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Four receive annual Health Care Professionals of Tomorrow scholarships


The Friends of Chinook Regional Hospital (CRH) together with Alberta Health Services Volunteer Resources, award four Health Care Professionals of Tomorrow scholarships to exceptional volunteers each year. Two scholarships of $2,000 and two of $1,500 are awarded to young people pursuing a career in healthcare, who live within the hospital’s service area and who have volunteered with patients at CRH.

This year’s worthy recipients are Justin Pham, a recent high-school graduate who aspires to be a dentist; Carolyn Simonis, who plans to become a physician and is entering her second year of studies for a Masters in Biology; Jhanyi Mehta, who would like to become a pediatrician will complete a neuroscience degree next year; and Dewuni De Silva, who graduated from high school this spring and plans to attend medical school, with a view toward pediatrics or optometry.

Pham began volunteering at CRH in 2018. “Volunteering has really impacted my life,” says Pham. “I’ve been able to develop my interpersonal skills and confidence by talking and interacting with many patients, workers, and nurses.

Interacting with the patients can really make a difference in their day, as it can become lonely.”

For Simonis, volunteering since the start of 2019 has meant helping in a number of areas, but especially enjoys working in the Hand Clinic. “From my experiences,” she says, “I am confident in saying it would be much more difficult to have fluidity within the hospital without the help and dedication of CRH volunteers like myself.”

Mehta has been volunteering at CRH since she was in high school. “It’s been instrumental in my decision to pursue a career as a physician,” she says. “In the emergency room, I’ve had the privilege to experience incredibly vulnerable moments with patients. These moments are why I continue volunteering; they make me feel fulfilled and that I’m improving people’s lives—or at least making them less burdensome.”

De Silva started volunteering two years ago by delivering ice water and warm blankets. “Originally, I wished to pursue a career in the science field to study chemistry. However, after witnessing the connections created at the hospital and the individual roles doctors and nurses play to better the lives of the patients, I realized I wanted to be involved in this role and pursue a career in the medical field.” 

Friends of CRH has long supported patients, visitors and staff through operation of a gift shop and TV/phone program. The society recognizes and gives back to the volunteers who make their efforts possible. “It’s very exciting to be able to offer support to tomorrow’s health professionals,” says Executive Director Daniel Erickson,” and every year I am so impressed by the quality of our volunteers. These four individuals are hard-working, passionate and brilliant.”