Over the past few weeks, Dal’s Sexton Campus has played host to junior and senior high school students thinking about careers in the health professions.
Two day camps – the African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Summer Day Camp and the Atlantic Aboriginal Junior University — brought approximately two dozen students to campus to get an up-close look at studies in the Faculties of Health Professions, Medicine and Dentistry.
Visible minorities continue to be underrepresented in health professions, despite large African Nova Scotian and Aboriginal communities in the province. The summer camps are one of the ways Dal faculty are reaching out to communities to encourage students to think about a health career.
Over the course of the week, students of both programs are exposed to a variety of health professional programs through hands-on interactive sessions (including nursing, medicine, physiotherapy, dentistry, science and health and human performance) and set up with Dalhousie student mentors. Students also participate in personal development sessions to maintain their interest in becoming health professionals.
The African Nova Scotian Health Sciences Summer Day Camp (July 7-11) had students learning how to fill a cavity, remove sutures and give injections. Coordinated by Michelle Patrick in Dal’s Global Health Office, the week was capped off with a graduation ceremony, attended by Nova Scotian Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs Tony Ince.
The Atlantic Aboriginal Junior University, based in the Faculty of Health Professions’ Aboriginal Health Sciences Initiative, is now in its third year. The overnight camp, which ran from July 13-18, brings young people from around Atlantic Canada together and provides hands-on experiences in traditional aboriginal healing as well as introductions to the health professions taught at Dal.
The ultimate goal of both camps is to help break down the barriers visible minorities continue to face in accessing post-secondary education and pursuing careers in health professions. The coordinators hope that by reaching out to students early and making a direct connection between them, the university and role models in their chosen profession more students will have the tools they need to pursue their dreams.
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