When 13-year-old Shawn Segeren started volunteering at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, more than a decade ago, they had to find him a job.
When he returned July 4, Dr. Shawn Segeren had one – as a resident in family medicine.
The Chatham-Kent native, who, as far back as he could remember, dreamed of helping people, began as a “magazine sorter.”
“They had to make a job for me,” he said. “I started sorting magazines in waiting rooms and in the ER. What kind of a place would do that for a kid? I was about the youngest volunteer they had.”
He continued, moving up in responsibility.
“I played a lot of roles”, he said. “I would ask patients if they needed anything, a blanket or a glass of water. The nurses would triage patients and after a while I was allowed to put patients charts in the appropriate spot. It was a good way to get out in the community. I just wanted to keep coming back and helping out.”
He was a support services summer student for three years, continued his volunteering and took part in the MedQUEST Exploration Program through his high school and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (Western University).
Segeren said many CKHA staff members, particularly Chene Faulkner, took an interest in helping him toward his eventual goal of becoming a doctor.
“When I was in high school, she would introduce me to doctors, some of them would take me under their wing and encourage me,” he said.
That kind of atmosphere is what helped him decide to choose Chatham for his two-year residency after graduating from Western University this spring.
“When I finished med school I knew I wanted to do family medicine specifically, rural family medicine so Chatham was a very easy choice.
“There are lots of resources so all of the rotations can be done in Chatham,” he said “It’s an opportunity for plenty of hands-on experience that will give me broad experience.”
In addition to its relationship with Schulich, he said the CKHA is “very eager to have learners.”
I had an anesthetist tell me “any time you want to be on call with us, let us know. You’re more than welcome to join us.”
Segeren has an interest in emergency medicine and being in Chatham allows him the chance to deal first hand in the ER.
His interest in medicine was encouraged by his family and others.
“I always knew I wanted to help people and it was suggested to me by my family that I go in this direction.”
Once he completes his two years at the CKHA, Segeren said he may take an extra year in emergency medicine at a larger site.
His long-term plan, however, is to return to Chatham and join a family health team.
Segeren joins Dr. Travis Trudeau, a British Columbia native, as family medicine residents.
Second year family medicine residents include Drs. Narissa Duboff, Cara McMohon, Kristin McCulloch, Aislinn Pearce, and Sarah Sikkema.
A third first-year resident will start the program this fall.
The family medicine residency program has been offered at the CKHA since 2010 and in that time nine doctors have graduated with all but one staying in the community.