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Third-year medical student Jessica Froehlich was named as one of the recipients of the 2020 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Awards. (Submitted photo)

CMHF recipient an advocate of harm reduction, trauma-informed care

Third-year medical student Jessica Froehlich was named as one of this year’s Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) recipients.

When Froehlich had learned she was one of this year’s recipients, she was “a little shocked but very excited.”

“I’m very lucky to be surrounded by so many inspiring and hardworking classmates and I think this award could have gone to any one of them,” Froehlich said.

Raised in Moose Jaw, Sask., Froehlich engaged in advocacy through her role as a medical student in many ways during the past two years of her medical school experience. Froehlich served as co-president of the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Family Medicine Club and as co-chair of the Health Innovation and Public Policy Conference, which engages students in learning about health access, trauma informed care, harm reduction and environmental justice.

Froehlich has earned the Making the Links Global Health Certificate, which offers learning experiences for students in marginalized and under-served communities locally and globally. She also travelled to Dillon, Sask., where she learned about the joys and barriers of rural medicine.

Through these experiences, Froehlich has realized that there is more to health and healing than what takes place in the hospital. She plans to pursue a practice in family medicine.

“I love that family medicine isn’t just one thing — it is many things,” Froehlich said. “There are lots of opportunities to deeply connect with patients, build meaningful long-term relationships, bear witness to their resiliency, and advocate with them when there are gaps or injustices.”

Receiving the award helped Froehlich to reflect on how she’s personally grown during the past two years of medical school.

“(That growth) has been due to having access to really incredible mentors as physicians, in community organizations and through upper-year medical students,” she said. “I’m just so grateful for their support and everything they’ve taught me.”

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