As part of our Spring Convocation 2024 coverage, we asked graduates from our six Schools to share their experiences of completing a degree in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Here, we meet Class of 2024 member Joëlle Deschênes-Bilodeau from the School of Medicine. Joëlle completed her MDCM and received her degree at the Spring Convocation Ceremony on May 28. Congratulations Joëlle!   


Name: Joëlle Deschênes-Bilodeau 

Degree: MDCM 

Hometown: Québec City, QC


What did you love most about studying at McGill and in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences?  


Having the opportunity to study at McGill was an experience of a lifetime. Despite being part of the “COVID cohort,” I appreciated how we were still given numerous learning opportunities during challenging times. The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences ensured our curriculum was minimally impacted by the global public health crisis, while maintaining academic integrity. I valued the adaptive teaching methods employed and the ingenuity that allowed for hands-on learning in unprecedented circumstances. Overall, the integration of early clinical exposure, workshops and physicianship teachings provided a solid foundation for us to become well-rounded, patient-centred physicians.


Please share a particularly proud or challenging moment from your degree? 


The White Coat ceremony at the beginning of our second year of studies was a proud yet challenging moment. This event marks the transition from the classroom to the hospital and, through our class pledge, emphasizes the importance of the responsibilities we will face as future physicians. It was a moment of pride as we reflected on all the sacrifices and challenges we had to overcome to stand in this incredibly privileged position. Yet, it was also a challenging moment, given the awareness of what lay ahead and the fact that the public health situation prevented us from sharing this milestone with those who supported us the most—our families and loved ones. It makes us appreciate our graduation ceremony even more, as it will allow for shared celebration of what has occurred and what is yet to come.


Fave hangout? 


Parc Jeanne-Mance for hangouts, birthdays, study dates and picnics – in other words, many fond memories were created there!


A song that defines the past few years as a student at McGill? 


Marea (we’ve lost dancing) by Fred Again


Top tip for incoming students in your program?  


Do not hesitate to prioritize work-life balance. Medicine is a marathon, not a sprint, and nurturing what is important to you will help prevent burnouts. This is an amazing opportunity, embrace it and have fun while doing it. 


Any shoutouts? 

  • Dr. Elise Levinoff – Best Osler Fellow a group could dream of!!  
  • Dr. David Bacon – An astounding physician who redefined the breadth of Emergency Medicine, provided ground-breaking support and grounded, late-night reflections on the art of medicine.  
  • Dr. Mark Burman – Amazing orthopedic surgeon who demonstrated you could be a true master of your skills while maintaining a caring, humane approach. I want to be like him when I “grow up”! 
  • Dr. Frédéric Provost, Dr. Dorsai Ranjbari, Dr. Eva Margo-Dermer, Dr. Lucie Dubès, Dr. Praveen Rajasegaran, Dr. Mackenzie Blydt-Hansen, and Dr. Chloe Pereira-Kelton – The work-life balance would not have been possible without you all.


What’s next for you?  


I will be pursuing my Orthopedic Surgery training at McGill!