Insights from Laryngologist Dr. Andrée-Anne Leclerc

Balancing Parenthood and a Medical Career: Insights from Laryngologist Dr. Andrée-Anne Leclerc

Discover how Dr. Andrée-Anne Leclerc, MD, MSc, FRCSC, Laryngologist, and Head and Neck Surgeon, thrives as a mother and dedicated medical professional with the support of her husband and surgeon friends.

Laryngologist and ENT surgeon (otolaryngologist), Dr. Andrée-Anne Leclerc, possesses a unique expertise in addressing issues related to voice, swallowing, and breathing. After completing her otolaryngology residency at the University of Montréal, Dr. Leclerc pursued further academic training in the United States, undertaking a comprehensive two-year fellowship in laryngology and the treatment of professional voice.

Following her fellowship, Dr. Leclerc returned to Montreal, enriching the medical landscape with her advanced knowledge and innovative surgical techniques in the field. She collaborates closely with voice professionals, including singers and international artists, providing expert assessment, treatment, and surgical interventions for their vocal cords. Driven by her passion for disseminating scientific knowledge, she actively engages in workshops focused on vocal health and various laryngological issues, fostering education among patients, students, singers, and other interested individuals.

Dr. Leclerc’s dedication to accessibility and knowledge dissemination led her to be a part of creating, a platform designed to make her expertise readily available to all. By actively contributing to this resource, she empowers individuals to understand and address their voice-related concerns with reliable information and guidance.

With her exceptional expertise, commitment to professional growth, and passion for spreading awareness, Dr. Andrée-Anne Leclerc remains a distinguished figure in her field, making a significant impact on the lives of those she serves.

We’re going to just begin by telling our readers a bit more about your background story and what brought you into medicine?

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. My father, a doctor himself, inspired me with his happiness and dedication to his work. Medicine was always my calling, and I never considered any other path. Surgery held a special allure, and with unwavering determination, I pursued my dream, becoming the passionate surgeon I am today.

“Everything I did was to enter medicine and be a surgeon”

Did your father support your journey given that he is already in Medicine?

My father was supportive and encouraged me to pursue my own path. He didn’t want me to choose medicine just because he was a doctor, and with our family’s history of doctors, he wanted to ensure I had the right motivations. He offered valuable tips, not to prepare me, but to highlight the essential aspects of this journey.

Did you have any mentors when you got into this specialty or just even even in your residency that you looked up to or that were women?

In the field of ENT where I work, there aren’t many women, although we do have some exceptional female surgeons in our hospital. It’s inspiring to see these amazing women balancing their careers and families with such grace.

Are you a mother as well?

Yes, I have two very young kids, aged one and three. I made the decision to wait until after both my residency and fellowship before starting a family. I completed a two-year fellowship before embracing motherhood.

Where did you complete your medical training?

I completed a two-year fellowship in the US, spending one year in Pittsburgh and another at UCSF in San Francisco. After my fellowship, I returned to Montreal, where I also underwent all my residency training.

When it comes to this specialty of ENT, can you give us a bit of background on what made you decide to go into this?

There are countless types of surgery, and I had an interesting journey finding my specialty. Initially, I wasn’t entirely certain about orthopedics, as a one-month rotation left me feeling unsure. However, I found my true passion in the delicate hand surgeries and other intricate procedures within orthopedics.

During this time, I had insightful conversations with my father, who saw potential in me pursuing either ENT or plastics. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in ENT, mainly because of the incredible people I worked with and the positive atmosphere surrounding the specialty. It’s known for its diverse practice, offering a range of opportunities to find what you love.

The camaraderie among my colleagues and their dedication to helping patients deeply resonated with me during my rotations. The feeling of making a difference in people’s lives was evident in the way they approached their work.

One aspect that sets ENT apart is the comprehensive approach to patient care. Unlike some other specialties, we handle both the medical and surgical aspects, guiding patients through the entire journey from point A to point B. It’s rewarding to be part of their entire healing process.

As an ENT specializing in laryngology, my focus revolves around airway, swallowing, and voice disorders. I take pride in being the sole laryngologist within the University of Montreal division, representing only about 6-7% in the province of Quebec. To spread awareness and knowledge, I actively engage in educating my peers and patients alike. We have a dedicated website,, providing essential information in French for patients about surgery, diseases, and how to address health issues.

I firmly believe that prevention and patient education can significantly enhance the quality of care we provide. By empowering patients with knowledge, we enable them to take proactive steps towards better health outcomes. It’s a privilege to be part of their journey and to contribute to their well-being through my expertise in laryngology.

What is the biggest challenge that you have faced on the day in the industry, what would you say as a woman?

Two factors have stood out to me during my journey as a young female doctor. Firstly, the notion that trust must be earned has been prominent. Starting out, especially at a younger age, I felt the need to prove myself and demonstrate my expertise to gain the trust of both colleagues and patients. This implied belief that people would inherently trust me just because I was a doctor did not apply to me, perhaps due to my youthful appearance and gender.

As a medical student or even when working with a more senior male resident, there were instances where patients assumed the male counterpart was the doctor while I was the resident. Such assumptions based on gender roles can be challenging to navigate, but I remained focused on earning trust through my knowledge and dedication.

Additionally, some patients expressed surprise upon meeting me, expecting a male doctor simply based on my last name. I found it crucial to dispel such gender-related assumptions and highlight that one’s abilities and expertise are not tied to their gender or name.

Addressing these perceptions has been an ongoing process, and I strive to create an environment where trust is earned through the quality of care I provide, rather than preconceived notions. As a young woman in the medical field, I remain committed to breaking stereotypes and proving that capability and skill transcend gender.

What would you want to see more of now in the medical industry in the future?

Just more transparency and a genuine desire to help colleagues. Recognizing that when others succeed, it benefits everyone. I was fortunate to have colleagues who truly wanted my success and provided unwavering support. Trusting their advice was easy because I knew they had my best interests at heart and wanted me to thrive. Encouraging a culture of trust and support among medical professionals will create a more cohesive and empowering environment, ultimately leading to improved collaboration and better patient care.

In terms of mindset, how do you manage long hours, maintain a work-life balance with young children at home, and prevent burnout, while also finding inner balance and peace of mind in the demanding medical industry?

I’m incredibly fortunate to have a supportive husband from day one. As we have started a family, mutual support has become even more crucial. We both prioritize being there for each other, whether it’s for family responsibilities or work commitments. He’s there for me when I have long hours at the hospital or conferences to attend, and I never feel the need to ask for permission. We understand the importance of balancing our professional and family lives, and we both take turns being there for the kids. This unwavering support and understanding have been a significant source of strength for me, allowing me to navigate the demands of my career with peace of mind.

I’m grateful to have wonderful friends who are not only skilled surgeons but also mothers, offering invaluable support and understanding. They play a significant role in my life, providing assistance and doing things that truly benefit me. Their unwavering support and camaraderie create a strong support system, making it easier to navigate the challenges of juggling motherhood and a demanding career in the medical field. Their presence has been a source of inspiration and strength, reinforcing the importance of having a network of like-minded individuals who genuinely care and uplift one another.

Photography by Alex Tran

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