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Additional Trainee Benefit

In addition to research mentorship of trainees across multiple-levels, UHN COMBIEL has also focused on the development of the entire individual. Up to fifteen percent of our trainees opt for a different career path (law, education, business, a different healthcare field) after their time at UHN COMBIEL, because the program provides the flexibility to explore various fields and allows trainees to immerse themselves in order to make judicious, rational career choices. Some trainees develop new interests, such as trainee L.H. (UHN COMBIEL 2011-2012), who has gone on to a Wellcome Trust Ph.D. at Oxford, and trainee N.K. (UHN COMBIEL 2017-2019) who has been offered a full scholarship at Oxford to complete an Integrated Immunology MSc. Others, such as J.T., went from preferring pre-law to absolutely wanting pre-medicine, and completed a MSc with Dr. Liu; she is now completing her Hematology residency at the University of Toronto. J.S. is a trainee who spent a first summer with us, deciding afterwards that she wanted to become a lawyer rather than a physician; she has returned in two consecutive summers to help our laboratories with industry contracts, scientific proposal writing, and data and material transfer agreements, and has been exposed to multiple negotiations. UHN COMBIEL seeks to find win-win-win combinations for the trainee, program, and supervisors.

In addition to research training, UHN COMBIEL offers students the following:


  • Dedicated time to explore careers, by shadowing staff and faculty within UHN, with departmental permission

  • Career guidance and planning

  • Ethics training and training on methods to deal with difficult patients and difficult situations, including role-playing sessions

  • Sessions on how to construct a proper academic Curriculum Vitae and how to plan for applications to professional schools or post-graduate and graduate programs 

  • Training on how to perform quality care improvement projects (there are between 1-6 UHN COMBIEL trainees who present at the ASCO Quality Symposium each year; see “Activities” section on

  • Sessions to discuss models of compassionate healthcare and quality improvement frameworks

  • Training on how to utilize networks for peer-support and career guidance

  • Practice on how to utilize such networks, including an annual lunch to introduce new Princess Margaret fellows to the summer and longitudinal UHN COMBIEL trainees. This is meant to increase interaction across all trainee levels, and foster mentorship amongst trainees, both within UHN COMBIEL, and with the wider Princess Margaret community. We are unable to have a lunch in 2020 due to COVID-19.

  • Clinical skills training sessions as a way to help pre-medicine students better understand medical school, allow medical students to practice their skills, and assist post-graduate trainees (interns, residents) in developing skills as medical educators. We are unable to hold these sessions in 2020 due to COVID-19.

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