News at Medicine - November 2010 - Aboriginal youth to visit med school

Aboriginal youth to visit med school
November 17, 2010
On Wednesday Nov. 24 an event focused on Aboriginal youth experiencing life as a medical student and medicine as a whole will take place at the Faculty of Medicine. Activities start off at 12:40 p.m. when some medical students will take the 15 visiting youth ages 14 to 20 on a guided tour of the medical school facilities.
At 1 p.m. Dr. Shakti Chandra, associate professor of anatomy, will take the youth to the Anatomy Lab to give them an anatomy teaching session. The young Aboriginals will get to see bones, anatomical specimens, artificial joints, basic medical tools and photos.

Following this, the tour will proceed to the simulation lab, where the young people will get to see “Stan” the patient simulator in action and see how residents and medical students learn about medical pathologies.

The event raps up at 3 p.m. with refreshment in the Medical Student Lounge, where the Aboriginal youth will have the opportunity to meet with other medical students, faculty and volunteers. From there, there will be a discussion led by medical students about their own personal experiences and desires for studying medicine. Following this the Aboriginal youth will put on a song and dance demonstrating their own culture.

This event is organized by Taylor Ferrier and Robin Purcell. Taylor is a graduate student in the Faculty of Medicine in the Community Health and Humanities Department and a member of the M├ętis peoples.  Robin is youth co-ordinator of the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre.

“Research and personal experience suggests that Aboriginal youth are primarily directed towards trades for professional employment,” said Taylor. “So we decided to create an event focused on Aboriginal youth experiencing life as a medical student and medicine as a whole.  It is our hope that the exposure they will receive will transfer into an ambition to study medicine.”

Taylor is researching cancer care wait times under the supervision of Dr. Maria Mathews. He volunteers with the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, the Aboriginal Patient Navigator Program, and is a medical representative of the Graduate Students’ Union and the Medical Graduate Students’ Society. 

In his job at the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre, Robin helps work towards improving the quality of life for Aboriginal youth in an urban environment by supporting self-determined activities, encouraging equal access and participation in Canadian society all the while respecting Aboriginal cultural distinctiveness.  Robin has grown up all over Canada, where he has witnessed the many inequities that exist in many Canadian Indigenous communities.