July 14, 2024

Wellness Nest

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Virtual Event | A career in care: Acadia alumni in medicine

4 min read

Date: Monday, January 29, 2024

Time: 7-8 p.m.

Location: Microsoft Teams Link (Note: the link will be shared with all registrants prior to the event.)

Panelists: Sophia Blanchard (’23), Eric Balser (’92), Chris Ogbuah (’09), Natasha Harlow (’13)

Register HERE.

Panelists’ bios:

Sophia Blanchard (’23)

Sophia grew up in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and graduated in 2023 with a Bachelor of Science majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. She is interested in health sciences and plans to get her MD in the future, after pursuing a master’s degree.

During her time at Acadia, Sophia was the VP of Communications for WISE Acadia and is very passionate about getting younger girls involved in STEAM pathways in university and high school. She also spent her time tutoring at the biology help centre at Acadia, and speaking for Acadia’s pre-health society to help younger undergraduate students navigate the MCAT and other pre-medicine endeavours.

Although she was actively involved across the Acadia community, Sophia takes great pride in being Life President of the Class of 2023, a position which led her to the Acadia Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. It is Sophia’s second year serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors as an ex-officio member, a position which has allowed her to stay in touch with her Acadia family as a young alum.

After graduating in May 2023, she is working part-time while applying to medical schools and masters’ programs to further her education. Sophia also has been volunteering at the Wabanaki-Labrador Research Network at Dalhousie on a project that she had worked on during her senior year at Acadia.

Chris Ogbuah (’09)

Christopher Ogbuah is a graduate of Acadia University with a BSc in biology while playing varsity basketball. Following his time at Acadia, he pursued and completed his medical degree from Saba University (’16) and began an Anaesthesiology Residency at the University of Buffalo, which he completed in 2021. After residency training, Chris matched into a fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh’s multidisciplinary Adult Critical Care Medicine program. He has since moved back to Nova Scotia, where he is a Staff Anaesthetist and Critical Care Medicine Physician.

Eric Balser (’92)

Eric grew up in Digby, Nova Scotia and graduated from Digby Regional High School in 1982. Following this, Eric studied Medical Laboratory Technology at the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology in Halifax, graduating in 1985.

In 1992, he graduated from Acadia University with a BSc in biology after a short career in medical laboratory medicine. He attended medical school at Dalhousie University and graduated in 1997. Eric completed family medicine residency in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1999 and special training in addictions medicine during his residency.

He practised in traditional primary care from 2000 to 2020.  Eric gained experience and skill in obstetrics, emergency medicine, primary care medicine, geriatric medicine and addictions medicine. He held a medical director position of the Addictions Services in-patient facility in Middleton, NS for approximately 10 years.

Eric was a member of an Opiate Use Disorder treatment team in Middleton for 10 years and is currently working in a collaborative primary care practice in Digby with a focus on optimizing collaborative and seniors’ care. Eric has a strong interest in advancing primary care to optimize efficient and accessible care for people who do not have access to their own, assigned care provider. Other interests include biology (birds, bugs, forests, water, ecology), music and spending time caring for his small piece of property on the Bay of Fundy.

Natasha M. Harlow (’13)

Dr. Natasha Harlow is currently a staff emergency medicine physician at South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater and Queens General Hospital in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. She resides in the town of Liverpool. She completed an Honours BSc (psychology and biology) in 2013 at Acadia University. During her time at Acadia she was involved in the Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience (S.M.I.L.E.) program and was a student director for the program during her final year. She also worked as a resident assistant and senior resident assistant from 2010-2012.

After Acadia, she went on complete her medical degree at Dalhousie University in 2017 and matched to the Dalhousie Family Medicine Program of Halifax in 2019. Natasha began a full scope family practice at Twin Oaks Hospital in Musquodoboit Harbour, where she worked in office practice, long-term care, in-patient medicine as well as rural emergency medicine. Discovering emergency medicine was her passion, she applied to the Dalhousie University Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine program as an in-practice applicant and completed that program in 2023. Upon completion, she and her family relocated to the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where she now works as an emergency medicine physician and holds a faculty appointment as assistant professor in family medicine/emergency medicine at Dalhousie University.

In addition to being a physician, Natasha is a mother to two children (2.5 years and three months old), and a husky named Luna. She loves to do yoga, hike, and spend time at the beautiful beaches the South Shore has to offer.




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