WildER Med -Debajehmujig’s Partnership with Manitoulin Wilderness Medical Educators
Three years ago, we were approached by two local doctors, Dr. Nick Jeeves and Dr. Maurianne Reade, to explore the potential of animating the teaching scenarios that were devised by local health professionals, to teach interdisciplinary emergency medicine in a wilderness setting. The idea was born out of a simple recognition that health professionals do not necessarily find it easy to improvise and apply their knowledge in a context that is not ideally suited to apply their skills and knowledge such as a clinic or hospital. Over the past two conferences hosted on Manitoulin, the attendance has grown significantly to include emergency responders, wilderness leadership personnel, Doctors, Nurses, and other health professionals that are regularly practicing in rural and wilderness settings. Conference attendees are starting to come from all over Ontario.
The setting for the teaching practicum is 100 acres of maple forest, swamp and cliffs on Manitoulin Island as well as the studio at The Creation Centre in Manitowaning. At the WildER Med conference, inter-disciplinary teams collaborate while learning survival, navigational and medical skills. Lectures, workshops and navigational training and moulage scenarios are scheduled to move participants from the simple first aide in the moment, for a Wilderness Leadership Trainer to more complex interactions between the injured and the combinations of medical teams that are learning to assist them. During 2010 and 2011, Debajehmujig Storytellers hosted the keynote speaker and conference delegates at The Creation Centre and treated them to a custom show creation that was designed to augment the learning throughout the conference.
On June 15 – 17th, Debajehmujig was invited to present with Dr. Reade as part of the WildER Med team at the CIHR Meetings in Ottawa at The National Gallery and Bruyere Continuing Care: "Arts and Humanities in Health Professional Education - What is the Impact?"
The conference was an inspiring and innovative exploration of the fusion between the paradigm of creative thinking and flow in the artistic mediums and the more quantitative and instrumental approach of the Western medical paradigm. It was remarkable to sit among the array of diverse community artists and health care practitioners, artists worked directly with health care teams to get underneath the facts and protocols to explore effective outcomes relating to healing and patient care.
Visual arts, poetry, spoken word and short play works were exhibited throughout the conference to enable the delegates to identify and explore the boundaries of this new fusion. We had the opportunity as invited guests to feed back about where we thought the boundaries were based on our entry point in the conversation. “Catherine” was presented by Beacon Theatre, which followed the experience of a seriously ill cancer patient and allowed delegates to compare a power point of medical information with a multi dimensional theatre performance, a photographic exhibit by Paule Fournier a breast cancer survivor documenting her healing journey over a year and a spectacular sculpture from Dalhousie University was also on display throughout the conference in the garden room. All of the works were extremely moving. Each enhanced our understanding of the human experience in health care, for both patients and care providers.
The keynote address was delivered by Alan Bleakley, followed by a presentation by David Pare on establishing our collaborative groundwork. While all the attendees became much more informed about the challenges inherent in this fusion of paradigms, all agreed that the reflection, exploration and innovation that were facilitated at this conference, represent a significant advance at the cutting edge of health care and Western Medicine. We were so honored to have been invited guests at this gathering and were greatly motivated by what we have learned. Our aspirations for the next WildER Med conference on Manitoulin in September 2012…are running high.