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A wholistic view

October 2, 2018

Dory Abelman
Dory Abelman is pursuing a customized degree – an honors specialization in Health Sciences with Biology. He used his Parents' Fund award to help him delve deeper into his research on the big picture of global health challenges.

Dory Abelman had a global perspective on social problems long before he arrived at Western.

“My family came to Canada from different parts of the world when I was four, which inspired me to learn more about people and places beyond our quiet suburb of Richmond Hill, Ont. I spent lots of time reading and had my eyes opened to global challenges and the disparity of safety, security and well-being for people around the world.”

Abelman began volunteering early in elementary school. He gained leadership skills organizing his peers in high school in support of Me to We, an international charity that equips families with the tools and skills to help lift themselves out of poverty.

With his marks and leadership experience, Abelman had his choice of schools, and he chose Western. “With Western’s diverse modules, I have created my own degree – an honors specialization in Health Sciences with Biology, which merges the big picture of global health challenges with the specifi cs of biological and social determinants of health. I never thought I’d find such an education as the one I’m pursuing at Western.”

In his short time at Western, he’s researched and written a 20-page report on the role of nutrition in reducing cancer risk and how this is taught in North American medical schools; assisted faculty with survey design and analysis; and worked as a research assistant. He’s also acted as a student ambassador, having represented Western at regional and international health conferences.

Abelman recently received a Parents’ Fund award. Already working one part-time job, the award meant he didn’t need to find a second.

Not one to sit still, he used the time to complete a research paper on mitigating the risks of students’ use of study drugs. The paper was published by the Harm Reduction Journal and, to date, has been accessed more than 3,900 times.

Abelman counts himself lucky to live in a place where donors support student ambitions and hard work. “Although I’ve always had jobs, it was the scholarships and awards that gave me the support I needed to travel and hone my skills as a writer, researcher and presenter.”

In addition to The Parents’ Fund award, other donor and institutional support has enabled him to study foreign language and epidemiology in Tours, France; spend one and a half months in Trois-Pistoles, Quebec perfecting his French bilingual ability; and travel to Jerusalem to study Hebrew and international relations.

Abelman is grateful for donor support, saying it has been instrumental in his short-term goal of completing a PhD in epidemiology and global health, and his long-term plan of becoming a public health leader.

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