Dr. Ronit Mesterman was raised in Germany, studied there, and then went on to study in Israel, where she expected to build her career and make her home. That was until she was drawn to what she learned was the centre of her academic universe: McMaster.
“I had developed an interest clinically but also in research in the area of cerebral palsy [CP] — childhood disability in general, but specifically those with a motor disability. And when you actually even just Google the topic, you’ll come across McMaster very quickly. They’re known worldwide for research and development of measures and tools and classifications in the area of CP. I was looking for more training and from a lot of different directions the name of Peter Rosenbaum came up.
I sent him an e-mail — I still actually have it on file — explaining what I was looking for. It’s very unusual to get an e-mail that is not just a line, but a page, from someone who is so world renowned. I remember it very clearly. The first line was, ‘No, we at CanChild have no fellowships, but.....’ And that ‘but’ was very long, and it gave me lots of ideas. I was planning to come to an international conference for CP where I knew [Rosenbaum would be]. And I said, “Okay, you can’t help me, but can I still meet you?” Especially after getting this nice e-mail, I thought I really need to meet him. And he said, ‘Of course.’ I invited myself to Hamilton after the conference, an when we met we really clicked. Though he originally said he didn’t have anything to offer, and he still didn’t, he thought it might be worth looking for something that the hospital might offer me. And so a half-year later they approached me [with an offer] and it was totally not what I was looking for. I was looking for more training and they were offering a faculty position. And Peter told me to stop: ‘Stop studying and start teaching.’ That was his sentence. And he said, ‘Your whole life you continue to study as a physician anyway, but you need to be more confident in your ability to teach others; you have lots to offer.’ And that’s how it came about.”