SHINE Logo Medical Professionals

In 2004, medical students from the University of Alberta’s Class of 2007 started the project by conducting a needs assessment to identify underserved communities in Edmonton. Through a partnership with the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, they ultimately chose to narrow the SHINE mandate to help at‐risk youth aged 10-25. It allowed SHINE to employ a unique "Youth Serving Youth" approach. This youth‐centered approach was based on the type of care SHINE deemed itself capable of offering, namely preventative medicine and limited illness management.

After a long year of planning, organizing and fundraising, the SHINE Clinic was launched as a pilot study in the summer of 2005. Loosely based on the structure of the only pre-‐existing Student-‐run clinic in Canada, CHIUS. SHINE’s health services were delivered by an interdisciplinary team. Medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition and social work students provided care to patients under the supervision of licensed health-care practitioners. The Clinic aimed to increase the availability of primary care services to inner-‐city youth by providing services when other facilities in the area were closed. Thus, SHINE’s hours of operation were Saturday afternoons from 2‐6 PM.

After a successful trial (May and June 2005), SHINE officially opened its doors in November 2005 and operated under the same model until November 2011. The SHINE Clinic functioned in increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary care and harm reduction by providing needle exchange, nutritious food and hot showers, counselling, physiotherapy, and health education.


After a four year hiatus, SHINE was re-launched in 2014, with a focus on health promotion, harm reduction and education. Our mission is four-fold:

  • To collaborate with underserved youth, community agencies and the University of Alberta to address the broader social determinants of health through interdisciplinary teams.
  • To create a youth-friendly environment that is free from judgment and bias, in which health education and care is offered at multiple, accessible service sites and through outreach programming;
  • To engage in exceptional collaborative learning between youth, students, faculty members, and preceptors, which will provide leadership opportunities and the chance to develop long term relationships and commitment.
  • To ensure long-term sustainability of SHINE thereby maintaining the confidence of the community being served.

Currently SHINE provides services through an outreach model at the Armoury Resource Centre. By partnering with this organization, we hope to build long-term relationships with inner-city youth, based on trust and empathy. SHINE aims to assist youth in navigating the existing health and social care system, to accompany youth to services if they identify the need, and to provide information on health promotion topics, healthcare and social services as well as community resources.

Importance of SHINE

Over the past few years SHINE has changed a lot. We work from an understanding that communities and youth in particular are central to everything we do. Working from this understanding, our vision is that underserved youths in Edmonton’s inner city will have the highest possible level of health and wellbeing. Much of our work over the past year has focused on building strong and vibrant relationships with youth - we are learning much about this along the way!

One of the youth who has worked with us is Stephanie who was interviewed about her experience for the Edmonton Journal in 2015:

[Stephanie] is using her experience and knowledge of life on the streets to help those going through what she did. The John Humphreys Centre for Peace and Human Rights is working on a documentary about her life.

[Stephanie] is co-facilitator of the JHC Youth Action Project on Poverty, given the task of compiling and providing recommendations on youth homelessness to Mayor Don Iveson. The group is holding a public forum to talk about eliminating poverty at City Hall on Monday morning.

[Stephanie] is also working with the Shine Youth Clinic which serves vulnerable youth and is staffed by University of Alberta students. She helps clinic staff connect with homeless youth for medical services and outreach programs.

I feel like a valued member of society. I feel really awesome, she said, sipping a Tim Hortons Iced Capp. I just felt before like I slipped through all the cracks.

Edmonton Journal, January 31, 2015
Related Publications

Medical Student-Run Health Clinics: Important Contributors to Patient Care and Medical Education
J Gen Intern Med. 2007 March; 22(3): 352-356.
View Publication

A Multidisciplinary, Learner-centered, Student-run Clinic for the Homeless
Fam Med 2003;35(6):394-7.
View Publication