Dr. Albert J. Kirshen
Role at the Centre
Leader, Undergraduate Education
Year started at the Centre
Year became a doctor
“I feel I’m in the exact right place,” says Dr. Albert Kirshen. One suspects he doesn’t mean the interview room – he looks vaguely uncomfortable about the whole process. No, he’s talking about his job; the job he’s been doing for over a decade now. The job he’ll probably do until he retires.
Dr. Kirshen, who doubles as the Undergraduate Education Leader at the Centre, came to palliative care via geriatric medicine and internal medicine. He’s still a Geriatrician, holding the post of Assistant Professor, Geriatric Medicine at the University of Toronto. But he’s not prepared to rest on his laurels. His daughter says he’s a perpetual student, which one is inclined to believe, given that he’s just completed new qualifications – a Master’s in Medical Education – despite the fact that he completed his initial medical education at the University of Toronto in 1978.
Dr. Kirshen is a self-confessed addict of bad jokes (the clean ones) and science fiction. He likes to make people smile. He shifts in his seat a little when I ask him about his work, because at heart he’s modest. He doesn’t believe it deserves special attention, and is liable to pass it over with a wave of his hand. It’s just what he does, the gesture suggests.
Is it the work that made him that way, or is he naturally humble? A little of both, perhaps. He says the work has given him a better appreciation for life and a much clearer understanding of how little really gets done in the world inside our favoured formal systems, compared to how much can be achieved informally.
An impish look steals over him. “Also,” he says, “I get to drink coffee, meet nice people and see the good in the world.”