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By GERRY POSNER There are doctors and then there are doctors.
Leah Steele can lay claim to two titles of doctor. She is a physician and she also has a Ph.D in clinical epidemiology.


Now, that kind of talent is akin to being ambidextrous in hockey, that is somebody who can shoot with ether hand. In Leah’s case, her double degrees enable her to make a much more significant contribution to the world than putting the puck in the net (though this ability ought not be frowned upon).
How did Leah Steele from River Heights in Winnipeg get to her place in life today, a practising doctor and researcher, professor and a single parent to boot?
It was not a simple path, but if you knew Leah as a little girl, you could have predicted big things for her even then.
In order, Leah attended Ramah Hebrew School, the Grant Park enriched program, Kelvin High School, and the University of Winnipeg.
She even finished school a year early and worked so that she could travel in Europe for a few months at age 17.

Leah subsequently attended the University of Man-itoba and majored in philosophy, minoring in English (rather removed from the world of medicine).
She even began a master’s programme in philosophy, but gave it up to travel in Central America, where she had her first exposure to extreme poverty.
It was then that she decided she wanted to be in a “helping profession” and not academia. Thus, a potential career in medicine was born.
McMaster Univ-ersity in Hamilton was receptive to students like Leah, whose studies to that point had not included any sciences. Leah attended McMaster from 1994-96, obtaining the first of her two doctor titles.
Leah did her medical residency at the University of Toronto in 1997-98 and worked in Toronto hospitals, dealing with cases of HIV as a significant part of her workload. She then did a PhD in clinical epidemiology (her second “Dr.” title) from 1998-2003.  Suring that time Leah did clinical family medicine part time,  also part time research. The research related to access to mental health services for vulnerable populations.

At present, Leah’s clinical practice is focused entirely on addictions. She is involved with a Toronto Public Health programme called “methadone works”, with which she has been involoved since 2006.
At the same time, Leah operates two community clinics, where she practices addiction medicine. Moreover, she continues to do research and publish. To top if off, Leah was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto. Now that’s a serious work week!

But, her most important role is being a single mother to Ela, seven, and Jonah, four. Being a single parent is tough at the best of times and Leah has a workload that pulls her away; hence, she is a juggler of time and energy. But, she lives in a close knit-neighbourhood where she knows everyone on her street - much like her childhood days on Brock Street in Winnipeg; so there is a support system for her.
Leah will say that her closest relationships to this day with the friends with whom she grew up in Winnipeg. Where have we heard that statement before?
She returns each year to visit her parents, Bob and Judy Steele, for Passover. Leah also tries to come home in the summer. She reconnects then to her glory days as a camper and  counsellor at BB Camp, where she spent her summers between the ages of nine to 22 and which, she says, had the greatest impact on her in instilling confidence, leadership skills and independence.
Leah Steele aimed high and the facts reveal she reached some lofty heights. She is indeed quite a doctor.

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