Discovery Week brings rural and regional medicine front and centre

Published On: May 30, 2022

Six million Canadians live in rural and remote communities, making up almost 18 per cent of the population. The Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that less than ten per cent of physicians practice in those areas.

Research has shown that one of the four factors which increases the likelihood of a physician choosing to practice in rural and remote communities is a positive exposure to rural practice in medical school. At Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Discovery Week is one opportunity for medical students to work alongside health care practitioners and physicians in rural and remote areas to better understand what it means to practice there.

This unique learning opportunity provides medical students with the chance to be embedded into the health care environment in communities across the region for a week, providing a first-hand look at the diverse experiences which impact health and wellness.

Discovery Week 2022 takes place May 30-June 3. The 33 participating communities extend from Windsor to Wiarton.

This year, six first-year medical students from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry will shadow physicians and visit patients at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (STEGH).

“Discovery Week allows our students to understand the opportunities and challenges of rural and regional medicine,” said Dr. George Kim, Assistant Dean, Distributed Education at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “We are so pleased to be able to work in collaboration with our partners across the region to provide future physicians with this important learning opportunity.”

“We are thrilled to take part in Discovery Week and provide valuable experience to the next generation of medical professionals,” said Dr. Waleed Chehadi, Chief of Staff at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital. “St. Thomas has a lot to offer and Discovery Week provides us with the opportunity to showcase STEGH as a premiere community teaching site.”