UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
UM Today Network
A boy around 12 years old checks an adult's blood pressure in a classroom setting.

CanU students learn how to take vital signs at the College of Rehabilitation Sciences.

Rady students showcase health careers to youth through CanU

February 20, 2024 — 

A team of volunteer students from the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences recently completed a program welcoming over 80 youth from across Winnipeg to explore health-care careers as part of an initiative through CanU, a Winnipeg-based charitable organization.

CanU’s programming is designed to empower Winnipeg youth from low socio-economic backgrounds to explore various careers in programs designed and led by post-secondary student volunteers.

For 13 weeks, from October to February, students in Grades 7 to 9 from 18 schools were taken by bus to the Bannatyne campus where they took part in hands-on workshops led by student volunteers from the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, School of Dental Hygiene, Max Rady College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and College of Rehabilitation Sciences.

The Rady Faculty has been working with CanU since 2014, bringing students on campus to learn skills such as wound care, checking for vital signs, transferring patients with wheelchairs or crutches, and creating pharmaceutical items like lip balm and sunscreen. Over 60 student volunteers took part this year.

Karen Cook, co-lead at the faculty’s Office of Community Engagement, said many of the student volunteers are in their early twenties, so the youth connect with them easily.

“We have student volunteers from every college that provide hands-on interactive sessions to the youth. For some, they are completing their service learning, which is a curricular requirement, but it’s also something a lot of them are passionate about,” she said.

First-year Max Rady College of Medicine student Andrei Caymo was matched with the program because of his interests in helping people in the community discover more about health careers.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for these participants to have an out-of-school experience that can guide them to what they might want to do in the future, while interacting with people in the colleges they are interested in,” he said.

Laura Zimmer and Zoe Berard, second-year physical therapy students in the College of Rehabilitation Sciences, were among this year’s volunteers. In one session, they led a group through case studies of patients with varying health issues, and taught the kids how to check for vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure.

“I’m often surprised by how much these kids know. I didn’t know much about physio when I was their age. They’re very curious, which I really appreciate, and a lot of their questions are really interesting,” said Berard.

Zimmer agreed that the students seemed knowledgeable, perhaps from the information learned in other sessions.

“Today I was asking them what kinds of things would raise their heart rate, and they said all the things I would have thought of,” she said.

“I’m also impressed with how collaborative they are. Sometimes we’ll do activities with skeletons, where they have to label different bone parts, and the way they work together and show how much they know about the human body.”

Santiago Mora Menendez, a Grade 7 student from General Byng School, has been attending the CanU program for three years. He said he’s been impressed with the health sciences workshops this year, including checking for vital signs.

“I learned my heartbeat can go faster than I thought. It was 72 bpm when not exercising and then went up to 180,” he said.

Mora Menendez said he found the physical therapy unit interesting, as he’s had experience with physiotherapy in the past due to sever’s disease, a common cause of heel pain in children. He’s always been interested in a health-related career and said the program has shown him more options than he previously knew about.

“I’m between wanting to be a surgeon or a pharmacist. Before, I was committed to being a brain surgeon, but now I’m learning there is more.”

, , , , ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341