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High-schoolers from across Manitoba explore health care careers during Discovery Day

November 6, 2019 — 

The Rady Faculty of Health Sciences hosted 379 Grade 11 and 12 students at the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame’s Discovery Day to learn what it’s like to be a health professional or biomedical scientist.

Students from 87 schools from across Winnipeg and around the province took part in interactive workshops exploring careers in medicine, rehabilitation sciences, nursing, dentistry, research, anatomy and other health sciences. Some students travelled from as far as Thompson, The Pas and Churchill thanks to the generosity of sponsor travel bursaries.

Dr. Sari Hannila with students in the “Neuroanatomy: Exploring the Brain” workshop.

“Improving health in Canada and around the world is vital to everyone’s lives – and encouraging our youth to choose a career in a field where they can do this is equally vital,” said Lissa Foster, Executive Director of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. “More than 85 per cent of students who participate in this program tell us this day helps solidify their plans to pursue a health sciences career.”

Dr. Brian Postl, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, encouraged the students during his opening remarks to take their time to explore the learning opportunities and ask questions.

“Discovery Day is extremely valuable to the future sustainability of our health-care system and research enterprise,” Postl said, “Through Discovery Day, we are helping to prepare Manitoba’s youth from all over our province to address our future health-care needs and challenges.”

Students were able to choose from 26 workshops including Women: Medical marvels, dramatic deliveries, virally vigilant, Your mouth: More than just teeth and Neuroanatomy: Exploring the Brain, where they learned real-world medical skills and spoke with award-winning faculty members. They also attended the “Health Pros Tell All” Career Panel where students posed questions to a panel of health professionals including doctors, researchers, and faculty members.

Brent Masse from St. Adolphe, MB, attended the respiratory therapy workshop and said it was interesting to see how the different health-care specialists can help people.

“I was curious about the sciences and that’s potentially what I’m looking to pursue as a career. I want to see if it’s worth it to spend all that time and money on university.”

Faith Dick from Thompson, MB attended the nursing skills session and is thinking about applying to the University of Manitoba.

“I go to a small school and only two of us were selected to go to this event,” she said, “I really wanted to come because I’m really interested in nursing and health care.”

Students practice doing an intubation in the “Just Another Day at the Office” workshop which highlights different aspects of family medicine.

Dr. Jason Scott, who practices in Dauphin, MB, has volunteered with the family medicine workshop five years in a row.

“We have a longstanding history of supporting this event, following rural students right from high school through to becoming practicing physicians to try and improve the health care supply and patient care in rural areas. We try to get kids interested in health care from an early stage and show them what family medicine is all about. It’s all about exposure and letting kids know what’s possible.”

Similarly, occupational therapy student Jason Au wanted to volunteer to increase awareness of occupational therapy as a career option.

“I really wanted to volunteer to bring OT a little bit more exposure, especially to the high school population. I remember when I was in high school I hadn’t known about OT and I didn’t discover it until my third or fourth year in university.”

Dr. Courtney Leary, Chief of Staff Norway House Hospital and Primary Care Physician, Ongomiizwin Health Services, Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, delivered the keynote lecture titled, Honouring your Ancestors – Practicing medicine in your traditional territory.

Leary stressed to the students the importance of honouring their ancestors, hard work and dedication, willingness to learn, and of course, helping others.

“I’m a doctor, which I’m very proud of. Being a doctor is special but also it’s not, it’s a job. It’s what I do with this job that really matters. It’s the contribution I make that matters. No matter what you choose to do, and whatever accomplishments that you achieve, it’s your contributions that will matter.”

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