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New Muskoka physicians given tour of Bracebridge

When you started a new job, did the mayor give you a tour of the town you would soon be working in?

Likely not. 

The students were asked by Bruce Kruger, Bracebridge Town Crier, to ring his bell and introduce themselves (Photo credit: Mathew Reisler)

But for 10 soon-to-graduate students with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, that’s exactly what they got. Bracebridge Mayor Rick Maloney, along with town staff and other dignitaries drove around town on a Bracebridge Transit bus and showed the 10 students the sights. Five of the students will work at the Huntsville District Memorial Hospital while the other half will spend the next year working at the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital in Bracebridge.

“These students are so important to the hospital,” says Cheryl Harrison, President and CEO of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, who was part of the tour around town.

Sadie Barnett, Jacob Belanger, Sara Calvert, Jacob Bonin, and Talia DiMarco will practice in Huntsville while Laura Deschamps, Taylor Hammond, Clair Hyatt, Hannah Mikhail, Ella Proulx will work in Bracebridge.

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Mikhail may have been the most eager to find out her placement considering she was born and raised in Huntsville. “I’m looking forward to being home,” she says, adding she hopes to stay here once she finishes her schooling. 

“I’m excited to get to apply my learning in real life,” she continues. “Because of COVID, we haven’t really been able to do that.”

Currently, she’s interested in doing family medicine because, she says, there are lots of different avenues she can take. 

Proulx also hopes to practice family medicine but “on the total opposite spectrum” she adds she also wants to do forensic pathology. 

Like Mikhail, Proulx is excited to be able to actually practice. “I think this is the first time for a lot of us that we’ve been able to do clinical experiences,” she explains.

While she’s only been in town for a few days, Proulx was already sporting a green Muskoka Brewery sweatshirt. “I have loved it so far and I’m really excited to explore on my days off,” she says, adding that the town has been “so welcoming.”

Harrison says bringing students in breaches fresh energy into the two hospitals. “And, of course, they’re our future,” she adds. “These are going to be people that will likely want to come back and work here permanently.”

Bracebridge Mayor Rick Maloney guided the students on their morning tour. “The relationship we have with Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare and, of course, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine has just been fabulous,” he says.

Cheryl Harrison, President and CEO of Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, spoke directly to the students at the end of their tour around town (Photo credit: Mathew Reisler)

“I was really pleased to hear a lot of them are interested in family medicine, which we really need in our community,” Maloney continued. 

Also part of the festivities was Dr. Luke Wu, who is a former graduate of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and now practices in Bracebridge. “I remember a few years back taking him on a tour of the town,” Malone says. “To see him today as a doctor whose practicing in Bracebridge brings it full circle. It’s what we’re trying to do here by trying to encourage folks to give consideration to our community as a place to set up their practice.”

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