On May 7, 100 students and their teachers from northeastern BC took part in a day of hands on science hosted by BC Children’s Hospital and the First Nations Healthy Authority at Mini Med School Fort St. John. 

“Mini Med School brings the world-class research we do every day at BC Children’s into the community and gets high school students excited about science,” says Dr. Wyeth Wasserman, the Executive Director of BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, who delivered opening remarks at Mini Med School Fort St. John. “I was honoured to have the opportunity to share BC Children’s research with the next generation of scientists in Fort St. John.”

One hundred per cent of the students who attended Mini Med School Fort St. John said they found the presentations valuable and informative and would recommend the program to others. Participant feedback praised the passionate speakers, diverse curriculum, vocational guidance and real-life representation of health sciences.

“Great day over all!” wrote one attendee. “Opportunity for team work and a chance to interact with other students who have similar interests.”

Another attendee wrote, “I enjoyed every presentation very much, it was a great experience!”

Mini Med School Fort St. John is a special one-day edition of the award-winning Mini Med School science outreach program that has been held at BC Children’s Hospital since 2003. Spaces in the program filled up in a matter of days with students attending from Fort St John, Tumbler Ridge and remote communities in northeastern BC.

Child health experts from BC Children’s spoke about their research projects and careers in the health sciences. Students had a chance to participate in hands-on science projects, including: 

  • Building their own microscopes to explore the world of infectious disease 
  • Diagnosing rare genetic diseases
  • Playing injury jeopardy

The speakers and topics featured at Mini Med School Fort St. John included:

  • Translating the Language of DNA 
    Dr. Anna Lehman, Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital; Associate Professor, UBC Department of Medical Genetics; Medical Co-Director, CAUSES Research Clinic; Clinical Geneticist, BC Children’s and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre 
  • Clinical Genomics: Diagnosing Rare Genetic Diseases 
    Phillip Richmond, Graduate Student, UBC Bioinformatics Program 
  • Cytomegalovirus: The Phantom Menace 
    Dr. Soren Gantt, Director, Clinical Research, BC Children’s Hospital; Investigator, Vaccine Evaluation Center; Associate Professor, UBC Department of Pediatrics 
  • Injury Jeopardy: Answers & Questions to be Safe 
    Dr. Ian Pike, Investigator, BC Children’s Hospital; Professor, UBC Department of Pediatrics; Director, BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit; Co-Executive Director, The Community Against Preventable Injuries

Over the past fifteen years Mini Med School has given thousands of high school students and members of the public the opportunity to learn about health research from some of the country’s leading researchers. In Vancouver, the program consists of weekly seminars held over a six-week period every fall at BC Children’s Hospital.

In 2017, Mini Med School was held outside the Lower Mainland for the first time in Terrace, BC and received an overwhelmingly positive response. In coming years, organizers plan to take the program to the BC interior, Vancouver Island and back to Northern BC.

For more information, visit minimedschool.ca