Alumni Profile: David Goldbloom '70
Intrigued by the complexity of human struggles, David Goldbloom has spent his career trying to understand mental illness in the unique context of people’s lives. While he finds it exciting to consider frontiers of neuroscience, it is mostly the opportunity to witness people getting better and reclaiming their health that he finds so gratifying.
Equipped with an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree from Oxford University, and a medical degree from McGill University, David began his career as a Medical Research Council Centennial Fellow in the Program for Eating Disorders at Toronto General Hospital. Currently Senior Medical Advisor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and previously its inaugural Physician-in-Chief, David says that he is most proud of his role in bringing to light the impact of mental illness.
“By giving talks and presentations across the country and internationally, from union halls to the halls of parliament, I have been fortunate to have been able to relay a message about the importance of mental health,” he says. Having served as chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and worked with federal and provincial governments, David can see that there has been a social transformation around this issue.
“Though there is still a long way to go in terms of research and developing optimal treatments for people affected by mental illness,” he says, “there has been a palpable decrease in stigma, shame and secrecy, particularly among young people. We need to open up a million conversations that will help reduce the threat that mental illness represents.”
With a biography that includes a Rhodes Scholarship, the Council Award of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Henry Durost Award for Excellence in Creative Professional Activity from the University of Toronto, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and an appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada, David still says that his family is his greatest achievement. “I am truly blessed to have a wife, two sons and a grandson who enrich my life,” he says. “They are more of a legacy than anything I have ever done professionally.”
David continues to write scientific articles and opinion pieces for newspapers, and he believes the writing skills that he must call upon were developed at LCC. “I had wonderful teachers, such as English teacher Robert Veysey, and my communication skills were acquired through the rigours of his instruction. I am forever grateful for that experience. Plus, the friendships I developed were so valuable.
As someone who followed his curiosity and passion, David encourages LCC students and graduates to do the same. “Don’t become preoccupied with your résumé,” he says. “Do what excites you and your résumé will reflect that. Having sat on selection committees for universities, medical schools and the Rhodes Scholarship, I can always perceive who is doing something because it looks good on paper versus who is doing something because they’re passionate about it.”