McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New MD graduate lands coveted residency in pediatric neurology

Published: May 22, 2015
Thiviya Selvanathan
"I love that in pediatric neurology you have the opportunity to form these long-term relationships with your patients and their families" — Thiviya Selvanathan

Thiviya Selvanathan likes to solve very difficult problems, particularly about children. The Kitchener medical student is getting the opportunity, as she has been chosen one of only nine new residents in pediatric neurology in Canada.

A student of the Waterloo Regional Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, she is graduating McMaster University at convocation on Friday, May 22.  Only nine residents from across Canada were matched to this highly specialized and competitive discipline, and she will take up her residency in pediatric neurology at the University of Toronto and SickKids hospital in Toronto on July 1.

Thiviya went into medicine because she wanted to help people, but also because of the opportunities to teach, and to get involved in research. She chose to specialize in pediatric neurology because she loves working with kids and is fascinated by the human brain.

"I appreciate that the cases we see in pediatric neurology are complex and diverse. I'll see kids with seizures, neuromuscular disorders, strokes and neonates with similar issues as well. These are all kids I might follow long-term," said Selvanathan, who is from Markham. "And I love that part of my job involves interpreting key pieces of a patient's story to come up with a diagnosis. It's like solving a puzzle."

A total of 475 students from midwifery, physician assistant, Bachelor of Health Sciences and several specialty diplomas and graduate degrees, will also cross the Hamilton Place stage at the 2:30 p.m. ceremony.

"I'm looking forward to forming long-term relationships with my patients and their families," said Selvanathan. "A lot of the time you're following a child as they develop and age so you have the opportunity to form a strong bond with them and their families. That was something I knew I wanted in my job."

What she liked most about studying at McMaster was the problem-based learning approach and the fact that students get to meet patients right from the first week of medical school.

"I found that that's how I remember things," she said. "I remember the patients that I've met, their stories, and how we cared for them. I've read around what they've come in with and that's how I've learned. I love that the early clinical experiences at McMaster encourage that. It suited my learning style."

She also enjoyed her experience at the Waterloo campus.

"It's a very tight-knit group. My classmates, the staff and preceptors are all very supportive," said Selvanathan. "They know you well and that's a special way to go through medical school. It's almost like having a family away from home."

Selvanathan is considering a fellowship in neonatal neurology after she completes her residency.

She wants to see patients, but also wants her career to involve research.

"I think there's a lot we don't know about the developing brain. I have a lot of questions and I want to be part of discovering the answers."

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