Dr. Rola Masri is an executive and occupational health physician based out of the Medisys Vancouver office. She is also a Medical Review Officer and Immigration Medical specialist. Dr. Masri is on our physician panel for immigration, refugee, and Canadian citizenship medical evaluations. Dr. Masri graduated from the American University of Beirut medical school in 1991. She then completed an internship in obstetrics and gynecology as well a residency in family medicine at her alma mater. Since then, she has gone on to complete additional training in emergency medicine at the University of British Columbia. After practicing out of several North and West Vancouver medical clinics, Dr. Masri settled into a full-service family practice at the Seymour Health Centre before joining our team at Medisys. Dr. Masri joined Medisys because of her passion for disease prevention, complex medical care, and occupational medicine.
What was your first job? My very first job was as a dental assistant – mind you, the dentist was my mother and I was 12 years old. Watching my mother practice dentistry gave me a unique view that kids rarely get to see. Most twelve year olds only associate dentistry with horrifying tooth extractions, but I got the privilege of seeing the more human side of healthcare. My mother was one of the first female dentists in Beirut in the late 1950's; and she was one of the best in the country. One of the things I’ll always admire about my mother is that in light of all her intelligence and professional recognition, nothing took away from her compassion and her humility. Some of her patients paid in full while others just paid what they could, even if it was just fresh milk or fruit. These were the most grateful patients I’ve ever encountered. My mother taught me that while you can aim as high as you can in your career, you will be remembered by how kind and giving you were.
What do you do for fun? I have another job outside of my work at Medisys that gives me joy, fun, and constant opportunities for self-reflection – being a mother and a wife. For fun, I spend time as much time with my family as I can. We go on long walks together, watch movies (the good and the bad), and play games. My family is the best thing I could have ever wished for. I also love to cook and bake. Sometimes my creativity results in awesome food and other times it heads straight into the garbage. But that has not stopped me yet from trying out new recipes – I get a kick out of seeing my husband’s and my kids’ expressions when they taste test. None of them have the greatest poker faces, I can tell instantly from their expressions whether it’s inedible or delicious!
Tell us something that few people know about you. I was overweight as a teenager. I tried (and failed) every diet under the sun and I know firsthand how tough it is to lose excess weight. It was only when I decided to focus on health not weight, that I was able to change my lifestyle and get on track. That’s what I love about Medisys, through our preventive health assessments we empower people with the information and tools to be proactive about their health, and to get healthy and stay healthy long-term. For many of my patients, their Medisys assessment is a jumping off point for achieving their health goals, and every year it’s both a reminder and a support system to help you stay on track. Most importantly, everything we do at Medisys is individualized to our patients and their goals – because people’s goals and health needs can change from one year to the next.
What’s the one thing you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? Don’t sweat the small stuff, as it will probably be irrelevant tomorrow. In my life I’ve spent too many sleepless nights stressing over a small incident or a comment that no one would have cared about but me – it’s so easy to blow things out of proportion. I’ve realized over the years that there is simply no point in worrying, and worse, chronic stress can be extremely damaging to your physical and mental health! My philosophy now is this: when faced with a challenge, research the issue and work towards finding a solution. If it’s out of your control and you can’t find a solution, just move on – life is short! Go golfing, read a book, watch the news – I promise you will find someone else with problems bigger than yours!
What’s the secret to lifelong happiness?
“Happiness is a myth we seek,
If manifested surely irks;
Like river speeding to the plain,
On its arrival slows and murks.
For man is happy only in
His aspiration to the heights;
When he attains his goal, he cools
And longs for other distant flights.”
– Khalil Gibran
I don't think anyone can define happiness better than Gibran. Although physical health often supports the achievement of happiness, I think humans are most happy when they truly appreciate what they have in the present. When you can view life’s problems and curve balls as new challenges, you become thankful for the journey, and begin to realize that happiness always comes from within.