Additionally, with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Dr YES was able to squeeze in two-day trips to Mandurah and Clarkson and a week-long rural trip to Esperance. The visits were a great success for both the volunteers and 1,800 students involved, with 15 schools covered through 40 sessions.
A post-rural trip evaluation highlighted the need for region-specific information pertaining to medical resources and advice, something which will be implemented during Dr YES’ planned rural trip to the South West in December.
The past year also saw further development and improvement of the sessions delivered, with content updates, introduction of more engaging group activities, and some session restructuring. These developments were especially important for the mental health sessions, which are notoriously variable in regard to engagement.
Overall, the changes were well received by volunteers and students alike, vastly improving the training of new volunteers and the quality of session delivery.
Complementing these changes were several upskilling workshops, which focused on areas such as mental health, working with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students, and LGBTIQA+ inclusivity.
In 2020, new volunteer engagement plateaued due to an inability to conduct normal sessions. It was therefore a priority this year to promote the Dr YES program to new medical and pre-medical students from the University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Notre Dame University, and maintain volunteer presence.
Through various marketing and social engagement strategies, Dr YES has been successful in gaining a new volunteer group of more than 30 active members. The growth and resilience of Dr YES this year is testament to the commitment of its volunteers and the social dividends it provides to our community.