How My Unique Degree Brought Me to Banting House NHSC

Every time I meet someone new and they ask what my degree is in the next question is “What are you going to do with that?”. Usually I shrug my shoulders and remark “Who knows? But I’m sure it’ll be fun”. And so it has, that “interesting choice” and the “boy, that’s different” degree, brought me here.

I asked to intern at Banting House NHSC because it encompasses both my areas of interest, health and history, in one building and in one man. His extraordinary story drew me in, his “tinkering” in what interested him and his ability to excel in each of his projects is admirable, and his discoveries are life changing!

However, what I appreciate more than anything else is his capacity to care. His discovery of insulin could have made him a rich man but instead he sold the rights to the University of Toronto for a dollar because he believed that the treatment belonged to the world. He also believed that as a military researcher “you must be willing to take some of the risk yourself” so he tested his treatments for mustard gas on his own body.

His life was led in service to others and that is certainly something worth imitating.

Juliana for Blog
Juliana, intern at Banting House NHSC, standing in front of a display of Banting’s involvement in the First World War. 

This post was written by Juliana van Gaalen, intern at Banting House NHSC. Juliana is currently completing her BHSc in Health Studies with a Major in Museum and Curatorial Studies at Western University.

4 thoughts on “How My Unique Degree Brought Me to Banting House NHSC

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  1. You are very fortunate, what a great opportunity, I am envious! I too am amazed by Sir Banting and have an ongoing love/hate for Diabetes. I am sad that there is still no cure, I realize there have been many advances with treatment but it truly is a damaging disease on the entire body. So grateful for people like you in this world, you bring hope to many! I wish you much enjoyment with your new found interest.
    Kindest regards, Patricia

  2. Thanks for what you do at Banting House, Juliana! My degree in Art History and Religious Studies led me to museum work and a Masters degree in Museum Professions from Seton Hall. Taking care of our collective cultural heritage is rewarding. I am grateful for Dr. Banting’s contributions because without injectable insulin my 6 year old son wouldn’t be alive. Thanks for your part in being a steward of history. ~Erin Turnham

  3. HI Juliana:

    Great article and I will be visiting the Banting House in 2019. I worked for two companies that manufacture insulin. Are there any other insulin discover sites that I should visit when I am in the area?

    Be well and thank you in advance for your help.

    Steve Kushner


    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the kind words. We will make sure to pass them along to Juliana.

      In Toronto, at the Ontario Science Centre, you can see his original lab, and at MaRS they have a couple of different displays. Look forward to see you next year. Do let us know when you are coming.

      Banting House NHSC

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