Convocation Spotlight: MD '24 grad John Bereti-Moody

John is beginning a family medicine residency at the U of A and plans to work as a medical officer for the Canadian Armed Forces.

6 June 2024

John Bereti-Moody never dreamed of a career in medicine. He was working at a small business managing installation, service and parts for commercial waste oil furnaces when around age 26 a cancer diagnosis brought about a big career pivot. At first he thought he’d like to be a psychologist, but as he began working toward that goal, he discovered a fascination with biology that helped him realize his preferred path was the MD program.

Today, as he moves on to a family medicine residency here at the University of Alberta, he looks back on the joy and challenge of balancing a young family with his academic demands, and looks ahead to a fulfilling career where he plans to work as a primary care provider for the Canadian Armed Forces as a medical officer.

What initially drew you to medicine?

Just before my 26th birthday, I was diagnosed with cancer and that diagnosis motivated a career change. I wanted to help people as I was helped, but I didn't know how yet. I initially thought about pursuing clinical psychology, but as I challenged myself more in my education I found I was more capable than I realized. As I prepared for the MCAT that interest grew and luckily I got into the University of Alberta medical program.

What are you most proud of from your time in the program?

I'm most proud of successfully starting a family with my amazing partner; we had two little ones during the program. I am also proud of joining the military. I was enrolled in the Air Force last year, and am proud to serve the members of the Canadian Armed Forces as a medical officer.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your degree?

Definitely having two children during medical school — in fact, two kids under two. The sudden transitions from student to husband to father to doctor have been challenging.  My oldest is now two and a half, while my youngest is nearly 11 months old. My partner is a rock star for keeping the house standing while I finished clerkship.

How did you stay motivated and who helped you keep going when things got tough?

Becoming a father made my life incredibly busy, and it really made me feel like failure wasn't an option. I had two kids and my partner to take care of. With two littles I didn't have time to stress over the small things, and I had to stay focused on doing what I could to ensure they were taken care of.

What advice would you give to a student thinking of entering this program?

It's a wild ride and well worth the effort to get in. If you naturally find yourself drawn to helping those in need, and find purpose in doing so, there is no better career. 

What have you learned about yourself?

Too many things to count. I can't recall a period of personal growth more profound than the past four years. Most of all I realized how adaptable I am, and how beneficial it's been taking on the mindset of setting a goal to thrive in any setting. 

What comes next for you?

I am continuing my training as a family medicine resident at the University of Alberta, and upon completion I will work as a primary care provider for the Canadian Armed Forces as a medical officer.