Choosing a career would be easier if there was only one path, one direction, but that’s not how the human mind works. We are often interested and passionate about more than one thing—sometimes many things—and that intersectionality can sometimes create a problem in moving forward—until someone shows you the way.
UBC resident Kimia Ghavami wasn’t sure how to combine her interests in neurology and global health because few developing countries had the infrastructure necessary for neurology care. It seemed an insurmountable barrier until one special lecture changed everything.
The turning point for Dr. Ghavami was the Dr. Stanley Hashimoto Lectureship, featuring Dr. Farrah Mateen, a neurologist from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who spoke to UBC’s neurology community about her career and international work. Dr. Mateen leads the Bhutan Epilepsy Project, a multi-country study of a smartphone-based electroencephalogram app to analyze and record brain activity, an essential tool in the treatment of epilepsy. For Kimia Ghavami, this was a revelation.
“Truly, had Dr. Mateen not been invited to speak, had the endowment and this lectureship series not been there, I don’t know that I would have come across her work or met her,” says Dr. Ghavami, who plans to join Dr. Mateen’s group on a project in Tanzania in November. “It’s amazing what one lecture can do. It had a profound impact on my residency training.”
The lectureship series that provided this epiphany for Dr. Ghavami, was the Dr. Stanley Hashimoto Lectureship which was made possible by Dr. Hashimoto’s wife, Terrie, their children, April, Lara and Skip, and more than 65 colleagues and friends who donated $56,306 to establish the Stanley Hashimoto Neurology Resident Education Endowment at UBC after Dr. Hashimoto passed away on December 3, 2016.
The lectureship honours Dr. Hashimoto, who practiced neurology in Vancouver for 45 years and led UBC’s postgraduate program in neurology from 1990–2001. In 1980, Dr. Hashimoto and his colleague, Dr. Donald Paty, established the UBC Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, known around the world for taking a multidisciplinary approach to treating and supporting MS patients and their families.
“Working with residents was one of dad’s favourite parts of his job,” says his daughter, April Hashimoto. “The residents were sort of like my dad’s second set of kids that he was squiring along through teaching and exams. He would feed them and give them emotional support. Our family got to know them, and they’ve all been so successful. It makes us feel good to see my dad played a part in all that.”
The speakers are relatable role models for the residents—young neurologists who have trained in a similar environment and can show what they’ve done with their careers, not just in becoming an excellent clinician, but also in giving back to the broader community—and even giving inspiration, to colleagues like Kimia Ghavami.
“I hope the donors know it really does make a difference to have these big names come and provide new angles, perspectives and opportunities to the residents,” says Dr. Ghavami. “It really does build stronger residents and cultivate talent locally. I hope next year another great speaker is able to come, and one of my colleagues will be equally inspired.”