For students, by students: Dalhousie Medical Campus Response Team expands peer‑to‑peer support

- September 22, 2022

Members of the Dalhousie Medical Campus Response Team pictured at Dal's Fall 2022 Society & Volunteer Expo last week. (Submitted photos)
Members of the Dalhousie Medical Campus Response Team pictured at Dal's Fall 2022 Society & Volunteer Expo last week. (Submitted photos)

About the author: Neuroscience student Ernest Ng serves as vice-president of operations with the Dalhousie Medical Campus Response Team.

In their blue duty shirts and high-visibility vests, responders from the Dalhousie Medical Campus Response Team (DMCRT) have been supporting harm reduction in the university community for nearly 10 years.

Now, the team — composed entirely of students — has undertaken the biggest expansion of operations since its inception through newly formed partnerships with several administrative units at Dalhousie, including Security Services, Student Health and Wellness, and Residence Life.

“Our team is thrilled to expand on its efforts to help keep members of the Dal community healthy and safe,” says Jack Killeen, the response team’s current president.

While sticking to its roots in providing first-aid coverage for events held by student societies, the team has now gained an additional role in supporting the university in attending medical calls. As part of a new pilot project with Security Services, the team will be “on call” on Saturday nights on campus to support students living in residence and those attending other events that may be going on.

Jake MacIssac, assistant director with Security Services, says the new partnership should help expand the capacity of the university to respond to incidents and ensure a more comfortable experience for all.

“This partnership ensures increased access for students to emergency first aid without fear of being judged or being in trouble,” he explains.

Related reading: Navigating consent -- Campus campaign seeks to combat sexualized violence and create safer spaces

'The epitome of student leadership'

More than 200 students have volunteered with the campus response team since it was founded in 2013. Responders are trained in a plethora of skills such as the Advanced Medical First Responder 1, Mental Health First Aid and applied suicide intervention.

In providing peer-to-peer medical and mental health assistance, the team also helps to relieve some pressure on the province’s emergency medical services teams.

Rick Ezekiel, Dal’s vice-provost student affairs, and his team have worked with members of the response team’s executive over the past few months to help bring its expanded role to life.

“The DMCRT executive and student volunteers represent the epitome of student leadership and service to our community. They model who we should aspire to be as a Dalhousie community,” he says.

Killeen, present during the team’s first overnight shift as part of the pilot project, expressed an immense amount of gratitude to those supporting the group’s expanded role on campus.

“Thank you to our on-campus partners for continued support.”

Learn more about the Dalhousie Campus Medical Response Team and its work in the community.

Note: If you are in need of immediate first aid or mental health assistance, please contact Dalhousie Security (902-494-4109) or the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (1-888-429-8167)

Related reading: Five Dal clubs and societies you should check out if you are a student and why


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