Resident Physicians of the Month

The Resident Physician of the Month Award is meant to recognize and reward outstanding resident physicians who make exceptional contributions in their academic field while still maintaining their work/life balance.

Interested in nominating someone? Fill out a nomination form here.

Dr. Lester Liao
University of Alberta

It’s a special thing to practice medicine, and I’m glad to be a pediatric resident physician at the University of Alberta.  Before entering medicine I studied psychology and philosophy and completed a Masters in Theological Studies. These disciplines have helped me appreciate what we do well but also what we do poorly.  I like to think about the big questions in life. In my spare time I find myself reading through history and the humanities broadly and how they might help us live well today.  I also enjoy most things related to Disney, Narnia, Harry Potter, and volleyball along the way. And there’s nobody I would prefer to be on life’s journey with than my lovely wife and two kids. I’m grateful to receive this award alongside the many other resident physicians seeking to make medicine a better discipline.  Thanks to all!

A colleague had this to say about Dr. Lester Liao:

“Lester is unique amongst the resident physicians I know. When we first met, his willingness to put the wellbeing of others before himself struck me. Even though he barely knew me, he went out of his way to encourage and support me through a difficult season.

His humility and willingness to mature further sets him apart. I notice that he intentionally surrounds himself with mentors who can speak into his life. This has enabled a healthy, balanced lifestyle with tremendous productivity.

For example, he is the Resident Lead for the Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine Program and the Canadian Lead for the International Doctor as a Humanist Symposium. His work earned him two departmental awards last year alone.  He is an editor for Health Ethics Today and his ideas/research have been published in NEJM, CMAJ, CMEJ, Medical Teacher, and Pediatrics and Child Health. 

Lester also has a vibrant family life amidst his academic pursuits. He is married and has two children under the age of three. Every day he dedicates time specifically to play with and teach his children after work. In addition, he attends community events weekly and has given public talks on work, life, and ethics.”

 Congratulations Dr. Lester Liao!


Dr. Susan Poon
University of Calgary

It’s a great honor to receive this award and very humbling as I would not be here today if not for the people around me.  I am thankful for the support, contributions, and simply sitting in the presence of greater people around me including but not limited to my family, fiancé, friends, and colleagues.

I am a Canadian born Chinese, born and raised in Calgary.  I am reminded regularly of how my family made sacrifices to give me the opportunity to attend a better school and be immersed in a culture that values hard work, education, resilience, and diligence, to name a few.  I completed my undergraduate degree in nursing at the University of Calgary.  My now-fiancé encouraged me to apply for med school in my last year of nursing, and I got lucky to be chosen out of a pool of exceptional candidates to complete my med school training also at the U of C.  I am now a little fish in a big pond, and what a blessing in disguise that has been!  My role model in life is an amalgamation of multiple people around me, who encourage me to keep improving myself and learn new skills and hobbies.  Over the past couple of years, I have picked up swimming, biking, yoga, camping, hiking, knitting, hydroponic gardening, travelling, teaching, and listening to audio books!  I am very happy in my residency in Psychiatry and to be surrounded by amazing people!

A colleague had this to say about Dr. Susan Poon:

Susan embodies kindness, dedication, and curiosity in her many roles. I met Susan after a talk she delivered to our undergraduate medical school class on “How to drink from a fire hydrant?” where she shared effective learning strategies for success in medical school. Susan has since been a mentor to myself and others, guiding us through medical school, interview process, and in residency. What I have valued most about her mentorship is her openness to share personal experiences and insight with characteristic honesty and humor.

In addition to being an outstanding mentor, Susan has a passion for medical education. She is always keen to share her approach to a teaching topic, identify resources which have been most worthwhile, and is able to tailor her presentation of content to the various groups of learners she encounters. I admire Susan’s enthusiasm for learning, local and international advocacy, and work-life balance. She always has smile or a funny story to share, whether you see her on the wards, swimming laps in the pool, or climbing a rock wall. Without a doubt, Susan punches far above her weight in promoting warmth and excellence within our psychiatry residency program.

 Congratulations Dr. Susan Poon! 


Check out which events are happening during Resident Physician Wellness Month!


Stay up-to-date with all the upcoming events that PARA is either hosting or participating in, and find out how you can contribute.


Access our Member-Exclusive pages with member content, committees, sponsorship, seminars, publications and much more.