MANITOULIN—The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) has been a resounding success in attracting young medical professionals to come to learn, live and eventually set up practices in the North. As part of their graduation wrap-up, 120 grad students from the program came to Manitoulin last week to learn more about rural medicine and to take part in a mini-WilderMed program.
“These are all residents of the physician program at NOSM, including general surgeons from Thunder Bay, pediatricians from Sudbury and family residents from Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie,” said Dr. Maurianne Reade. “There are about 120 students coming to take part in the program on Manitoulin and they will be split into two groups.”
Half of the students began their visit at the new Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current, while the second group proceeded directly to Dr. Bedard’s property in Bidwell, home of the popular WilderMed program.
The visit is a collaborative effort on Manitoulin, with actors from Debajehmujig taking on roles as victims of various rural trauma and scattered at stations around the property. The victims range from those wounded in a bear attack, exhibiting nasty wounds from falling on tree branches and even a number of knife wound victims from a drug party in the bush that went wrong.
“The students will be getting a taste of WilderMed,” said Dr. Reade. “There will be seven to eight stations set up and the residents will be going to each station in teams of five.”
Not all the stations involved trauma, however, as representatives of the OPP and EMS services were on hand to provide wilderness survival training and rescue techniques and veteran fire firefighters like John McNaughton took part, providing short workshops on useful rope knots.
“The students will be learning how to cope with typical trauma with limited resources,” she said.
In addition to the Debaj crew, there were about 15 high school students from Manitoulin Secondary School and the Wikwemikong High School taking part. “We hope that the students will be taking an interest in careers in medicine,” said Dr. Reade. “We know from experience that students from the North are most likely to stay in the North to set up their practices.”
Along with the students, Professor Dr. Hoy Chou from the Laurentian University English department went along, video camera in hand, to record the event. Dr. Chou originally filmed a documentary at the beginning of NOSM and is working on a new documentary to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary.
“It seemed to be a good time to revisit the school,” said Dr. Chou, who brought along his sister visiting from Hong Kong. “She really likes to hike,” quipped the professor.
There were no complaints to be heard from the NOSM students as they set out for the stations slightly obscured by the season’s crop of black flies. Thankfully the early morning sun sent the small black pests packing in rather short order, providing a very pleasant day for the students in the bush.
The other set of students, which rotated with the morning group come afternoon, took in a series of workshop presentations at the hotel before setting out on a scavenger hunt with lists of clues in hand.