Dr. Linda Dalpé
Physician turned community organizer
I see myself as a builder and a realist, somewhere in the middle between a pessimist and an optimist. Grounded. Whenever a door closes, I stop, breath in and look around. Stepping back lets you see that there are other doors; some of them are open. Some may see a closed door as a sign of failure; they can't stop staring at that door. Taking the time to step back is part of finding solutions. Doctors are trained to be detectives, problem solvers. There have been open doorways I chose not to cross for a variety of reasons: maybe the entry price seemed unreasonable; maybe that day I couldn't shrug off the "imposter syndrome"; maybe I needed more time to gather some tools; or I may have waited for someone to join me.
I can recall 3 pivotal moments in my professional life that I am particularly proud of.
The first is graduating from high school against many odds that were stacked against me. Being the only one in my family to finish high school, I can understand what an achievement it can be for the many kids living in poverty in our province. I was awarded the A.M. Sormany medal on my graduation day. My faith in the power of education, along with a few special people who believed in me, is what has made my social mobility possible.
The second is getting my medical degree, regardless of a first year riddled with hurdles, including my first academic failure. Those were formative years in many aspects. I became the kind of doctor that I wanted to be, learning from good mentors, but also advocating for patients and risking my degree by maintaining my integrity despite the poor mentors. I chose not to attend the graduation ceremony.
My proudest moment is leaving my medical practice, which was probably the moment that took the most courage in my life. I finally acknowledged that I needed to let go of something that was no longer good to me; what medicine and caring meant to me did not mean the same to the "system"; the paradox was slowly choking me. I never saw it as quitting since staying would have meant quitting on me, of letting go of my core values. Some fights are worth fighting outside the ring.
The projects that I am currently involved in are :
- healthy food for kids, in preschool and school, fuel for their brain;
- a breakfast program for young learners, again to fuel their brain, maximizing their chance of social mobility, which is part of an economically strong province;
- connecting people to all the community services around us, often unknown, underutilized and an important part of helping the most vulnerable ones who are part of our lives;
- creating opportunities for families and communities to connect in nature, which is important for our physical and mental health;
- advocating for those who should have a stronger voice, but is often drowned in all the surrounding noise.
My past has molded me into what I am now. My husband and my daughters are smoothing out the edges of my character.
What defines me is my passion, my integrity and my resilience.
What would have I done differently? Nothing. This is me.
Community Health, Snowshoer, Food Enthusiast, Educator & Lifelong Learner, Mountain Biker, Health Promoter, Mother, Social Determinants of Health, Social Mobility Enabler, Feed our Sport, Poverty Tool, L'APOMME, Tomato Lover, Outdoor Recreation, Medical Doctor, Speaker, Amateur Gardener, Francophone