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Future Leader Profile: Kaitlin Endres

The CFMS–MD Financial Management Leadership Awards recognize passionate, dedicated and caring medical student leaders throughout Canada who have made innovative contributions to their schools and communities.

A passion for emergency response and an inexhaustible generosity — these are the two pillars of Kaitlin Endres’ young (but surprisingly diverse) medical career.

During her first year of her undergraduate degree, Kaitlin volunteered as a student responder with Western University’s Student Emergency Response Team (SERT), a team of students who, like other first responders, answered all the 9-1-1 calls made on Western’s campus, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She ended up dedicating four years with the team, serving as Community Outreach Manager, and later as Education Coordinator Executive, a responsibility that gave her a chance to organize and administer all the Red Cross First Aid courses offered to staff and students.

And that was just the beginning.

During her time at Western, Kaitlin also became involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides a home away from home for the families of sick children who are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. As a volunteer coordinator, she recruited and supervised groups of Western students to bake for the families staying at RMH.

After she finished her undergrad and moved to Ottawa to attend med school, she was surprised to learn that the Ronald McDonald House in Ottawa didn’t have the same connections with student groups. So she established a biweekly baking program, much like the one she had facilitated at Western, in hopes of bringing some joy and stability to families going through difficult times. This program also allowed students interested in family medicine and pediatrics to interact with families and children in a more casual setting outside the corridors and examination rooms of the hospital.

After her first year, Kaitlin embarked on a month-long elective in Chile, where she had the opportunity to shadow internal medicine wards, surgeries, and emergency rooms, and also meet – and get insights from – physicians who had been practising in that country for decades.

Kaitlin served as an Executive of the Pediatrics Special Interest Group (PedSIG) at the University of Ottawa, where she implemented the “Teddy Bear Hospital Project” which gave pre-clerkship medical students the chance to volunteer in Ottawa kindergarten classes as “Teddy Doctors,” where they treated young kids’ stuffed animals and helped them learn about – and get comfortable with – the world of health care.

In her second year of med school, Kaitlin became the Aesculapian Society’s VP of Philanthropy. She managed all of the med school’s charitable fundraising activities, which included implementing the first ever uO-Serves Event, which brought together teams of students with charitable organizations across Ottawa, from Shepherds of Good Hope and the Ottawa Mission, to Habitat for Humanity and Canadian Blood Services, and a host of others. This program gave students meaningful volunteer tasks to complete and helped them to bond with their new peers. uO-Serves was so well received that it became a yearly philanthropic initiative.

But that wasn’t all. As VP of Philanthropy, Kaitlin organized and implemented a host of awareness and fundraising programs at uOttawa, from Movember events to clothing drives (and pretty much everything in between).

While Kaitlin was taking on leadership roles and overseeing major philanthropy initiatives, she also found time to help others on a more intimate scale. She was one of the select few chosen to be mentors by the Faculty of Medicine Wellness Department, a role in which she organized and led weekly review sessions and tutorials for first-year medical students. In this mentorship program, she was able to give guidance on everything from class material and study strategies, to electives and career planning.

During her time in Ottawa, Kaitlin has gotten involved with various cardiology, emergency medicine, and health advocacy research projects. For the past three years, she has worked on a project which aims to better understand how health advocacy is conceptualized and taught in postgraduate medical education. The aim of this research is to better position schools to customize their health advocacy teaching and evaluation strategies so that they are better aligned with the principles of competency-based medical education. As a research assistant at CHEO, she is working on a chart review project which aims to assess the health determinants associated with prolonged length of stay in hospital for children with complex medical issues.

It might seem, with the incredible breadth of projects and interests on her resume, that Kaitlin could follow any path. But the one that she chose, after her clerkship, was Emergency Medicine, inspired by her very first volunteer position with the SERT team at Western. Looking back, it’s no surprise that Kaitlin developed a passion for medicine; her mother is a dedicated pharmacist, and since Kaitlin’s childhood, has often provided advice to friends and family about their medication and diet. Helping those in need is something that came naturally in her family and continues to guide her as she navigates her medical career.