Elliot Grady is rooted in the Niagara Region. He grew up here and he is becoming a medical doctor here.
As he prepares to mark his graduation from McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine Niagara Regional Campus, he says it feels like a dream come true.
“I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t want to be a doctor,” Grady said. “Early on, it came from the fact I loved science but also, my dad was an emergency medical technician so he was a big source of inspiration. I would hear stories about his heroic feats and I got excited about that when I was a kid.”
Raised in Niagara Falls, Grady spent a good part of his youth as a competitive swimmer, then coach and swim instructor. Having the opportunity to work with children and their parents, as well as summers spent volunteering at Niagara Health, planted the seeds for a future in family medicine.
McMaster’s Niagara Regional Campus will continue be his home base as he prepares to embark on his residency in rural family medicine based in the Grimsby area. He anticipates he will be placed at clinics in the West Lincoln area and Hamilton Health Sciences’ West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, as well as at Niagara Health’s St. Catharines site.
“One of the amazing aspects of family medicine is the opportunity for developing connections with patients and people in the community,” he said.
After graduating from A.N. Myer Secondary School in Niagara Falls, Grady earned a bachelor of medical sciences degree with an honours specialization in microbiology and immunology at Western University. He was then accepted to McMaster for medicine, ranking the Niagara Regional Campus as his top preference of the medical school’s three campuses. His choice did not disappoint.
“I had a fantastic time,” he said of the past three years. “I loved the small community feel of the Niagara Regional Campus. I got to know my classmates, and most of the staff and preceptors. There were so many familiar faces around that made it enjoyable. My clinical experience was also fantastic, and I had a lot of opportunities to work one-on-one with some fantastic preceptors.”
Grady added he is especially grateful for the mentorship of Kaleem Ashraf, an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics with McMaster and a pediatrician with Niagara Health.
“Dr. Ashraf is the definition of an exemplary role model,” said Grady. “Not only is his interaction with patients and their parents exemplary, he is always apt to take on new students and loves to teach.
“Knowing I wanted to go into family medicine, he was still eager to teach me everything he could about pediatrics within family medicine, so I felt really respected. I’m so thankful for all the help he gave me along the way.”
Grady says he is excited for what he considers to be endless opportunities in his future in rural family medicine.
“The experience I had throughout medical school in smaller communities and rural environments showed me that the broader scope of practice is what I want to do,” he said. “Rural family medicine grants me the opportunity to do other things within medicine that I like, such as emergency medicine and minor procedures.”
As he looks to the incoming class of medical students at the Niagara Regional Campus, Grady tells them to make the most of the chances offered to them.
“When an opportunity presents itself that seems interesting to you, just go for it because you don’t know where it will take you,” said Grady.
Grady says he wouldn’t be here today without all those who supported him, in particular, his parents, Allyson and Paul Grady, and younger sister, Sabrina.
“My parents and my sister have been incredibly supportive, and I know they always will be,” he said.
“My dad is now retired, but he loves that I’m going to be a doctor and he’s very proud of me. Now, I get to tell him about my work and it makes for some great conversations around the dinner table.”
McMaster's spring convocations will be held on the same days as scheduled but, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduands will be receiving a personalized video and entrance into a website with video greetings from university officials. In-person celebrations will be scheduled later. The School of Nursing celebrates its convocation of 547 students on May 20. Next day, the 199 graduands of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, with 143 from the Hamilton campus, 29 from the Waterloo Regional Campus and 27 from the Niagara Regional Campus, join 419 students of other programs of the Faculty of Health Sciences for their convocation. More information on the Faculty's convocations may be found here.