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High school students across Manitoba participated in the virtual Discovery Day to learn about careers in health sciences from the experts in the field.

Discovery Days in Health Sciences invite students to investigate health careers

November 18, 2021 — 

Over 300 high school students from 49 schools across Manitoba attended the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Discovery Day in Health Sciences virtual event to learn about the various pathways to pursuing a career in health professions or biomedical science.

 It was the second year the annual event, co-hosted by the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) was held in an online platform due to COVID-19.  

The day began with a fun soliloquy from Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, distinguished professor of psychiatry and 2020 CMHF laureate, called “A Message to My Teenage Self” in which he gave thoughtful advice to “have faith in the future and have faith in yourself.”   

Dr. Brian Postl, dean, Max Rady College of Medicine spoke of the valuable nature of the event to the future sustainability of the health-care system. “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.”

Dr. Brittany Penner, a family physician and lecturer with the Max Rady College of Medicine, presented the keynote on “The Power of Story.” Penner delivered an engaging story of her difficult childhood as a Métis child adopted into a new family near the end of the sixties scoop in Manitoba.  Penner emphasized the importance of knowing your story and how that can help you deliver health care.

“In medicine our stories are what make us better listeners, more compassionate doctors and better humans,” said Penner. “People want to feel seen and heard when they are treated by doctors.”

After the keynote, students were given the option of 12 different virtual workshops in areas such as pathology, cardiovascular science, nursing, infectious disease research, psychiatry and more. The workshop sessions gave the participating students an in-depth look into a specific area of health science, and the education requirements it takes to pursue a career. Many of the workshops also included a Q&A portion at the end.

“The speakers were on point and made it very easy to learn about different fields of science and medicine,” said Sarah Gledson, a grade 9 student from Grant Park High School. “They asked us questions to keep us engaged and used real scenarios and pictures from their everyday jobs. I was surprised to see how versatile pathology is and how many different subspecialties there are.”

The final event of the day was the “Health Pros Tell All” career panel discussion and Q&A. Included in the panel was recent CMHF medical student award winner Jayelle Friesen-Enns, who is concurrently completing an MD and a Master’s in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Manitoba, and Dr. Alexa Hryniuk, an assistant professor of human anatomy/cell science. Dr. Mable Hagan, a biologist at the National Microbiology Lab, Dr. Holly Hamilton, a family physician at Notre Dame de Lourdes and Jason Trottier, a case manager at the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba were also panelists.  

”It helped me get a better idea of what I want as my future career and the amount of schooling I have ahead,” said Gledson, who found her first Discovery Day experience to be very appealing overall. “I cannot wait to experience Discovery Day in person one day.”

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