Pictured above: Nain participant Chaim Andersen learns about resuscitation from Barry Trenchard, MUN Medical Technologist.

Memorial University of Newfoundland’s (MUN’s) Grenfell Campus was the home of a unique career camp this summer, as its School of Medicine hosted the first annual Healers of Tomorrow gathering. Initiated by the Aboriginal Health Initiative with help from Memorial University and made possible with funding from the International Grenfell Association, the Healers of Tomorrow Gathering brought eleven high school students to Corner Brook for a chance to participate and be exposed to a wide array of health care professions.

The camp was a chance for aboriginal high school students to be exposed to a number of different possible career paths in the medical field. Eleven students representing four aboriginal communities in the province, namely, Nunatsiavut, NunatuKavut, Sheshatshiu Innu and the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band participated in the event. Here, presenters exposed the participants to a wide array of possible health care professions which required either a university degree or a college diploma. Seventeen-year-old Maskushish Pinette, an Innu First Nations student from Sheshatshui was pleased with the experience, saying: “This was a great opportunity for me to explore what I want to do in the future.”

Camp participants learn about traditional aboriginal healings and medicines.

Students take in a session with physician, Amy Pieroway (on stretcher) and paramedic, Jeff Clarke

The students were given a chance to receive presentations from professionals with varying medical backgrounds such as Pharmacy, Nursing, Lab Technology, and more, as well as getting the opportunity to go hands on with a number of different activities relating to future medical career paths. Carolyn Sturge Sparkes, who is the coordinator of Memorial University’s Aboriginal Health Initiative, had high praise for the program and its participants, saying: “They have been a great group – very enthusiastic. It was great to see people from the different health care professions so willing to come and volunteer their time.”

The International Grenfell Association provided a $53,000 grant for this event, which developed the program and covered all of the expenses of the students involved. The aim of the committee and organizers of Healers of Tomorrow is to offer this camp to aboriginal youth every two years.

Submitted by: Carolyn Sturge-Sparkes
Coordinator – Aboriginal Health Initiative
Faculty of Medicine, MUN

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Camp participants learn about traditional aboriginal healings and medicines.