Fellowship moves alumnus closer to his dream of a career in medicine
It’s not something we probably think too much about. When we’re receiving medical treatment, healthcare practitioners wear masks and gowns, but do they really provide the protection these professionals need? It’s a question on the mind of Nathan Doggett, (‘12, ’14), C. David Naylor University Fellowship recipient, as he performs his research at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Nathan, who holds both a BSc and BKinH from Acadia is exploring how infectious respiratory viruses spread through the air with the goal of helping healthcare workers better assess risks and prevent the spread of infection.
“I became interested in respiratory diseases during my undergraduate career at Acadia,” says Nathan. A professor of mine was doing work on asthma and I realized through working with her that I enjoyed both the research process and thesis writing. I have always had an interest in health and wellness so following an opportunity to further my studies in Toronto made sense.”
Nathan, who came to Acadia from the nearby Windsor, NS, chose Acadia because he had heard great things about the University from a cousin. Originally enrolling in Kinesiology, he switched to Biology in his second year. When he finished his Biology degree in 2012, he realized he had enough credits to apply toward a second degree in Kinesiology which he completed in 2014. It was while he was earning his BKinH that he caught the research bug.
“What I enjoy about my work here at Sunnybrook is that I’m doing clinical work as well as crunching data,” says Nathan. “I’m doing rounds with doctors and sitting in on procedures. In particular, I’m looking at bronchoscopies (where doctor puts a scope down a patient’s airway) since doctors are exposed to a lot of airborne particles from their patients. It’s a very intense and interesting environment and, while it’s still early, we’re hopeful this work will lead to a better understanding of the risks to doctors and to improved protection for them, if necessary.”
Nathan’s volunteer and extra-curricular activities while at Acadia furthered his interest in healthcare. A member of Acadia’s rugby club for three years, Nathan was also a St. John’s Ambulance Medical First Responder. But his participation in Acadia’s chapter of Global Brigades is what opened his eyes to the living conditions and medical challenges in Central America. He was part of the first Acadia team to make a Global Brigades trip to Honduras in 2012 and the following year was a member of the chapter’s executive. “Global Brigades is an excellent program,” says Nathan.
The C. David Naylor Fellowship at the University of Toronto is funded by the Arthur L. Irving Foundation, but this is not the first scholarship Nathan has received. While at Acadia, he earned more than half a dozen scholarships, which he says went a long way toward easing his financial burden, especially the entrance scholarships in his first year. “By not being required to take one or more part-time jobs during the academic year, the scholarships allowed me to be much more engaged in the university experience — focusing on academics and participating in extracurriculars.
“I’m definitely looking at pursuing a career in medicine, likely as a clinical scientist or researcher. At Acadia, my micro biology course and learning lab techniques helped prepare me for the work I’m doing. But mainly, as I worked through my upper level courses, it became clearer to me what kind of career I wanted to pursue. The opportunities I had at Acadia led me to where I am today.”