Starting in mid-January 2017, two students from the Island Medical Program (IMP) will be offering a series of public healthcare lectures as part of a joint engagement-research project.
Samuel Harder and Sergiy Shatenko, second-year peers, designed Mini Med School to not only inform the community about important health topics – something they’re passionate about – but also to study whether public education programs make an impact.
“Many residency and medical school programs have used Mini Med School, or programs like it, to engage the community,” said Harder. “But interestingly, not much research has been done on whether such outreach changes people’s health behaviors. That’s what we’re interested in.”
The lecture series will feature talks on six relevant topics, including chronic illness, preventative medicine, and medical testing. Everyone is welcome to attend, but those interested in the study will need to fill out a survey and attend a minimum of four lectures.
The project was inspired by another seminar series called Let’s Talk the Science of Medicine, which Harder and Shatenko took part in during their first year. They enjoyed the experience, giving a total of four presentations, but felt the lectures could be expanded.
“As medical students, we are in a unique position to bridge the gap between doctors and the general public,” said Shatenko. “We wanted to take LTS one step further and develop greater continuity from one lecture to the next. This will allow us to create a more comprehensive picture of health and diseases, and that could ultimately improve health outcomes for communities.”
Harder and Shatenko have developed Mini Med School as their Foundations of Scholarship and Flexible Enhanced Learning (FLEX) project. FLEX, a mandatory component of the IMP’s curriculum, requires medical students to develop a directed study initiative, which they design and run with the help of a supervisor.
Dr. Jane Gair, a Teaching Professor with UVic’s Division of Medical Sciences, is overseeing the project. Not only will participants learn more about health, she said, but they’ll be engaging with passionate students.
“We have two dynamic speakers presenting on relevant, interesting health topics,” she said. “These talks, we hope, will improve health literacy, which will empower patients for when they next visit their physician.”
Despite Mini Med School being a curriculum project, Harder and Shatenko see it as a first step into a larger – and important – part of healthcare education for communities across BC.
“We’re hoping that IMP students who come after us decide to continue this project and improve on what we’ve started,” said Shatenko. “We’d especially like to see it reach higher risk populations, who have limited access to healthcare resources.”
The Mini Med School lectures will be presented on January 14, 21 and 28, and February 4, 11 and 18. Each will take place from 10am – 12pm in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB) 150 on the University of Victoria’s campus.
For more information on the lectures and the research project, visit uvic.ca/medsci/mms or contact Jane Gair at firstname.lastname@example.org