Sherif Youssef

Sherif Youssef

Sherif Youssef is a fourth-year Psychology and Neuroscience student from Chambly, Quebec. He participated in an internship at a hospital in Sorel-Tracy where he shadowed a psychiatrist to learn more about providing care in a clinical setting and conducted interviews with medical professionals to assess their perception of the experience of minority and socially marginalized groups when accessing care.

Sherif has long had an interest in the medical field, and plans to apply to medical school with the goal of a career in psychiatry. The notion that all patients should be equal in the eyes of medicine is particularly meaningful to Sherif, and he hopes to exemplify this in his own career. Through past volunteer experience, however, he learned that minorities often face challenges when accessing care that Canadian-born patients do not.

It was with these two ideas in mind – gaining insight into a career in medicine through first-hand experience and exploring potential inequalities in the medical domain – that Sherif undertook his B.E.S.T. project.

At the Sorel-Tracy hospital, Sherif shadowed a psychiatrist for the summer and became more familiar with the routine, the environment and the challenges that doctors face in a clinical setting. Working with a psychiatrist whose practice includes electroconvulsive therapy, Sherif was able to assist with the admission process for new patients, learn about possible courses of treatment, and observe the evolution of medical cases and the effects of therapy.

Parallel to this, Sherif conducted interviews with doctors and hospital staff, collecting testimonials about the experience of minorities when receiving care. Through their accounts, he wanted to understand whether discrepancies might exist in regard to the treatment provided to minority or marginalized groups compared to Caucasian Quebecers.

Using six questions (ranging from professionals’ perceptions of treatment differences for patients from minority groups to the methods they employ to ensure patients feel comfortable and heard), Sherif gathered feedback on this important topic and grouped responses into broad themes. He plans to expand upon the survey by integrating it into an Honours project and conducting further interviews with doctors as well as patients from minority and marginalized groups.

“Overall, this was an amazing and unforgettable experience, and one that will definitely influence my future,” says Sherif. Through the opportunity for direct experience in a clinical setting, Sherif’s ambition to pursue a career in medicine has only been strengthened, and his passion for psychiatry in particular further cemented.