Meet Dr. Botha, Medisys Calgary
Dr. Lachelle Botha is a Family Physician with Medisys in Calgary. Botha was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa, where she completed her medical training at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu Natal. She practised both rural and urban medicine in South Africa, in addition to completing residency in Pediatrics, before relocating to Saskatchewan, Canada in 2008. In Saskatchewan she has worked in both the northern community of La Ronge and the small city of Prince Albert providing general family medicine and emergency care. Dr. Botha believes strongly in a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare. She enjoys all areas of general family medicine, but has a special interest in women’s health and the care of young families.
What was your first job? My first job was in a clothing factory in South Africa in the packing department, I also was employed to catalogue Zulu artifacts for museums. These jobs taught me about the importance of enjoying the work that you chose to do every day, as you spent a great deal of your life at work, and doing something that is unfulfilling can have a huge impact on a persons’ health and general enjoyment of life.
Why did you choose to become a doctor? I was born in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa when I was 2 years old. Growing up, I witnessed lots of people – friends, acquaintances, and family members, encounter situations requiring medical attention. I always admired how dedicated the doctors were to helping people despite often difficult circumstances. South Africa, despite its resources in certain areas, doesn’t always have the medical resources that a country like Canada has. I saw people working in healthcare environments that were not ideal. Despite this, they worked incredibly hard to offer the best care they possibly could. This was inspiring and led me to want to help.
Why did you choose to work at Medisys? There are so many factors that affect a person’s health – what we do at work, for example, can have a significant impact on our health. My interest in the interplay between work and health led me to study Occupational Health at the University of Alberta. I chose Medisys partially because of its occupational health focus. Medisys allows me to put into practice an approach to medicine that accounts for the multitude of factors that impact one’s health – including what they do from 9-5.
What’s the most important piece of health advice you can give. If I could only give one piece of preventive healthcare advice, it would be to approach health in a manner that allows you to find a healthy balance, and focus on the root cause. For example, if your cholesterol is high or you are at risk of developing high cholesterol, try to identify why your cholesterol might be high – is it due to diet? If so, try to approach each meal in a way that will enable you to lower your cholesterol and avoid heart disease. If you smoke, why do you smoke, is it to help manage stress? Identify healthier ways to manage the stress better.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Hard work and dedication always pays off in the end, even if it is not in the way that you intended.
What is the secret to lifelong happiness? Surrounding yourself with supportive people who help you be the best you can be.
What is the one health lesson you have learned that you want everyone to know. Everyone is busy in their own lives. Many people use the excuse of being “too busy” to exercise, take a preventive health approach, eat right etc. But the people who exercise more regularly, or eat healthy every day, or keep up to date on medical tests aren’t less busy than everyone else – they just have different priorities. It’s important to make your health a priority because it really is your most valuable asset.