Celebrating National Physicians’ Day
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Every single day, in hospitals, homes, clinics and doctors’ offices across Canada, dedicated physicians and nurses care for those who are sick or injured of all ages and from all walks of life. They care for the family who’ve just arrived in Canada, for grandparents and children alike who suffer from COVID, for the frightened first-time mother-to-be, and the grieving widow of the partner she lost to cancer just moments ago. For over two years, they have also summoned the strength and compassion to keep providing incredible care during one of the most challenging, relentless public health crises of our time.
Simply put, they’ve been there for all of us.
In May we recognize National Physicians’ Day (May 1) and Nursing Week (May 9-15), and to honour them, we’re highlighting some of the dedicated staff at the heart of the exceptional care at North York General Hospital (NYGH). With humanity and healing, our physicians and nurses make #NorthYorkGeneralStrong. Please read their stories below.
Show your gratitude for all of our doctors and nurses through a donation in their honour. Your gift will support our health care team in performing at their best by funding upgraded equipment, new technology and new care environments.
You can also simply share a message of thanks on our wall of gratitude.
Meet Five NYGH Physicians
Dr. Lara Propst
For as long as she can remember, people have always come to Dr. Lara Propst with their problems. She was known to be fair-minded and confiding in her was easy. So, when it came time for her to choose a career path, psychiatry seemed like the most natural fit.
As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Dr. Propst feels privileged to work in such a challenging and rewarding career — present in the lives of her patients as they reach important milestones. Dr. Propst remembers her first few days at NYGH at the General Site when it was just a small building with a coffee stand in the lobby. Now she marvels at how much the hospital has grown, and yet still somehow has managed to maintain its warmth and feeling of community.
She is proud to be a part of the team, working for a hospital that is recognized throughout Canada for being one of the best.
Dr. Joanne Yu
Oncologist and Cancer Clinical Trials Lead
As an oncologist, Dr. Yu is always looking for the best treatments to help her patients improve their outcomes. As physician lead of Cancer Clinical Trials at NYGH, Dr. Yu aims to provide more treatment options for patients close to home. Before she became a medical oncologist, Dr. Yu completed her PhD in cancer research and applied for medical school during her post-doctoral fellowship so that she could help patients more directly.
Dr. Yu understands that a diagnosis of cancer is life-altering. She feels immensely privileged to care for her patients and witness their resilience. Watching how patients and their families – at their most vulnerable, push through with grace and courage both inspires and humbles her.
She is grateful for the opportunity to provide comfort, support, and healing during their most difficult times, and for the chance to share smiles and laughter during better times.
Dr. Yu loves working at NYGH because of the people, the sense of community here and because everyone comes to work with the shared goal of trying to do their best for patients and their families.
Dr. Kareem Morant
Director of the Graham & Audrey Rosenberg Family Cardiac Care Clinic
While he knows it may sound typical, Dr. Kareem Morant chose to become a cardiologist because he really wanted to help people. A self-described “people person” and an avid athlete in high school, he decided to become a doctor when he realized a lot of the skills he’d learned in sports, like determination, discipline, teamwork and leadership, were applicable to the field of medicine.
Throughout his childhood, Dr. Morant’s parents always stressed that it was important to find a career that helped people. What’s surprised him is how much satisfaction he derives from his work solving challenging cases and seeing the appreciation from patients and their families. It serves as a reminder of why he chose to pursue medicine.
Helping patients recover after being at their sickest continues to inspire Dr. Morant, even through the difficult times.
NYGH’s combination of a community hospital environment with academics is what attracted him to the hospital, and he’s grateful to be part of the team.
Dr. Maral Nadjafi
Interim Chief of Medicine and Medicine Program Director, Division Head – General Internal Medicine
One of Dr. Maral Nadjafi’s earliest memories is when she was five years old pretending to vaccinate her dolls with a pen. A conscientious student, health care seemed like the perfect way for her to help others through a profession that was respected and appreciated.
As a doctor of internal medicine, Dr. Nadjafi understands what a privilege it is to help people in their most vulnerable moments of illness. Unlike any other job, she gets to know people at a deeply personal level and help them through a difficult time. Every patient and family has a story, and she has been the listening ear for many through her time as a physician. She believes what she does is sacred and that it’s an honour to help others with the skills she’s learned.
North York General Hospital is Dr. Nadjafi’s hospital. It’s where she grew both professionally and personally, where her children were born and where various family medical issues are treated. She appreciates the same culture of compassion and care at NYGH that she has enjoyed as a patient and a family member. Dr. Nadjafi has a strong sense of service, and as an immigrant, she is grateful that her work allows her to give back to the community that has given her so much.
Dr. Anton Helman
Emergency Medicine Physician
Dr. Anton Helman’s path to becoming an Emergency Medicine physician was inspired by his father, a doctor himself who was a role model and mentor to his son.
Dr. Helman appreciates how medicine is like solving puzzles. He likes the diagnostic challenges that are presented, the variety, and the need for lightning-fast decision-making that comes with emergency medicine. He also relishes learning from people he says are smarter than he is and hearing from listeners of his podcast, “Emergency Medicine Cases” (EM Cases). The free podcast is dedicated to providing online emergency medicine education for physicians, residents, students, nurses and paramedics.
When it comes to his work at NYGH, it’s the people Dr. Helman values most. According to him, the hospital community is unlike any other.