A Peak Inside the Mind of a CMHF Brand Ambassador

November 7, 2023
Ryan Cochrane

An inspirational interview with our former CMHF Brand Ambassador Ryan Cochrane

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role as a CMHF Brand Ambassador?

I’m Ryan Cochrane, a graduate of the Biochemistry Doctoral program at the University of Western Ontario. I first encountered the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) attending a Christmas Market at the old Kellogg’s building with some friends. Immediately, I recognized Laureates from my undergraduate studies. I couldn't help but share my knowledge about various laureates with my friends, and it filled me with pride to be Canadian!

Not long after I saw an email about becoming a CMHF Brand Ambassador. The program aimed to cultivate skillful health science communicators who could increase public awareness of the CMHF and create educational content about the remarkable laureates and their stories. I eagerly applied and was delighted to become a part of the program's inaugural cohort.

Having been a pre-med student, I wish I had encountered the stories of CMHF Laureates earlier in my academic career to enhance my studies and draw inspiration from.

I made it a goal to engage with undergraduate students in medical and health sciences streams by creating slideshows featuring CMHF Laureates grouped by relevant pre-med departments, such as biochemistry or physiology, to be presented before lectures to encourage students in their medical training journeys.


Which CMHF Laureate inspires you most and why?

It's a challenge to narrow that down because there are so many unbelievable individuals among them. However, Drs. Oswald Avery and Michael Smith stand out to me for their pioneering research that laid the groundwork for genetic engineering, the focus of my doctoral research. Specifically, their foundational discoveries in DNA transformation and mutagenesis became central methods for a field that in my view, is one of the most promising areas for future medical interventions and medicines.

ryan laureates

Dr. Maud L. Menten, a trailblazing female scientist, is another who inspires me with her ability to excel in various research areas, including biochemistry, pathology, and microbiology. She was truly ahead of her time and remains astonishing today. Sometimes to the bane of biochemistry undergraduates, the study of the Michaelis-Menten equation, important to enzyme kinetics, is an indispensable homage paid to Dr. Menten each year.

Lastly, Drs. Henri J. Breault and Henry Barnett have made invaluable practical contributions to health care. Their inventions such as the Palm-N’-Turn cap on prescriptions and the use of aspirin to prevent strokes have saved countless lives. Their focus on patient well-being underscores the importance of keeping patients at the forefront of medical innovation. There are so many more, but these Laureates are definitely spectacular and special to me.


What was the most enjoyable part of representing the CMHF on campus?

The most enjoyable aspect of representing the CMHF on campus was witnessing the genuine amazement and appreciation in people's faces as they discovered the varied contributions Canada has made to the field of medicine.

From groundbreaking research to the invaluable roles of nurses and educators, our nation has a rich history of compassion, innovation, and competence that transcends our size. Moreover, this experience allowed me to connect with individuals I might not have encountered within my own institution, each playing a vital part in the broader 'medical team.'

Whether they were doctors- or nurses-in-training, dedicated researchers, efficient administrators, passionate educators, or effective communicators, recognizing the vast network of professionals involved in our medical system instilled in me a deep appreciation for the collective effort required for progress.

Additionally, my involvement on campus as a CMHF Brand Ambassador has provided context and historical depth to the content I was sharing. 


Based on your experience as a brand ambassador volunteer, what were the key takeaways of your role/projects for your future career in health sciences?

My experience as a CMHF Brand Ambassador has left me with several key takeaways that will undoubtedly shape my future career in health sciences. First, Canada boasts a rich history of compassionate practitioners and pioneering research, and it is crucial to ensure that Canadians are aware of the remarkable progress we have achieved! It is important that we cultivate an ongoing appreciation for the giants of this field whose accomplishments serve as our foundation for continued growth.

Second, for those involved in health sciences, effective communication is paramount. We must continually share our successes and discoveries with the public to help unify and strengthen perceptions of Canadian ingenuity and care in medicine. Furthermore, we must ensure that our message is consistently refined to ensure it's accessible to everyone. Finally, improvements in medicine require an understanding and appreciation of the past.

It will be essential to revisit the stories of CMHF Laureates, and history more generally, with an open and curious mind to make meaningful headway.

As I look ahead to my future in the health sciences I aspire to continue exploring diverse spaces and ideas with curiosity and compassion. My goal is to share the knowledge I acquire in creative and captivating ways that contribute to improving the lives of others.

What are your suggestions for the next brand ambassadors?

Be Bold: Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to people, even those you may find intimidating. Involve others in spreading the message of the CMHF and sharing the stories of its laureates.

Be Creative: Continue to create resources that can be distributed to institutions, industry partners, and the general public. Explore innovative ways to engage and educate.

Be Brave: Attend conferences and passionately showcase the incredible contributions of past doctors and researchers. Challenge the next generation of Canadian medicine to follow in the footsteps of CMHF Laureates.

Grow: Focus on expanding awareness of the CMHF, building a diverse portfolio of CMHF content, and honing your skills as science communicators. Aim to elevate the CMHF as a highly recognized landmark and a source of inspiration for Canadians and humanity.

CMHF Brand Ambassador Program

About the CMHF

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world, fostering future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs and awards.

This enduring tribute to our country’s rich medical history is showcased here and in our physical exhibit hall in London, ON