Piquing an interest in med school begins one camp at a time

(Edmonton) Twelve-year-old Janine Faucher-Dunnigan has always thought she might want to be a doctor. This summer she’ll get a taste of what medical school would be like.

She’s taking part in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry student-run summer camp called Rockin’ Docs. The camp is for elementary-aged kids and the hope is to get them thinking about medicine at an early age, all while having fun.

“It has been a lot of fun, I’ve really enjoyed it here,” said Faucher-Dunnigan, who will start junior high next year. “The activities that they’ve put together it helps you learn more about the body while doing each activity.”

The camp runs for two consecutive weeks with around 18 campers each week.

“We provide basic lectures of some of the stuff that we actually learn in medical school,” said one of the camp’s organizers Stephen Petryk. “We have a lot of fun games because we want it to be interactive and we want the kids to be constantly engaged.”

Another component of the camp is a focus on healthy living. They want to make sure youngsters understand the importance of eating well and staying active.

“We take the kids to quad and play sports, which emphasize a healthy lifestyle,” said Petryk, who adds they are also serving healthy lunches at the free camp.

The kids hear lectures from student organizers and practising physicians in a number of topics including information on the heart and lungs, the brain and the senses, muscles and bones and infections. For Faucher-Dunnigan the cardiovascular system was her favourite topic.

“The heart I was interested in because of my mom—she is a nurse and she talks a lot about the heart,” said Faucher-Dunnigan. “The lungs I thought it would be cool to learn about because they help you breathe.”

Petryk and fellow organizer Farouk Jiwani, both second-year medical students, are really enjoying spending time with the kids and say they are running the camps because it’s important to pass along knowledge.

“A lot of the stuff we learn is important and I think some people might not be exposed to it,” said Petryk.

Round two of the camp starts Monday, July 25.