Campers gain insight into careers with help from Schulich medical students

Image of students at Goderich camp
Learning suturing techniques during a clinical skills session in Goderich
By Communications

High school students in several local communities received hands-on experience in many areas of health care through Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s Discovery Healthcare Camp (DHC).

Image of students in Stratford gaining work experience
Learning to apply a cast during clinical skills session in Stratford

With a refresh of the brand, and support from high-school guidance councillors and local community champions, the DHC week-long summer programs were a success, said Vanessa Stratton, Associate Director, Integrated Medical Education.

“Based on what we’re hearing in our feedback process – both from the participants and the community – we’re really happy with how it went,” said Stratton. The sold-out camps ran in Sarnia, Chatham, Goderich, and Stratford with the help of six first-year medical student leaders and one year two student support. More than 120 local students participated.

DHC exposed students in grades 9-12 with an interest in medicine to all facets of health care – from medicine, nursing, dentistry, to EMS, kinesiology, and other aspects of the health-care profession.

Image of students in Sarnia gaining work experience
Taking part in a hospital visit at Bluewater Health in Sarnia

More than 40 community health-care professionals facilitated sessions at the camps, giving participants a wide exposure to what it’s like to actually work in the health care field. Students experienced suturing, injections, birthing simulations, nursing, and hospital tours and more as part of the camp curriculum.

This type of program is very important to both leaders and students, said Stratton.

“When we look at our camp leaders who facilitated the program, many hadn’t experienced health care outside of London. Almost all of them came away from the experience saying they wanted to do their clerkships or other experiences in rural areas because they saw the impact it could have in those areas.”

Camp participants came away from the experience more aware of the importance of staying in their communities. “It gave them awareness that they could practice health care in their communities and be successful, and they didn’t have to go to the ‘big city’ to accomplish their goals.”

Local media also picked up on DHC with stories featured on CBC and the Stratford Beacon Herald.

Stratton said the program is looking to expand next year into other communities across southwestern Ontario.

Image of students making a speech at Goderich camp
Getting underway at the Goderich camp