OMSA Medical Student of December: Beverley Preater

Closing out the year we were touched to read the submission of Beverley Preater, a 4th year student from the University of Ottawa. She has certainly made an impact, both locally and afar, but her strongest impact is on the relationships she nurtures along the way. Read more of her story from her nominator below.

There is an old parable that describes two men – one wise and the other foolish. The wise built his house on rock while the foolish chose sand as his foundation. When a storm appeared the house on the rock stood firm while that on the sand fell. The parallel is about what we use as our foundation for life. Beverley Preater, a 4th year medical student at the University of Ottawa, is a perfect example of an individual who has her foundation wisely built on relationships. As a result, it has been my joy to watch Beverley spend her life centering it around serving people.

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 I have known Beverley since our 2nd year of undergraduate studies at McMaster. Beverley grew up in a missionary family who lived in Papua New Guinea, and consequently, was exposed to an interesting blend of Canadian parents raising their children in a culture far from Canada. As a result, Beverley has a very interesting perspective on life and more specifically, the importance and value of servant-based leadership. She is the closest comparison I can make to modern-day Mother Theresa. Her altruistic motivation is not for praise, but rather to humbly serve others.

Several years ago, Beverley co-founded an NGO called Step-by-Step which collaborated with local prosthesis specialists in Rwanda to provide prosthetics for amputees in Rwanda. She had recently returned from a semester of learning in Ghana; she was selling t-shirts at her church to raise money to support her project. I remember foolishly wondering whether she genuinely believed she could make a difference. I now realize that Beverley does believe she can change lives, even if it is done by selling one t-shirt at a time.

Beverley has always had a heart for marginalized populations. She has completed medical electives at an HIV clinic in Ottawa in addition to a hospital in Ghana. In addition to balancing the demands of medical school, Beverley has been involved in an HIV public health research project with the homeless. Furthermore, she has been the co-coordinator of the University of Ottawa’s Physician Mentorship Group in addition to being the co-leader of the Christian Medical and Dental Society (Ottawa’s Chapter).

Over the past year, the University of Ottawa has been learning to cope with the death of their former classmate, Ms. Amanda Lee Kelsall. Beverley was a close friend to Amanda as they shared a common faith in Christianity. While Beverley has had to deal with the unexpected loss of a friend, I have been encouraged by her strength to comfort and support others in this difficult time. Beverley’s prioritization of always serving others is evident in all aspects of her life – whether it be helping Rwandan amputees or comforting and grieving with her classmates. I can say with the utmost respect for Beverley that as she grows into an individual that would make even Mother Theresa proud, her solid foundation and prioritization of relationships will help heal the sick both in her professional and personal life. If you ever have the privilege to meet Beverley, I can assure you she is not someone you will forget.

JT, Northern Ontario School of Medicine