By Robert Frank
About 150 high school and CEGEP students will spend Saturday at McGill, to learn about what happens in the real world of medicine and clinical research.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for them to learn from Montreal’s leading doctors and researchers,” Ste. Dorothée resident Eunice You told The Suburban.
You, who is enrolled in honours health science at Marianopolis College, is one of four science students who took the initiative to organize A Day in the Life of Medicine. The other three study at University of Montreal and Harvard. Together, they enlisted McGill Faculty of Medicine’s support for the project.
“It will expose them to a world that, at their age, they don’t usually get the opportunity to see,” she said in an interview. “They are the next generation of doctors and scientists.”
From the outset there was such strong interest in the student-led initiative that its young organizers had to stop accepting applications, after they rapidly exceeded their 150-participant capacity.
“There are quite a few students waitlisted,” You said.
A star-studded roster of researchers will talk to the students during the daylong session, Jan. 17. They include leading lights like brain tumour researcher Dr. Rolandro Del Maestro, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Ariane Marelli and oncologist Dr. David Mitchell.
“They won’t be giving dense science presentations,” You explained. “It’s more about engaging and inspiring the students with fresh points of view. They’ll also get to participate in hands-on workshops on physical and medical exams, biotechnology, and virtual reality simulation. The aim is to encourage students to pursue various medical and biomedical science careers.”
“It’s a different way to see what science fields are out there,” Rosemere High School physics teacher Andrea Venditti told The Suburban. “They know that studying science at CEGEP can lead to becoming an engineer or a doctor, but there are other fields that they can aspire to. I had one student who became an underwater welder because of a school project.”
Franca Mancino and Diane Lafontaine will also be on hand to represent Laval-based pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Canada, the confab’s biggest sponsor.
“The conference bridges the gap between research and practice,” said Mancino. “Now is an important time to engage the future generation of Canadian-trained researchers to keep the country healthy and at the cutting edge of biomedical research.”
Other corporate contributors include PerfectMIND, 3M and 4imprint.