Dr. Everglad Mugutso is improving care for patients with lung cancer

Dr. Mugutso is one of the 2022–2023 Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellows in respiratory research.

Every year, the Montreal Chest Institute selects an outstanding researcher to receive the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship in respiratory research. Made possible thanks to donors to the MUHC Foundation, the award provides research and training support to an up-and-coming respiratory researcher from a low- or middle-income country, or an Indigenous community.

In keeping with Dr. Becklake’s legacy, the award provides training that allows the fellows to become leading researchers and caregivers in their home countries, with the goal of lessening the burden of respiratory illnesses around the world.

This year, two new Becklake Fellows were selected, Dr. Everglad Mugutso and Kriti Agarwal. To read Ms. Agarwal’s story, click here.

Dr. Everglad Mugutso

Dr. Everglad Mugutso moved to Canada from Zimbabwe a year ago. A physician by training, she is pursuing a Master’s degree at McGill University while seeking recertification to practice medicine in Canada.

“Receiving a Canadian medical license is a long process, and I’m using that time to explore my areas of interest. That’s why I applied to do a Master’s program,” says Dr. Mugutso.

During her year as a Becklake Fellow, Dr. Mugutso will study ways to provide better quality of care and quality of life for patients with lung cancer. Using data and artificial intelligence, she will determine which patients will benefit the most from specific treatments. This will help ensure the best treatment is chosen for each individual.

“When I was in Zimbabwe, I worked in pediatric oncology. We used to see many patients come to the hospital with advanced cancer. Sometimes we didn't have enough resources to help those patients, and that was incredibly difficult. I decided to pursue this research to help provide better care to my patients,” says Dr. Mugutso.

Specifically, her study will focus on the concept of prehabilitation. Most of us are familiar with rehabilitation, the process of recovery after surgery. Prehabilitation flips this idea on its head, helping patients improve their health status before they have surgery to remove cancer to ensure they have an easier recovery. This technique has the potential to improve or even save the lives of patients.

Dr. Mugutso is grateful to donors to the Becklake Fellowship for giving her this opportunity.

“I really appreciate this opportunity to pursue research. It's going to help me achieve my goal to become a clinician-scientist. I hope to be able to help people in Zimbabwe and other countries in that region, and contribute to the Canadian health care system as well,” says Dr. Mugutso.

Dr. Mugutso is working under the supervision of Dr. Nicole Ezer, who specializes in lung cancer.

About the Dr. Margaret Becklake Fellowship

The Becklake Fellowship honours Dr. Margaret Becklake, a pioneer of respiratory medicine and founder of the renowned Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit of the Montreal Chest Institute and McGill University.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Becklake studied respiratory health in low-income countries, including childhood asthma and occupational lung disease. She trained and hosted students from low-income countries, many of whom became leaders in research and care in those countries.

First awarded in 2019, the Becklake Fellowship has supported four outstanding researchers to date, including Dr. Mugutso and Ms. Agarwal. We are grateful to our many donors, who have helped grow the value of the fellowship in support outstanding early-career researchers.

Read Kriti Agarwal’s story

Becklake Fellow Kriti Agarwal (PT) is preparing COVID-19 patients for the long run