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Published on February 2, 2024

Get to know a CanSAGE Board Member: Dr. Aubrey Uretsky

Dr. Uretsky is with Misericordia Community Hospital in Edmonton

Dr. Aubrey Uretsky
Misericordia Community Hospital
Edmonton, AB

What inspired you to pursue a career in minimally invasive surgery?

It was probably late in residency that I made that decision. At the time, I thought I was going to be an oncologist. And then I got involved with a mentor in my fourth year, Dr. Alaa Awadalla, who did a lot of minimally invasive surgery and I just flat-out fell in love with it — just all the technical tools and all the cool stuff we could do for people. I just sort of fell in love with all of that.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Honestly, the operating room is my happy place. I can control the environment. I can have whatever ridiculous music I want blaring. And at the same time, I’m doing great surgery for people who really need it.

What kind of music do you play in the OR?

I listen to a lot of EDM. I’ve had residents say they feel like they’re in a night club in Johannesburg when they’re in the operating room, because the lights are always out — it’s all laparoscopy — so it’s a dark room with heavy EDM playing. We have a blast in there.

Why did you decide to get involved with CanSAGE?

I got involved with CanSAGE pretty early, just as it was getting started. I am non-fellowship trained, so I don’t have an MIS fellowship but I practice MIS. I’m a dying breed, because nowadays there are fellowships everywhere, but when I graduated, they were few and far between. So I was asked for one of the first CanSAGE Conference to have a debate with an MIS fellowship-trained staff about whether you need fellowship training. I ultimately couldn’t follow through with the debate due to conflicts with dates, but it really piqued my interest — what a great topic and what a cool idea to have a conference that looks into ideas like that.

After that, I joined CanSAGE and got to know the MIS community better. It’s a great, inclusive community, and it’s been great to get to know other people who are really involved in gynaecology and focused on patient-centred care.

I think we can do a lot of good at CanSAGE and we can do a lot of advocacy for patients and treatments.

What would you say to someone considering CanSAGE membership?

It’s just a very accepting society and community. We just take everybody for who they are, and everyone’s got something to teach and something to learn. There’s good camaraderie. There’s lots of good information. Everyone just wants to hang out with everyone else and teach and learn.

It’s just a super inclusive community. Whether you’re a generalist or an MIS specialist, you fit in. We have a lot of fun and we do a lot of great work and advocacy for women’s health.

Also, people who come to the CanSAGE Conference are blown away by how good it is and how much learning actually takes place there. It stands out because you really come back to your home site with new ideas that could change your practice. The CanSAGE Conference really changes patient care, which I can’t always say about all of the other conferences I’ve been to.

Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?

I like sports a lot. I try to play hockey as much as I can. I play softball in the summers. I’m a big team sports person. And I like live music a lot. So many nights, I’m out listening to live music in almost any genre —other than country music, I pretty much listen to everything. So you can catch me at a wicked DJ show and the next night you can catch me at a classic rock show and another night find me at a jazz club. I love it all.

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