Aboriginal eMentoring BC

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Aboriginal eMentoring BC

$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Aboriginal eMentoring BC (eMentoring) aims to develop and implement an online mentorship program for Aboriginal youth to support their successful transition into post-secondary health sciences programs.

The original idea for this project emerged from conversations between Dr. Sandra Jarvis-Selinger and the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Aboriginal coordinator, Mr. James Andrew. One of Mr. Andrew’s roles is to speak with grade 12 students across British Columbia about UBC’s mission to improve Aboriginal representation in medical school and across the health sciences. It became apparent to him that a number of students were interested in health science careers but were either not doing well in school or had dropped out and believed they had missed their chance. Indeed, it is too often the case that Aboriginal students finish high school and then look into a health career only to realize they’ve dropped a course or don’t have the credits, effectively shutting those doors.

In response to these initial conversations, Dr. Jarvis-Selinger convened an interest group at UBC with representatives from departments, centres, and institutes whose missions include Aboriginal education. The group agreed that an online support network could be established to support students across the province in building relationships with university health science students to realize their potential well before they reached grade 12.

Ongoing communication within this interest group led to a successful four-year Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) research grant titled Aboriginal eMentoring BC. Because eMentoring was designed as a community-university partnership, its development required close partnerships with various stakeholders. Using collaborative and inclusive principles, our research group has forged partnerships with both Aboriginal communities and school districts across the province to support and engage mentees as well as strategic institutional/organizational partnerships to support health science student mentors.

All partners have embraced the project and have committed to making eMentoring an organizational priority, attesting that the aims of eMentoring connect with the struggles they and their youth face. As a result, and in our first intake, we have 59 mentees and 45 mentors communicating on eMentoring’s platform.

eMentoring combines the established need to support academic success of Aboriginal students, with strong evidence of online mentoring’s impact on positive educational outcomes. Our program is about empowering Aboriginal youth to keep their options open for a career in health, and offering these students the chance to positively impact their lives.

About You
About You
First Name


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About You, Your Group, or Your Organization

UBC's eHealth Strategy Office

Please confirm that this project could benefit First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples


What categories best describe who your group or organization serves (check all that apply)

First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.

What best describes your group or organization

University, Technical Institute or College.

How long have you, your group, or your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Define your idea / project in 1-2 short sentences

eMentoring BC is an online mentorship program that supports Aboriginal youths' high school graduation and transition into post-secondary health science programs

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Growth (the project is up and running and is starting to move forward)

Social Impact
Please tell us about the social impact of your idea or proect

Mentors guide their mentees through a Personal Quest that consists of activities, conversations and events intended to develop their awareness and pique their interest in pursuing post-secondary education. The quest introduces youth to new areas of professional and personal experiences in a developmentally appropriate way that also resonates with Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning. eMentoring supports the learning success of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples by: promoting an interest in the health sciences early in youths’ education; increasing youths’ confidence and competency to complete high school and pursue post-secondary education; and encouraging youth to prepare themselves fully, both in academics and non-academics, for entry into various health professions.

Your Future Goal(s): Tell us what you hope to achieve with your idea or project in the next year

We hope to positively impact the youths’ academic success while simultaneously expanding eMentoring throughout BC.

In 5 years, what will be different as a result of your idea/project?

eMentoring supports student “potential” by targeting students early enough to influence their initial high school course choices. As a result, there will be an increase in the number of Aboriginal graduates eligible for health science programs who will hopefully become mentors themselves. Other long-term outcomes include: inspiring mentees, especially in rural and remote areas, to pursue post-secondary education and return to practice in their home communities (building community capacity); and changing the way academic institutions consider access to health science programs by making it more about real opportunities for Aboriginal students to succeed (building university capacity).

Tell us about the people/ partnerships that are already involved and why they are important to your idea or project.

Community Partners: Akisq’nuk First Nation, Adams Lake Band, Sto:lo Nation, Surrey School District, Central Okanagan School District
Institutional /Organizational Partners: Icouldbe.org, Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, First Nations Technology Council, Vancouver Island Health Authority, UBC Institute for Aboriginal Health Summer Science Program, UBC CEDAR, UBC Indigenous Students in Science and Health Science Student Association, UBC Okanagan, UBC First Nations House of Learning, UBC College of Health Disciplines, College of New Caledonia , Simon Fraser University, BC Ambulance Service
All partners have played a key role in mentor-mentee recruitment, online mentoring platform development, and championing eMentoring’s growth and implementation.

If there are other people/partners that you will reach out to tell us who they are and why they will be important to your idea or project.

While our existing partnerships are strong, we would like to further integrate eMentoring across the province, specifically by targeting school districts and communities located in Northern BC and Vancouver Island and eventually beyond BC. We also feel that other First Nation partners would be important to help us spread the word about our program by creating a larger network, potentially increasing program funding, integrating eMentoring into other strategic organizational goals and ultimately sustaining the program for a longer period of time.

Describe the kinds of support you receive (other than money) or will need to support your idea or project (e.g.: donated, space, equipment and volunteers)

We have received computer equipment from Computers for Schools so that students who do not have access to computers in their homes will be able to access computers at their local community centre. Each community partner has provided space for students to access the program and administrative oversight for our community leads. In addition to our current cohort, we are continuously looking for health science volunteers to participate in the program as mentors and interested Aboriginal youth as mentees. We are also interested in strategic partnerships to build a successful sustainability plan that will support eMentoring’s long term goals.

Do you currently have funding for your idea or project?

Yes (answer the next two questions)