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

Indigenous festival co-creator looking to build traditonal Okanagan event

The inaugural Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Festival is July 6 and 7

Caged: Kelowna Falcons suffer 6th straight loss

The Falcons look for revenge Saturday night after a 15-5 loss

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Heat, sun and a chance of thunderstorms for Father’s Day

Morning pancake breakfasts and fishing derbies across the region will see sun, showers may follow.

Pirko found guilty in the 2014 second-degree murder of Chris Ausman

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder

Grievance dismissed: Kelowna bus driver loses case after texting on job

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Okanagan pitcher tosses second no-hitter of season

Vernon’s Jarod Leroux has two no-nos in his last three starts for the BCPBL’s Okanagan Athletics

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Summerland ready for dry summer conditions

Province has declared Level Two drought, but Summerland has not increased watering restrictions

Summerland pioneers had connection to Middlesex, England

Harry Dunsdon and Richard Turner became cattlemen

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Give Hope Wings fundraiser launches Saturday from Pitt Meadows

Flying marathon will benefit low income Canadians needing flights for medical treatment

Vernon seeks additional fetal alcohol syndrome support B.C.-wide

“We are making a difference but we could make even more of a difference”

Most Read