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A healthier tomorrow

Faculty of Medicine fundraising campaign to prepare future physicians

Campus and Community

By Michelle Osmond

Third-year medicine student Desmond Whalen remembers very well the day he received his acceptance letter to medical school.

“I was tutoring at the local high school in Little Hearts Ease when the secretary called me to the office and said, ‘Your mom called. You need to go home. The mail came,'” he recalled. “I raced home and not only was mom standing with the mail, but so was the mail lady. She said ‘I’m not leaving until you open it. I told the crowd at the post office this morning there was a lot riding on this letter.’ I opened it and saw ‘Congratulations.’ I yelled, mom cried, the dog barked, and yes, the mail lady cried as well.”

At that point, Mr. Whalen says he knew he had a full community behind him.

“That support was invaluable.”

Fundraising begun

Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine has launched a fundraising campaign to support more students like Mr. Whalen. The Building a Healthy Tomorrow campaign has three goals: To increase financial support to students; to enable students to perfect more medical procedures through simulation; and to expand medical research in areas pertinent to Newfoundland and Labrador.

The aim is to raise $5 million, with more than $3.2 million already committed by individuals, corporations and foundations.

“Research that is taking place in Newfoundland and Labrador for the benefit of our people will also have worldwide impacts,” said Dr. James Rourke, dean, Faculty of Medicine. “We want to increase support for those emerging discoveries that address medical conditions impacting our communities. In addition, one of the most urgent priorities is to increase the number and amount of scholarships, bursaries and awards available to students.”

Campaign is ‘critical’

Mr. Whalen, who spoke at the launch, agrees.

“I’m from Caplin Cove and I came to medical school so I could help Caplin Cove.” –Desmond Whalen

“The support that will come from this campaign is critical for students like me. I’m from Caplin Cove and I came to medical school so I could help Caplin Cove. There are so many future physicians and researchers out there just like me, but they don’t have the means to attend medical school. Like me, they want to give back to our province. This campaign will help them to accomplish that.”

Preparing future doctors

The third goal of the campaign focuses on equipment and resources for the simulation centre and the need for state-of-the-art technology for medical students, practising physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals.

“With our new Clinical Learning and Simulation Centre, we have an opportunity to do so much more to ensure patient safety through simulation so the students can practise more medical procedures, making them even more prepared for when they become doctors,” said Dr. Rourke. “The Building a Healthy Tomorrow campaign will help us better train our future physicians, medical scientists and health-care leaders. This will ultimately improve health outcomes for the people of this province and our region.”

“Caring for the people of our region starts right here—in the classrooms and our research laboratories at Memorial.” –Dr. James Rourke

Dr. Rourke says the health and well-being of the people in communities of this province is a key priority for the Faculty of Medicine.

“Caring for the people of our region starts right here—in the classrooms and our research laboratories at Memorial. Health and well-being are so complex today and the Faculty of Medicine has a critical role to play as we meet those challenges head-on.”

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