Grad profile: Acknowledging the student voice

Spring Convocation: Michael MacDonald, Faculty of Medicine

Matt Semansky - May 23, 2014

Medicine grad Michael MacDonald. (Nick Pearce photo)

In the process of earning his MD from Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine, Michael MacDonald delivered a master class in student advocacy.

Michael enjoyed a successful academic career, earning scholarships from organizations ranging from RBC to Doctors Nova Scotia. However, he made an even greater impact outside the classroom, serving as a powerful voice for his student colleagues through a time of major change in the Faculty of Medicine.

As president of the Dalhousie Medical Students’ Society (DMSS) and also as class president, Michael led a student cohort adapting to a brand new curriculum and the introduction of the Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick campus in Saint John. These challenges informed his approach to the DMSS presidency.

“My goal was to be a strong and sometimes relentless voice for my classmates whether they were studying in Halifax or Saint John,” he says.

Michael’s peers frequently recognized him for achieving this goal. He has earned the Dr. James Clarke award, the Wood Stonehouse Bursary and the Graham Creighton Award, all of which honour student involvement and advocacy.

He credits his classmates for supporting him and also praises Tom Marrie, dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “The school, and in particular our dean, are passionate about student involvement in all areas of decision making.”

Michael will soon begin a family medicine residency in Sydney, N.S., after which he hopes to establish a family practice with his wife, who also graduated from Dalhousie Medical School.

“Our goal is to plant our roots in a rural community where two young physicians can have a significant impact.”

While he doesn’t yet know where that community will be, the avid scuba diver and former Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue employee has at least one criterion.

“I need to be close to the water.”

This article is part of a series on our newest graduates. These profiles are also published in the 2014 Spring Convocation Keepsake, which is distributed at Convocation ceremonies. For more on Convocation (including live webcasts), visit the Convocation website.


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