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George Phillip, MSc’21

George Philip, MSc’21

Alcohol consumption is a widely practiced tradition during social gatherings and particularly common among young adults, but what’s disconcerting is that this ‘culture’ has recently become a silent epidemic.

My graduate research aimed to understand how the changing epidemiology of cirrhosis has influenced liver transplant wait-list registration – specifically, observing its impact among young adults. Over the past two decades, hepatitis C has been the primary etiology of concern. However, our data has shown alcohol associated liver disease (ALD) to now be the most common indication for chronic liver disease and liver transplant registration. “The burden of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis continues to increase in both Canada and the United States, with ALD contributing most to these trends.” – an excerpt from my master’s thesis.

Evidently, the Translational Medicine (TMED) graduate program at Queen’s allowed me to explore an intersectional area of study I never thought possible.

The root of my passion began during my undergraduate studies at Brock University, where I majored in Medical Sciences. In the summer after my second year, I embarked on a research project at Sunnybrook Hospital, where I sought to understand the prognostic trends of cholangiocarcinoma – an experience that ultimately led me to pursue clinical research. Additionally, during the fall and winter academic semesters, I enrolled in specialized Public Health courses that had sparked my curiosity in the field of population health.

This left me in a very peculiar state as I had cultivated a desire of further exploring and learning two distinct fields. Nevertheless, I knew I wanted to pursue graduate school with aspirations of enrolling in a program that acknowledged both my interests, and TMED was the perfect fit.

My purpose of choosing TMED was due to its unique interweaving curriculum, one that extends beyond the scope of traditional health education. Moreover, the program is the first of its kind to offer biomedical research opportunities in conjunction with clinical exposure. The interdisciplinary nature of the core courses and small class sizes exemplified experiential and collaborative learning, allowing me to achieve my highest potential. One of my favourite aspects of the program was the TMED 800 course, which presented a unique interactive patient experience that allowed me to learn about specific diseases from the patients themselves. Hearing their lived experiences evoked raw feelings of care and gratitude as I recognized the impact my research had on their daily lives and the cruciality of translational research.

Translational medicine plays an integral role within the realm of scientific discovery, biomedical research, and health outcomes. Recognizing this, TMED permitted me to carve out a personalized niche in the advancement of liver disease discovery and provided me with the opportunity to apply it from a population health perspective.

The MSc in TMED complements my future goal of working along the intersections of translational research and population health. Furthermore, the program has equipped me with sufficient knowledge in bridging the gap between “bench to bedside to policy”, where my vision of translating evidence-based research into practice becomes a nearby reality. Presently, I am pursuing a PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Western University, with hopes of empowering change among marginalized populations and improving the quality of care they receive.