2009 Winner: Leaders of Tomorrow
Teamwork Key For Rising Star
A leader is someone who excels at what they do, is charismatic and approachable,” says Dr. Shaheed Merani. “The leaders I try to emulate bring together excellent groups of colleagues to accomplish a larger task. It’s not about a single person, it’s about teamwork.”
Dr. Merani is in his seventh year of the MD/PhD program at the University of Alberta and on track to becoming a leader in medical research. He chose to work with Dr. James Shapiro, an internationally recognized diabetes researcher. Dr. Merani’s research, identifying new strategies to improve the function of donor tissue, holds promise of sustained insulin-free normoglycemia following islet transplantation.
In spite of his youth, Dr. Merani has a strong publication record, with 22 scientific peer-reviewed articles that underline the University of Alberta’s global diabetes leadership position.
“I’m still a student and am learning the art and science of clinical medicine,” says Dr. Merani, “but what most satisfies me is that I am developing a skill set and a network of empowering individuals around me who are allowing me to reach common societal goals. As a clinician, I hope to deliver excellent care to my patients and develop technologies to improve their lives.”
Real Time Benefits
Working with patients and their families is what nudged Dr. Merani into the field of medicine. “I see my career as a physician who delivers health care, as a scientist that finds new ways to treat disease and as an advocate who ensures access to excellent, efficient, and equitable health care,” he explains. “I chose medicine because I can move from the lab to the clinic and see the benefit of my work in real time.”
Dr. Merani is not putting his compassion and his advocacy on hold until graduation. He’s put in countless volunteer hours to make science more accessible in the community. Among his favourite projects is tutoring high school students in math and science.
“I help them when they are struggling and I work with them to develop interest and confidence,” Dr. Merani says. “It’s satisfying to see students discover for themselves the rewards a joy of scientific discovery.” Within the medical community, Dr. Merani has taken a leadership role in healthcare policy and advocacy in Canada. He led the executive board as president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, which represents over 7,500 members. More recently becoming a board member of the Canadian Medical Association and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.
Dr. Merani’s vision for the future and his entrepreneurial spirit emerged when he took the initiative, led a writing team of over 70 and found a publisher for Essentials for the Canadian Medical Licensing Exam: Review and Prep for MCCQE Part 1, a major medical text book designed for medical students studying for their licensing exam. The book hit the shelves earlier this year.