April 1, 2017

Dr. Rithesh Ram | Family physician, family man

Growing up, Rithesh Ram, like many children, was fascinated with space and dreamed of one day being an astronaut.

Growing up, Rithesh Ram, like many children, was fascinated with space and dreamed of one day being an astronaut. Fast forward to present day, while going into space still fascinates him, Rithesh now can’t imagine being anything other than a rural physician.

In his current role, Rithesh is the director of the University of Calgary Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (UCLIC), and a clinical assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM). He is also the primary care knowledge lead for the AHS Provincial Clinical Information System, and vice-chair for his Primary Care Network (Big Country). 

Over the last 13 years at the CSM, Rithesh has learned a lot, though admits it’s difficult to narrow his learning experiences down to one specific moment. 

“A faculty mentor who is now a friend once told me that what matters most isn’t success or failure, but how you overcome all obstacles along this journey. This has stuck with me over the years.” Rithesh now finds himself taking risks and doing so with everything he’s got. “I’m no longer afraid to fail, but rather I am motivated by how I will overcome the challenges I may encounter.”

Taking risks is a good thing if you are a researcher at the CSM as successful risks drive innovation and innovation breeds excellence. Rithesh notes one thing he has noticed in his years here is a shift in focus through the growth and transformation of the faculty. “There has been a massive change in the educational environment where excellence is expected and not just taken for granted,” he says. “This has helped the school become a pinnacle for research and education.”

Outside of his role in the success of the medical school and its reach in the Calgary community and beyond, Rithesh enjoys his downtime with his family, which includes travelling and spontaneous adventures, even if only in his own backyard.  

And his favourite time of the day? Breakfast. “If I am not on call, I make it a point to always be there for breakfast.” With his busy schedule, Rithesh often doesn’t make it home early enough in the evening to eat dinner with his wife and two daughters, but breakfast as a family usually works, even if it means everyone has to get up a little earlier to share that time together.

He adds that being a rural physician in a small town like Drumheller allows him the luxury of going home for lunch each day to recharge and refocus. 

In addition to work and family time, Rithesh enjoys curling and skips a team in a Calgary league specifically for those in the medical profession.

Tidbits from Rithesh

Fun fact: Rithesh is the president and founder of Drumheller’s Riverside Medical, a patient-centered, Patient Medical Home clinic, which is set to open in June 2017.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? “This might be completely cheesy, but meeting and marrying my wife Veronique (MD/PhD student, Class of 2017) was and is my greatest achievement.”  

Where would you like to see the CSM in the next 50 years? “There are three areas I’d like to see the Cumming School of Medicine focus on in the next 50 years: research and innovation, preventative care, and distributive medical education.”