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Connecting and sharing with communities

Members of the Dalhousie Medical School are committed to reaching out and getting involved with a wide variety of communities in many meaningful ways. They give freely of their time, energy, knowledge and passion to build stronger connections, to improve health and wellbeing, and to present new opportunities to people in the Maritimes and beyond.

Inspiring kids to aim high for health

For more than a decade now, first- and second-year Dalhousie medical students have been taking an exuberant healthy living message into grade four classrooms through the Everest Challenge. Using games, fun activities and an online challenge, the medical students help the kids learn more about how their bodies work and why they need nutritious food and lots of physical activity for their bodies and minds to be healthy. Organized by the Dalhousie Medical Students’ Society and supported by the Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association and the Dean’s Office, the Everest Challenge connects doctors-to-be with young children in an effort to inspire healthier living in future generations.

Everest Challenge website

Taking the sexual health message into junior high schools

Every year, Dalhousie medical students visit grade nine classrooms to share up-to-date, non-judgmental information about sexual health with young teens through the SHOUT (Sexual Health Outreach) program. In addition to providing youth with information about sexually transmitted infections, birth control, pregnancy options and confidential health care, the medical students learn how to talk—and listen—to young people about these often-sensitive topics. SHOUT is funded by the Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association.

Mini Medical School offers free health education to the public

Since 2006, Dalhousie medical faculty have been teaching the public about important health topics through Mini Medical School. Now offered every fall, free of charge, Mini Medical School provides people in the community with the opportunity to hear first-hand from experts in arthritis, stroke, back pain, digestive disorders and other common problem, and creates a stronger connection between the medical school and the communities it serves.

Mini Medical School

Grassroots health portal connects people with doctors and information

Dalhousie Medical Informatics laid the groundwork for HealthConnex, a grassroots initiative that connects people in Nova Scotia with their doctors and their own health information. Now championed by the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, with ongoing support from Dalhousie faculty members, HealthConnex is a web portal that aims to empower people to take charge of their own health. It does this by providing up-to-date health information, personalized health tracking tools and secure access to one’s own health records—including test results. The project is actively recruiting more physicians to get involved with the service through its Virtual Waiting Room. Learn more by visiting www.healthconnex.ca

Music brings partners together to put pianos in Nova Scotia nursing homes

Members of Dalhousie Medical School’s Music-in-Medicine initiative—student vocalists involved in the male and female ‘a capella’ ensembles, The TestosterTONES and The Vocal Chords—are partnering with the paramedics of Nova Scotia’s Emergency Health Services and Doctor Piano on Keys to Caring. Through Keys to Caring, the students perform concerts, while paramedics “sell” piano keys to citizens in communities across the province who wish to donate $35 to purchase one key of a high-end Yamaha digital piano for their local long-term care facility or seniors’ centre. The “sale” of 88 keys is all that’s needed for the paramedics and students to deliver a brand-new piano to that community for the enjoyment of seniors. The vocalists and other musicians and singers involved in Music-in-Medicine also perform with community bands and citizens’ groups to support a variety of other causes, including the Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Portia White Award of the Nova Scotia Talent Trust.

New Brunswick med students help disabled kids make a splash

Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick students launched Making Waves in 2011 to support physically and mentally challenged kids in their community. Now, about 30 medical students work with 50 children and their families each year through the two-month program, providing one-on-one swimming lessons and water-play sessions to the children at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in Saint John. The medical students hope to get their counterparts in other health professions programs involved in Making Waves in the future!

Med students gather medical equipment, supplies for developing nations

Critical medical supplies, such as wound dressings, bandages, catheters and gloves, are often in short supply in developing nations. Dalhousie medical students have banded together to help solve this problem. In 2008, they launched MERcI, the Medical Equipment Recovery Initiative, to gather surplus supplies from Maritime hospitals and ship them to a number of developing countries.