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Med student uses bursary to make a big difference in small communities

July 10, 2018

When Maryam Garabedian found out she received a bursary from Doctors of BC, she was excited by the prospect of being able to pursue one of the projects on her wish list to benefit communities in need. 

“This support broadens the opportunities I get to engage in,” says Maryam, a third-year student in UBC’s Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program. “Now I don’t have to worry so much about the cost.” 

Last year, Maryam was one of 125 medical students who received a bursary of $1,750 from Doctors of BC. The association provided $218,750 in bursaries last year, providing assistance to medical students who demonstrate financial need. 

In the coming year, Maryam plans to use the bursary to undertake a project guided by her interests in patient and physician education, quality improvement, and global health. Her passion for helping underserved communities stems from her experiences of returning to her parents’ home country of Armenia.

“I have a lot of family in Armenia, and they don’t get access to the same care as I do,” she says. “When I visit Armenia, there’s a lot of opportunity to help out and this work translates to what I see myself doing in a small community here in Canada.”

Maryam has already started making a difference to the health of communities here in BC. Early in medical school, she created short animated videos to teach refugees about the Canadian health care system and how to fill a prescription, now in use by MOSAIC, the Refugee Welcome Centre Medical Clinic, and BC Children’s Hospital. 

Later, during her third year of medical school, she took on a quality improvement project in Chilliwack that looked at the legibility of emergency medicine reports and the completion of follow-up plans after discharge.

“I really want to be involved in helping improve whatever community I’m in,” says Maryam, who is considering a career in family medicine or pediatrics because of the breadth of patient needs and the opportunities to work closely with other physicians to deliver care that positively impacts patients. 

“I think you’re given more opportunity to make a big difference in a smaller community. You can identify the biggest gap and be a part of the solution.”

Doctors of BC is proud to support doctors of tomorrow like Maryam Garabedian.