Feature Article: Discovery Week brings medical students to Southwestern Ontario communities

Discovery Week has been creating opportunities for medical students to experience rural and regional health care across southwestern Ontario for the past two decades. Again this year, 170 first year medical students from Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry will be in close to 30 communities across the region to receive hands-on learning experiences.

This unique learning opportunity provides an intimate understanding of the diverse experiences which impact health and wellness in the centres across the region.

This year’s Discovery Week takes place during one of two weeks, May 22 to 25 or May 28 through June 1. The participating communities extend from St. Thomas to Owen Sound.

Discovery Week was originally started as part of a strategy to attract doctors to set up practice in rural and regional locations. Research has shown that students begin making career decisions early in their medical school careers, so Discovery Week was designed to expose students to medicine as it was practised outside of large urban areas before they had made firm plans for their careers.

“Each student returns having had the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of medicine in that community and having gained an understanding of what it means to work as part of a team,” said Dr. George Kim, assistant dean, Rural and Regional Community Engagement at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “We owe much of the success of this program to our partners who have trained and mentored medical students in their communities for the last twenty years. We look forward to what the next two decades will bring.”

Check out the Discovery Week 20 Years of Partnership Booklet