Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 5th 2016 Contents A26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Tonya Welch is as beautiful as she is graceful.
When you look at her, the first thing that comes
to mind is a beauty queen or a model. But she is
far from those things. In fact, when you address
the avid ballet dancer and teacher of the discipline,
please call her Dr Welch, because that s just what
She specialises in sports medicine, an area not
commonly practiced by female health professionals.
She said she needed to prove to herself that she
could make it in a man s world and be just as good
at a chosen field or even better.
She first tried one year in engineering at Queen s
University in Canada. But one day it was as though
Welch had a sudden epiphany---she looked around
her classroom and recognised her class was mostly
made up of men. The former St Joseph Girls Convent
student made a decision in one week to switch majors.
She flew to Dublin in Ireland where she would pursue
medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons.
"I called my parents back home and I told them
this is not for me. There are too many men here and
I m a woman, this is for strong people. My parents
supported my move even though we both felt it was
a risky one in the sense it was not at all a well-
planned-out decision," Welch explained.
The young doctor was sharing her story with those
present at the Port-of-Spain Rotary Club, Fitzblack-
man Drive, Woodbrook, where she was the guest of
honour at a special meeting on June 7. Her decision
might have been an inattentive one, but in retrospect
she believes it was a divine intervention, seeing where
she is today. She can only speak of fond memories
and experiences while at the college.
But as fate would have it, though Welch started
out studying general medicine---spending enough
time on the football field and observing some of the
stresses athletes go through with injuries---drew her
to the practice of sports medicine.
After completing her Masters, though staying
abroad might have worked out better for her, Welch
decided to return home. She is on call as a medical
doctor at the department of physical medicine and
rehabilitation at the St James Medical Complex, as
well as the physician for TT Pro League teams Central
FC, San Juan Jabloteh and the T&T National Senior
Women s Team.
Healing one injury at a time is not her only mission.
She is also on a drive to encourage other young
female professionals to excel in careers that are tra-
ditionally male dominated.
She wants to also turn the spotlight on positive
young people who want to be successful right here
in T&T, rather than add to the already prodigious
brain drain existing. She is hoping to be of influence
through her upcoming television programme Unwind,
which is soon to be aired on Gayelle TV.
Welch said the idea for the programme came from
talking to many young professionals about their
career choices, many of whom believed it is difficult
to be successful in T&T---most spoke of migrating
to find solid ground, respect and commensurable
"Young professionals like myself often feel jaded
by the regressed minds that plague our land. As we
speak there are limited avenues for intelligent con-
versation for young people," Welch said.
It is really worrying the number of young people
that don t want to stay here. They really believe they
cannot make it here and I want to change that."
She believes too much focus is placed through the
local media on the negative things young people do.
She said her programme will also address this.
"Don t get me wrong, I am not saying that these
things must not be dealt with. But surely they aren t
the only things that are happening here in T&T. Too
often I put on the television on a local channel, and
there always seems to be a hard focus on what is
going wrong," Welch said.
"We love to talk about the bad stuff. Every day
you turn on the TV and it about who mother do
this. Who grandmother kill she self. It s all so neg-
ative. And what is at the forefront of T&T right now
shouldn t be there, because there are people amongst
us who should be at the forefront of our news. And
that s what we need. I think that is what the pro-
gramme Unwind will do."
Dr Tonya Welch
Dr Welch seeks to motivate young people
"We love to talk about the bad
stuff...And what is at the forefront of
T&T right now shouldn't be there,
because there are people amongst us
who should be at the forefront of our
news." --- Dr Tonya Welch
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