Get accepted into Mini Medical School

Posted on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A man in a lab coat stands beside an anatomical skeleton model in a medical teaching lab. He is talking to a group of five people, also in lab coats.

Dr. Alireza Jalali, a past presenter at the Mini Medical School, pictured with uOttawa medical students. As part of the mini-med course, participants are invited to tour the Faculty of Medicine’s anatomy lab. Photo: Couvrette Photography

By Brandon Gillet

Have you always wanted to go to medical school but are put off by the years of hard work? If so, the spring series of the University’s Mini Medical School, which runs from March 31 to May 5, may be just the ticket.

You won’t be licensed to practise medicine after attending this 12-hour, six-week course, but you will be a more educated and informed user of the healthcare system.

And perhaps it will whet your appetite for the real thing.

“While many attendees are seniors, we also get a lot of interest from young students who may want to pursue medicine, learn about our research, or even plan on a PhD,” said program leader Dr. Paul Hendry of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

The English-language mini-med program runs twice a year, in the fall and spring, with each series focusing on a different overarching theme.

“The topic for this series is ‘A Lifetime of Health and Wellness’,” said course coordinator Julie Paquette of the Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Continuing Professional Development. “The course focuses on wellness and health challenges throughout the various stages of life, from infancy to geriatrics.” 

The sessions are designed to cover topics of wide general interest, such as cancer, common illnesses, and mental health, but participants are also invited to suggest topics for future series.

“The purpose of the course is to provide the latest medical information on a variety of issues that are important to the community in a format that’s easy to understand,” said Dr. Hendry, who oversees the development of content and introduces the speakers. “This time, people wanted to know things based on age group.”

The course also provides an opportunity to inform an interested audience about some of the cutting-edge research taking place on campus, he said.

Mini-med schools that bring university medical studies into the community can be found in 100 cities around the world. The University of Ottawa launched the English version of its Mini Medical School in 2004. The spring 2016 course will be held on Thursday evenings in the amphitheatre of the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital.

The Office of Francophone Affairs of the Faculty of Medicine offers the Miniécole de médecine, a similar medical education program for members of the Francophone community. This program, offered in the fall and winter, consists of two evening presentations.

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