Dharav Pandya credits Campus Health Workshop Series with helping him “fight back and win” to become Valedictorian

Dharav Pandya’s ideal day on campus is arriving for his 8 a.m. lecture, treating himself to a delicious lunch made by Fleming Culinary students, and spending quality time with friends around the fireplace in the cafeteria.

Outside of Fleming’s Sutherland Campus, the international student enjoys paddle-boarding in Little Lake, cycling through the Trans-Canada Trail, and strolling through Millennium Park, among other outdoor activities.

“Peterborough is a beautiful city in all seasons,” said Dharav. “I had so much fun staying in Peterborough.”

Dharav moved to Canada for Fleming’s Health Information Management (HIM) program, after earning his degree in Biomedical Engineering and working as an associate in medical records review and abstraction. He wanted to study health records and chose Fleming’s HIM program because it covers a wide range of subjects, features work placements, prepares students for the National Certification Examination, and is recognized by the Canadian Health Information Management Association.

“My experience at Fleming College was incredible. The quality of my program is excellent,” said Dharav. “Most of our faculty are working professionals who provide us with real world scenarios and a tried-and-tested current way of working, which has given me a good reference for when I will start working in this profession.”

Dharav enjoyed studying at the Sutherland Campus, describing it as easy to navigate with facilities that make the student learning experience very comfortable, including: water refill stations, silent study areas and group study rooms, a learning centre equipped with computers, a Library and Bookstore, comfortable seating throughout the campus with charging outlets, and more. There are also lots of fun activities and events organized by the Student Administrative Council, which Dharav enjoyed participating in.

But his favourite experience at Fleming was during his third-semester, when he found himself feeling homesick, stressed and sick.

“It was a little too much for me to handle. I was stressed,” Dharav shared. “I am so grateful that I had services available to me right here on the campus. I consulted the Health Services and attended the Campus Health Workshop Series conducted by Counselling Services. At the end, my performance in that semester turned out to be the best one amongst all four semesters. This was remarkable!”

He added, “To have the College support me through different services, and using that support to be able to fight back and win is a great feeling. This experience is very motivating for me and probably the best memory I have!”

Dharav is now graduating as Valedictorian for the School of Health and Wellness. He said he feels honoured to be chosen and is proud to be the first person in his family to serve as Valedictorian.

In his Valedictorian speech, Dharav will stress the importance of education and how knowledge empowers us to do good things in the world and make a positive impact.

“I want to remind us that, through education, we get an opportunity to serve as well, and we shouldn’t miss out on that! Even at our jobs where we get paid, if we work with the intentions of serving the community, or merely helping people around us, that will make our next phase of life rewarding and sweet,” said Dharav.

After graduation, Dharav plans to take the National Certification Examination of the Canadian College of Health Information Management. He would like to work in a healthcare setting and eventually work in clinical documentation, data quality and data analysis.

Health Information Management student uses university and college to build a strong healthcare resume

Sarah Mandarano never considered college. As an academically strong student in high school with an interest in medicine, Sarah only ever considered university.

“My parents told me ‘you’re going to university.’ That was my path,” she explained. “I honestly never even looked at colleges because it was always university. There was no point in looking.”

Sarah left her hometown of Peterborough, Ont., after high school to study Bio-Medical Science at the University of Guelph. Sarah chose this major because she wanted a career in the biomedical field and Biology was her strongest high school subject.

Feeling homesick, Sarah decided to move back to Peterborough after first year and transferred into Trent University’s Biology program. She loved her experience at Trent, including the smaller class sizes and faculty.

“In high school I thought I’d be a doctor and then in university I considered being a physiotherapist, but around my third year of university I looked into the HIM program at Fleming and realized I would really love that,” said Sarah.

HIM, or Health Information Management, is a two-year diploma program where students learn to use technology to capture and analyze data, and create health information for healthcare delivery use, and financial and management planning.

Sarah was introduced to the program by her boyfriend’s stepsister and cousin, who both work at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) and are Fleming HIM graduates.

“I didn’t want to be hands-on, I didn’t want direct patient contact, but I wanted to use my expertise,” Sarah explained. “In this, you get to use a computer all day – and I’m from the generation who grew up on computers, so I’m good with that – and you get to use medical information.”

She finished her Honours degree at Trent University and then enrolled at Fleming College, using some of her university credits towards her diploma.

“I think my university experience helps,” said Sarah. “I was always studying at Trent and I had a high course-load, so I know how to prioritize time, and I think it helps having a degree long-term for my career. But I wasn’t getting a job I loved through my degree; and there’s lots of university graduates, but not a lot of jobs. I wanted my resume to stand out and I want a job I love. My program size at Fleming is small, it’s a specialized skill, and I know I will get employed from it.”

Sarah said she loves the HIM program at Fleming, especially the faculty.

“It is so interesting and the teachers explain things really well. We have our own lab with the two big screens and it feels really comfortable, and it feels like they’re preparing you for what your workday will be like,” said Sarah.

“I want to work at PRHC and it’s nice that our teachers also work there! One works in the Health Records Department, so we have connections and it’s nice to know we’re meeting people who can help us in our career,” she said.

Sarah is in her fourth semester at Fleming and has been recommending the program to her university friends.

“They don’t know what to do, so I tell them about this program and how it complements my university degree really well,” she said.