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UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 5 | May 6, 2004

New Doctor on Top of the World

Fulfills life-long dream

By Hilary Thomson

If you asked Geoff Gotto about the high point of his academic journey, he’d probably talk about the time he spent at base camp on Mt. Everest.

Gotto -- who graduates with a medical degree this month -- recently completed a month-long elective working at the Khunde Hospital, caring for local Sherpa villagers and climbers, including members of a Canadian expedition.

“It’s been a life-long dream to go to Nepal and Everest,” says the 25-year-old Victoria native. “Practicing medicine while being on the mountain gave me the best of both worlds.”

A Wesbrook Scholar, Gotto has received many awards and honours, including the UBC President’s Scholarship and the Hamber Scholarship.

He obtained an honours BSc at UBC, majoring in microbiology and immunology. During his co-op placements for the program, he worked with some of the university’s most eminent investigators -- his work in microbiologist Brett Finlay’s lab was published in Cell Microbiology.

Gotto also has a passion for teaching. During his first two years of medical school, he earned a teaching award from Kaplan Education Centre while helping more than 500 students to prepare for the Medical Colleges Admission Test and other exams.

A recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award for leadership and community service, he has also been involved with the Community Health Initiative by University Students in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as well as a high school outreach program called Talk To Your Doc.

Athletics helps keep Gotto’s life balanced. He played championship level rugby in high school and at UBC, earning the designation Academic All-Canadian.

A residency in urology is the next step for the new doctor. The surgical specialty appeals to him because it offers a broad scope of care, ranging from medical interventions to cancer surgery and transplantation.

“I especially like the defined problems presented in surgical cases,” he says. “I like fixing things.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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