Inspiring youth

May 15, 2014

Asclepius Medical Camp for Youth, U of A

Medical students at the University of Alberta offer low-income youth a chance to explore medicine through the Asclepius Medical Camp.

To see where they started at the beginning of the week and where they ended up was amazing. I felt kind of like a proud parent at the end.

Students from low-income families face a variety of obstacles when it comes to pursuing professional careers, especially in fields such as medicine.

Sponsors on the t-shirts for the Asclepius Medical Youth CampThe University of Alberta Medical Students’ Association is working to change that by offering a free, week-long day camp specifically for disadvantaged Edmonton high school students.

Asclepius Medical Camp for Youth gives high school students a chance to explore medical school, while inspiring them to consider a career in the medical profession.

“It really aims to pique their interest,” explains Phillip Quon, a third-year medical student and one of the four organizers of the camp. “We want to encourage more of them to go into medicine and then hopefully go back and work in the underserviced, low-income communities that need them most.”

Now in its fourth year, this year’s camp was held July 8 to 12 and offered a variety of activities, including lectures, clinical skill sessions and discovery learning where participants worked through cases as a group.

A medical student helps a camper with trying on surgery gearAt the end of the week, they presented their cases in Grand Rounds to the larger group. “To see where they started at the beginning of the week and where they ended up was amazing. I felt kind of like a proud parent at the end,” laughs Quon.

Because the camp is geared to low-income students, it’s offered completely free of charge – and even provides lunches donated by local businesses such as the Sugar Bowl and the High Level Diner as well as ETS bus tickets. “We try to make it as accessible as possible, so there are no barriers to students attending.”

Originally, high school teachers in lower income schools recommended certain students. This year, Quon and his fellow organizers – Kerry Wong, Suqing Li and Sonya Englert – made presentations directly to students and asked them to submit their own applications.

Although he’s moving on from volunteering with the camp, Quon hopes to encounter some of the students in the future. “I’d love to see some of them back here as camp counselors when they’re in medical school.”

More about this initiative

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.