A Look at How SGU Is Supporting Aspiring Physicians Across Canada


Diligent study habits, strong work ethic, and a demonstrated commitment to medicine are undoubtedly a future doctor’s best tools for gaining acceptance to an MD program. However, it’s always beneficial to have some additional resources that can help enhance your academic pursuits.

To provide promising students with an additional layer of support, St. George’s University (SGU) awards the Canadian Leadership Grant to pre-med clubs and organizations across the country. If you’re eager to learn more about this exciting opportunity, the below information could be quite useful.

What is the Canadian Leadership Grant?

Launched in the fall of 2019, the Canadian Leadership Grant is a $500 award extended to select pre-med clubs and organizations throughout Canada. It aims to help encourage students who are interested in medicine.

“Pre-med clubs provide resources, events, and collaboration ideas to continue on the pathway toward medicine,” explains Claudia Bastien, SGU’s assistant director of admissions for Western Canada. “The whole idea is to support the efforts of these pre-med clubs to inspire their students.”

Obtaining a grant is possible for nearly every institution’s pre-med or pre-health club. The application process is simple. The club must simply arrange for SGU to host an informational presentation on international medical school options. These sessions also include a question-and-answer session with a Canadian St. George’s University graduate. Clubs that find these events beneficial and continue to hold presentations on a yearly basis are eligible to receive the award annually.

“The sessions are usually quite small and intimate, so it makes it very easy for discussion and dialogue,” Bastien says. According to her, pre-med students often have a lot of questions about attending an institution outside of Canada. “It provides a holistic feel of what studying abroad for medicine is all about,” Bastien adds.

How can this award be used?

While some financial awards have restrictions on ways in which they can be applied, the Canadian Leadership Grant is intentionally designed to serve each individual club’s needs. Understandably, there is quite a bit of variation in how this award is used. Some schools have leveraged it to include running blood drives, hosting speaker series, booking rooms for executive meetings, or even to throw a pizza night.

“It can really be used for many different things,” Bastien says. “What’s nice about this is that the clubs are still using these funds to inspire students to continue considering medicine. All of these things get students interested and active in the conversation.”

What have recipients said about the grant? Depending on the size of the organization, $500 can go a long way toward supporting future physicians. Here’s a sampling of what recipients have said:

As helpful as it is to receive a bit of extra financial support, students are just as grateful for access to valuable information about medical school. They’re particularly appreciative of the opportunity to speak directly with a Canadian SGU medical graduate. Many students are learning about international medical school options for the very first time, so being able to speak directly to a physician who chose that option is impactful.

“The sessions were very well put-together, and having the chance to speak with graduates of the program who are currently practicing in our community was fantastic.”

“The sessions were very well put-together, and having the chance to speak with graduates of the program who are currently practicing in our community was fantastic,” Woloshyn says.

Which institutions have participated?

As of February 2021, pre-med clubs at more than 20 different institutions have received of the Canadian Leadership Grant. The full list is below:

  • Acadia University (Nova Scotia)

  • Ambrose University (Alberta)

  • Bishop’s University (Quebec)

  • Brock University (Ontario)

  • Concordia University (Quebec)

  • Lakehead University (Ontario)

  • MacEwan University (Alberta)

  • Ontario Tech University (Ontario)

  • Simon Fraser University (British Columbia)

  • The University of British Columbia – Okanagan (British Columbia)

  • The University of British Columbia – Vancouver (British Columbia)

  • Trent University (Ontario)

  • University of the Fraser Valley (British Columbia)

  • University of Guelph (Ontario)

  • University of Lethbridge (Alberta)

  • University of Ottawa (Ontario)

  • University of Toronto – Mississauga (Ontario)

  • University of Toronto – Scarborough (Ontario)

  • University of Toronto – St. George (Ontario)

  • University of Waterloo (Ontario)

  • University of Winnipeg (Manitoba)

  • University of Victoria (British Columbia)

  • Western University (Ontario)

  • York University (Ontario)

  • Achieve your physician aspirations

    When beginning to pursue a career in medicine, having additional support as a pre-med student can help on the journey to securing a seat at an MD program in the future. Every opportunity and even a single award could help an organization fund experiences that make a significant difference for its students.

    Club leaders who wish to inquire about applying for the Canadian Leadership Grant should contact Chuck Furey at cfurey@sgu.edu.

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