June 12, 2007
Bachelor of Health Sciences graduates take on the world
Today, the first class of the O’Brien Centre for the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program graduates from the University of Calgary. Of the 48 students receiving their degrees today, 43 are graduating with honours, and 31 with the University of Calgary’s highest distinction, first class honours.
“Today marks an important milestone for the BHSc and our first graduating class,” says Benedikt Hallgrímsson, PhD, associate dean, Undergraduate Science Education, Faculty of Medicine. “Many of our students have presented at international conferences and published articles of their research in scientific journals. Several students have done coursework in developing countries like Tanzania, and Ethiopia – experiences that will forever change their perspective of the human condition.”
The four-year program is built upon three majors: biomedical sciences (basic and applied health research), bioinformatics (the interface of computer sciences and life sciences research) as well as health and society (health policy and economics). BHSc graduates have a wide range of future plans, including graduate degrees at McGill University, and the University of Toronto, as well as research projects in developing nations like Cambodia, and Guyana.
“This enriched program is the first BHSc in Canada to provide funding for students to do international electives,” says Dr. Grant Gall, dean, University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine. “Our graduates are tomorrow’s leaders in healthcare. I am proud that the BHSc program, with its focus on inquiry-based learning, research, and international health has laid the groundwork for these students to be outstanding leaders in health.”
Whitney Miller, who majored in health and society, earned a Chancellor’s Club scholarship that paid her tuition for the past four years. She is now moving to London, England, to take a master’s of science in international health policy at the London School of Economics.
“David and I are so proud of this exceptional class of students,” says Gail O’Brien, a community leader whose family gave a transformational gift of $5 million to the O’Brien Centre for the Bachelor of Health Sciences. “We look forward to seeing the impact these talented young people will have on the health of Canada, and the world!”
“I want to thank Gail and David O’Brien for supporting our program. I loved it,” says Vince Terstappen, a graduate who spent a summer in Ghana, West Africa supported by the BHSc studentship. “The focus of my master’s thesis will be how drugs are distributed in developing countries like Ghana where there aren’t many pharmacies, and how to use existing informal networks to distribute drugs safely and effectively. My goal is to eventually work for an international organization like the World Health Organization.”
BHSc graduates are also going on to medical school, and graduate degree programs such as bioinformatics, neuroscience, chemistry, and law.