May 4th was a big day for Dr. Chris Nichol of Camrose. He was the recipient of the 2017 RhPAP Rural Physician Award of Distinction. Along with the award, RhPAP provides a donation towards the recipient’s favorite charity. For Chris, that was easy, the Young Medical Minds, a program he created three years ago to introduce Grade 8 students to medicine.
A skills day for alumni of that program was held on the same day as the award presentation. Funding was provided by the Camrose and Area Attraction and Retention Committee.
“We are taking this opportunity to open up some hearts. Show them how the heart works, how the blood flow works. What a heart attack is and what happens when you make bad lifestyle choices.”
There were eight skill stations in all. Two others included the use of animal organs: a uterus for childbirth and pig lungs and heart for respiratory.
At lunch time, the students and instructors were invited to join other community members from Camrose for a luncheon and award ceremony for Dr. Nichol, hosted by RhPAP.
Speaking at the ceremony, Stacey Strilchuk from the Camrose & Area Attraction & Retention Committee said, “Day in and day out, Dr. Nichol exhibits an outstanding character.”
Dr. Nichol’s spouse, Susan Nichol added, “Inquisitive, loyal, smart, funny, caring and thoughtful, he’s still that way only now I can add that he’s not to be trusted at the Cottage Show with his Visa (card). It’s okay. We have rules now (laughter).”
“The programs that he has started, that he has been instrumental in in bringing forward to our communities, is something that we can be very, very thankful for,” said Camrose Mayor Norman Mayer.
RhPAP Executive Director, Bernard Anderson, and Director, Rebekah Seidel, were proud to present Dr. Nichol with this award on behalf of the entire RhPAP Board. The award recognizes Dr. Nichol’s outstanding achievements in healthcare in a rural community.
Dr. Chris Nichol responded, “Certainly, I would like to thank RhPAP for this award. It is an honour.”
The award ceremony wrapped up with Maya Rathnabalu, who works alongside Dr. Nichol at the Smith Clinic, playing violin as everyone sang “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow”.
The entire team of Young Medical Minds alumni and instructors gathered onstage to congratulate Dr. Nichol in unison, shouting “Congratulations Dr. Nichol!”