Exploring oncology in co-op

Iman smiling

Iman Salehi, a third-year Health Studies major and Medical Physiology minor student, shares how he found a deeper meaning in oncology from his co-ops.

Iman has completed three co-op work terms. His first co-op term was as a Research Assistant at the Joint Department of Medical Imaging at University Health Network. He had the opportunity to develop a lecture and workshop to educate clinical research coordinators on how to evaluate changes in tumour sizes, using standardized criteria called 'RECIST 1.1'. He was also responsible for collecting and analyzing data for a research study that looked at the relationship between microcalcifications, which are tiny calcium deposits in the breast, and breast cancer.


His second and third co-op terms ran consecutively at Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was a Genetics and Oncology Research Assistant. His primary task involved collaborating with a multidisciplinary team of doctors and nurses to develop an educational course on the unique topic of breast cancer in pregnancy. In addition to developing this course, he was a part of creating and submitting an abstract on this topic to the Canadian Association of Nurses and Oncology conference and the research will be presented by Iman and his team this October! 

How do you think your co-ops have helped you develop yourself? 

“I think working at both University Health Network and Mount Sinai have helped me build many transferable skills. Some that I could think of off the top of my head are communication, time management and research skills. These are skills that I know I could apply anywhere, not just in the field of research, so it's definitely been useful.” 

Iman posing in front of trees in a forest


“Co-op has definitely increased my interest in the field of oncology, and even more specifically for breast cancer. Having had multiple family members affected by breast cancer, I'm pleased to be able to contribute to oncological research. I'm grateful that co-op has given me that opportunity to work in this field.”

IMAN SALEHI, third-year health studies

How did you overcome challenges during work terms? 

“I'd say the most challenging thing about co-op was figuring out how to start working on large-scale and long-term projects. It's really easy to look at the big picture when you're just starting out and get intimidated by all the work that you need to get done. I learned that just breaking down these large tasks and challenges into smaller, more manageable pieces, it helped me stay motivated and it also helped me keep track of my progress better too.”