South Peace News
A former High Prairie resident keeps rising in the medical field and wants to motivate youth in small towns that they, too, can do great things.
Dr. Clinton Lewis has been appointed a Clinical Fellow in Stem Cell Transplantation at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston for the next year, from July 2017 to June 2018.
“I want to inspire young people from High Prairie and the surrounding area that they can do what they put their mind to,” says Lewis, who graduated from E.W. Pratt High School in 2005.
“Success is not limited by where you are but by where you aim.”
He grew up in High Prairie, the son of Kevin and Nancy Lewis.
“The educational opportunities, the skills learned from working and living in a rural community, and the people you interact with are not impediments to success, but rather provide a unique context that many people don’t have access to,” Lewis says.
From smalltown northern Alberta to a bigger stage, he says he is grateful for those who have inspired him.
“I have been fortunate to be supported by my family and my amazing wife, Glenda,” Lewis says.
“The journey to medical school, residency, and now this fellowship, has been long, but having the support of friends, family, and faith has been crucial.
“As a child, I was a voracious reader and encouraged in academic excellence by my parents.”
He also attributes his school teachers for helping him along the way.
“I had amazing educational opportunities because of great educators in High Prairie that helped me lay a foundation for academic success,” Lewis says.
“From childhood, I wanted to be a physician and my focus on this goal remained steady.”
After he graduated in High Prairie, he completed a Bachelor of Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. before he attended medical school at the University of Calgary and graduated as a medical doctor in 2012.
Lewis then trained as an internal medicine resident at Dalhousie University in Halifax from 2012-15.
Last year in June, he successfully completed the Royal College of Physicians of Canada exam in internal medicine and gained the designation FRCPC [Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada].
Since last July, Lewis has been completing his hematology residency at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont. to qualify as a blood specialist known as a hematologist.
Life has taken him to many places.
“I’ve also had amazing opportunities to travel for work to Ghana, as well as meet hundreds of other fantastic physicians,” Lewis says.
He expects the coming year could be a big stepping stone in his career.
“The fellowship is an opportunity to complete advanced training in allogeneic stem cell transplantation, a procedure performed primarily for the treatment of blood cancers, at an international centrr of excellence,” Lewis says.
In addition to further clinical training, he will undertake some research with the Stem Cell Transplant group, likely in the area of healthcare outcomes and quality improvement.
“This fellowship is also an opportunity to gain further experience in both research and clinical medicine while working with international experts in the field of stem cell transplantation and hematologic malignancies,” Lewis says.
Experiences along the way have helped him discovery his strengths and passions.
“During medical school I realized I was passionate about connecting with patients and hearing their stories,” Lewis says.
“I also find the optimism and advances in the treatment of cancers fascinating.”
After exploring a variety of fields of medicine during medical school and early in his residency, he decided to pursue further training to treat patients with cancerous and non-cancerous blood disorders.
“I am now sub-specializing further in the field of stem cell transplantation, a technology that allows us to cure some patients with aggressive blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma,” Lewis says.
“The opportunity to connect with patients, hear their story, understand their disease, and make them better is an immense privilege.”
He describes his work in many ways.
“The science and humanity of the practice of medicine is a fantastic melding that is exciting, terrifying, exhausting, and rewarding,” Lewis says.
“Telling a patient they have cancer is an awful task; however, it presents opportunities to connect with another human being on a unique level in a way that many people never get to experience.”