC Okanagan, Alexander Wright is experiencing a world of ‘firsts.’

The first UBC Okanagan student to earn a medical degree and a PhD at the same time, Wright’s journey started in 2012 when he was one of the first 32 students of the SMP’s inaugural class.

“Showing up in Kelowna as part of the first class—the faculty, staff and community embraced us whole-heartedly,” said Wright.

“It has been a real privilege to participate in the new program. The opportunities and experiences provided to us were unparalleled.”

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan mental health clinic to remain open

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan celebrates 2019 convocation

It was during his first year of medical school that Wright’s passion and background in research led him to pursue enrolment with the Faculty of Medicine’s combined MD/PhD program. The seven-year intensive program offers students the opportunity to combine their medical education with demanding scientific training.

Wright’s research explored the effects of sports-related concussions on various aspects of brain physiology. He worked with the Heat Athletics program and other local teams for data collection.

While studying concussions, Wright was injured in a rec hockey game and suffered from a concussion and post-concussion symptoms that sidelined him from his research, but also led to a valuable learning experience.

“Going through such a complicated recovery process not only gave me new perspectives into post-concussion syndrome, but also a better understanding of mental health in general,” he said.

“My physical symptoms eventually settled, but the emotional symptoms took much longer to subside. Having this experience has genuinely helped me better understand and communicate with my patients and contribute to research.”

READ MORE: Health and Wellness Community Fair comes to Lake Country

The double degree doctor now heads to residency at the University of Saskatchewan after eight years in Kelowna. Wright will join the university’s ophthalmology (diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders) program that welcomes only one new resident each year.

Wright said that he and his family one day hope to return to the Okanagan.

“A lot can change over the next five-to-seven years of training, but I would really value the opportunity to return to the Okanagan to practice and to contribute to medical education at the SMP.”

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New family doctor in Keremeos

Dr. David Van de Vosse says practicing rural medicine is multifacted

Remarkable life of Twin Lakes resident captured in children’s book

Twin Lakes resident Betty Lillian Purdy (nee Winstanley) was a veteran of the Second World War

Penticton Vees acquire forward Lakoduk from Victoria Grizzlies

The Penticton Vees have acquired forward Darwin Lakoduk in a trade with the Victoria Grizzlies

PHOTOS: Hundreds come out to Remembrance Day ceremony in Keremeos

Ceremony began at 10:45 a.m. at Keremeos Legion Branch

VIDEO: Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Vancouver Island soap company releases Lucky Lager beer soap

Beer-infused olive oil soap comes out just in time for holiday shopping

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Salmon Arm pilot takes part in Remembrance Day flyovers

Hamilton McClymont and other pilots pay aerial tribute at several North Okanagan-Shuswap ceremonies

Most Read