Empowering med students to make a positive difference

December 15, 2014

Each year, Doctors of BC provides $10,000 to support medical students to take on activities outside the classroom – activities that allow them to make a meaningful difference in their communities and to become stronger, healthier physicians.

“A medical education is about more than the work done in the classroom,” said Dr Bill Cavers, President of Doctors of BC. “By giving back to their communities in areas they are passionate about, our doctors of tomorrow can become more well-rounded physicians who are good at collaboration and building partnerships.”

A total of 17 projects received funding this year under the auspices of the Medical Undergraduate Student Society. For example, this year funding went to support the UBC Stem Cell Club that recruits people to register as potential stem-cell donors.

Medical student Warren Fingrut started the club three years ago. He saw the need for such an initiative – as we know roughly 80 per cent of patients needing a stem-cell transplant do not have a suitable match from their family. This requires them to seek transplants from a donor-database which currently lacks in certain demographics, such as younger, male and ethnically diverse.

The UBC Stem Cell Club is the first student-run group worldwide that’s accredited to independently run stem-cell drives. To date, the UBC Stem Cell Club has recruited close to 3,000 registrants, representing 2.5 per cent of all new stem-cell donors recruited across Canada between 2012 and 2014.

The club’s efforts directly strengthen both the quantity and the quality of membership on the Canadian stem-cell donor registry, and this year’s sponsorship money will help support their goal of recruiting an additional 2,500 students to the Canadian Stem Cell Donor Registry.

The UBC Stem Cell Club is just one example of the kinds of work being supported by the grant from Doctors of BC to medical students. Other funding supports efforts such as: a Heart Health Workshop, a Run for Rural Medicine, and Healthy Young Minds group that is working to improve supports for youth facing mental health challenges.

It is funding that today’s doctors are pleased to provide our doctors of tomorrow.

Read more on how Doctors of BC supports our medical students.