By Yasmine Elmir
Matthew Hacker Teper, a second-year medical student at the University of Toronto, obtained his Master’s degree from McGill University’s Department of Family Medicine in 2019. Before turning his career towards medicine, Matthew obtained an undergraduate degree in biological sciences and French. “As a medical student, I love family medicine because it demands practitioners to possess expertise across all domains of medical care,” he says. “As a researcher, I love family medicine because the complex web of primary care networks that we have built are filled with opportunities for improvements that, ultimately, will result in the better care of society’s most vulnerable patients.”
Matthew, who joined the MSc program in 2017, was co-supervised by Dr. Isabelle Vedel, Associate Professor, Research Co-Director and Graduate Program Director for the Master's program in the Department of Family Medicine, and Dr. Catherine Hudon, Professor in the Department of Family and Emergency Medicine at the University of Sherbrooke. His thesis was titled, “The Case Management Challenge: Understanding Barriers and Facilitators to Case Management in Primary Care.” For this work, Matthew analyzed literature from around the world to identify nine specific barriers and facilitators to case management implementation. He then built a conceptual framework that stratified these barriers into different levels of modifiability and demonstrated the relationships among them. “The MSc program provided me with everything I wanted in a graduate program. It was situated in a world-class city, it was research-based but with a strong grounding in methodological training and it was a bilingual program,” shares Matthew. “Most importantly, it was a program that was supported by an incredible group of professors and staff who were so committed to the success of their students in addition to fulfilling their academic demands,” he adds.
While part of the Department of Family Medicine, Matthew received the Canadian Graduate Scholarship – Master’s program scholarship for his graduate work. He also earned several Canadian Institutes of Health Research travel awards, two additional conference travel awards and the prize for top student presentation at the Canadian Association for Health Services in Policy Research (CAHSPR) annual conference. “It’s almost impossible to describe all the things I learned as a master’s student: how to write academically; how to conduct quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research; how to craft a research protocol; how to apply for a research grant; how to present at research conferences; how to write a paper; and more.”
Matthew, who continues to use skills from his MSc as a quality improvement lead for an urban health clinic in downtown Toronto, remains a member of the ROSA (Research on Organization of healthcare Services for Alzheimers) team, a pan-Canadian interdisciplinary team of health service and policy researchers brought together to tackle the problem of dementia across Canada. He joined the ROSA team, led by Dr. Isabelle Vedel, when he first came to the Department of Family Medicine. “The ROSA team is, to my mind, the best research group in the business,” Matthew says. “For a while I was the most junior member of the team, but as I progressed through the MSc program, I took on additional responsibilities such as mentoring junior students and collaborating on research projects outside of my thesis.” In addition to medical school, Matthew is currently collaborating on two research projects: a systematic review that examines the involvement of trauma survivors in injury prevention and violence-intervention programs, plus a qualitative analysis of team leadership strategies in Toronto-based emergency departments.