Dr. Harinee Surendra graduated from the University of Toronto’s Integrative Biology program, then completed her Master of Science from the same university. Her thesis focused on using the body’s own preventative mechanisms to mitigate damage following a major heart attack. Ultimately, the call of the mountains was very strong, and she came to Calgary to complete her medical school and recently graduated from her enhanced skills program in emergency medicine in 2018. She is passionate about patient advocacy and wellness, having started several programs in her family medicine residency to promote resident wellness. She is also strongly interested in teaching and is currently an assistant clinical lecturer at the University of Calgary.
What was your first job?
My first job was at Tim Horton’s as a front-end cashier. It was fast-paced and always fun, and where I discovered my weakness for sweet desserts.
What do you do to unwind?
My favorite things to do are travelling and pottery! Lately, I’ve been fortunate to work with Project Vietnam to improve healthcare in rural Vietnam health stations. Pottery also helps me to relax and be more mindful.
What is your single most important piece of preventive health advice?
The most important preventative health advice I received is also the best advice I received in medical school, which I still use today: Love yourself. Making time for yourself and investing in your health is worth being a top priority. Ultimately, this allows you to cultivate the capacity to help others in return.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
In addition to the advice above, I’ve always believed that a healthy body also means a healthy mind. Take time to unwind and unplug from the world and focus on your holistic health.
What keeps you inspired?
Making a healthy impact in people’s lives is very rewarding. It is especially true when I’m able to inspire a patient to believe in themselves and help them on their health journey. When my patients can see positive changes as a result of their hard work, I feel particularly proud that I was able to contribute to this.
What is the one health lesson you have learned that you want everyone to know?
I love cooking and dabbling in global foods. I have learned through my travels that healthy and nutritious food can be very delicious and accessible, you may just need to be a bit adventurous.