From 20 June to 25 June 2017, ten students from Marc Garneau attended the 40th annual HOSA International Leadership Conference (ILC). HOSA is an international student organization that aims to enhance the quality of health care through providing competition and career development opportunities. Over ten thousand delegates from around the world travelled to the host city of Orlando, Florida for this year’s conference which began 21 June.

HOSA contains fifty-four chartered delegations, composed of all fifty US states, Canada, American Samoa, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. HOSA continues to expand internationally with talk of a future delegation in the People’s Republic of China.

HOSA Canada sent over fifty students to compete at ILC. To qualify for the conference, students had to place in the top three of their events at the Spring Leadership Conference held in early April of this year. HOSA MGCI was successful with ten students moving on to the international conference, an improvement from five in the previous year.

MGCI students competed in three of five event categories offered at ILC: Health Science, Health Professions, and Teamwork. Each category was comprised of several events with different judging criteria. Both Health Science and Health Professions events included a multiple choice exam, while Teamwork events consisted of a prepared presentation. In select events, competitors also performed a skills demonstration in the final rounds.

Awards were presented in three sessions—Middle School, Secondary, and Postsecondary. The top ten competitors in every event were acknowledged on stage, and the top three performers received medals of achievement.

MGCI HOSA members Frank Hong, Janet Cheng, Daniel Jin, and Matthew Martin won first in the Medical Innovations event. Photo: Frank Hong

MGCI students were the only Canadians that placed in the top three of a category. Grade 10 students Daniel Jin, Frank Hong, Janet Cheng, and Matthew Martin received first place for their project in Medical Innovation. Janet Cheng said, “When I went I never expected to win so when we did, that just made everything so much more awesome.”

Paul Oh, President of HOSA MGCI, also commented on their success, saying, “HOSA MGCI did really great this year with more than seventy members participating at the national competition and several of them competing at the international competition with one group placing 1st out of thousands of other competitors. I’m really proud of our club and I hope we can do better in future years.”

When students were not competing, they attended a variety of exhibitions ranging from lectures on global health to career help seminars. Students also had the chance to network and trade pins with other delegations.  

The students agree that overall, the conference was a valuable experience. Daniel Jin in Grade 10 said, “ILC wasn’t just about the competition, it was an unforgettable adventure of forming new bonds and making lifelong friends. I’m extremely proud of everything the ten of us have accomplished, both succeeding as competitors and growing as people. We’ve all learned so much and are looking forward to the amazing opportunities in Dallas next year.”