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Open Door: Importance of Opportunities

Being a co-op student at the EqHS Lab has to be one of the most professional experiences I have yet to have. I have had the amazing opportunity in the past 3 months to see myself and the Equity in Health Systems Lab continue to grow.

As a grade 12 student at Gloucester High School (Ottawa, Canada), I was fortunate enough to participate as a co-op student at the EqHS Lab. During my time at the EqHS lab, I was able to learn about addressing real-world issues through cooperative education, while I was also gaining more knowledge and conducting research in a professional environment. Through the experiences in the lab I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the research process, expand my problem solving skills, and practice and develop my professional communication skills. For me, my ultimate goal is to become a clinical engineer while specializing in biomedical engineering at Carleton University. Having been exposed to the scientific and research fields during my co-op placement at the EqHS Lab has been an incredible experience.

My typical day at the lab starts in the afternoon, as I don't have a fixed schedule. I usually meet with the director for about 30 to 45 minutes to discuss ongoing research projects and any other ideas that have been suggested. I typically continue working on various projects after our meeting, such as blogging, conducting interviews, and researching ways to make the placement even more professional and meaningful for students.

While at the lab, I led and completed a number of tasks, one of which was writing a proposal to Gloucester High School to continue our collaboration. Another was to create a resource for high school students who have questions about the healthcare field but can't seem to find the answer. Within this resource are two blogs that we are launching. The first blog that we launched is called the EqHS Health Spot. This blog focuses on the queries that high school students pose to health professions students, residents, and other learners in post-secondary programs from their vantage point in the health system. The second blog will be launched shortly is called the EqHS Clarion, where representatives from the EqHS Lab share their thoughts on what it means to them personally to work in the health system as leaders and influencers in the equity, diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility (EDIA) space and to advocate for anti-racism, anti-oppression and social justice in our communities.

We are also in the process of developing a student handbook, which serves as a guide to a co-op placement at the Ottawa Placement at the EqHS Lab. This student handbook will provide a comprehensive overview of the experiences and expectations associated with working at the EqHS Lab, as well as a list of additional resources to help students with their co-op placement. It will also help others who are interested in setting up similar opportunities in other locations with local health organizations and high schools.

All in all, my accomplishments at this placement have been driven by my commitment and by the support of my director, Dr. Jerry Maniate, the founder of the EqHS Lab. Together, we have strived to create resources that not only contribute to the EDIA conversation but also inform and educate students to encourage them to join us in the health system to explore and address the inequities that exist.


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