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Share the Health_Young medical minds educational institute Camrose 2015-2018

Page history last edited by kaela.schill@albertahealthservices.ca 2 years, 2 months ago




Helping communities make the healthy choice the easy choice.  



Community/Project Name: Young Medical Minds Educational Institute Camrose 2015-2018



1. Target population: Students in junior high school 

2. Locations served: Camrose and County of Camrose 

3. Name of leader and organization: Dr. Chris Nichol, Program Team Lead and Medical Director; Facilitated by Carol Breitkreutz, AHS School Health Promotion

4. Grants utilizedFunding support from Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak and Health Sciences Association of Alberta



Briefly describe the initiative:

This program began as a pilot project in the fall of 2015 and has continued to be sustainable as a program since that time. Each year two cohorts of up to 12 students are admitted to the program. The program has expanded from 5 sessions initially to now include 6 sessions held once per week over the course of 6 weeks outside of school in the evening. An injury scenario of a youth is followed throughout the 6 weeks as students are engaged in hands-on activities facilitated by qualified health professionals and highlighting a specific health career option. Session #1 Emergency Medical Services Session #2 Emergency Medicine (focus on physician) Session #3 Diagnostic Imaging Session #4 Nursing Session #5 Rehabilitation Therapy and Psychiatric Nursing Session #6 Educational Institutions (Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta-After Degree Physical Therapy Program, Science Department)


 What were the main objectives of the program:

  1. To engage youth in early career planning
  2. To expose youth to health care opportunities in the local community
  3. To share health promotion messages with students using a relevant scenario
  4. To “grow our own” health care professionals in the rural areas


Please list the key successes:

  • 6 successful cohorts have been completed with a total of 68 youth going through the program from September 2015 to February 2018
  • Continued support and enthusiasm from health care professionals who volunteer their time and passion to the program
  • Positive responses from the students and parents about the nature of the program and their enthusiasm and appreciation for it
  • Continued collaboration with many institutions who support the program with volunteers and in-kind donations of supplies and facilities
  • Enthusiastic post-secondary volunteers from the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, some of whom have gone on to pursue their education in the healthcare field
  • We have expanded our session offerings from 5 weeks to 6 weeks (adding nursing as a separate focus)
  • We are constantly seeking ways to improve and refine our program through debriefing meetings following every session and implementation and evaluation of new ideas
  • Blossoming partnership and support from Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP)
  •  A celebration of Dr. Nichol being named as the 2017 RhPAP Rural Physician of Distinction and being celebrated through a Young Medical Minds/RhPAP Skills Day for all Alumni of Young Medical Minds in the spring of 2018



Who were the partners involved?     

  •  AHS School Health Promotion
  • AHS Volunteer Resources
  • AHS Emergency Medical Services
  • Covenant Health-Diagnostic Imaging, Rehabilitation Therapy, and Psychiatric Unit
  • Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta-After-degree Nursing Program and After-degree Physical Therapy Program 


Other resources utilized (websites, pamphlets, projects)? None

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

The initial planning began in February 2015 with the gathering of an Advisory Team. The Pilot Project Cohort was offered in September 2015. Since that time there have been two cohorts per year offered in the Fall and in the Winter. A total of 6 cohorts have completed the Young Medical Minds Camrose Program. 


If needed, how did you market your initiative?

Students and parents are informed about the program through promotional presentations in the schools in Camrose and the County of Camrose. Notices are circulated through the school newsletters and in the school division publications. Extensive follow up is conducted through email correspondence. 




 What challenges were faced while developing and implementing this initiative?

  • Initially, we were challenged to find a way to cover the students for any liability incurred from the program since this is an extra-curricular program and not a school-based program
  • Funding the program continues to be a challenge to ensure sustainability
  • We are continuing to look for the most effective ways to recruit students into the program as communication strategies are not always the strongest between teenagers and parents 


How were the challenges overcome?

  • The liability challenge was overcome by onboarding all the students as AHS volunteers through AHS Volunteer Resources. They have streamlined a process over the past three years that makes it easy to cover the liability of the students and other community/university volunteers while minimizing the paperwork
  • We have been fortunate to receive funding from the Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak on two occasions and a grant from the Health Sciences Association of Alberta. We have also been fortunate to have many materials and supplies donated by the partner healthcare professionals (Covenant Health and Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta.) Organizations have also donated swag for the students (RhPAP, Medicine Shoppe, U of A, AHS)  
  • We are trying to refine our recruitment techniques with students and parents by tightening up our timelines regarding our promotional tour in the spring and information in school newsletters. We have been fortunate to have some media coverage through the years that has also helped to spread knowledge of our program. 





 List the outcomes achieved:

  • Based on our evaluation survey results, the vast majority of the students reported that the program definitely made them more interested in the health sciences 
  •  52 out of 68 of the Alumni from Young Medical Minds are returning for an Alumni Young Medical Minds/RhPAP Skills Day on May 4, 2018. These students are still interested in learning more about health sciences career options 
  • 2 past post-secondary volunteers are studying in the health sciences career streams and another 2 are about to begin their studies in this area  


 How did you evaluate the initiative's success?

  • Debrief meetings following each session of Young Medical Minds involving the volunteers, Advisory Team and facilitators of the sessions 
  • Feedback surveys completed by the students and parents on the last night of the program 


Were any follow-up actions planned post-initiative? 

  • We have collected the contact information from those parents who are willing to be contacted in the future to find out if their children eventually enter the healthcare professions 
  •  We have had discussions with other communities who may be interested in implementing a Young Medical Minds Program in their area 



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

  • The success of this program is dependent upon the commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers to support and facilitate the sessions. Collaboration among health care professionals is vital to success
  • Please contact Carol Breitkreutz for further marketing materials and resources. An implementation handbook has been created that can be shared




1. Community locationCamrose Community Health Centre

2. Contact nameCarol Breitkreutz

3. Organization: Alberta Health Services School Health Promotion

4. Emailcarol.breitkreutz@albertahealthservices.ca



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2. Locations served:  Stettler Elementary School, Wm E Hay Secondary Campus, Stettler Outreach School, Erskine School, Donalda School, Big Valley School, Byemoor School, Gus Wetter, Botha School, Brownfield School

3. Name of leader and organization:  Barb Gano & Brenda MacDonald, Clearview Public Schools

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