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The road to medical school

Life is a journey, and that’s certainly true for Yvonne Deng ’16, poised medical student and CHS alumna.

After CHS, Yvonne completed her undergrad in sciences at McGill. Mid-program, she switched to immunology to expand her horizons. “If you’re into sciences, and you want to go into medicine, research opportunities are a great way to see if that’s of interest.” 

That experience was an important catalyst in what came next: choosing to pursue a medical degree. “With medicine, you see how scientific discoveries translate into health benefits. I wanted to see the impact of research on patients in real life,” she says.

Yvonne applied to several schools, including UBC. However, she also had backup plans for study and career paths that would have been equally rewarding and adventurous—plans that would have taken her to the US to study the “business side” of healthcare.

In fall 2020, Yvonne started at UBC Medicine. Due to COVID-19, it was an interesting but unusual experience. With lectures all on Zoom, she found it disconcerting not being able to connect with her peers in person; separating school and home life was also challenging. However, studying pathophysiology, disease presentation, and patient management was right up her alley. 

Soon into her new program, Yvonne and her classmates had a rare opportunity to administer vaccinations as part of BC’s COVID vaccine delivery team. Beyond the frontline experience, Yvonne says, “Immunizing the people in our community has been especially rewarding— part of the pandemic recovery, interacting with clients and helping to communicate accurate information.” What made the experience even more unique was getting to vaccinate her mother.  

Yvonne credits CHS for equipping her with critical “basics,” as well as mentorship and discipline. “I owe much of my work ethic to how Crofton shaped me early on, the rigour in the curriculum and having to balance sports and clubs with academics.” She also cites the importance of networking, learned first-hand at CHS. Regardless of career stream, she believes “it’s a valuable tool that can open many doors in life.” 

Though Yvonne has three more years to choose her specialty, right now she’s thinking dermatology or family medicine. But life’s a journey—and anything’s possible.