Meet The Fellows: Dr. Elena Vainberg

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What Hospital are you working at?

Elena:
I am working at The Hospital For Sick Children.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What are you specializing in?

Elena:
I specialize in Pediatric Radiology. As Pediatric Radiologists, we focus on the diagnosis of illnesses and injuries of children of all ages using a variety of imaging techniques and equipment (Computed Tomography (CT), Radiography (X-Ray), Fluoroscopy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Ultrasound). We need to have a broad knowledge of imaging of pathologies related to growth and development, congenital malformations, and diseases that begin in childhood, but cause substantial residual impairment in adulthood.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What do you enjoy most about Toronto?

Elena:
Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world, it has been wonderful to experience so many different ethnicities and cultures in one place. I feel like my kids have the privilege to learn about people’s traditions and languages, and this has encouraged them to appreciate the differences in others. Also, coming from Israel, I really enjoy experiencing all of the four seasons—from the beautiful autumn leaves, to seeing the city all covered in snow.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
Where in Israel do you live?

Elena:
We live in Modiin.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What do you miss most about Israel?

Elena:
Our family and friends, of course!

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
Why did you want to be a doctor?

Elena:
I am part of the fourth generation of doctors in my family. It was therefore only natural for me to pursue a medical career. From an early age, I was fascinated by the interesting stories shared by the doctors in my family, and the understanding that as a doctor you truly have an impact on people’s lives. This really motivated me. I majored in Biology and Chemistry in high school, and later worked as an EMT at Magen David Adom (Israel’s National Emergency Services), before enrolling into medical school.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What is your favourite aspect of your job?

Elena:
As opposed to other Radiology subspecialties, in Pediatric Radiology there is great variety. One day I could be reading abdominal ultrasounds, and the next day chest CTs and knee MRIs. The prevalence of Congenital and Syndromic conditions means new or unusual Pathologies daily. This diversity in tasks makes every workday exciting. Additionally, Pediatric Radiology has more patient contact than many other fields of Diagnostic Radiology. We tend to be more hands-on in studies, for instance bed-side Fluoroscopy, as well as in Ultrasound scans. The challenges associated with the Pediatric population, such as uncooperative patients or the need for minimizing Radiation, keeps us constantly thinking critically and creatively. The interaction with our young patients and their families can be very rewarding, and is always a great reminder of how vital our work is to the many people who need us.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What do you think are the main differences between healthcare in Israel and Canada?

Elena:
The Israeli healthcare system suffers from chronic shortages of doctors, nurses, hospital beds, and scanning devices such as MRIs and CTs, mostly reflected by funding challenges, and insufficient government investment. Despite all that we manage to have in Israel—a high-quality care system, very qualified doctors implementing state-of-the-art technologies, and performing advanced medical procedures—I can only imagine where we could go with increased funding for healthcare.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What do you like to do in your personal time?

Elena:
Being a Fellow, a wife of another busy Fellow (my husband, Danny, is a Plastic Surgeon. His Fellowship is specialized in burns and intensive care), and a mom of two kids (Emily, 4 and Lia , 2), I have very little free time. When we are off of work, we try to spend some quality time together as a family: Explore the city, engage the kids in fun activities like visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Ontario Science Centre, or just enjoy a nice walk in a park together.

The Canadian Shaare Zedek Hospital Foundation:
What are your top three tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Elena:
1) Get enough sleep.

2) Eat right.

3) Keep a positive attitude.

These tips may sound simple, but they are actually very hard to accomplish!

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