Skip to content

Local med student ROMPs to new job thanks to unique program

By giving med students experiences in rural settings, you might be encouraging them to become rural doctors, says ROMP
Barrie - Aiden Mckee Headshot
Aiden McKee hopes to practice medicine in a rural community someday, thanks to his experiences shadowing local doctors. Contributed photo

A local medical education organization is encouraging physicians and health care businesses to consider hiring a med student. 

The Collingwood-based Rural Ontario Medical Program (ROMP) has a mandate to help ease the burden of a nation-wide physician distribution problem. Part of their work involves having medical students placed in rural settings to encourage them to set up practice in small towns once they become doctors. 

One of the annual ROMP initiatives, Hire a Med Student, helps med students to connect and work alongside community-based physicians and other healthcare professionals. 

The program operates in coordination with the Canada Summer Jobs Program. In 2020, there were 20 different med students hired for positions in eight communities through the program. 

That includes positions at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. 

Dr. Michael Lisi, chief of staff at the G&M said it was a great opportunity for both the student and the hospital. 

“Several projects in the hospital have been advanced and, as a result, patient care can be assessed and improved,” said Lisi in a press release issued by ROMP. “We love working with enthusiastic learners who want better quality of care and improve upon themselves.”

Innisfil-born Aidan McKee is one of the medical students hired through the ROMP program. 

He has worked at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, and is currently working in COVID-19 research. 

It was experiences in rural health-care settings that first encouraged McKee to pursue a medical science degree. He volunteered at the Huronia Urgent Care Clinic in Barrie, and shadowed the chief of oncology for the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program. 

“I would ultimately love to practise medicine in a community such as Innisfil or Barrie,” said McKee in the ROMP release. “I was raised in a rural area, and I love the sense of community that I feel every time I return.” 

He said there’s a “huge appeal” in the outdoors lifestyle offered by many rural communities, including his hometown of Innisfil. 

“Most importantly, rural communities often lack the medical resources they need and deserve,” said McKee. “There are too few doctors, long wait times, and poor access to specialized diagnostic tools and treatments.” 

ROMP is encouraging communities to learn more about its programs and help connect more learners and physicians in the region to encourage more doctors across rural Ontario. 

For more, visit

Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
Read more