Each year the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame invites each of Canada’s 17 medical schools to nominate a student for their CMHF Award.
And this year Dylan Ginter was the student nominated by the College of Medicine who best exemplified leadership through both school and community-based volunteer work, superior interpersonal and communication skills, in addition to excelling in their academic work.
Ginter, who was completing his second year during the nomination process, has not only worked as part of the SMSS, but exemplified leadership in his work in global health.
“One of the things I’ve been involved in is being one of the co-chairs for Health Everywhere, which is a global health focused student group in the CoM,” Ginter recently explained. “We’ve thrown events to raise awareness for certain issues, like at the beginning of the year we had a talk about the Syrian refugee crisis, we did promotion for AIDS week in early December, and we had a skills night this year where students could get practice working with translators and learn about global health ethics.”
As the Senior Global Health Liaison for the SMSS last year, Ginter has also been involved in helping to plan the Global Health Conference being held by the Division of Social Accountability in October – a project he’s been working on for eight months.
He’s also been working on a newcomer’s pamphlet project, the idea of which started a few years ago by another CoM student to help disseminate healthcare information.
“(It’s) targeted towards newcomers to Saskatchewan, like refugees, recent immigrants, asylum seekers, as a way that they can get better connected to our healthcare system,” Ginter continued. “In the first year we just made an English version, the second year of the project, we had a Spanish version, an Arabic version, a Chinese version, and now we’ve recently developed a French version.”
The pamphlet, which is distributed throughout newcomer settlement agencies as well as Saskatoon emergency departments, and some clinics, has received positive accolades. But Ginter’s focus on global health doesn’t end there – he’s also helped implement a global health specific elective in La Ronge through PREP in conjunction with a team at the University of Calgary.
“Global health is local and international - the larger focus is helping marginalized people wherever they are,” he stressed. “For future physicians to be able to best care for and work with people suffering disproportionately from the Social determinates of health, one must have exposure in working with these groups of people. The elective up in La Ronge is aiming to give students the opportunity to learn how to work with other cultures, to bear witness the social determinates of health that so often affect our northern population, and to learn how to work alongside a group of people, in partnership, to try and improve ones health status.
“The Committee chose Dylan based on his academic excellence and his recent research experience developing a tool to assist immigrants and refugee populations navigating the health care system,” explained Sherry Pederson, the manager of the UGME program. “Dylan has a track record of leadership roles within the College of Medicine and is well known to faculty and students as a result.
“Through his involvement with an elective curriculum, Making the Links Global Health Certificate Program, he has visited vulnerable communities in northern Saskatchewan and brought what he has learned there, to the classroom in Saskatoon.”
Ginter, who was raised just outside Saskatoon, has always felt that medicine was where he wanted to be. A natural interest in science and learning in general, coupled with a drive to want to help make a difference in the lives of others led him to the CoM. And his experiences with several great pediatricians have him leaning towards entering pediatrics himself when it comes time to choose a specialty.
“But I’m still in third year, so I still have a year and bit to really decide.”