During the month of July, nine ambitious high school students from across Ontario visited Sinai Health System to get a first-hand experience of careers in health care. The students were part of a Summer Mentorship Program (SMP) in Health Sciences hosted by the University of Toronto’s Office of Health Professions Student Affairs. The SMP was created to address the underrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people within the health sciences by providing high school students the chance to explore professional educational opportunities in health care. Mount Sinai Hospital was the first organization to have a wide-scale mentoring partnership with the program and has hosted 250 students since 2001. This year the program was accepted by Health Standards Ontario as a Leading Practice.

The program includes group learning activities as well as one-on-one job shadowing. “Our employees and physicians are generous in giving their time so students can gain valuable first-hand experience across Sinai Health System. This year the students visited clinics, the emergency department, nursing units, dentistry and the Surgical Skills Centre. They also had the opportunity to rotate through the modalities of medical imaging,” says Joanne Fine Schwebel, Director of Volunteer and Interpreter Services. “Thank you to all employees and physicians who volunteered to participate in this program. It’s a fantastic experience for the students.”

Two of the students, Jacob, from Orillia and Dyami, from Toronto their experiences with us.

Dyami, Toronto

What was your favourite part of job shadowing at Sinai Health System?
I really appreciate the opportunity that Mount Sinai has given me. There were so many aspects of job shadowing that were great, but I think the best part for me was just how inviting and positive all my mentors were. I think that definitely enhanced my learning experience.

What surprised you the most?
I was most surprised to discover how many specific career options are available in healthcare as well as how diversified the educational pathway of a health professional can be getting into her/his field.

What type of career in health care do you think you want to pursue? Did that change at all over the course of your experience in the mentorship program?
I’m not sure what I want to do in the future. I have mainly been interested in pharmacy or biomedical engineering because I enjoy physics and chemistry, but my exposure through the Summer Mentorship Program has also made me consider pursuing internal medicine, social work, or public health.

Jacob, Orillia

What was your favourite part of job shadowing?

Having the opportunity to have all these unique and new experiences and gaining and absorbing new knowledge about careers in the medicine field that may have interested or intrigued me. I enjoyed learning all about neonatology, ambulatory care and family medicine. These are all fields that interested me and are totally different and offered totally different things. I had the opportunity to experience these fields one-on-one with my mentors and got to experience a day in their lives. I had an amazing opportunity that I appreciate greatly and will never forget. It has opened my eyes about a lot of things, not only about the field of medicine but also about myself and my future.

What surprised you the most? summer student standing in front of brightly painted brick wall

I didn’t exactly know what to expect going into this program and it surprised me how much I got out of it. It was a one on one experience that was tailored to my interests. It helped me a lot with learning about the careers that I was looking to pursue and I learned more about my mentors and made new connections with them. This connected me to a lot of people that will support me with my years to come. I know that if I have any questions then I can stay in contact with them. I bonded really well with the mentors and they really opened my eyes and made me excited about my future in the medicine field.

What type of career in health care do you think you want to pursue? Did that change at all over the course of your experience in the mentorship program? 

One reason I took this program was to gain new experiences and new knowledge and to narrow down my pathways and to get help with pointing me in the right direction with my future. I was interested in becoming a family physician but wasn’t 100% sure. This program connected me with a physician in their second year of residency and I got to experience a few consultations first hand. What that did was it made it clear to me that this is something that interests me and something I want to pursue. I think I am extremely lucky to have had this experience and that I already have a clear idea of what I want to do with my future because I am only a 17 and going into Grade 12 in the fall. But I do believe that it’s never too late to achieve something you are extremely passionate about you just have to put your heart into it and chase that goal.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This