McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Matthew Tenenbaum advocates for public health

By Suzanne Morrison
Published: May 21, 2013

When Matthew Tenenbaum took a very close look at where he wanted to specialize as a doctor, he got a surprise.

He once thought he would become an anesthesiologist, preparing patients for surgery and spending days in the operating room. In what seems like a complete turnaround, he plans to become a family doctor advocating for better patient care and improved health care policies.

Tenenbaum begins his residency training in public health and preventive medicine, including family medicine, following his graduation during spring convocation ceremonies for McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine on Friday, May 24 at Hamilton Place. He is this year's valedictorian.

His career choice is a good fit for him, he believes. "Conversations we're having as a society focus a lot of the health care system rather than health prevention. When we think about health, we think about funding hospitals and doctors, not social programs to maintain health," he said.

Going forward in his career, Tenenbaum would like to become involved in high-end decision-making, such as taking on the role of a health administrator, or becoming a politician.

He has had a long association with McMaster, earning his undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) before entering medical school.

"Medical school is transformative," he said. "I came in thinking that learning the bulk of medical knowledge would be the focus. I realized the bigger focus is to be drawn into the medical culture — it's not so much what you learn but how you apply it, not just becoming a competent clinician but engaging effectively with the health system, medical education and services."

While at McMaster Tenenbaum served as vice-president of communications for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS). He was responsible for developing communications strategy and serving as the voice of more than 7,000 medical students in Canada.

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