I was born and raised in a small town outside of Windsor called Amherstburg – it’s considered the “safest town in Canada.” It’s not the most exciting place to be, but it does have a certain charm to it and it’s perfect for a budding family. As in many other towns, healthcare is a bit of an issue. It’s not the best it could be and I saw a lot of failures in the healthcare system there. And I knew I wanted to leave, get educated, and come back to try to fix some of those problems there.
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for my family: my mother, my brother and my dad, who have made this journey one hundred percent worth it. Making them proud is the only thing that I really care about doing. Other than helping my future patients, that is! I really do value these relationships, equally as much as I do the patient-physician relationship. Your family teaches you things that you wouldn’t learn in the clinic, things that you can even bring to the clinic. They help you to remain grounded and connected.
What are your hobbies?
I actually have a few kind of hilarious hobbies. I love puzzles, I always have since I was young. I am obsessed with cats. Everyone who knows me at all will tell you that the only thing you need to know about Carlee is that she loves cats. I go to TOT the Cat Cafe on College and Spadina and I just play with the kitties. I have one at home that I miss dearly! Whenever I feel like I really need to get out, I will go there. I also choreograph for the U of T Meds’ Dance team. Dancing is my favourite way to completely blow off steam. I’m exercising, doing what I love, and it’s so nice to see your classmates just letting loose and having fun in a totally different context. I also walk all of the time. It’s very easy to do that in Toronto. I am also a huge rapper. I don’t make my own raps, but put on a Drake album and I can go for 3 hours. Since grade 7, I’ve been obsessed with hip-hop and rap. It’s also something that my brother and I can connect over. When I go home, we just put something on and battle to see who knows it better. So, visit kitties, do puzzles, walk, dance, and rap – that’s what I do.
Describe an important mentor you’ve had.
I’ve been lucky to have many amazing mentors in my life, but one of the ones that did a lot for my desire to pursue medicine was one of the emergency physicians that worked at the clinic I worked at during high school. He embodied what it was to not see race, gender, or socioeconomic status, nothing. He looked at every single patient that came, in the same way. I would marvel at him. Being in emergency, he saw such a wide variety of patients. He kind of just understood that everyone is human and that’s what matters. Never did he speak ill of his patients and he would be the one to always go the extra step to help the homeless or the elderly. For instance, he would personally call for taxis to make sure that patients who needed one got safely to the next place they needed to be. It’s not just about being there for the patient in the moment; it’s about being available whenever and wherever that patient needs you. And he was going the extra mile all of the time.