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‘A lasting difference’

Student recognized by Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Student Life

By Michelle Osmond

Michael Bartellas hopes that what he is doing now will not only have a significant impact on health care in Newfoundland and Labrador, but will also add to global innovation.

The second year doctor of medicine (MD) student at Memorial is well on his way to doing that: he has a long list of accomplishments under his belt with connections as close as St. John’s and as far away as Zimbabwe.

Among his many accolades, Mr. Bartellas can now add the Charles Tabachnick Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) Award.

Track record

One of the highest honours in Canada, Mr. Bartellas is one of 16 medical students recognized for their established track record of community leadership, superior communication skills and demonstrated interest in advancing knowledge.

Mr. Bartellas was inspired by 2014 laureate Dr. Walter Mackenzie.

“Dr. Mackenzie has inspired in me the importance of a hardworking spirit and commitment to a vision,” he wrote in his application essay.

“As an academic surgeon, Dr. Mackenzie built upon his vision of medical research and program development. Comparable to Dr. Mackenzie’s vision, I have attempted to grow our laboratory outside of our research work.”

3D printing lab

Part of this work has been co-creating Newfoundland and Labrador’s first biomedical three-dimensional printing laboratory, MUN MED 3D, an initiative that has supported three engineering co-op placements and more than 40 biomedical projects.

MUN MED 3D also initiated a Hand-A-Thon in St. John’s recently, printing and building prosthetic hands that were sent to children in Zimbabwe.

“He is a modern day titan, and in my future, I strive to carry myself as he did, and to simply put it, make a lasting difference.” — Michael Bartellas

The lab is also part of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program, connecting with elementary schools. They’ve collaborated with a Grade 12 student and a local neurosurgeon to develop a 3D printed cranium for emergency craniotomy simulation — a tool by physicians living in rural areas. That project won a gold medal for the student.

“Three things about Dr. Walter Mackenzie that inspire me is that he was an incredible driver, innovator and surgeon,” noted Mr. Bartellas, who comes from a family of physicians including both parents and both siblings.

“With each of his achievements, Dr. Mackenzie overcame huge hurdles, setbacks and opposition. He is a modern day titan, and in my future, I strive to carry myself as he did, and to simply put it, make a lasting difference.”

Number of achievements

Mr. Bartellas already has an industrial carpentry Red Seal diploma from the College of the North Atlantic (where he won the President’s Medal of Excellence), a bachelor of science in integrated science (hons.) from Carleton University and a master of science in applied health services research under his belt.

In addition, he is the co-founder of Memorial’s Biomedical Engineering Interest Group, president of Memorial’s Arts and Medicine Interest Group and is an education fellow with the Ultimaker Pioneer Program.

Mr. Bartellas, who is Memorial’s third Faculty of Medicine student who has received the CMHF award, has received numerous other awards, including The Wesley and Jeanne Drodge Award in Simulation, a Student Innovation Fund Award and Faculty of Medicine-Dean’s Fellowship Award.

Each recipient of the CMHF awards receives a cash prize of $5,000 and a travel subsidy to attend the 2018 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame induction ceremony in London, Ont., in April 2018. The CMHF partners with donors, MD Financial Management and Canada’s medical schools to recognize young leaders who exemplify qualities of CMHF laureates: perseverance, collaboration and an entrepreneurial spirit.

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