UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 5 | May
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
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.”