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Young Medical Minds

Page history last edited by Corinne Hansen 4 years, 5 months ago









Helping communities make the healthy choice the easy choice.  



Community/Project Name:                                  Young Medical Minds Camrose




1. Target population:  Grade 8 students

2. Locations served:  City of Camrose, Towns of Hay Lakes and Bawlf

3. Name of leader and organization:  Dr. Chris Nichol, Project Lead; Facilitated by Carol Breitkreutz, AHS School Health Promotion Facilitator

4. Grants utilized:  Grant from HSAA and the Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak



Briefly describe the initiative:

This is a 5 session, once per week extracurricular program for grade 8 students to introduce them to a variety of health care professions through a hands-on approach. A small cohort of 10-12 students begins with a medical scenario that is relevant to them and follows it through the medical system. Each of the sessions highlights health promotion and medical management. The final session introduces the students to the educational offerings at the local University of Alberta Augustana Campus where the students could potentially begin their studies in health sciences.


 What were the main objectives of the program:

  1. To engage Junior High students through exposure to multiple fields of medicine and health care
  2. To inform students of the application of the sciences to health and medical applications
  3. To stimulate their interest in career options within the health sciences 
  4. “grow our own” health care professionals for rural Alberta 


Please list the key successes:

Survey results indicated that 17/22 of the participants from the two cohorts were definitely more interested in the health sciences as a result of the program. Parents indicated on their surveys that they were impressed with the hands-on nature of the program and the enthusiasm that their children showed about the sessions





Who were the partners involved?

  • Dr. Chris Nichol from Camrose Smith Clinic – project lead
  • Alberta Heath Services School Health Promotion
  • Alberta Health Services Volunteer Resources
  • Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Services
  • Covenant Health-Diagnostic Imaging, Rehabilitation Therapy, Psychiatric Unit in St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta


Other resources utilized (websites, pamphlets, projects)?



How long did it take to plan and implement the initiative?

Planning began in February 2015 with an Advisory Team made up of project partners. The first cohort was in September 2015 and the second cohort was Feb. 22-March 21, 2016.


If needed, how did you market your initiative?

The program was promoted through contacts with schools in face to face presentations and through email contact. Promotional materials were presented to all grade 7 students in the 2 junior high schools in Camrose. The program expanded its reach in the second cohort to recruit grade 8 students from 2 rural communities and home schooled students.




 What challenges were faced while developing and implementing this initiative?

  • Our initial challenge was obtaining coverage for liability for the students for this extracurricular program.
  • Our second challenge was obtaining funding for the expenses of the program.
  • Our third challenge was in recruitment. 


How were the challenges overcome?

  • All students were on boarded as AHS volunteers. This provided the legal coverage necessary in case of any incidents.
  • We obtained funding from the Health Sciences Association of Alberta and from the Camrose Rotary Club Daybreak. We were able to keep our costs as minimal as possible to stretch our funds.
  • We have tried a variety of ways to recruit, and have concluded that face to face presentations in schools may be the most effective. We now have some promotional print material and short videos that we created to use in these presentations. 




 List the outcomes achieved:

  • 2 successful cohorts of grade 8 students (22 students)
  • Overwhelmingly positive feedback from students and parents about the program
  •  Enthusiastic partners who are willing to continue volunteering their time and expertise twice per year


 How did you evaluate the initiatives success?

  • The team debriefed after each session and captured the learnings from the sessions.
  • The students and parents were surveyed after each cohort for their feedback on the program. 


Were any follow up actions planned post-initiative? 

The overwhelmingly positive response we have received has encouraged the team to create a handbook, with the help of Community Service Learning students from the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, so that other communities may benefit from this model and run their own Young Medical Minds programs tailored to the health professionals in their area.




Please briefly provide additional information that should be considered when planning such an initiative including marketing materials, resources, and pictures.

The key factor in the success of this program is the enthusiastic volunteers from various health professions. They imparted a genuine love of their careers to the students and made the learning experiences engaging and inspiring to the students.




1. Community location: Camrose, Alberta

2. Contact name: Carol Breitkreutz, Health Promotion Facilitator

3. Organization: Alberta Health Services School Health Promotion

4. Email: carol.breitkreutz@ahs.ca 



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