Inspiring Young Alumni: Catching up with Dr. Alessandro Francella ’07
“The true value of St. Mike’s are the lessons learned after the final class bell rings.”
Over 20 years later, Dr. Alessandro Francella '07 still clearly remembers this memorable piece of advice delivered to him by former vice principal, Vince Pagano. It was advice that inspired him during his six years at SMCS where he became perpetually involved in co-curricular activities including music, student government, service work, and athletics.
“I would describe my time at SMCS as a period of incredible opportunity,” shares Dr. Francella. “There was the opportunity to acquire academic knowledge and athletic skills from my teachers and coaches. I was able to develop lifelong friendships and memories with my classmates and teammates. Volunteering provided me with the opportunity to care for those less fortunate. Athletics was the arena for teamwork, overcoming adversity, and experiencing the joys of triumph.”
Dr. Francella is now practicing sport and exercise medicine at the University of Toronto and Cleveland Clinic Canada, as well as emergency medicine in Durham Region. He is also a lecturer at the University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Active in the world of sports, Dr. Francella is currently the Team Physician for the Toronto Six of the Premier Hockey Federation as well as the Head Sports Medicine Physician at Seneca College. He is also involved with Canada Basketball and Soccer Canada, travelling to tournaments in Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and more.
Read on to learn more about Dr. Francella and why he is one of our inspiring young alumni.
What stands out from your time at SMCS?
My fondest memories certainly came from the football field, playing four years and winning two Metro Bowl Championships with the Kerry Blues. This past December was the 15-year anniversary of our 2006 Metro Bowl win, allowing me to reflect on the many challenges, successes, and laughs that we had.
How did SMCS prepare you for and propel you in life?
SMCS allowed me to develop the skill set to be able to balance the academic and co-curricular demands of university and beyond. When I played varsity football at McMaster University, I drew on the time management skills I developed at SMCS to help me continue to find success academically and athletically. Throughout medical school and as a practicing physician, numerous competing interests make up my daily life. SMCS taught me how to prioritize and manage these interests while emphasizing the importance of a strong social and spiritual network.
Do you continue to be involved with SMCS?
My involvement with SMCS since graduating includes participating in the mentorship programme, attending alumni touch football tournaments, as well as the Turkey Roll. I have also cared for St. Michael’s students in my sports medicine clinic who are recovering from various sports injuries including concussions.
How do you live out the Basilian motto of Teach me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge?
In medicine, we are taught to treat the person, not the disease. St. Michael’s taught me that being a good and disciplined individual was as important as the knowledge acquired in the classroom. Most patients will not remember the specific medical treatment provided but rather how the physician made them feel. Therefore, I make it my goal to use this motto in all patient encounters and try to understand all the factors that contribute to an illness.
How do you stay connected to SMCS within your community or industry?
In my opinion, one of the greatest things about SMCS is developing relationships with former classmates across all industries, which allows you to stay connected. I have been able to reconnect with classmates who have become professional athletes, coaches, and front office members for a variety of collegiate and professional sports teams. Additionally, numerous St. Michael’s alumni are now practicing physicians in Ontario and across Canada. Many of us have stayed in touch and seek advice from one another to provide the best care possible for our patients.
How do you demonstrate through work that you are being the best for the world?
I believe it is the goal of every physician to be the best for their patients, their community, and the world. This has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have spent many hours on the frontlines in the emergency department, COVID-19 assessment centres, and vaccination centres. It has been incredible seeing people come together to provide care during these uncertain times. I strive daily to provide exemplary care to my patients so that I can have a positive impact on their lives.
What advice would you like to share with the current SMCS students?
I would advise all students to use their time at St. Michael’s to develop strong habits and a good work ethic. Undoubtedly, mistakes and challenges may arise, but learning from those will make you a better person. The vast array of co-curricular activities allows you to find your passion and strive to excel at it — take advantage of this. Finally, cherish the memories and relationships that are made. They will be the best ones of your life and will be the beginning of your greatest friendships.
With the lessons taken from St. Michael’s College School and the expanding experience within the medical field, Dr. Francella continues to be committed to offering the best care for his patients.
“Ultimately, there was the opportunity to be a part of a community that transcends the time spent within the yellow bricks, for which I am truly grateful,” says Dr. Francella.
We are pleased to feature Dr. Alessandro Francella as a member of our inspiring young alumni. More inspiring young alumni can be found on our featured wall outside the main office. These young leaders and change-makers represent a variety of fields, industries, and professions from all around the world, living and leading their lives through faith, character, and service.