Academic Immersion in Medicine

Student-led outreach initiative for high school students in lower socioeconomic neighbourhoods

Find out why medical students are sharing their passion for medicine with high school students.

Entrepreneurial McGill medical students reach out to high school students in lower socioeconomic neighbourhoods

Students learn how to suture during Immersion in Medicine (AIM) workshops.

We are both second-year medical students who have a passion for social involvement, altruism and teaching. During our first days in medical school, we quickly noticed a lack of representation of certain minorities in the medical program. We then looked further into the issue and came across a study that showed that students from underprivileged areas consider medical schools as elitist and unattainable for someone in their position (Richardson, 2009).This is when we started AIM: Academic Immersion in Medicine. It is a non-profit student-led initiative that aims to immerse students from underprivileged areas in a realistic acute care simulation, creating a memorable experience to inspire them to pursue a health-related career such as medicine. To do so, we host hands-on introductory suture and ultrasound sessions in high schools. The target students are those of underprivileged areas and underrepresented ethnic groups that are in their 3rd, 4th or 5th year of high school since this is the period at which they are at the highest risk of dropping out.

We officially started visiting high schools in September and within only 4 months we were able to meet over 200 amazing students. They were all very excited about our workshops and were thrilled to do "the stuff from Grey's Anatomy" as many of them phrased it. Our dedicated volunteer tutors ensure that everyone gets to enjoy the experience in a fun and safe manner. It is always great to see the friendly competition that installs itself among students as they all try to surpass each other in terms of speed and quality of their suturing. On top of enjoying suturing, the students seem to be even more amazed by the ultrasound activity where they get to see the organs that they study in their human biology classes including the liver, kidneys, lungs and the heart.

In the future, we are hoping to expand our initiative within McGill by collaborating with other programs within the field of health sciences such as nursing or physical therapy in an attempt to give high-school students a richer experience. Our hope would be to be able to cover not only urban areas but also rural regions which are often neglected by outreach initiatives.

Sami Chergui and Antoine Denis

Related coverage

Med e-News from January 30, 2020



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