Learning about rural medicine from those living it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Two events stand out for first year medical students at Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry: the White Coat Ceremony when they were welcomed to the School, and "Discovery Week" when most will get their first hands-on experience with medicine.

Over the next two weeks (May 27-31, June3-7), 168 year one students will fan out to communities across Southwestern Ontario (SWO) stretching from Tobermory to Point Pelee and Sarnia to Woodstock to experience "Discovery Week."

The program, organized by Schulich Medicine & Dentistry's Southwestern Ontario Medical Education Network (SWOMEN), has four areas of focus: becoming familiar with rural/regional medical practice; inter‐professional education and care within rural/regional health; acute and/or chronic care; and dealing with diverse populations. The students will gain this experience by working in, and alongside: out‐patient clinics, ER triage, specialists, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chiropractors, and emergency departments.

Schulich Medicine has seen a doubling of the percentage of students from SWO entering the School. The Class of 2009 had only 25 students from SWO, which was 19% of the class. The Class of 2016 has 38% of its students from SWO, or 65 students. This change in demographics, away from having a vast majority of students coming from the Greater Toronto Area, has been a goal of the School. Studies have shown that students from rural areas are more likely to set up practice in a rural area, many of which remain underserviced in our region.