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Jesse Kancir
Jesse Kancir in London

Jesse Kancir is a third-year medical student with a background in health economics. He was a biotechnology and economics major at the University of Waterloo, after which he spent “the best year of my life at the London School of Economics”doing graduate work in health policy and economics. At LSE, there was an emphasis on the role of expensive innovations in healthcare and the ethical issue of how to value health. The school was very social-policy oriented with considerable discussion of health professionalism.

“Health economics has allowed me to think and work on a broader level than I might otherwise as a medical student. I have recently been elected to serve as the 2013-2014 President of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students and my work with this and other large organizations has allowed me to apply the health policy lens to addressing issues such as the job market for newly graduated physicians. This gives me a 5,000 foot view of medicine and health care that I would not otherwise have had.”

“I became very interested in the curative aspects of surgery following a hand injury I sustained as an undergraduate student. It eventually led to my switch from economics into healthcare.” The injury led him to explore plastic surgery. He has worked with Steve McCabe at Toronto Western on hand surgery and with Toni Zhong at Toronto General Hospital on breast reconstruction.

Another interest of Jesse’s is the arts and humanities. “I am very interested in the writing of Richard Selzer, Pauline Chen, Atul Gawande, and Anton Chekhov”. All are hybrid writer-doctors; he considers Chekhov to be one of his significant literary role-models. For 2011- 2012, Jesse was one of the 10 students of the University of Toronto selected to receive a Student Engagement in the Arts award. He was cited for creating a literary companion to the medical curriculum, advocating for the formation of a student editorial position on Ars Medica (a bi-annual literary journal), a student curatorial position with the Faculty of Medicine’s Docs for Docs series, and the creation of a literature and medicine reading group with the Department of English. Jesse was also a torch bearer in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.


(1) Ed. Note: Jesse won the LSE Abel - Smith Prize for the best performance in their MSc program.

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