Dr. Shoghi Nikoo | Putting it all together

“No, definitely not,” says Dr. Shoghi Nikoo when asked if he always knew that he wanted to attend medical school.

Author

Melanie Tibbetts, Cumming School of Medicine

“No, definitely not,” says Dr. Shoghi Nikoo when asked if he always knew that he wanted to attend medical school. “What I did know is that I wanted to be in a career that involved helping people. When considering medicine, I thought ‘Why not. I guess I could do that.’” 

Shoghi (MD ’17) couldn’t have been more right. In 2012, he began a joint Doctor of Medicine/Master of Arts program through the Cumming School of Medicine’s (CSM) Leaders in Medicine program and went on to graduate from the school’s Undergraduate Medical Education program in May 2017. His family medicine residency at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto is now underway.    

“When I first started thinking about medical school, I hadn’t taken a single science course,” says Shoghi. “When I first attended university, at the University of Alberta, I studied psychology and philosophy because I wanted to understand people – who they are, and why they are the way they are.” 

After graduating from the University of Alberta, Shoghi enrolled at the University of Calgary as an open studies student. “I thought I should take some science courses before writing the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test),” says Shoghi with a laugh. “I took a sociology of medicine class so that I had a full course load and fell in love with the subject matter.” He then told his supervisor, Ariel Ducey, that he wanted to pursue medicine, but was also interested in the sociological side of things. “She encouraged me to apply to the Leaders in Medicine program and was there every step of the way.” He smiles and adds, “My master’s was a blast.” 

Now, five years later, Shoghi is enjoying the start of his residency. “It’s been great so far. It feels so good to have more responsibility for my patients. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying their medical records and reviewing what I learned in med school.” 

Shoghi is most excited to learn how to run a clinic. “I can’t wait to see how I’m going to put everything I’ve learned, and am interested in, together. I have experience with sexual health, advocacy, policy and sports medicine, but I still don’t know how it’s all going to fit together. I just know that I want to do it all.” 

Shoghi’s plan is to learn as much as he can in Toronto and then bring it back to Calgary. He dreams of opening his own family medicine practice that focuses on primary care for LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and others) but is open to everyone. “I wonder about the need for dedicated LGBTQ+ clinics in Calgary. I wanted to come to Toronto to see how these clinics work. People need a place where they can go to get sensitive, competent care. But ideally, maybe 20 years from now, these clinics won’t be needed.” 

To future students, Shoghi’s advice is to learn what works best for you. “I learned a long time ago that reading text books just isn’t my thing. I’d end up catching myself blindly highlighting. Instead, I started making flash cards during lectures.” 

Shoghi is still a bit uncertain about what the future holds, but one thing is for certain – Calgary will be very lucky if he ends up finding his way back. 

Tidbits from Shoghi: 

Favourites:

  • Flavour of ice cream: “Last summer, Village Ice Cream had a spicy chocolate ice cream. It was the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted.”
  • Movie: Star Trek.
  • Colour: “Blue or green, depending on how I feel.”
  • Spot at the Foothills campus: “In the library, there’s a spot to the right of the cubicles with two chairs. I used to nap there all the time. It isn’t the most comfortable, but it’s a neat place.”
  • Part about the CSM: “The people at the Cumming School are the best. The friends that I’ve made and the progress that we’ve made together – nothing compares. Also running the LGBTQ Health Forum.” 

Guilty pleasure: “Before I left Calgary, I lived right beside Una on 17th Ave. A lot of my line of credit went to Una.” 

Hobbies: “Cycling with my boyfriend – I try to keep up, but usually fail – and going to the gym.” 

On the Cumming School’s 50th anniversary celebration: “This year marks a very special occasion. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the school’s many achievements, and look for new areas of growth.” 

What the Cumming School of Medicine should do in the next 50 years: “In the next 50 years, I think the Cumming School has a huge opportunity to further its role in community service and social justice. The Department of Community Health Sciences has recently included service learning in several of its courses, and medical students have been involved in the community through the Student Run Clinic and various other outreach projects for over half a decade. I’m excited to see the work Medical Students for Gender and Sexual Diversity is able to do in the coming years to promote LGBTQ+ health, and I look forward to finding out what other social justice projects the Cumming School gets involved in.”