A doctor smiling and standing with her arms crossed in an operating room.

#IamMGHresearch – Meet Dr. Negar Ahmadi

#IamMGHresearch tells the stories of our researchers. Meet Dr. Negar Ahmadi, Thoracic Surgeon at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).   

“My journey at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) began a little over two years ago. I am one of the thoracic surgeons specializing in treating patients with diseases in the chest. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto (U of T), and then pursued a master's degree in Neuroscience where I became interested in pursuing medicine. 

I continued at U of T for medical school and decided to go into surgery after seeing the immediate difference surgeons can make in patients’ lives. During my general surgery residency, I explored many subspecialties. Among these, thoracic surgery and oncology resonated with me the most. The opportunity to make a tangible, positive impact on the lives of cancer patients became my driving force.   

With my background in research, I decided to take a brief detour during my residency by pursuing a Master of Public Health at Harvard University. There, I gained the tools to conduct population-level research and lead quality improvement projects. 

My research has two primary focuses. Firstly, it aims to improve the quality of post-operative care for thoracic surgery patients. The field has evolved significantly in the last decade, with minimally invasive procedures becoming the norm. However, there is still much room for improvement in terms of post-operative care and the quality of recovery.  Secondly, my research aims to find ways to improve cancer care and, in turn, the lives of our patients. I am passionate about enhancing oncology outcomes for thoracic surgery patients. Lung cancer remains a difficult challenge, with late-stage diagnoses and high recurrence rates even after treatment.  

In my role, there have been moments of immense pride. One of the projects that stands out is our successful effort to eliminate unnecessary chest X-rays in postoperative thoracic surgery patients. We replaced some of these X-rays with clinical observation, resulting in shorter hospital stays and reduced radiation exposure for our patients. This achievement, presented at national thoracic surgery meetings and submitted for publication, is a testament to the impact of quality improvement initiatives. 

Another project close to my heart is a grant I secured to study the impact of COVID-19 on lung cancer treatment and patients’ experiences with virtual care. The pandemic brought about significant changes in healthcare delivery, and understanding its effects on our patients is crucial. 

While there have been many wins, there are also challenges. With all advances in cancer treatment, lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in our country. There is still room for significant work to be done to improve our lung cancer detection rate and improve the quality of life of lung cancer survivors.  

MGH's value of inclusion resonates deeply with me. Our diverse patient population reflects the importance of inclusivity in our community. As an immigrant myself, I understand the significance of providing excellent care regardless of a patient's background, ethnicity or cultural values. 

Outside of the hospital, I've developed a newfound passion for biking. Cycling to work has become a way for me to stay fit, clear my mind and enjoy the journey in a different way. 

In conclusion, our team at MGH continually strives to improve patient care and advance our research efforts. We are united in our pursuit of excellence, and I am proud to be a part of this remarkable journey in medicine.” 

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