In family practice, we see these disparities so vividly every day in the people we care for. I came to IHPME to understand how we can change this story.
During his clinical training in Hamilton, Dr. Dominik Nowak came across the Code Red Series in the Hamilton Spectator. This report detailed the profound health disparities in the city, showing over two decades of difference in life expectancy for people in postal codes just minutes apart.
“In family practice, we see these disparities so vividly every day in the people we care for,” says Nowak. “I came to IHPME to understand how we can change this story.”
Nowak shares that IHPME’s interdisciplinary approach to shaping health systems is essential in preparing professionals for the complexities within the healthcare sector. The Master of Health Science in Health Administration (MHSc) program has a unique ability to attract professionals from diverse health leadership settings including medicine, government, policy, business, communications, law, and more. Nowak highlights this exposure is invaluable in building, nurturing, and contributing to highly effective teams.
“We built new knowledge and skills, and more importantly, an appreciation for the knowledge and skills I realized I didn’t fully know or have, where others had spent years or decades refining their craft,” says Nowak. “Now, I find myself seeking out learning from people who have a completely different set of expertise and positionality than my own, as well as valuing teams that bring together this diversity.”
“Ultimately, change comes from building teamwork across the health system,” Nowak shares. Through the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Nowak chaired a united collaborative of provincial health organizations called ‘Team Ontario.’ This forum built lasting bridges between primary care, public health, government, hospital, and other health system leaders.
Currently, Nowak works clinically as a community family physician and holds both provincial and national health system leadership roles. Nowak’s advocacy mission is toward a health system that he calls “more kind, caring, and careful.” He is also a faculty member in the Department of Family and Community Medicine as well as the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
For those interested in joining IHPME’s MHSc program, Nowak shares how the learnings can build on important leadership skills necessary for leading innovation within health systems.
“It informs my ongoing leadership in breaking down barriers to health, building connectedness, and together creating a better future,” says Nowak.