Lauren Payne - 2014 Winning Essay

While conducting my undergraduate thesis research exploring the health challenges of immigrant women in the City of Hamilton, I began to understand how a lack of access to appropriate primary care negatively impacts public health. My career aspirations have since focused on reducing systems barriers that face our most marginalized populations.

I pursued a Master of Public Health degree to better understand the mechanisms involved in creating these barriers. My thesis research helped to develop a hospital maternity care model that better met the needs of Northwestern Ontario First Nations communities. I have published aspects of this work in the Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine and the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. As a volunteer in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, I wrote grants and helped run programs to advance cervical cancer screening rates. These experiences demonstrated how innovative models of primary care have a positive impact on the health of underserved groups.

Now a fourth year medical student at the University of Toronto, I intend to dedicate my future career to narrowing the gap in health status between Canadians through family medicine. My commitment to this field has been strengthened by my clinical work with the homeless community, my involvement as a student leader on committees at the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and my volunteer work mentoring inner city youth in Toronto. I will consistently strive to improve the delivery of primary care to vulnerable groups in Canada through my clinical, advocacy, and research contributions.