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Q&A - Bryan Abankwah, team leader, Student Centre

Toronto, October 7, 2013

By Emily Holton

Dr. Katerina Pavenski holds a unit of red blood cells.
Bryan Abankwah (Photo by Katie Cooper)

Tell us about your role. What do you do at the Student Centre?

Our team is responsible for registration and administration for the more than 3,000 students who come here every year: medical students and residents, post-graduate clinical fellows, nursing students, administration and operational students as well as all of the students in the health disciplines.

Day to day, I do a lot of trouble shooting for students. I’m here to help coordinate stuff like how to log on to the clinical systems and get card access to different areas of the hospital as well as bigger things, like providing leadership and support in the development and implementation of processes related to registration, orientation and data quality for our students. There is a lot happening in our department and we have a great team getting it all done!

How long have you been at St. Michael’s?

Fourteen years. I started out serving coffee at the Café Victoria, which was where Tim Horton’s is now, and then at the Second Cup at Queen Street. It was a great way to get to know the hospital. I met everyone.

Then I volunteered with the Data Centre, and after that a position opened up in Admitting. That’s where I learned to appreciate the administrative side of the hospital. Then I moved to Education to be the post-graduate education coordinator, and when the Student Centre opened I became team lead. That was about two years ago.

Sometimes my wife teases me that after being here so long, it’s time to try working somewhere else, but I never want to leave. St. Michael’s is in my heart. It might sound corny but I really love the people here.

What are you most proud of accomplishing at St. Michael’s?

The online student registration system. The project team worked really hard to make the process seamless, and make sure every student has the same great experience coming on board. It’s an amazing system, and now other hospitals want to adopt it as well.

I’m also proud of the new, interprofessional Student Lounge (6th floor Shuter Wing). It’s the first time St. Michael’s has had a space where all of our students can hang out together and unwind. The space is great! There’s TV, popcorn and Patricia Houston [vice-president of education] just donated an air hockey table.

If you weren’t working at a hospital, what do you think you’d be doing?

I’d be a DJ. When I was in high school I used to do weddings and birthday parties, and loved it. But now I just want to hang out with my family in the evenings. I have three kids between two and 14 years old – night life has disappeared!

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.