Dr. Schatz Award recipient continues his 22 years in health care by becoming a Chiropodist

Jaffer Shaikh is no stranger to the field of health care. Prior to studying Chiropody at The Michener Institute of Education at UHN, he was an International Medical Graduate (IMG) specializing in Otorhinolaryngology (diseases of the ear, nose and throat, or ENT), and worked as an ENT surgeon in five different countries over 22 years.

After arriving in Canada in 2014, Jaffer worked a number of what he calls “survival jobs,” but he wanted to have a career in medicine again. Faced with the uncertainty of medical licencing outcomes for IMGs, he decided to pursue his interest in technologies within health care.

He enrolled in the Information Technologies Support Services Diploma program at Sheridan College and the Health Informatics Certificate program at Ryerson University. The programs, coupled with his clinical background, enabled him to later secure a position as a Simulation Specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), where he worked for one year.

Wishing to continue his education, Jaffer explored further opportunities and applied to several programs, including a Masters in Health Care Simulation, Health Information Management and Hearing Instrument Specialist programs, as well as the Chiropody program at Michener.

“I was amazed by the Chiropody program’s array of interesting courses and the hands-on opportunities the school offered – from the anatomy dissection hall to Chiropody clinics,” says Jaffer.

Despite being offered admission to every program he applied to, he chose to accept Michener’s offer.

“I visualized myself in a career that saves many feet and lives,” he says. “I also discovered that as a Chiropodist, I would be able to choose between multidisciplinary hospital-based and independent practice environments.”

Now in his third year as a Chiropody student, he received the 2020 Dr. Diana Michener Schatz Scholarship. Established in 1996 in honour of Dr. Schatz, founder and former President of The Michener Institute, this award is presented to a student who has undertaken a career transition while achieving academic excellence, exemplifying innovative thinking in their chosen applied health profession and contributing to the betterment of the Michener community.

“I was deeply inspired by the journey of Dr. Schatz,” Jaffer says. “The Michener Institute stands as a symbol of national pride in allied health care education and I’m proud to be a part of this esteemed institution.”

During his time at Michener, Jaffer worked as a Student Learning Assistant at the Learning Resource Centre, where he helped students with their research and library needs. He also volunteered for school events such as campus tours and participated in programs offered by the Student Success Network, such as yoga, mental health first-aid and assertive skills training. Additionally, he is an Academy Research Trainee with The Institute for Education Research (TIER) at UHN.

Currently, he is completing his clinical placement at the Newmarket Foot Centre. He also works as a Customer Service Representative with the Centre for the Advancement of Simulation and Education at Michener.

“I am honoured to have gained the friendship of many amazing staff, faculty, students and mentors at Michener,” says Jaffer. “The day I was awarded the Dr. Diana Michener Schatz Award is my most cherished memory from my time there.”

When he graduates this June, Jaffer hopes to become part of a multi-disciplinary team serving Chiropody patients with an evidence-based approach. In the longer term, he aims to take on leadership roles in education and health care simulation, and take his skills to underserved areas of Canada through volunteering and community outreach.