Scholar-Athlete Returns to Toronto
Throughout his four years at McMaster University, continuing through his time at Saba, and now as an MD at the University of Toronto, Alessandro Francella has always been a scholar-athlete. A strong interest in athletics and musculoskeletal medicine led him to complete a Fellowship in Sport and Exercise Medicine, and culminated in his appointment as a Sports Medicine Physician at the Cleveland Clinic Canada. Dr. Francella provides medical care to many varied teams in Canada, including rugby, lacrosse, basketball and hockey.
Always interested in medicine, Alessandro heard about Saba from his older cousin, a fellow Canadian who graduated from the school and went on to a career in orthopedics.
Alessandro regularly made the Dean’s List at Saba. For his clinical rotations, he sought different experiences including rotations at a wide range of medical centers in the US and Canada:
- Orthopedic surgery at Dalhousie University
- Radiology at Case Western Reserve University
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Georgetown University
- And a Medical Observership – at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore
Alessandro matched into the Family Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital (University of Toronto). This downtown hospital, known as the “urban angel,” prides itself on serving marginalized populations of the city. “It is very rewarding for me and I have a deep connection here.”
In his second year, Alessandro was named Chief Resident of the Family Medicine Residency. After his residency is completed, Alessandro plans to apply for a sports medicine fellowship in both Canada and the US.
Alessandro has always worked hard at balancing his many interests. In college, he volunteered at the McMaster Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Centre helping athletes in need of physiotherapy. He also took on leadership roles in organizing and raising money for many charitable events in support of cancer awareness and prevention. In his senior year, he was nominated for the prestigious Russ Jackson Award, given annually to the Canadian university football player who best exemplifies the attributes of football skill, academic achievement and citizenship.
At Saba, Alessandro maintained that tradition of balancing the rigors of academia (“ Saba had a challenging course load”) with the joy of being physically active. “Many of us played basketball and football after class or on weekends.” He also got involved in extracurricular activities, such as the student government and athletic association, while developing a rock solid group of friends that he remains in close touch with to this day.
To those looking at medical school he offers this advice: “Enter medicine for the right reasons, and have a goal that you are striving for. Having a goal keeps you motivated during the tough times. My goal was to be a doctor doing what I love back home in Toronto and here I am.”
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