Alex Gao- 4th Yr Bachelor of Honors Specialization in Health Science
What do you think makes our program standout?
Our program is unique because it gives students the opportunity to explore different aspects of healthcare anywhere from the aging population to human anatomy.
What type of extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
I am currently the co-president of Right to Play at Western. I volunteer at the Ivey International Centre of Health Innovation and with the Canadian Centre of Activity and Aging. I work with the Victorian Order of Nurses with the SMART exercise program. The program is aimed at fall preventions.
What’s Right to Play?
Right to Play is an international organization that works with children in developing countries to teach them valuable life skills through the power of sport and play. No one wants to learn in the typical lecture setting where you are sitting down. Right to Play uses sports as a tool for education in children. For example, we used freeze tag as a learning tool for malaria prevention. We made the game fun but it also taught kids about what symptoms show in malaria and what should they do if they see it.
I got involved with it in first year and started on the executive team in second year. In my third year, I became co-president with Emma Scotchmer and am continuing my presidency this year as well. Being president has allowed me to attend the national summits where all the presidents come together to learn more about the organization, where the money goes and share ideas. Everyone comes from different places but are all united by the same goal.
Where do you find inspiration from?
My mom – she is just awesome. She has her own company. She originally went to medical school and realized that she wasn’t into cadavers. She got her MBA and worked for a company which helped her start her own clothing company in the Czech Republic. She sold that company and started a sink company in Canada. My mom has so much drive because she loves what she does. She instilled in me that I should wake up every day and love what I do.
What do you do to be healthy?
I’m always exercising (I play on four intramural teams: Men’s competitive basketball, co-ed basketball, coed intertube and coed volleyball). Recently I started waking up early to do some cardio while watching Netflix for motivation. I usually go to the gym, play some basketball or squash.
What kind of career goals are you headed towards?
I want to go into healthcare management. I’m going to work on getting my masters in management and professional accounting which will eventually lead to certification as a Chartered Professional Accountant. The goal is to become a CEO.
Do you have any advice for other Health Studies Students?
Really look at the syllabus before you took a course. If you have any doubts between what courses to choose, make sure you talk to the professor. They will give you insight and guide you towards your career objectives and what you want to get out of the course. I was indecisive between HS 3250G Global Health Promotion and HS 4710B Palliative & End of Life Care: Critical Issues. I talked to both professors and the HS 4710B professor gave me a different perspective of what I had originally thought the course was going to be like which helped me decide to stay in the course.