Prospective doctor aims to help northerners

Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert teacher Cora Mirasty is studying medicine at the University of Saskatchewan -- a new path she plans on following in order to help people in northern communities. 

A shortage of doctors willing to work in northern communities inspired Prince Albert teacher Cora Mirasty to pursue a medical degree.


“I like working with the First Nations people up there, I like the environment and the outdoors,” she said this week.

On Monday, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority named Mirasty one of 19 scholarship winners -- one of only two earning the top honour of $5,000.

Every little bit helps in earning a pricey doctoral degree, Mirasty said, noting that she and her husband, Arthur Bear, have had to pay for two households during her studies -- one in Saskatoon and one in Prince Albert where Bear and their child live.

Though it hasn’t been easy, Mirasty said that her dream of becoming a medical doctor has been worth it -- a pursuit a couple of her students encouraged her to follow through on.

Teaching math and chemistry to young adults through Prince Albert Grand Council efforts in northern communities, a couple students asked Mirasty if there was anything else she wanted to do with her life.

“I said, ‘Well, I wanted to be a doctor,’” she relayed. “They’re like, ‘You’re always telling us to go what we want to go for, why wouldn’t you have tried that?’”

Supported by her husband, Mirasty is now in her second year of studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

A graduate of St. Mary High School, Mirasty, who identifies as a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, plans on using her medical knowledge to help those in Prince Albert and the north.

I like working with the First Nations people up there, I like the environment and the outdoors. Cora Mirasty

“It might be a pretty good possibility that I’ll be doing my clerkship or my clinical studies in half my third year and all my fourth year in Prince Albert, so from there on I’d like to do residency and family medicine,” she said.

“I talked to some of the doctors and a couple have told me that they actually travel two days every two weeks and that they alternate from Prince Albert, and that’s something I’d definitely like to do.”

Mirasty said that she wants to begin helping northern communities with her medical knowledge as soon as she can, which could be as early as five years from now.

A doctor of medicine will be Mirasty’s third degree, with the well-educated role model having already earned two bachelor’s degrees.

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority’s annual scholarship program typically offers $25,000 to First Nations students in Saskatchewan, with this year’s scholarship allowance increased to $30,000 due to a record number of applicants.

Organizations: First Nations, Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, Prince Albert Grand Council University of Saskatchewan Mary High School Lac La Ronge Indian Band

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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