The Tarrant Scholarship is awarded to third-year medical students from the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary who demonstrate strong interest in studying and developing a career in rural medicine. It is bestowed each year by the Alberta Medical Association’s Section of Rural Medicine.

This year’s four worthy recipients are David Edgeworth, Allison Farfus, Deanna Fernandes and Meaghan Ryan. They accepted their 2019 Tarrant Scholarships at a luncheon on October 16 in Calgary.

University of Alberta

David Edgeworth

David was raised on a farm northwest of Grande Prairie. Since the age of 15, he has been volunteering in his community as a firefighter and medical co-responder. 

Being a first responder showed him first-hand the frustrations of managing acute trauma and chronic illness away from urban centers. This rural upbringing ignited his passion for rural medicine.

Rural and remote is where David is happiest – enjoying the wide-open prairies and mountains. While growing up on the farm and at the fire hall, he learned the immense value of being a generalist – and in medical school, he learned this is an attribute exemplified by rural health care practitioners. 

David is excited to begin clerkship in Whitecourt, which will give him the opportunity to experience broad-scope medicine. Although he is not sure what rural area he hopes to settle in, he feels returning to a rural setting is definitely in his future.

Deanna Fernandes 

Deanna grew up on a cattle farm near Athabasca. She began spending time volunteering at the hospital and long-term care centre, where she found her passion for providing care to those in need. After finishing high school, she completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the U of A and continued to follow her passion for rural and remote care by participating in international volunteer trips to rural Ecuador and Guatemala to assist in constructing clean-burning stoves for families in need.

ln her first three years of medical school, Deanna participated in multiple rural medical skills weekends in northern Alberta locations and became the co-leader of the U of A Rural Medicine Interest Group. She created a rural mentorship program for U of A students interested in rural medicine, while continuing to shadow doctors in Athabasca. ln her third year of medical school, she spent 10 months in Whitecourt, where she was able to learn rural medicine from experienced rural and remote doctors.

Moving into her final year of medical school, Deanna plans to continue her education in rural medicine by doing multiple electives in rural care and applying to a rural residency program. Her future aspirations are to work as a family physician in a northern Alberta community, with a special interest in women’s health and emergency medicine.

Tarrant 2019 Jean Allison Meaghn David Deanna Ed cropped.JPG
L to R: Mrs. Jean Tarrant, Allison Farfus, Meaghan Ryan, David Edgeworth, Deanna Fernandes and Dr. Edward Aasman, President, Section of Rural Medicine.
University of Calgary

Allison Farfus

Alison was born in Crowsnest Pass and lived there for over 18 years. She completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences at the University of Lethbridge and then moved to Calgary to pursue her medical education at the U of C.

Throughout medical school, she was involved in rural family medicine initiatives and has completed over 30 hours of rural family medicine shadowing in pre-clerkship. She is one of the Rural Medicine Interest Group representatives for her medical class and has planned many rural events including a backcountry medicine and first aid course and rural skills weekends. 

Allison organized this year’s Rural High School Outreach Program to promote medicine as a career for rural youth and attended several rural medicine conferences including Calgary’s Cabin Fever Rural Medicine Conference and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada Rural and Remote Conference in Newfoundland. She received the John N. Hnatiuk Rural Medical Student Bursary in 2018. 

Allison completed the majority of her clerkship elective experiences in rural hospitals in Canada, including the Crowsnest Pass (University of Calgary), Mindemoya (Northern Ontario School of Medicine) and Mackenzie (University of British Columbia). She looks forward to the day she can return to a rural community as a rural physician.

Meaghan Ryan

Six years ago, Meaghan completed her undergraduate chemistry degree in Nova Scotia and never thought she would come to Calgary or go to medical school. She applied for a teaching aid position in the Northwest Territories and at 22 years old, she moved to Hay River and realized her passion for working in a rural environment and the spirit of being in a remote community. She wanted to stay in the north and found a Master in Public Health program through the University of Waterloo, which would allow her to complete almost all of her degree online.

Meaghan spent another year and a half working in Hay River while completing her Master’s coursework, and then moved to Prince Albert for a practicum with Northern lnter-Tribal Health. This experience working with remote, northern reserves continued to build her interest and passion for working with and in rural communities. After completing her work term and degree, she returned to the Northwest Territories to start a job with Population Health in Yellowknife, where she continued working on remote community health projects. She has also completed a general surgery elective in Whitehorse and will be completing a longitudinal clerkship in Yellowknife.

Meaghan’s dream is to bring her passion and experience in education and rural health to providing excellent, in-community rural surgical care.