Jane Gair - Medical School Professor

Krista Habermehl
23 January 2012

Name: Jane Gair

Field of Work: Medical Education

Place of Birth: Mississauga, Ontario

Age: 39

Job title: Professor in a Medical School

Medical doctors have to learn a ton of information to do their jobs. But, where do they get all their knowledge from? A medical professor like Jane Gair! Read on to learn how you might one day teach doctors to be.

What is a Professor in a Medical School?

A professor in a medical school is someone who teaches medical students how to become a doctor.

What is a typical day like for you?

Most days start off at 8 a.m. in the classroom with eight medical students. They are either in their first or second year of medicine. I work with them for two hours and then they go to listen to their lectures from other professors. From time to time that is also me! I often head off to a meeting about the cases we are teaching the students. For example — we will discuss the cases that relate to the heart so they will understand how it works, and how they will treat a patient who has a heart problem!

Did you always want to be a medical school professor?

I always wanted to be a teacher — I loved school and had some great teachers and always imagined doing the same thing. I also love biology and medicine and then fell in love with genetics. So teaching in medical school is the perfect job for me!

What courses in high school prepared you for this field?

My biology courses and all of my science classes were important to prepare me for this field. The opportunities to speak publicly also helped a lot!

Where did you go to university/college?

I went to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and then to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

How did you decide where to go?

McMaster is a great school with a great reputation for science, biology and medicine. I had always heard great things about it. It was also pretty close to home but far enough away that I moved to school. UBC is a much larger school and that decision was helped by the fact that my sister had decided to move from Ontario to BC! I wanted to be near her, had heard great things about UBC and made the move. UBC has great graduate programs, especially in genetics so I decided to stay and do my PhD with some of the greatest teachers, scientists and geneticists I have known!

Was there extra training required for this career after you finished college/university? If so, what?

I was involved in teaching a lot as a graduate student — I grabbed every opportunity to do it! I was a teaching assistant for many courses and fell in love with teaching. I took workshops offered at UBC about teaching and tried to learn as much as I could about how to be a good teacher.

I also volunteered — most notably with Let’s Talk Science! This helped to put me in the classroom in front of people and to practice my skills. What a great opportunity.

There are always workshops and courses and other opportunities to learn more about teaching after you finish school. Learning and Teaching Centres are great places to learn more about how to be a good teacher.

What is the coolest part of your job?

The coolest part of my job is knowing that I am training our future doctors in Canada. I love talking about patients and solving the problem along with the students.

What’s the worst part of your job?

The worst part of my job is having to discipline students and sometimes tell them that they aren’t doing well.

What’s the salary range for this particular job and field?

$65,000.00 to $120,000.00 +

Ooooops! Everyone makes mistakes so what was the dumbest thing you've ever done at work?

I forgot that I had a lecture and ran in late!

Do you have any advice for others seeking a similar career?

Take every opportunity to teach and to learn from great teachers. Work hard in school and seek out what you love!

What is the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

The last movie I saw was “The Adjustment Bureau” – thumbs down!

What was the last book you read? Jam it or can it?

The last book I read was “Shantaram” – fantastic!

Chocolate or Vanilla?


What’s your zodiac sign?


Krista Habermehl

Hi! I'm Let's Talk Science's communications officer. I have an MA in Journalism from The University of Western Ontario and a BA in English Literature from The University of British Columbia. I've worked with Let's Talk Science since March of 2009. I help out with the day-to-day maintenance of CurioCity, among other things! 

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