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Dr. Paige Church

Episode #1: People See the Duck


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Physician and neonatologist Paige Church joins us to discuss how her personal challenges, including experiences of failure, shaped her education and career, lessons learned from growing up in the health care system, her experience of “coming out” as having Spina Bifida, not letting other people’s narratives define you, and so much more! 


Paige Church, MD is based in Toronto, Ontario. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Her pediatrics training was completed at the University of Chicago, focusing on inner-city medicine and complex care. She then undertook a combined fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Developmental Behavioural Paediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. She is the first pediatrician in North America to have completed this combined sub-specialty training. Dr. Church came to Toronto in 2008 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. She is currently on staff at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre as a staff neonatologist and is a consulting developmental behavioural pediatrician at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. She is the director of the Neonatal Follow Up Clinic at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. 


We Discuss:

  • Paige’s current role and what she does as a neonatologist and behavioural pediatrician

  • How growing up in the healthcare system motivated her to have a career that allowed her to change the things she didn’t like about her experience

  • Why Paige started off in nursing and the factors that contributed to her difficulties in the program

  • The amount of empathy and emotional maturity required for nursing

  • How the culture of medicine is changing for the better, and encouraging less physician “objective detachment”

  • Paige’s experience withdrawing from nursing and her family’s reaction to it

  • Challenges during residency

  • Lee’s publication in the Globe and Mail and publicly “coming out” as having ADHD

  • What led Paige to publish the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) editorial about what it’s like to be both a doctor and a person with a disability

  • The reactions of friends and colleagues after the publication of the JAMA editorial

  • The value of providing individualized counseling in medical practice

  • How disability exists on a spectrum

  • How challenges often lead us to the wonderful things in life

  • The analogy of a duck swimming calmly on a pond and how most people do not see the frantic paddling (i.e., all the work that goes into appearing that way) beneath the surface

  • Learning to not apologize for the things you can’t do


Resources Mentioned:


Get the transcript of this episode here: