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SMSS ROUND B ELECTIONS

September 4 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Round B:

Positions: Jr. Fundraising, Jr. Sports, Jr. GAAC, Jr. GHL, Jr. GHA, Jr. SCG, Jr HSSA 

Research, SMA, and SCRC positions

Timeline: 

Nomination period: Closes 11:59 pm September 2nd

Voting Period: September 4 at 1:30 pm until September 6 at 4:30 pm

VACANCIES: Vacancies will be filled next week. Anyone (who is not an elected SMSS officer) may submit a nomination statement LESS than 450 words to smss.vpinternal@gmail.com before Wednesday, September 11 at 11:59. The statement will be de-identified, and then the SMSS Executive will vote to fill the vacancy. Voting will be completed by Sunday, September 15 at the latest. 

To clarify, candidates who were unsuccessful in a previous round may apply for any vacancy position. 

 

Jr. Fundraising (1 position, 1 candidate) 

Rachel Miller 

Hello everyone! My name is Rachel Miller and I am running for the position of Junior Fundraising. I was born and raised in Saskatoon and I am happy to call Saskatoon my home! I completed a B.A.Sc. in the Health Studies program this spring. During my undergrad, I competed with the Huskie Track and Field team, and I am planning to complete my 5th year this upcoming season. I love being active, meeting new people, and movie nights.

Being involved in the track and field community for many years has provided me with various leadership and volunteering opportunities. Last year I was Captain of our Huskie team, a member of the Huskie Athletic Council (HAC), and on the Executive Board of Directors for the Saskatoon Track and Field Club. A primary goal of the HAC is involving the Huskie teams in the community in order to give back to the sports/organizations we started from, as well as reaching out to the Huskie Alumni and other organizations for funding. We worked in tandem with the President of Huskie Athletics and the Huskie Athletic coaches. I personally was responsible for organizing all volunteer activities, such as Huskie Homeroom Visits and Adopt-A-Family, for the members on our team. My role was to also advocate for our athlete’s to Huskie Athletics, which included working on the revised Huskie Athlete Code of Conduct.

I am running for the Junior Fundraising position, as I believe this position and I would make a great match! I love organizing and running events. An example is the Huskie Track and Field Gala, an end-of-season fundraising gala for our team. Also, as a captain and a HAC member, I was very involved in volunteering as well as organizing athlete’s to volunteer for each event we put on. Some of these include: Huskie Football games, Saskatchewan Aboriginal Indoor Championships, Huskie Homeroom Visits, Adopt-A-Family, Special Olympics Motion Ball, and the HAC Gala. Having the opportunity to be on different councils has provided me insight into the workings of a large non-profit organization, as well as a student/athlete-ran committee. I believe my experiences will allow me to be a valuable voting member of the Internal Division council meetings.

Living in Saskatoon my entire life, I have been able to meet many people in the community I believe would assist in our fundraising. If I am elected to this position, I am confident I will be able to successfully assist the Sr. Fundraiser in ensuring each event we put on runs smoothly, and be able to communicate with other organizations and committees to maximize our fundraising. Thank you.

 

Jr. Sports Rep (1 position, 1 candidate) 

Michael Thatcher 

Assignments, quizzes, exams, mandatory lectures, studying – The basic ingredients needed to stress out any first-year medical student. Hence the need for a marginally effective antidote: athletic extracurricular activities. Engaging in athletic extracurricular activities has been shown to improve well-being, raise morale, increase exam scores, reduce burnout, improve ability to memorize obscure information, and increase chances of matching in CaRMS (citation needed). Thus, it is vital that today’s Medical schools appoint a class member to represent the diverse extracurricular athletic needs of their medical classes. Michael Thatcher has (altruistically) nominated himself for the position of Junior Sports Representative.

Medical students have historically engaged in intramural activities including but not limited to: frisbee, volleyball, football, dodgeball, slow pitch softball, and basketball. However, with the increasing rigor of medical school, it is necessary for additional activities to be organized by the Junior Sports Representative. These activities should include downhill skiing/snowboarding events, ice skating nights, rock climbing sessions, yoga breaks, and perhaps most importantly: fantasy sports leagues. Fantasy leagues for NFL/NHL/NBA have been shown as a sure-fire way to decrease exam scores, increase remediation rates, and reduce CaRMS match rates (no citation needed). Fantasy leagues are also a great way for the less athletically involved students to claim that they participate in events put on by the sports representatives of their class.

Historically, sports representatives have organized socially-oriented athletic events for students, including the annual Healthcare Classic (slow pitch softball) the Ice Bowl (ice hockey), and Med Games (Olympics for nerds). The 2019 Healthcare Classic was fielded with a total of 9 teams (8 of which were from the medical program). While the event was a huge fundraising success for the SWITCH program, it was abhorrent that the only dental team participating won the championship. Medical students need to protect the integrity of the medical program here at the University of Saskatchewan. Thus, a small overhaul of medical athletics is needed to protect the program’s integrity. These changes and increased focus on athletics will allow for future domination in events such as the Healthcare Classic and the Med VS Dent hockey game.

Michael, a moderately athletic and somewhat hardworking individual, will certainly fulfill the recreational needs of his peers. While the glory days of Michael’s athletic ability are behind him, he continues to revel in his past experience playing ultimate frisbee, volleyball, basketball, flag football, slow-pitch softball, skiing, and perhaps his strongest activity: dodgeball. This vast background of athletic activities will provide Michael with the necessary foundations to succeed as the Junior Sports Representative.

 

Jr GAAC (1 position, 5 candidates) 

Mars Zhao 

Dear Friends & Classmates,

I’m Mars Zhao, and I would like to be considered for the position of Jr. Governmental Affairs and Advocacy Committee (GAAC) Representative. My passion for advocacy, coupled with my experience, makes me well suited for this role.

As the GAAC Rep is responsible for advising the SMSS on governmental affairs, they must be a strong advocate. I have been involved with this since high school. One advocacy role I would like to highlight is my commitment to people with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDDs). I have worked with Best Buddies since high school, an organization that fosters friendships between people with disabilities and students. Once in university, I became president of the organization’s Saskatoon branch. I quickly realised that more needed to be done locally for the community of people with IDDs.

Working with a team of executives, I founded Best Buddies programs in Saskatoon high schools. To achieve this, I communicated with Inclusion Saskatchewan, local high schools, and Best Buddies Canada. I convinced them that this was a program worth starting and worked through the logistics, which included successfully gaining businesses’ support to fundraise $3700 to subsidize start-up costs. Through my professionalism, communication, and collaboration, I was able to successfully advocate for people with disabilities. These same skills will be instrumental in the GAAC role to gain support from political and public parties for the National and Provincial Days of Action.

In addition to establishing Best Buddies in Saskatoon high schools, here are my other relevant experiences:

– Advocated for the importance of social support for people with disabilities’ health at USask College of Medicine ABLED Conference (Advocates Bringing Light to and Education on Disabilities) (2018)

– Managed three “Spread the Word” campaigns to reduce the derogatory use of the “R-Word”; gained 600+ pledges and presented on news shows and journals

– Independently led free weekly Organic Chemistry tutorials for fellow students; served 500 students across 5 terms (2016 – 2018)

– Student Leadership Workshop Conference Speaker (2017)

– Peer Assisted Learning Biology Tutorial Leader; delivered weekly tutorials for struggling students and helped create mock exams (2016 – 2019)

– Best Buddies USask Co-President (2016 – 2019); worked with an executive team and served over 90 members per year to establish friendships for people with IDDs; organized monthly group events and fundraisers

I have a successful history of finding areas in need of improvement and implementing solutions. With these qualities, I hope to excel as the Jr. GAAC representative and continue to work with organizations, executive teams, and the public body. If elected, I will listen to and advocate for our interests so that together we can positively impact the wider community.

Thank you for your consideration,

Mars Zhao

Craig Albert 

Hello friends,

My name is Craig Albert and I’m excited to apply for the position of GAAC Jr. In this position, I will be responsible for working with Sehjal to collaborate with the SMSS and CFMS in governmental affairs, advocacy, and lobbying. I believe that my background places me in a unique position to contribute in this domain.

As many of you know, I worked as an engineer in the mining industry for 5 years before returning to school. As an engineer, my responsibilities were to identify issues, develop solutions, and advocate for the adoption of new policies. During this time, I became aware of many interpersonal and organizational barriers to adopting change. I was often advocating for measures that would avoid issues years off into the future, while our organization’s focus was on the quarterly or annual metrics. In the short-term, change is often challenging and uncomfortable for the people carrying out the change, the organizations supporting the change, and other stakeholders involved. Our society often benchmarks goals in the short-term, which causes us to overlook long-term concerns. Too often, we engage in reactive behaviours instead of being proactive in our approach to solving issues.

When I came back to school, I studied psychology and a master’s in business administration to learn more about the influences in decision making and organizational levers for empowering people to promote positive change. Through my education, I’ve taken away tools that apply directly to leadership and advocacy.

As medical professionals, we also fall into the trap of addressing short-term issues by focusing on treating the presenting illness – such as infections and injured structures. However, we often overlook the ultimate causes of disease – such as poverty and other social barriers to maintaining health. My current interest is in systems-level policy that gives better options to marginalized populations that are often overlooked in our society. The role of GAAC Jr would allow me to apply the skills that I developed in my prior roles and education to advocate for proactive solutions that benefit the needs of our society as a whole, promoting health equity and social justice.

Thank you for reading my nomination statement and considering me for the position of GAAC Jr!

Afsoun Amiraslany 

Hello everyone! My name is Afsoun and I am hoping to be your Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee Junior Representative! This role immediately grabbed my attention because I chose to study medicine to create a positive change in my community and to advocate for people, especially those who are vulnerable. Throughout history, real and meaningful change has always come through the creation of new laws and policies. This summer I went to Iran for a month, while I was there, I spent time volunteering at a school for Afghan children. In Iran, Afghan refugee children face legal barriers for accessing education. A group of physicians in Tehran saw this as an injustice, so they took matters into their own hands. They raised money to build and operate a school of their own. While volunteering there, I learned how to rally many people behind a single cause to advocate for the most vulnerable in a population. The experience I gained will be brought into the GAAC position to inspire and lead others to create change in Saskatchewan and Canada. We have many issues that need to be addressed. I am passionate about and will work on the issues of universal drug coverage, water security, climate change, income inequality, mental health, sexual health, and disparities in health. Feel free to discuss these topics or any others with me and give me your opinions on what actions the committee should be taking. I would like to represent everyone’s interests with this role!

On a much lighter note, in my first year of undergraduate education, I directed a musical! Legally Blonde, for those of you who are interested. Having to organize large groups of actors, singers, dancers, choreographers, set designers, as well as a band, and a marketing team has allowed me to develop the leadership experience that is required for this position. I have always been opinionated and never held back when fighting for what I believe is right; but I’ve also learned to take a backseat and listen to the opinions of others and weigh them as equal to my own. My experiences have given me the leadership skills and the passion needed to excel at this position on the SMSS. I am excited to learn more about advocacy on a provincial and national level and how to bring about the changes that I want to see, and more importantly, the changes that we want to see in our community. Thank you very much for taking the time out of your day to read my statement. I would be happy and proud to be your Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee Junior Representative!

Afsoun Amiraslany

Nathan Fortin 

Hi friends,

My name is Nathan Fortin and I am excited to be running for the Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee (GAAC) representative position. I believe my experience in a professional workplace and with advocacy correlate well with the responsibilities of the position. In addition, I am passionate about making an impact at the level of government, particularly in regards to our environment and current climate crisis. As medical students we are in a privileged position where we can identify social issues firsthand and, when we express our concerns, people will listen. We can be the voice for those who have none.

GAAC representatives are required to work as a link between the CFMS government advocacy group, SMSS, and U of S medical student population as a whole. I am confident that my recent experience as a human resources assistant has allowed me to develop skills which would be useful in facilitating communication between these parties. Part of my job was to recruit highly sought after IT developers, project managers, etc. To be successful, and to present myself and my company well, limiting gaps of knowledge was critical. I became very efficient at preparing myself for different interactions, researching if need be. I am also comfortable in acquiring information, streamlining it, and presenting it to groups.

Advocacy is obviously an integral part of being the GAAC representative. My dedication to advocacy can be seen in the time I spent as a coordinating member of the Regina Thunder’s community involvement group. As a student-athlete, not only was I required to develop skills in time management, but I also had the opportunity to be a part of a small group who laid the groundwork for different community initiatives that are still around today. Some highlights include: working with Bright EYES dog rescue to make team calendars whose profits went on to fund the different needs of the organization, organizing presentations from players at various elementary schools to promote the importance of an active lifestyle, and working with a cystic fibrosis foundation to put on a Disney-Themed Children’s charity ball event.

Those who know me know I am an honest, straightforward and welcoming individual. If elected, I will focus on ensuring we have a space where we can develop our voice. I want you to feel comfortable pursuing change for the causes you see fit. I believe if we empower ourselves to speak now, we will broaden our ability to impact the world later on.

Thanks for taking the time to read my nomination. Good luck with the time you’ll spend in school, helping others, and developing your own voice.

Yours truly,

Nathan Fortin

Annie Dinh 

Hi everyone!

My name is Annie Dinh and I am hoping to be your Jr. Governmental Affairs and Advocacy Committee Rep. During my previous degree, I was immersed in discussions surrounding global and local issues. Through these discussions I learned about the complexity of change and how it can be impeded by several factors. But change is not impossible, and I believe it is facilitated by the skill of advocacy. Advocacy is vital to change, and I am hoping to be granted the opportunity to influence change.

If I am granted this position, my goal is to “think globally, and act locally”. What this means is that I would be knowledgeable to the best of my ability about issues that are occurring around the world and I would suggest local solutions. For example, it is known that the world’s population is rapidly aging. But what can we do locally to alleviate this concern?

I am currently on a research team that is investigating the models of long-term care in Saskatchewan. We are gathering evidence to support the push towards better care for Saskatchewan’s aging population. This has refined my understanding of what is needed to support or propose a policy change. The biggest thing that I learned from this experience was how to adapt my communication style to fit the audience I was speaking to. For example, I regularly communicated with patient-family advisors as well as Saskatchewan Health Authority decision-makers. I was required to tailor my communication, so it was understandable to all parties. I believe this will aid in my ability to act as liaison between the SMSS and CFMS VP Advocacy. It will also aid in my ability to participate during the provincial lobby day and to carry out the responsibilities of the position.

Another experience that may contribute to my ability to fulfill Jr. GAAC Rep’s role is when I proposed a new policy at a previous clinical practicum. The new policy was created with a subgroup of a larger population in consideration. The new policy worked to protect this subgroup from poor health outcomes resulting from hot weather. I collaborated with my preceptor and a staff nurse to draft this policy and then it was distributed to key decision-makers.

My experiences have exposed me to the difficulties of policy change, but they have also emphasized the importance of advocacy. I would love the opportunity to represent the voices of the students at the U of S College of Medicine. I hope to participate in more discussions with this role and to push for local solutions. I am prepared to advocate for these solutions and influence change.

Thank you for reading,

Annie

 

Global Health Liaison (1 position, 7 candidates)

Chiamaka Mary

Good Day,

My name is Chiamaka Okonkwo and I am running for the Global Health Liaison Jr. Position. As an individual who has had the privilege, of living in four different countries, I have been exposed to health and healthcare practices within these different countries. I understand that the obtainment of health and wellness, is a common goal possessed by these countries; however, I understand that the access to healthcare, the conceptual approach to health and wellness, varies amongst them. In Canada, we are fortunate to have a neat and continuously improving healthcare system; however, this isn’t the case for every country around the world. I want to help raise awareness of healthcare issues not just in Canada but around the globe. As medical students and thus future physicians, we have an integral role to play in the field of healthcare, not just in Canada but around the world. I believe that further education and awareness in cultural competency and cultural humility, is vital to this role. As future physicians, we are socially accountable to those who do not have privy to equitable healthcare services. In order to enact change, we need to learn more and gain such awareness.

This is by no means an exhaustive discussion about the sphere of global health. However, they were a few things I believed were important to highlight. If elected for the position, I will aim to help create more awareness campaigns about health issues faced by nations around the globe such as the repercussion of anti-vaccination, decreased access to mental health services and the decreased wellness of individuals living below the poverty line. Though, I by no means will be able to solve these issues, I firmly believe in the saying, “ Think globally, act locally”. It would be incredible, if students here at the College of Medicine are able to make close connections, with other global healthcare institutions and collaborate in different ways. As mentioned previously, living in several places abroad has equipped me with interpersonal networks, and language skills to be able to aid foster this alliance. I deeply look forward to working hard on this in the near future.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Chiamaka Okonkw

Amani Khan 

Hi College of Medicine Students!

My name is Amani Khan and I am running for the position of Jr. Global Health Liaison. After demonstrating interest in related positions throughout my life and education, I hope to prove myself to be an asset to the SMSS group and the College of Medicine student body.

Caring for the environment and focusing on indigenous health and political issues have been a priority of mine throughout the past few years.

As far back as elementary school, I began showing my passion for environmental justice. I started my schools first annual yard cleanup and also started a (super cool) club (as you will be able to tell from the name) called the “Nature Rangers”! Years later in high school, I adopted the neighborhood park and took responsibility of cleaning it regularly.

I would also like to share with you my personal strides towards becoming more involved in indigenous health care. Growing up in Ontario, I unfortunately did not learn of the history of the indigenous community and its continued impact until I moved to Regina. Upon learning about indigenous history in university courses, I sought out more information, and ensured I gained some experience within the community. I did this by volunteering at SEARCH in Regina which is an inner city health clinic with a focus on indigenous health. At the clinic, I was able to have conversations with clients from the community, build relationships and help out at the clinic in various areas including nutrition, clinical care and children’s programming.

Additionally, I have participated in various student boards and fundraising activities throughout my life. In elementary school, I was elected secretary of the student council. Later in high school, I started the UNICEF club where I led a group of students to fundraise with a goal of giving children in need access to clean water. Lastly, and most recently, I held a fundraiser at the University of Regina to raise funds for children in Syria and was also secretary on the SEARCH Health Clinic student board. As a board member, I was able to supervise and run shifts at the clinic and motivate other student volunteers to learn more about the different aspects of the clinic and the community.

I truly believe this position would be a wonderful experience and would love to use my prior knowledge along with new teachings to strive to do my best in it.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kylee Kosokowsky 

Hi everyone! My name is Kylee Kosokowsky and I am running for the position of Global Health Liaison. I am from a rural Saskatchewan community and Global Health is a passion of mine. It was one of the reasons I decided to go into Medicine.

My passion for Global Health started in Grade 12, as I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala. This was my first experience working with an organization that promoted women’s rights in an area where they were severely overlooked. This sparked a personal interest in healthcare in developing countries that took me to Uganda in the summer of 2018. There I worked in rural and urban healthcare centers and realized how inaccessible healthcare was for so many areas of the world. In one of the centers, there was no running water, no electricity and very few medications. I realized how lucky I was to live where healthcare was a right and not a privilege.

Here in Canada, my passion for accessible healthcare has been evident in my volunteer roles. I have volunteered at Ronald McDonald House for 3 years. This is a home for out of town families who have children receiving medical treatment, with the goal to make treatment more affordable and less stressful for these families. Additionally, I volunteered with CHAMPS, an activity program for children with congenital heart disease. I also was employed with MEND, a program aimed at families in low socioeconomic areas who have children above a healthy weight, working on nutrition, exercise and self-esteem. These opportunities have given me experience working with people of all backgrounds while emphasizing physical and mental health.

Most notably, I was an executive member for 5 Days for the Homeless (5D4H) in 2018 and the 5D4H Project Manager in 2019. This position involved advocating for a marginalized population in my community and fundraising for EGADZ: an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness. I believe my experience in this position directly relates to the responsibilities of the Global Health Liaison. My roles in 5D4H involved planning multiple events, all with the purpose of raising money and awareness for youth homelessness. Another role was training and supervising 30 committee members. This involved open communication and getting to know each person to understand their strengths. These are skills I can directly apply to the role of Global Health Liaison as I work with the SMSS, CFMS Global Health Program, CoM Global Health Committee and CoM Social Accountability Committee.

I am certain my involvement working in healthcare in developing countries, my passion for accessible healthcare, and my experience working with committees makes me an ideal candidate for Global Health Liaison. Thank you for reading!

Abdal Khawaja 

My name is Abd-Al-Wahab Khawaja, and I am running for the position of Global Health Liaison. I know what you’re thinking: “Who? I’ve never seen that name before in my life!” And that’s totally understandable; Facebook only lets me have one hyphen in my name because it’s “too many special characters”. Ethnic names, amirite? This is one small way colonization has affected my life, which is why global health is such an interest of mine. If you’re in the Facebook group for the Class of 2023, you’ll know me as the guy who makes all the memes. If you’re not, hopefully now you can associate me with one of my other passions: Global Health.

Being the son of two immigrant parents, and having grown up in a large metropolitan city like Toronto before moving to Saskatoon 6 years ago, I’ve seen different levels of access, and different standards of care both in Canada and abroad. The factors contributing to these differences that affect the health of people globally have always been of great interest to me, and this interest has only increased throughout my time in university, both through my studies and the experiences I’ve had outside of school. My time volunteering at Royal University Hospital, at SWITCH, or with refugees at my local mosque, has really opened my eyes to some of the barriers many marginalized communities face when trying to access healthcare. This is why when I’m not making memes, I like to spend a bit of my time at these community organizations so I can learn more.

I’m eager to learn more about Global Health, and this role will provide me the perfect opportunity to do that. This role involves liaising between the SMSS and the CFMS, representing student interests on the College of Medicine Global Health and Social Accountability Committees, as well as organizing global health events at the U of S. I look forward to working with the senior GHL, the rest of the SMSS, and my fellow students to fulfill these responsibilities to the best of my ability. As medical students, we have a unique opportunity to positively impact factors that contribute to the health of populations around the world, and if you all allow me, I would like to be your Global Health Liaison so we can work toward implementing these positive changes.

Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” – Albus Dumbledore

Peter Liu 

My name is Peter Liu and it is my honour to run for the Jr. Global Health Liaison. I am wholly prepared to take on the responsibilities which include representing the students in the Global Health Committee, contributing to Health Everywhere initiatives, and publicizing global health opportunities. With a keen interest in healthcare equity, I am passionate about advocating for changes that will benefit the students, the province, and the international community.

In 2014, 6223 patients in Saskatchewan are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (Nair, 2019). Approximately 11% of RA patients become intolerant to first-line drugs, and are prescribed the biologic drug Enbrel (Calasan, 2013). Erelzi, a biosimilar of Enbrel with the same clinical efficacy, costs 40% less ($241.00/50mg vs. 405.99/50mg) (SaskatchewanDrugFormulary, 2019). Considering that the typical dosage for Enbrel is 50mg/week, a protocol mandating the use of biosimilars would bring a theoretical maximum saving of $5.13mil/year (enbrel.com, 2019), which could be used to provide medical resources for underserved areas, or fund global health initiatives. Other cases of biosimilars that could replace biologics include: Basaglar for Lantus ($4.65vs.$92.85) in diabetes patients, and Inflectra for Remicade ($6.50vs.$9.77) in Crohn’s patients. In May, BC became the first province to mandate the use of biosimilars in new and existing patients, with anticipated saving of $100mil in the next three years. A major barrier to global healthcare delivery is economic inequality: sub-Saharan Africa bares 25% of the global burden of disease, with only<1% of global financial health resources (Condradie, 2018). As GHL, I will advocate for replacing biologics with biosimilars, and other cost-saving measures, to provide funding and solve the underlying issue for global healthcare delivery.

Prior to entering Medicine, I was elected as Vice President and later President and Coach of the UBC Table Tennis Club. In a club with more than 120 members, 12 executive officers, and a competitive team that represented UBC in the North American College Championship, I was able to effectively utilize club resources, communicate with the student government, and manage the club’s operations. After communicating feedback with members, the executive team and I had adapted changes that saw increased levels of participation, membership, and collaborations with student groups. My revamping of the practice schedule saw more efficient use of time for the competitive team, aiding the Women’s team achieving 5th place in NA last year.

Previous experiences build my competency while passion shapes my drive. If elected as GHL, my biggest goals are to support the medical students’ global healthcare solutions, while providing students with opportunities to contribute to global health. 

Maggie Sutherland 

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Maggie. A fun fact is that I was born a ginger, but I promise I have a soul, and that soul cares a lot about global health. I have always had an interest in exploring new places and immersing myself in different cultures. My travel experiences, most significant being my time spent living with two local families in Japan, have taught me a lot about the amazing and unique qualities of different countries (Ex: Game of Thrones sets in Croatia and musical toilets in Japan). All jokes aside, these travel opportunities have made me aware of the inequality and inequity that exists regarding access to and quality of health care. Similarly, I have witnessed disparities regarding other important contributors to quality of life, such as living conditions, access to and quality of education, and freedom to live one’s life in accordance with one’s beliefs, opinions, and values. Realizing that these discrepancies exist across and within countries and cultures was the first step for me in realizing my passion for global health. I want to do everything in my power to shift these disparities and move towards a more equitable world. I believe that raising awareness for relevant issues within global health will allow others to discover a passion for this as well! The role of Global Health Liaison is an ideal position in which to open up conversations within the medical student population as well as between the SMSS and the CFMS Global Health Program and I would be honoured to have the opportunity to do just that!

My past work and volunteer experiences have allowed me to get to know people from different places and walks of life. I have been volunteering at Saskatoon City Hospital in various roles for three years and I worked at a retirement home for two years. Cooperation and collaboration are important pillars of both of these workforces. I had many eye-opening conversations with the people that I met through these opportunities and the sum of these encounters is a desire to advocate for vulnerable populations within and outside of my community. I believe I am well-equipped for the position of Global Health Liaison because I am open-minded and eager to listen to my fellow students in order to represent them in this position, I have experience with working collaboratively, and I have a passion for working towards an improved global health status. As your Global Health Liaison I would plan events to increase awareness of health issues across the globe and strongly encourage advocacy for disadvantaged and/or vulnerable populations.

Sarah White 

Hi everyone!

My name is Sarah White and I am running for the position of Global Health Liaison Jr. I grew up in rural Saskatchewan and have lived in Saskatoon for the past five years while pursuing my undergrad degree. I decided to pursue medicine because of my passion for health equity and advocacy, and throughout my undergraduate program have been involved in a variety of leadership and volunteer roles that make me well-suited to this position.

In terms of student leadership, I spent many years involved with the Arts and Science Students Union, Best Buddies program, and College of Arts and Science Peer Mentor program. These experiences helped me gain organizational and communication skills necessary to be an effective representative. Studying at the U of S has also given me the opportunity to attend the Global Health Conferences organized in part by the GHL each year, as global health has always been one of my principal interests.

An incredibly important experience and reason that I decided to study medicine has been my involvement with the SWITCH Clinic over the last 5 years. SWITCH is an interdisciplinary student-led clinic serving the core neighborhoods of Saskatoon, offering outreach and clinical services (I’ll be telling you all more about SWITCH in a couple weeks when I harass you about coming to an orientation Daisy and I are running, so watch for that). I love being involved in an inclusive and diverse healthcare setting and learning about the social determinants of health. I have served as an outreach team supervisor and clinical team supervisor, overseeing all volunteers on shift to ensure programs and clinical services run smoothly.

As well as spending many hours on shift at the clinic, I’ve spent the last three years serving on the Board of Directors. In my different roles I served as the chair of committees and gained valuable experience representing our 150+ regular volunteers. Some of my board responsibilities include selecting and training volunteers for supervisor roles on shift, representing SWITCH to the public at events and meetings, and shaping our policies. An example of the last point would be my involvement in revising our strategic plan in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action regarding health.

I believe that my passions for equitable healthcare and my extensive experience volunteering in health related and community focused fields make me a perfect fit for this position. I look forward to utilizing my skills communicating and building relationships to work with the CFMS and represent your interests and ideas.

Please feel free to message me on Facebook or find me between classes with any questions you have. Thank you for your consideration!

 

Global Health Advocate Jr (1 position, VACANT) 

Jr Student Group Coordinator (1 position, VACANT) 

Jr HSSA Rep (1 position, 1 candidate)

Kayode Adesina 

My name is Kayode and I am running for the junior position of the Health Sciences Students’ Association (HSSA). I am interested in this position because I want to engage in interprofessional collaboration with students from other health sciences colleges. Before I was accepted into the College of Medicine, I spent two years in the pharmacy program at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. During my time in pharmacy, I got to personally observe the impact interprofessionalism can have on patient outcomes in the health care system. I learned to appreciate that each health care professional brings a unique perspective to the table, and how teamwork is essential for success. Being HSSA Junior requires effective communication skills since that individual is the liaison between the SMSS and the HSSA. I have had many opportunities to develop these skills while participating in extracurricular activities during my time at the University of Saskatchewan. While volunteering as a peer mentor in the Peer Assistant Learning (PAL) program, I was able to enhance my communication skills. In the PAL program, I assisted my peers by holding informative workshops on study skills. My position involved giving presentations, working one-on-one with my peers to help develop good study habits, and taking feedback from my coordinators to better assist these students. Furthermore, I collaborated with other students in the PAL program to plan and present workshops. Additionally, I volunteered at Circle Drive Special Care Home, where I assisted the Circle Drive recreational team and nurses to help older adults. In Circle Drive, I had a constant line of communication with the staff for the safety and wellbeing of the residents. These skills will be necessary because HSSA is responsible for planning many events like IPASS and Medicomania, so being able to work with students from other health sciences colleges is important for success. As the HSSA Junior, I will be an effective link between the SMSS and the HSSA to promote HSSA’s events to medical students as well as report any concerns that they may have about these events. Furthermore, I will assist in planning and carrying out the events so students in the College of Medicine can come out and build relationships with other health sciences students and also have fun! Thank you for taking the time to consider my application!

 

Research Rep (1 position, 4 candidates)

Michael Anderson 

Hello everyone!

My name is Michael (one of many in our year) and I am very excited to be running for the SMSS Research Rep position! I did my undergrad at Queen’s University taking “Life Sciences”, which is essentially the equivalent of Phys/Pharm here at Usask so you might as well lump me into that clan. During my undergrad I volunteered in a protein crystallography lab where I first was exposed to basic research. It was a lot of fun! With that being said, I soon realized that slaving away in a lab doing mini preps and PCR was not the type of research that I wanted to do long term. In late undergrad, I took a few behavioural psychology courses and became interested in neuroscience. I came here to Usask for a Master’s degree in Dr. John Howland’s lab, where I did neuroscience/behavioural psychology research with rats. It was an awesome experience that taught me a lot of laboratory-based skills and shattered many of my preconceptions about the research world. After finishing that degree, I applied to Med and am so happy to be starting this adventure with all of you lovely people! The Research Rep position is a great way to apply the skills that I learned over the past 6 years. The position involves planning a poster day for Dean’s project students, helping the VP Academic to host the annual research symposium, sharing information between our year’s student body and the Office of the Vice Dean of Research, as well as acting as a general point of contact for any research-based questions that any of you may have! I believe that my experience in basic science research at both the molecular biology and animal level, as well as my strong interest in pursuing clinical research in the future make me a strong applicant for this position. Additionally, throughout my Master’s I attended many research symposiums and presented several poster presentations, which makes me well equipped to plan both the research symposium and poster day events here at the university. I am also planning to do a Dean’s project this summer and already have many questions such as: When can we begin applying? Is the contact information of each supervisor with a Dean’s project already available? How long is a Dean’s project? Can you do a Dean’s project from afar? I have already looked into many of these questions and am happy to share that knowledge with you! Likewise, if you have any questions about my experience in basic research or any general questions about research opportunities here at Usask I am happy to chat!

Thank you for your consideration! 

Erin Neville 

Hello everyone, I’m Erin Neville, a second-year med student and I’m running for the Research Rep position. I am well-suited for this position for a number of reasons. The first being my passion for research. I’ve been fortunate to have done both bench lab and quality improvement research, and have enjoyed both immensely. I learned so much while doing my Dean’s project this summer and want to pass what I’ve learned along to you! I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to conduct research, determine where their interests lie, and develop the skills to become an effective researcher.

Within this role, I hope to increase transparency of the OVDR and enhance communication between the OVDR and students. I will consider the challenges that some of my classmates faced with their research projects this past summer and work to prevent them from happening again. These may be more basic things such as knowing what you’re eligible to apply for as a Making the Links student, or which ethics form your research pertains to, to what to do if ethics approval is taking too long, to dealing with conflict with a supervisor. I want all of you to feel well supported in your research experience and for you to feel that you have the tools to do so. I have experience in acting as a liaison between sponsors and the Saskatchewan Pharmacy and Nutrition Student Society when I was the Communications Coordinator. I will leverage this experience in liaising between all of you and the OVDR. I was also on the planning committee for the biology research poster day during my undergraduate degree, which will serve me well in planning the research symposium.

Through my past experience serving as a liaison between students and faculty, and learning from my peers’ research experience of this past summer, I am well-prepared to serve as the research representative on the SMSS. My passion for research and enjoyment of empowering others to realize their potential would make this position ideal for me. Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in this capacity.

Brandon Spink 

Hi everyone!

 I’m Brandon and I am putting forward my case for the SMSS Research Rep position.

In four words, research is my jam. If you were to ask my friends (yes, they do exist), they would say that I always talk research. I am a RN, short for “research nerd” (apologies to registered nurses) and I wear this label proudly. As evidence, my light reading concerns pursuing JAMA and the NEJM for research articles… 

My relationship with research at university started in my first year. I worked over the summer in the Department of Chemistry as a research assistant. We were looking at different methods for extracting gold nanoparticles from ore. Our specific focus was on using ionic liquids as an alternative method to the industry standard of using cyanide, which is a major health issue in the developing world. I presented my findings to interested faculty. 

After this experience, I moved into research within the field of health. I had the opportunity to spend one summer at the Cancer Research Cluster as a NSERC USRA recipient. My project involved identifying synthetically lethal interactions between gene knockdowns and the benzamide histone deacetylase inhibitor, Entinostat, in breast cancer cell lines. If successful, this could improve precision medicine through better chemotherapeutic targeting. I gained experience using basic techniques (Westerns) as well as more advanced procedures (microarray analysis). I also gave a presentation to interested faculty on current and emerging cell-based and animal model studies being used in cancer research and participated in the NSERC poster competition. 

My last two summers involved more research (no surprise here). I spent another summer as an NSERC USRA recipient, where I examined the interactions between PrPC and NMDA receptors following a focal ischemic incident (stroke) in rats. If established in humans, this could assist in the development of therapeutics that reduce the volume of cell death in stroke patients. This culminated in another NSERC poster presentation. Last summer I was fortunate enough to be funded for a Biomedical Summer Research Project (CoM). My project (ongoing) involves using magnetic stimulation to study interactions between neurons and oligodendrocytes involved in neuronal synchrony. As asynchrony is implicated in many neurological disorders, finding ways to externally entrain neurons could serve as outpatient therapy. 

Thank you for reading my story. Medicine is about evidence-based decision making and this starts (and ends) with research. Hopefully, my passion for and participation in research comes through, and you can see that I would be very committed to promoting undergraduate research through this position. However, if I do not get this position, my hope is that I’ve made you think a little bit more about research in medicine (and still have friends). 

Cheers, Brandon

Ben McMillan

Hello Everyone!

My name is Benjamin McMillan, a second-year medical student, and I am running for the position of SMSS Research Representative. As I have gone down the path towards a career in medicine, I have seen more and more the fundamental role that research holds in the field. As research is a pillar of the practice of medicine, I feel strongly that it is important that current and future medical professionals have the opportunities and support to engage with medical research at every level of their training.

Before starting medicine, I completed my undergraduate degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology. During my education, I had the privilege to participate in research opportunities funded through the College of Medicine. These include both the Biomedical Summer Research Project in my undergraduate years, and the Dean’s Project this past summer. The college allowed me to pursue my interest in the field of neuroscience by allowing me to conduct both laboratory-based and clinical-based research within it. I believe that these experiences have given me a good insight into the College of Medicine’s process for their research opportunities. These experiences will allow me to help others in the process of connecting with researchers, organizing exciting research projects and applying for funding through the college. Additionally, I served on the executive for the Anatomy and Cell Biology Club, where among other events, we organized a research night in order to connect students with prospective research supervisors, which I hope to emulate as research representative for the SMSS.

In my exposure to medical research so far, I have seen the important role that students occupy in research, and because of this I want to help to improve the opportunities my fellow classmates have to pursue it. I hope to promote more opportunities for students to engage with research projects they are passionate about and make it easier for students to achieve their research goals. As someone who has gone through the process multiple times, I understand the difficulty that can be posed by research and ethics applications to the college, and I aim to engage with them to make the process more accessible for students. I also aim to be available for anyone who has any questions, concerns or simply requires assistance pursuing research in the college

With your support, I hope that we will be able to make our medical education one that allows for impactful research opportunities for its students to pursue, which will form a strong research foundation for the rest of their medical career.

Thank you for your consideration of me for the position of Research Representative. I hope that everyone has a fantastic new year in medical school.

 

Jr SMA Rep (1 Position, 2 candidates)

Talha Salman 

Hello to all you wonderful folks,

My name is Talha Salman and I am very excited to be running for the Jr. Saskatchewan Medical Association Representative position! Being medical students in Saskatchewan, there are a lot of organizations and committees to keep track of. Enter Jr. SMA Rep, whose quintessential role is to help liaison and mediate the best interests of our SMSS between the SMA and CMA. Saskatchewan is a beautiful province with countless opportunities for physicians ranging anywhere from big urban centres to remote small towns. It can be daunting at times to know what type of medicine we’d like to practice without fully experiencing all of the different avenues SK has to offer. This is why a big component of the Jr. SMA Rep is to help plan and coordinate events such as annual rural experiences and the SMA Road Map program in order to provide medical students as much exposure to healthcare in different Saskatchewan settings. I understand that facilitation is a major responsibility of this position. If elected, my goal is to help ease communications, voice any concerns we may have as the SMSS to the governing bodies in Saskatchewan all while maintaining complete transparency through it all.

Though I might be biased, Saskatoon is my favourite city. I moved here when I was eight and did all my schooling right here in the city. Growing up, I have worked with and have been involved with many organizations that I feel would make me an ideal candidate for the Jr. SMA Rep position. During my time volunteering with the Saskatoon Open Door Society, I was tasked with leading homework workshops for recent elementary and high school immigrants. Due to the prevalent language barrier, this taught me to develop patience and practice effective communication skills in order to get my message across in a manner which the students could understand. I have also spent 4 years volunteering with the pediatrics department at RUH where I would plan different daily activities in the summer, such as painting or Lego building workshops to name a few, in order to help get kids involved and move away from their hospital bed. I’m confident that my past experiences will provide me the tools needed to succeed in planning key future events and become an effective medium relaying the voice of the SMSS to the SMA and CMA.

I’m very passionate about medicine in Saskatchewan and I plan to bring that same enthusiasm with me into this position if elected! Thank you for taking the time to read my statement and for your consideration in electing me as your Jr. SMA Rep.

Thanks,

Talha S.

 

Jamie Vander Ende 

Class of 2023, My name is Jamie Vander Ende, and I am running for the SMA Jr. position. I would be a good fit for this position due to my previous involvement with the SPA (Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association) during my studies in physical therapy. This involvement strengthened my belief that being involved in our profession’s regulating body is a professional responsibility. In this role, I learned the importance of advocating for my profession and under-serviced patient groups. Advocacy starts with being aware of what the key issues are in our professional regulating body and communities, and how we can work together to mitigate these issues. 

In my past studies, I have established a passion for helping under-serviced populations, such as geriatrics. This passion will translate to helping under-serviced communities within Saskatchewan, which includes the rural community. In my past education, I made a conscious effort to participate in rural physical therapy placements. This participation allowed me to understand the needs of Saskatchewan communities as a practitioner better. An essential aspect of this position is advocating for under-serviced communities and promoting events that facilitate student learning within these rural communities. As the SMA Jr., I will continue to advocate for these communities through committees and encourage student involvement in these SMA programs. 

Not only will my interest in advocacy allow me to excel in this position, but I am also a proficient communicator. My communication skills stem from my past involvement in sports, in which effective communication is a critical component of team success. I believe this skill will be essential for being a successful liaison between the SMA and the SMSS, and for organizing SMA events. 

Lastly, I will be an excellent ambassador and representative of the SMSS interests at the SMA. I understand that within these organizations, it is vital to have an active student voice to bring alternative perspectives to a variety of issues and events while advocating for the student body. Due to this understanding, I will be able to represent the SMSS well. 

Thank you,

Jamie Vander Ende

 

Student Curriculum Review Committee 1st Year Reps (3 positions, 2 candidates, 1 VACANCY) 

Fady Sulamain 

Hi folks. My name is Fady Sulaiman and I am running for a Year 1 Rep position on the SCRC. I believe this Committee is important because the curriculum is what shapes much of our day-to-day experience as medical students. I am running for this Committee position because I want to work with faculty to make sure that the curriculum works for us and our learning goals.

My philosophy for curriculum development mirrors the model for patient care (yes it’s cheesy but bear with me). Curriculum development should take into account: (1) evidence-based pedagogical approaches (2) the experience and input of experts – i.e, the CoM faculty, and (3) the feedback and preference of end-users – that would be us. As a member of the SCRC team, I will incorporate all three elements to guide curriculum development. However, as your representative, I want to focus my role especially on the third pillar – the input of us medical students whose entire learning experience is shaped by the curriculum.

Student feedback was an important part of guiding the development of the Health Sciences program at McMaster University, where I did my undergrad. In Health Sci, well-rationalized and respectful student feedback led to many changes that enhanced the learning experience: more review sessions for difficult anatomy courses, clearer marking schemes and learning objectives for many of the “subjectively-graded” courses, and more. I benefited greatly from an undergraduate program that took student feedback seriously. For this reason, I am a strong proponent of the value of this feedback process.

Students have arguably the highest stake in the curriculum – we pay the most into it and we are supposed to get the most out of it. This should motivate us to provide feedback on courses and instructors. However, I recognize that there are challenges facing students who want to promote change in their curriculums. First, we all have other priorities that compete with filling out feedback forms. Second, it is often hard to put our feedback into precise words – we might not like something but are unsure of how to convey it. Third, we often feel like many areas of the curriculum are off-limits for change.

I want to address these issues by working with other SMSS members like Class Reps and VP Academic to, for example, provide alternative channels for curriculum feedback, like setting up opportunities to talk directly with SCRC representative who can clarify your concerns and pass them on (anonymously) to faculty. I want to promote the idea that no aspect of the curriculum should be off-limits for a respectful conversation with faculty, where our concerns are at least considered.

Thanks for considering me, Fady Sulaiman, for an SCRC Rep position.

Avery Ironside 

I have extensive experience with student representation at the undergraduate and graduate level (6 years), however that is only a part of why I should be considered for one of the SCRC Year 1 representative positions. Since starting medical school, I already feel a strong sense of attachment to my fellow classmates and to the college. Seeing my friends succeed is a huge source of pride for me, especially when I am playing an active role in representing them to the college. This passion I have for my class would enable me to always be willing to put in the time and effort that this position demands. Throughout my academic career I have found immense joy in working with my peers towards a common goal. Working alongside the co-chairs and other members of the SCRC, my aim would be to ensure that our class has a strong voice in regards to the curriculum and other academic matters. Collaborating with and empowering the student body, the class reps, and other committees is something I will ensure is accomplished while I am on the SCRC. While representing my peers, I hold myself to a high standard and take the responsibility of the role very seriously. Reaching out for feedback from students, while respecting their anonymity, is a role this position demands, and a role that I would excel in.

I believe the SCRC would be able to generate higher quality feedback on academic matters by creating an online platform where students can anonymously post their concerns and recommendations. These posts will be available for the whole student body to view, and other students will also be able to anonymously ‘upvote’ the concerns that also pertain to them. This will not only give the SCRC the opportunity to hear more of everyone’s concerns, but also allow us to prioritize the issues that are common among the majority. Evaluating the current and prospective curriculum is a very important process that students need to be involved in. As students, we have a unique perspective of the curriculum compared to professors and administrators. The student perspective should be valued and professionally relayed throughout the college and to other senior members of the college.

I want the best for my classmates throughout our careers in med school and I believe representing them on the SCRC would put me in a great position to be their advocate for academic concerns. I am confident in my abilities to represent our classes best interests, and I will ensure that not only will I listen to my classmates concerns and recommendations, but that I will also act on them and bring them forward.

Details

Date:
September 4
Time:
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Organizer

SMSS