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More Aboriginal students needed in medical school

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Fifty medical students from the University of Alberta and University of Calgary met in December with Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Fred Horne and MLAs from across the province to emphasize the need to attract more Aboriginal students to medical school. The students hold that a disproportionately high number of medical students come from high-income families. Students hope to change this by advocating for prospective medical students from rural and Aboriginal communities, and low socio-economic backgrounds. They propose various initiatives including a new bursary or financial assistance program for medical student applicants and government funding to develop a mentorship program for these under-represented groups, reported the Edmonton Journal. “If you don’t graduate from high school, you don’t go to university, and if you don’t go to university, then there’s no way you’re going to get into medical school,” said Dr. Jill Konkin, associate dean of community engagement, responsible for Indigenous, inner city, global and rural health, for the U of A. “Part of what we’re doing is realizing that it’s our responsibility to help increase the number of Aboriginal applicants ... so some of our programs now are much more aimed to high school and public school students and communities.”