Know Your Heroes: David Esho

Know Your Heroes showcases the many different people and roles that make up #TeamUHN. We celebrate these people, who strive to make the world a healthier place every day.

Name: David Mayowa Taiwo Esho
Title: Family Physician and Clinician Teacher, Toronto Western Hospital
Number of years working in health care: 13
Hometown: I was born and raised in Toronto

I decided to get into health care because I always wanted to be a physician. For me, there wasn’t one moment that I can point to that crystalized my decision to get into health care. My family often recounts the story of how I would tell others I was going to be a doctor before I was in kindergarten. Medicine has always felt like a calling. I feel very fortunate to have fulfilled my childhood dream.

My role here at UHN is to provide comprehensive primary care to patients as part of our family health team. I also work as an attending physician on our family medicine inpatient service. In addition to my clinical duties, I teach medical students and residents assigned to our site. I am also the deputy program director for our post-graduate year three (PGY-3) hospital medicine fellowship, a one-year program of additional training that family medicine residents can choose to complete after their core family medicine training. It provides them with the skills necessary to care for patients admitted to hospital.

COVID-19 has affected me by drastically impacting my medical practice. I don’t think I have ever been so busy in my career! Within the first few weeks of the pandemic, we transitioned a significant amount of our patient visits to virtual care, which brought new opportunities to deliver care in innovative ways. Further, I have been working as one of the leads for the Black Health Vaccine Initiative, which is an initiative to address vaccine hesitancy in the Black community. I was also able to see the devastating effects of COVID-19 firsthand as an attending physician on the COVID team at Toronto Western Hospital.

The thing I love the most about my job is
the diversity of my practice. I like to think of family physicians as the Swiss Army knife of medicine. I have the opportunity to work with patients through their entire life cycle. On any given day, I might see new parents and their baby, a teen with mental health issues and then end my day providing palliative care to one of my homebound seniors.  

The most incredible thing I’ve seen at work is the way our department has stepped up during the pandemic. Over the course of the last year-and-a-half, I have seen my colleagues support each other as we embarked on new initiatives. Our team was tasked with engaging the community to address the pandemic outside the traditional boundaries of UHN. We were involved in activities such as COVID testing in long-term care homes and correctional facilities.

I’m inspired by working with medical students and residents. I am inspired by their passion and enthusiasm for medicine (I think it helps to keep me young). They also challenge me to stay up to date on the latest medical literature.

One of my personal heroes is my mother because she is one of the strongest people I know. I not only learned the importance of hard work from her, but also the need to always make time for those you love.

I sometimes worry about the world we are leaving our children. Climate change seems to be an ever-present danger and I worry that humanity will not be ready to address it until it is too late.

I’ve found joy recently from taking time during the pandemic to learn how to braid my daughters’ hair. It has been an awesome bonding experience for my daughters and I.

My favourite book (or movie) is anything from the Marvel movie series. I have been a huge fan of comic books since I was a child. While on the surface these stories appear to be very simplistic, I think they offer us deeper truths, such as the importance of doing the right thing even if it comes at great personal cost.  

My ideal day off is any free day when I get to spend time with my wife and kids.

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