Usask medicine student is travelling Canada in hopes of improving Saskatchewan’s health services

College of Medicine student Kaishan Aravinthan is looking for ways to improve Saskatchewan’s hospitals. Thanks to the support of donors, he’s hopeful his research will help people across the province.

Kaishan Aravinthan is spending the summer visiting ear, nose, and throat (ENT) programs across Western Canada to learn more about the how each program delivered optimal ENT care for their patients. He is determined to find ways to improve the delivery of ENT care in Saskatchewan before returning to the University of Saskatchewan for his third year of medicine.

This year, Aravinthan was awarded a $5,000 Dean’s Research Award to assist him in his studies. Awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional work, this scholarship is one of several supported by alumni and donors through the ALL IN FOR STUDENTS campaign. The campaign raised over $1.19 million university-wide in the last year to support students like Aravinthan.

Aravinthan, originally from Toronto, grew up in Regina and received a kinesiology degree from the University of Regina. After working for a year as an exercise therapist, he decided to return to school to study medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in hopes of becoming an ear, nose, and throat surgeon. While working as an exercise therapist, he spent a lot of time with patients that were pre-operative or post-operative and quickly realized that there was great inefficiency in operating rooms in Saskatchewan. This sparked an interest in helping to improve the patient waiting times in hospitals.

"I am extremely grateful for this award. Not only has it elevated the financial burden and allowed me to be a better student, but it has also allowed me to embark on this journey to conduct research that I am extremely passionate about," Aravinthan explained.

He recalled the process of planning trips to Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton during one of his more difficult modules this past school term. He remembers this extremely stressful time and not knowing how he was going to be able to do it all. A couple of days later he received the email saying he was selected for the award. "It was a huge relief. Having that weight off my shoulders allowed me to focus on schooling and prepare for my project this summer,” he explained.

Aravinthan had the opportunity to travel to Edmonton at the end of May to present this research at a national ear, nose and throat surgery conference where he placed second out of 125 entrees. This is the first time in the conference’s 75-year history that research originating in Saskatchewan placed in the top three. This is a huge accomplishment for Aravinthan, as well as others conducting similar research in Saskatchewan.

“I had surgeons from all across Canada who are alumni of the University of Saskatchewan come up and congratulate me because they were proud to see Saskatchewan being called up on stage,” he said. “I think it is crucial that we support our home province and university to not only improve the student outcome but help to put the University of Saskatchewan on the map.”

Aravinthan believes that the research he is doing this summer will directly impact patients in Saskatchewan and help them have better outcomes. “This award has helped me be a better physician to serve the population of Saskatchewan to the best of my ability.”

Over $1.19M was raised during the ALL IN FOR STUDENTS campaign to support student scholarships, awards, and bursaries in the 2018-2019 school year. Read more about how the campaign made a major difference for students this past year in our student spotlight series:

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