Teacher turned student

Current

Former teacher Jean-Michel Cohalan, BA, MA, now finds himself, in the Medicine Class of 2019, studying alongside past students, including Jessica Lu and Sabrina Nolan. Photo: Owen Egan

by Philip Fine

For Jean-Michel Cohalan, BA, MA, his dream of becoming a doctor began with a family friend who sported a cool pager and would be called away from events.

The Montrealer always wanted to treat patients. But when he first applied to medical school, he was turned down.

An anthropology degree followed, with field studies in Panama and a job offer of student life advisor at Marianopolis. He loved working with students and pursued teaching. His Master’s was in geography and research took him to Peru. Then, a permanent teaching position back at Marianopolis: “I thought I had landed my dream job.”

His medical aspirations, firmly tucked away, would re-emerge.

At 37, married with two young children, he is now midway through the MDCM program, juggling a neurology rotation with picking up children and studying alongside students he had once taught. He loved his seven years of teaching but he longed to make a difference in an area that concerns people everywhere he travelled: health care.

He gives full credit to his wife and their parents, who are committing increasingly more time to the family, as his medical career is launched, albeit a bit later than previously imagined.

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