Dermatologist at Heart

Q&A with Resident Tim Chan
Person in scrubs with a white coat and glasses smiling in an exam room.
Tim Chan (he/him) B.V.M.S., resident in the Dermatology Service at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Photo: Jeff Poole, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Where are you from?
I am from Toronto, Canada, and spent most of my life in the city.

What academic degrees have you earned?
I received an Honours Bachelor of Science at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, in 2012, where I majored in Biology & Psychology. Then, in 2015, I attended the school of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, where I received my veterinary degree (BVMS & MRCVS) in 2020. During that time, I discovered my passion for dermatology and decided to pursue this specialty. I completed a rotating internship at the 404 Veterinary Referral and Emergency Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario, in 2021. 

Finally, I moved to Massachusetts in 2021 to pursue a dermatology internship at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. I continued my stay there as a dermatology resident, and that is where I am currently.

What attracted you to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine?
Cummings School’s dermatology team offers a diverse range of services to dogs, cats, and even large animals. The dermatologists have ample experience practicing dermatology in Europe and North America, which attracted me to their service as I have close ties with European and North American veterinary care. Additionally, Cummings School offers all of the other specialty services, so it’s always great to collaborate with the different teams and enhance my multidisciplinary approach to medicine.

What have you been surprised to learn during your tenure here (about veterinary medicine, Cummings School, or yourself)?
I have really enjoyed the comradeship among all the services in this hospital. It always feels like we’re working as a team since we share our expertise with others and vice versa. I also appreciate the dedication of pet owners in this area to the care of their pets; they only want the best and will go to great lengths to make them feel better. That is what motivates me to become a compassionate and experienced dermatologist.

What do you hope to do after completing your time at Cummings School?
I plan to work in private practice dermatology in Canada or remain in the States after my residency. I am drawn to big cities, so I hope to find a well-rounded hospital that needs a dermatologist.

Can you share an experience from your time at Cummings School that stands out to you—as a patient, case, owner, faculty member, etc.?
One case that sticks out to me is a dog that I had treated who first presented to the ER service for a severe and chronic skin eruption (or ‘dermergency’). After we performed our diagnostics, I eventually diagnosed her with an autoimmune skin disease and started immunosuppression treatments immediately. After only a few weeks, almost her entire skin had resolved. To this day, she is a happy girl with smooth, healthy skin. I like to use this case to teach students about the systematic approach to dermatology and how your medicine can improve a pet’s quality of life.

What brings you joy professionally?
I love spending time with my two cats—they make great study companions. I also love to travel and spend time with my family in Canada. When I need some downtime, I like to escape reality by immersing myself in video games, or when I need some fresh air, I like to shop, visit cafes, and go hiking.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I love dermatology, and I love to share my experiences and knowledge with pet owners, veterinarians, and people interested in skin (and ears). Since you don’t often see immediate results in dermatology, I’ve learned that it’s more about developing long-term relationships with pet owners.