FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Over 100 students from across the Peace Region were at the Pomeroy Hotel yesterday as BC Children’s Hospital brought its Mini Med School program to Northeast B.C. for the first time ever yesterday.
BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Wyeth Wasserman said that the program allowed students from across the Peace – with several commuting in from Tumbler Ridge – to connect with some of the research projects currently ongoing at BC Children’s Hospital and to learn about different career paths.
Dr. Wasserman said that the group of students learned about a wide range of topics, including DNA, genetics, and rare diseases that can occur in children, as well as both viral and bacterial infections and other infectious diseases that affect children, before concluding the day on the topics of injury prevention and active living.
Dr. Wasserman said that students brought up a number of good questions for the program’s instructors, especially pertaining to the education path one could take in getting into the medical profession.
“We had lots of questions about careers and how long it takes to become a doctor or a nurse. We heard that you don’t always find your way to being a doctor through one route. We had one of the doctors today who started out studying English as an Arts major. We have others who talked about delays and did another carrier path. So it’s important to recognize that when you move into the healthcare field, you can do so later in life. It doesn’t have to be right out of high school.”
Dr. Wasserman said that the program builds on initiatives in recent years that push having doctors trained closer to where they grow up, so that they’re more likely to stay in Northern communities. He added that the Mini-Med School will be heading elsewhere in the Interior next year, but that organizers have plans to have the program come back to this part of the province on alternating years in the future.