Scarborough Health Network (SHN) in partnership with Woburn Collegiate Institute, this fall introduced a new program called “Working Together for Better Health,” to support and enhance learning opportunities for high school students in Scarborough. The Woburn students participating in the “Working Together for Better Health” initiative are also part of a special Ministry of Education-approved program called the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program. Woburn offers a number of SHSM programs that allow students to earn extra credits towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma, while enabling them to enhance their learning in specific economic sectors. One of these sectors is health and wellness.

In its inaugural year, 78 students participating in the health and wellness Specialist High Skills Major program at Woburn Collegiate Institute will attend sessions at Centenary Hospital in groups of 12 to learn about a selected health topic. After each session, students will work together to create a campaign on each topic and present their learnings in the classroom.

“Here at SHN, we have a bold vision to be Canada’s leading community teaching hospital and to improve population health. This program is an excellent avenue for teaching young people in Scarborough about health conditions; improving health literacy; and empowering students to spread health knowledge to their school community, their families, and beyond,” said Michele James, Executive Vice-President, People and Transformation at SHN.

Working Together for Better Health” presents a unique opportunity for students interested in healthcare to explore SHN’s hospitals, health services, and professions through exclusive access to guided tours and interactive simulations.

“I’m excited to learn more about career opportunities and understand the process of becoming a healthcare professional,” said Roshan Balamuhunthan, a Grade 12 student at Woburn Collegiate Institute.

“It’s a good opportunity to expand my knowledge and get more hands-on experience.”

Practical, hands-on experience is an important part of what makes “Working Together for Better Health” unique and meaningful for youth who are beginning to explore possible careers and considering where their forthcoming post-secondary path may lead them.

For example, at the Men’s Health session in November, students were taught by SHN nurses how to perform a cystoscopy (a procedure to examine the lining of the bladder and the urinary tract) on a bell pepper! Retrieving the seeds from the pepper with a flexible scope mimicked the removal of a bladder stone, which is often performed during cystoscopy procedures. 

“We see extraordinary potential in our Scarborough community; providing healthcare education to local high school students is a natural extension of the work we are doing to shape the future of healthcare in Scarborough, and proactively cultivate the next generation of healthcare workers,” said David Graham, president and CEO of SHN.

“For SHN, education is not just a strategic priority, it is an integral part of who we are.”

Excitingly, “Working Together for Better Health” is already making an impact on these bright young minds.

“I felt like I was at home when I came to the hospital; I can imagine myself working here one day!” said Mahi Gohel, a Grade 11 student at Woburn Collegiate Institute.

We look forward to welcoming students back to our hospitals in February to learn about heart health during Heart Month.


In October, students learned about breast health, toured an operating room, and visited the breast imaging department, for a comprehensive view of breast health issues and services, and a look at some of the healthcare careers associated with this common health journey.

Students heard from SHN experts including Joanne Fernandes, Director, Diagnostic Imaging; Michelle Jones, Charge Technologist and Breast Assessment Navigator; and Dr. Mojola Omole, General Surgeon and Breast Surgical Oncologist.


The November session focused on men’s health and the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, presented by Dr. James Ross, Urologist, Surgical Department. The presentation was followed by a tour of the men’s health clinic and an interactive surgical tool demonstration, led by Judy To and Maria Uy, Registered Nurses from the cystoscopy unit.