MedQUEST -far more than a summer camp

Friday, July 8, 2011

The MedQUEST Health Career Exploration Program is a clinical teaching elective that was designed by the Southwestern Ontario Medical Education Network (SWOMEN) at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to provide first and second year medical students with a unique opportunity to experience living, learning, and working within rural and regional communities in Southwestern Ontario. Every summer, students enjoy placements with local physicians and health care staff, learning to teach practical skills such as suturing, casting and resuscitation, while acquiring leadership skills and participating in interprofessional education.

A substantial benefit of the program is that it also provides Grade 10 and 11 students from these communities with hands-on experience in various disciplines of health care, including medicine, with the hope that they will pursue a career in that field. Sarah Felder of Petrolia was one of the first students who enrolled when MedQUEST was launched in 2005 and she went on to be accepted into the medical school at Queen's University. This year, she's joining medical students from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry as a MedQUEST counselor.

"I'm so excited by the prospect of being involved in the MedQUEST program. My experience with the program in 2005 was very memorable and inspirational, and I want to become involved in providing high school students with an experience like my own," says Felder. "Exposing these high school students to the world of healthcare and medical students is absolutely invaluable and I cannot praise this program enough."

Collaborating with community health partners, MedQUEST counselors serve as teachers and mentors over the course of the week-long program. Educational opportunities include interactive workshops, state-of-the-art simulator training and the opportunity to watch health care professionals in a clinical setting. Students learn how babies are delivered using a birthing simulator, read x-rays, splint and cast fractures, participate in a community mock disaster, and gain an understanding of the training requirements needed to work in the field of health care.

MedQUEST is in seven communities this year, with about 150 secondary school students participating. Seaforth and Ingersoll/Tillsonburg will wrap up at the end of this week, and Leamington, Walkerton, Chippewa, and Sarnia start July 11. More information can be found at .