Newsroom

Our Stories

Let the games begin!

Toronto, July 13, 2015

By Melissa Di Costanzo

Drs. Julia Rackal, Lee Schofield and Ashna Bowry
Drs. Julia Rackal, Lee Schofield and Ashna Bowry will be volunteering with the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, taking place in Toronto and various locations across the Greater Toronto Area. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

For Dr. Ashna Bowry, volunteering as a family doctor during the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games is about proudly representing the place she now calls home.

“I’m doing something for my country and I’m proud to be Canadian,” she said.

The family physician at St. Michael’s Health Centre at 80 Bond became a Canadian citizen in February. Born in Kenya, Dr. Bowry completed her medical school training in England, where she keenly followed soccer, rugby and cricket.

By the time she landed in Ontario’s capital, Dr. Bowry was ready to take on her next athletic interest: learning about hockey. This prepared her for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, which she attended as an avid spectator.

“I loved being part of that spirit,” she said. “It was so great to see Canadians come together and celebrate the sport at home.”

This summer Dr. Bowry will work in the polyclinic – a temporary facility set up for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games – treating athletes from other countries who may experience dehydration, heat stroke, coughs and colds, or asthma flare ups. She’ll also provide care to basketball and baseball players in the Ryerson Athletic Centre.

“I thought I might as well join the mania and apply my skills outside of work in a meaningful way,” she said.

Almost 20 kilometers away in Etobicoke, Dr. Julia Rackal will help care for BMX bikers in Centennial Park and taekwondo athletes at the Mississauga Sports Centre.

  St. Michael’s Pan Am roles
  • St. Michael’s will remain a designated trauma hospital, and receive trauma patients under the hospital’s usual guidelines

  • Increased walk-in traffic to the ED is anticipated during the games

  • St. Michael’s is not a specific designated hospital for the games. Patients may be sent to our ED from the Pan Am Polyclinic, under normal EMS guidelines. Designated receiving hospitals are Toronto East General Hospital, and the University Health Network

“This is a fun, exciting time for Toronto,” she said. “Why not get involved?”

The family doctor at St. Michael’s Family Practice Unit at 61 Queen St. E. has volunteered in the Special Olympics and the Toronto International Film Festival – but not at anything quite like Pan Am.

“I enjoy the excitement of the city surrounding the games, and the energy and excitement of meeting and hosting international athletes,” she said.

Dr. Lee Schofield has treated figure skaters, divers and triathlon participants, having volunteered with national and provincial recreational and high-performing athletes in various sporting events.

This summer, the sports and family medicine doctor will be part of the core Canadian medical team caring for Canadian athletes, coaches and team leaders, as lead physician for the Parapan athletes at York University. He’ll help develop emergency plans, provide coverage where athletes play and will work at the medical clinic in the Pan Am athletes village for the Canadian team.

“Our goal is to help athletes do the best they can, and be the best they can possibly be,” he said.

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.