Who We Are: Dr. Jorin Lukings
“I’ve always had this philosophy: you do what you love and the career will find you”
– Jorin Lukings, Director of Student Affairs, Niagara Regional Campus, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University
Helping medical students navigate career choices is a daily priority for family doctor Jorin Lukings, who trained in social work and never entirely gave it up.
For two years, he’s been Director of Student Affairs at the Niagara regional campus of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.
In private and confidential discussions, he offers tools and strategies to assist choices and improve the student experience. In May, a graduating class of students showed their gratitude with a certificate of recognition.
He knows their challenges because he faced them himself in 2008, when he left a graduate program in social work to enrol in medical school at McMaster University.
In his first year, he was assigned to McMaster’s Niagara campus, which was then in its first year.
He admits that he registered, “somewhat grudgingly,” at the fledgling campus, moving to St. Catharines from Hamilton with wife Jacqueline.
However, the experience was so positive that he chose the Niagara teaching site as his preferred location for his family medicine residency, through McMaster University Department of Family Medicine. After completing his residency, he joined the Department of Family Medicine as a part-time faculty member.
“I want to give students what was given to me,” he says.
It was “a transformative experience” to be part of an inaugural class, he says. “Classes were smaller and it was a community. They really cared.”
When he talks with students, he emphasizes the importance of doing what they love most, in family medicine and in their personal lives.
“The stress of medical school can bring on emerging mental health issues. They come here after being successful in school, and they quickly understand the high level of professionalism and expectation,” he says.
“Also, it’s a field with a high depression and suicide rate, so there’s that,” he adds.
Jorin recently relocated his family practice of 1,200 (as part of a larger group relocation) to the Pathstone regional centre for childhood mental health services, which will allow for more work in mental health.
He believes a trusted family doctor can play a crucial role for depressed kids.
Helping others has been a life goal from childhood, as the son of a pastor, raised in a service-oriented family in a tight-knit community in Gananoque, Ont.
This work also affords elements of the social work career he once envisioned for himself.
“I’ve always had this philosophy that you do what you like and the career will find you,” he says. “And that’s what’s happened for me.”