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Physician of the week recipients are profiled below.

Dr. Seth Shaffer

Gastroentorologist

Dr. Seth Shaffer has always loved science and working with people, making medicine a natural choice for a career. Born…

Dr. Seth Shaffer has always loved science and working with people, making medicine a natural choice for a career. Born and raised in Winnipeg, he graduated medical school from UM and completed his Internal Medicine residency at Queen’s University and a gastroenterology fellowship in Winnipeg. In 2018, he completed a two-year fellowship in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) at the University of Chicago, where he also obtained his Masters of Public Health Sciences, with a focus on health economics.

An Assistant Professor of Medicine at UM, Dr. Shaffer also works as an academic gastroenterologist at HSC, providing inpatient consult service, working in outpatient clinics, and performing endoscopies. He sees patients with all kinds of gastrointestinal issues, but his main interest lies in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. He also teaches medical learners through the UM

Patient, Megan Romphf felt anxious and hesitant about medical procedures from past experiences but Dr. Shaffer’s bedside manner, professionalism, and knowledge made her feel comfortable with testing and treatment again. His efforts to go above and beyond to help ease her fears and control the symptoms of her illness are what led Megan suggest him for the Physician of the Week. 

Dr. Shaffer works hard to empathize with his patients, and he loves that his specialty allows him to interact with patients in all stages of life. The most rewarding part of his work as a gastroenterologist, is helping his patients to feel better and get their lives back. He says, caring for people in their most vulnerable state is something I cherish and don’t take for granted.” 

As a member of the University of Manitoba IBD Clinical and Research Centre Dr. Shaffer’s research focuses on understanding the causes and clinical management of persons with IBD, the economic impact of caring for those patients, and impact the pandemic has had on patients’ mental health. He will be presenting the latest research in IBD, and future developments for patients next month at the Crohn’s and Colitis Gala in Winnipeg

With health care workers dedicating longer days to caring for patients, Dr. Shaffer worries about the risk of burnout to both physicians and nurses. He is concerned about the inadequate funding in healthcare and believes we should be investing more in healthcare as our population continues to age.”

Dr. Shaffer loves to travel, having recently visited Italy and Greece and he got married in 2022. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and watching sports. He is passionate about good coffee. This Sunday you’ll find him cheering on his Philadelphia Eagles as they face the San Francisco 49ers in the conference final, while possibly enjoying some take out pizza and pasta from Harth, his favourite Winnipeg restaurant.

Dr. Amrit Malik

Cardiologist

When Dr. Amrit Malik was younger, she was inspired by the care her father received from the doctors and…

When Dr. Amrit Malik was younger, she was inspired by the care her father received from the doctors and nurses at St. Boniface Hospital. That experience sparked her interest in medicine, and she now works at St. B as an academic cardiologist. 

Dr. Malik grew up in Birds Hill before it was fancy.” She obtained her medical degree from the University of Manitoba, and then spent time in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto specializing in internal medicine, cardiology, heart failure and echocardiography. 

Today, in addition to working as a cardiologist at St. Boniface and HSC, Dr. Malik is also an Assistant Professor at UM. Along with teaching, research, and administrative work, she cares for inpatients and outpatients with a variety of cardiac problems.

For her, medicine is a rewarding career: it is such a privilege to be able to help people in a time of need and hopefully make a positive difference in their lives.” Indeed, Dr. Malik feels most rewarded for her work when she sees her patients out in the world feeling better and living their lives.” 

Described as extremely attentive and diligent,” a colleague recognized Dr. Malik’s willingness to dig deeper and request alternative testing for a patient with normal screenings but pervasive symptoms, which likely saved the patient’s life. Her care for patients across Manitoba is appreciated, with Dr. Malik seen as a great resource to rural family physicians”.

With the health care system in its current state, Dr. Malik is worried about doctors and healthcare workers. Struggling to advocate for patients in a broken system makes physicians’ jobs more challenging and the pandemic has made matters even worse. She believes that if Manitobans can have a better understanding of how the system works and why there are so many delays, they could see where their participation could help the system.” Dr. Malik believes more transparency would help the system be more accountable to the stakeholders — which is all of us.”

One way of coping for Dr. Malik is humour. She says he best parts of her day involve joking and laughing while connecting with colleagues. Believe it or not, she used to do improv. I think I’m pretty funny. Not everyone agrees, but most don’t tell me to my face.”

Dr. Malik has two daughters, ages 10 and 15, whom she enjoys spending as much of her time with as possible. They recently took a pottery class together, which ultimately proved to Dr. Malik that she should stick to cardiology while her daughters have the talent for artistic creativity. She enjoys spending time with friends and family playing games, watching movies, and going for dinner.

