Grad Back in Canada for Fellowship

This New Brunswick native headed back home to Canada to take on a gynecologic oncology fellowship at the University of Toronto.

Entering medical school, Mitchell Clark, MD ’12 never imagined a career in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN)—a field he originally thought of as the practice of delivering babies. Now, six years after graduating from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC), Clark is a gynecologic oncology fellow at the University of Toronto.

“It’s an honor,” Dr. Clark said. “The program has an incredible reputation for research and clinical practice—I’m so thankful for this opportunity.”

The University of Toronto Gynaecologic Oncology Fellowship Training Program awards just two fellowships each year and is recognized as a leading international program. Through affiliations with Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre and the University Health Network, which includes the Toronto General Division and the Princess Margaret Hospital, fellows have the opportunity to gain clinical exposure in medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, and surgical intensive care. The program also includes a full year of protected academic study in a field of interest.

Dr. Clark began his three-year fellowship in July 2017, after completing his OB/GYN residency at Bridgeport Hospital—part of the Yale New Haven Health Network. His residency training included five days in the operating room, offset by time with patients in the clinic. Earlier in his residency, Clark completed a one-month Rutledge Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a three-month Galloway Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Each opportunity afforded him the chance to train with world-renowned specialists in all aspects of gynecologic cancers.

“Some people think of gynecologic oncology as a sad field but I see hope,” he says. “We have the opportunity to extend life, to find cures. That’s a driving factor for me."

Returning to Canada

Earning the University of Toronto fellowship meant the New Brunswick native was able to return to his home country of Canada. Clark left home in May 2009, immediately following his undergraduate study at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. He spent the next seven years in St. Maarten while at AUC, in New York for clinical rotations, and then in Connecticut for residency. But returning to Canada was always in the plan for Clark, despite a decision not to apply for residency there.

“I knew I wanted to be an OB/GYN but I also knew how competitive the residency options were in Canada,” he recalled. “I chose to apply to the U.S. National Residency Matching Program but I sat for the MCCEE [Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination] so I could pursue a fellowship back home.”

Clark wants other Canadian students at AUC to know that they have options.

“There are one hundred different ways to get to that end of a journey,” he said. “If you keep your eyes open and stay flexible, you’ll come away with many more opportunities. Remain focused and you will persevere.”