Orillia & Lake Country Welcomes 10 Medical Students For Clinical Experience

Medical students enjoying a community welcome BBQ on the shores of Lake Couchiching.

Orillia & Lake Country Physician Recruitment was proud to host ten medical students from the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto for their inaugural clinical experiences through Rural Ontario Medical Program (ROMP). These students embarked on some of their first clinical experiences in the community, supported by 12 dedicated preceptors throughout the community and the hospital. This initiative not only provides invaluable hands-on learning opportunities for the students but also fosters potential future recruitment of physicians to the region.

These future physicians gained an understanding of rural and community-based healthcare, which is crucial for addressing the ongoing need for healthcare professionals in our region. By immersing them in the local healthcare environment, Orillia & Lake Country Physician Recruitment in partnership with Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, aims to spark a long-term interest in practicing medicine here, thereby aiding in the future recruitment of physicians.

“By integrating medical education with community engagement, we aim to foster a strong connection between these future doctors and our community,” said Dr. Heather Laakso, Family Physician and Medical Training and Education Committee Lead. “We believe that showcasing the holistic lifestyle and professional opportunities available here will significantly impact their career choices, potentially leading them to return as practicing physicians.”

Beyond their clinical duties, the students had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture and economy. Activities such as shopping and dining in downtown Orillia, guided nature hikes, recreational outings at Fern Resort, and a scenic boat ride were all part of their itinerary. “When these students graduate, they will be highly sought after across the province. Showcasing our community allows the students to see firsthand the vibrant community life and the array of amenities available,” said Marino Fernandopulle, Chair of Orillia & Lake Country Physician Recruitment.

Exposure to local businesses and shops is a key component of this initiative. As students explore the area, they contribute to the local economy and gain a deeper appreciation for the community’s unique charm. This integration of healthcare and community living underscores the symbiotic relationship between the growth in healthcare services and overall community development.

The impact of this program and providing future physicians with a memorable and enriching experience extends beyond healthcare,” added Ryan Lay, Manager of Economic Development, City of Orillia. “Increased medical presence in the community can lead to enhanced healthcare services, making the area more attractive for new residents and businesses stimulating economic growth. Healthcare is a cornerstone of a thriving community, and by investing in the next generation of physicians, we are investing in future prosperity.”

When OLCPR has opportunities to showcase the communities and invite students to be immersed in comprehensive family medicine, they jump at the chance. Recruitment across the province and nation is extremely difficult in today’s health human resources crisis. The more opportunities OLCPR have to expose medical trainees to the region, the higher likelihood of having them return to the area, whether it be for continued training, participation in locum opportunities or perhaps sway their decision to call Orillia & Lake Country home when they are ready to practice medicine. The net for recruitment is cast wide, locally and internationally, so growing future pipeline talent is imperative to building prospective candidates.

Orillia & Lake Country Physician Recruitment continues to strive towards building a robust healthcare system by creating lasting impressions on future healthcare professionals and showcasing the unique advantages of practicing medicine in a community-oriented setting.


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