Dr. Mryanda Sopel

Family Physician

Dr. Mryanda Sopel is a family physician working in Southwestern Manitoba. After studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax, she…

Dr. Mryanda Sopel is a family physician working in Southwestern Manitoba. After studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax, she earned her medical degree from UM and returned to her rural roots to practice family medicine. Because of her research background, Dr. Sopel had originally planned to become a Pathologist, but it turned out that Family Medicine was what stole my heart.” She completed her residency through the Brandon Rural Stream. 

Dr. Sopel’s love of a good mystery – finding the pieces of the puzzle to find solutions for patients — is what originally drew her to medicine. And while she still finds this part of her career captivating, it is working with patients, colleagues and staff that has provided her with the rich experiences that continue to spark her passion for being a physician.

She began her career as a hospitalist at the Brandon Regional Health Center, and today works primarily in Souris. She also spends one day per week offering a satellite clinic in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, as well as precepting medical learners through UM. Dr. Sopel calls herself a generalist at heart who likes to dabble in a little bit of everything.”

Dr. Sopel is most proud when patients from marginalized communities, who have felt alienated by the health care system, seek out care from her and her team because they feel safe. She loves seeing the learners she has mentored strive and grow towards independence and becoming competent and caring providers. Medicine isn’t about a moment but is about the quilt of many small moments we compile.”

I thrive most when I can bring some silliness to life,” Dr. Sopel declares, as she acknowledges there is a lot of seriousness, distress and trauma out there. In a profession that can be very serious and sometimes dire, and especially in these times where our system and people seem especially stretched, Dr. Sopel is a breath of fresh air. She believes that dancing and singing in the hallways of the hospital or clinic is required, though never done technically well.”

Colleagues and staff who work with Dr. Sopel agree that she is an exemplary physician, but her ability to tackle tough situations with humour and grace are what truly set her apart. Dr. Jenwa Beapre values the levity and humour Dr. Sopel brings to the workplace, saying she is fun to work with and a treat to be around.” Dr. Nichelle Desilets, Doctors Manitoba Board Representative for the Assiniboine District, admires Dr. Sopel’s passion to advocate for her patients and the healthcare system, while still being able to maintain a healthy perspective.” Dr. David Cram, based in Souris and a former Doctors Manitoba President, describes Dr. Sopel in just four words: She’s a rock star!“

Dr. Sopel and her partner live on a small acreage between Souris and Brandon with their dog, four chickens and a green house, raising and growing as much of their own food as possible. To fill their cups”, they get outdoors as often as they can and spend as much time as possible with family and nearby close friends.

Dr. Saima Manzoor

Family Physician

Dr. Saima Manzoor is a family physician who has lived in Northern Manitoba for nearly a decade. She is…

Dr. Saima Manzoor is a family physician who has lived in Northern Manitoba for nearly a decade. She is valued by her colleagues and the community for her dedication to patient care. 

Dr. Manzoor grew up in Pakistan where she trained in medicine and began her medical career in a Welfare Hospital with a focus on women’s health. She moved to Ottawa in 2005. As an IMG with young children, she initially worked as a sonographer. After moving to Gillam, Manitoba in 2013, she wanted to support the small, isolated community using her original training and pursued getting her education and experience recognized here through the Manitoba Licensure Program for IMGs (MLPIMG). She relocated to Thompson where her main focus has been primary care at the Thompson Clinic and hospital care at Thompson General.

Getting back into medicine in Canada is a personal and professional achievement Dr. Manzoor does not regret. My proudest professional moment was getting my CCFP and attending the convocation in Toronto,” she says. This reminded me of my first convocation back home. It’s hard to explain the hardships as an IMG to start all over again at a new place with uncertainties, barriers, and a lack of extended support.”

Working in a remote and isolated community was also a reminder about why she was drawn to medicine in the first place. 

I like working for people in an impactful way and being able to make a difference in their lives. The best part about practicing medicine is the satisfaction of providing a wide variety of care and support including physical, psychological, and even moral support which is rewarding.“

Because of the break she faced in practicing medicine after moving to Canada, Dr. Manzoor has a unique perspective about valuing her chosen profession. Medicine is not just a profession, it’s a lifestyle which is not easy to give up. I strongly believe that the rewards of being a physician are extensive and everlasting. The value of building a trusting relationship with patients and the satisfaction of sharing compassion outweighs any other incentives.” 

While medicine has been personally and professionally rewarding for Dr. Manzoor, she is worried about physician workload and burnout. My real concern right now is the shortage of physicians in Manitoba,” she explains. This will impact the practicing physician with an increased demand for work leading to increase chances of error which can negatively affect the quality of patient care.” 

Dr. Manzoor has become involved with Doctors Manitoba advocacy to address the shortages and better support physician wellness. I am passionate about physician health. I consider it a strong determinant of patient’s and ultimately the community’s health.“

Dr. Manzoor has three children. She enjoys making her favourite family recipe, Chicken Biryani, for family, friends and colleagues. Her favourite movie is Wonder, a coming-of-age drama. The interesting thing about the movie is a rare disorder in a young boy leading to the disfigurement of his face and its impact not only on the boy but also on the family and friends.”