June 30, 2016
Sure, people make all sorts of career changes to follow their dreams of practicing medicine—but it’s pretty rare that one of our graduates can list “former Olympic athlete” as their prior occupation.
But that’s exactly the case with Keith Morgan, MD, a 2013 graduate of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). Before enrolling in medical school, Morgan was a judoka—a term for someone who practices judo, a grappling-based martial art—who participated in four Olympic Games from 1996 to 2008. Not only that, he medaled four times in the Pan Am Games (gold, two silvers, and a bronze) and earned a gold medal in the 2008 Pan American Judo Championships.
Hear from alumni at our Ottawa Information Seminar on Oct. 29. Read more and sign up here.
A pretty impressive athletic career, to be sure. But post-2008, he was “happy where I was in my sports life.” It was time to move on to a different career, but preferably something that kept him in sports.
That’s where RUSM came in. And based on the sports medicine fellowship he’s starting this year at University of Ottawa, he’s well on his way to achieving his goals.
How Morgan Went from the Olympics to RUSM
After retiring from judo, Morgan ran into some friends in Saskatchewan, and one—a physician—mentioned that his son and daughter-in-law were both attending RUSM. After learning about the medical school’s accelerated curriculum, in which students can earn their Doctor of Medicine degree in under four years, Morgan figured he “might want to give it a shot.”
He hadn’t looked into medical schools for years. A graduate of McGill University (majoring in anatomy and cell biology), Morgan had tried applying to a few Canadian schools in 2004, but was denied based on his MCAT score. RUSM, which looks at candidates holistically rather than solely on MCAT scores and grade point averages, admitted Morgan in 2009.
It proved an easy transition. “I took the determination I needed as an athlete, and put it into medicine,” he said. “I’ve got to say I worked pretty hard, but I enjoyed my time [at RUSM]; and I enjoyed some of the stuff the island had to offer.”
Morgan went on to complete clinical rotations at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Michigan, later completing two elective rotations in his home country—one at Ottawa University, the other at Western University.
“As a Canadian student, you have to try and get electives in Canada,” he said. “I fought for those hard. I was told ‘no’ a couple of times, and I badgered them until I got them.” Networking with other Canadian physicians is a must if you want to go back to Canada for residency, he said.
From US Clinicals Back to Canada for Residency
After graduating, Morgan attained a residency at University of Ottawa through the Canada Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Family medicine residencies in Canada last two years, with residents typically completing a fellowship during a third year. He selected family medicine, he said, for its versatility.
“It’s kind of the gateway to everything,” Morgan said. “We [family practitioners] do the majority of the medical care and refer out where we have to. It gives me the ability to do whatever I want.” Family practitioners from Canada can specialize in disciplines like obstetrics, palliative care, anesthesia, and sports medicine. That last one—sports medicine—was the perfect fusion of his personal athletic interests and his ultimate career goals as a physician.
His first two years of residency were challenging, he said. “At times, it can be overwhelming. You’re working a lot of hours—sometimes it’s 100 per week, and other times it’s 60,” he said. “But I feel like I was well prepared by Ross, and had confidence going in. In fact, I actually felt like I was better prepared than some of my colleagues from Canadian medical schools.”
After completing fellowship training, Morgan hopes to open a mixed practice—half family medicine, half sports medicine, with time spent moonlighting as a team physician for Canadian wresting and judo national teams as they compete in the Pan-American Judo Championships, Pan-American Games, and the Olympics.
“It would be sort of a win-win,” he said. “They like to have people who know the sports.”
Morgan offers three pieces of advice for current and potential RUSM students: don’t take no for an answer, believe in yourself, and work extremely hard.
“You have to be very tenacious, very above-and-beyond,” he said. “You’ve got to be a hard worker.”
Meet alumni at our Ottawa Information Seminar on Oct. 29. Read more and sign up here.
Other Articles You Might Like
- RESOURCES: More Information for Canadian Applicants and Students
- CARMS: Canadian Student Gets 1 of 2 Available IMG Peds Spots at Western U
- MERP: Student Inspires through Blogging, Hits 26,000 Views (and Makes Dean’s List, Too)
- ALUMNI: From Chief Resident to Chief Medical Officer, Grad Has Rich Career
- CaRMS: RUSM Grad Earns Residency in Highly Competitive Neurology Program
No comments yet. Be the first!
News and perspectives from our campus, colleagues, and alumni
P R E V I O U S P O S T S
- MATCH: Ross Student Earns Residency in Diagnostic Radiology
- MATCH: Q&A with Ross Alumna who Earned an Internal Medicine Residency
- MATCH: Soon-to-Be Surgery Resident Says Transfer to Ross was "Best Career Choice"
- MATCH: Alum Creates “Saving Lives” App, Matches in Family Medicine
- MATCH: Husband and Wife Couple Earn Psychiatry Residencies at UCLA-Kern
A R C H I V E
- April 2012
- April 2013
- June 2013
- August 2013
- September 2013
- October 2013
- November 2013
- December 2013
- January 2014
- February 2014
- March 2014
- April 2014
- May 2014
- June 2014
- July 2014
- August 2014
- September 2014
- October 2014
- November 2014
- December 2014
- January 2015
- February 2015
- March 2015
- April 2015
- May 2015
- June 2015
- July 2015
- August 2015
- September 2015
- October 2015
- November 2015
- December 2015
- January 2016
- February 2016
- March 2016
- April 2016
- May 2016
- June 2016
- July 2016
- August 2016
- September 2016
- October 2016
- November 2016
- December 2016
- January 2017
- February 2017
- March 2017
B L O G S B Y T A G, "Community Service", "Internal Medicine", Academics, Admissions, Alaska, Alumni, Arizona, Brazil, California, Campus, Canada, Cancer, Cardiology, Chief resident, Chief Resident, Clinical Program, Clinical Sciences, Community Service, Connecticut, Couples, Dean, Diabetes, Dominica, Emergency, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology, Expert, Faculty, Family Medicine, Fellowship, Flaherty, Florida, Georgia, Graduates, Graduation, Illinois, Innovation, Internal Medicine, Kentucky, Leadership, Louisana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Match, MCAT, MERP, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, News, Nigeria, North Carolina, Nurse, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pediatrics, Pennsylvania, Public Health, Radiology, Relay for Life, Research, Residency, Scholarships, simulation, Social Mission, South Dakota, Student Services, Students, Surgery, Tennessee, Texas, USMLE, White Coat, Women in Medicine