Discovery Week Brings Rural and Regional Medicine to Forefront

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 2:58pm

SARNIA & PETROLIA – May 24, 2022 – This week there are 18 first-year medical students from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry shadowing physicians and visiting patients across Lambton County as part of Discovery Week. At Bluewater Health, there are 14 students (10 in Sarnia and four in Petrolia), two at North Lambton Community Health Centre, and two at the Rapids Family Health Team, who are gaining a better understanding of how patient care is delivered in this community.

Six million Canadians live in rural and remote communities, making up almost 18 per cent of the population. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that less than ten per cent of physicians practice in those areas.

Research has shown that one of the leading factors which increases the likelihood of a physician choosing to practice in rural and remote communities is a positive exposure to rural practice in medical school. At Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Discovery Week is one opportunity for medical students to work alongside health care practitioners and physicians in rural and remote areas to better understand what it means to practice there.

This unique learning opportunity provides medical students with the chance to be embedded into the health care environment in communities across the region for a week, providing a first-hand look at the diverse experiences which impact health and wellness.

“Discovery Week gives medical students an opportunity to learn about practicing medicine in a community setting such as Bluewater Health. Working alongside local specialists and family physicians this week helps these future physicians to develop an understanding of the type of practice they could have in Sarnia-Lambton,” says Dr. Michel Haddad, Chief of Staff, Bluewater Health and Western’s Medicine Academic Director for Sarnia-Lambton.

Medical students will spend time in the emergency departments, on the inpatient units, ambulatory care clinics and operating rooms at Bluewater Health, and also in physicians’ individual offices.

“The North Lambton Community Health Centre is pleased to welcome students in learning about our comprehensive primary care model, so they can witness first-hand the impact of how our team supports the community by incorporating health promotion in their care and breaking down barriers of the social determinants of health,” says Kathy Bresett, Executive Director of North Lambton Community Health Centre.

“Discovery Week is a fantastic opportunity for students to experience family medicine first hand. The students are always eager to learn and are very engaged. We are thrilled to have them back in the clinic,” says Lynn Laidler, Executive Director of Rapids Family Health Team.

In Sarnia-Lambton, Discovery Week 2022 is taking place during the week of May 24-27. The 33 participating communities extend from Windsor to Wiarton.

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