MMSA Newsletter December 2017

 
Hi all,

I’d like to introduce the brand new MMSA newsletter. It can be hard to keep up with everything that the MMSA is up to, so every month, I’ll be sharing updates focusing on what your MMSA council has been and will be working on! I welcome feedback on any and all of our current projects and if you have an idea you want us to work on, let us know! This first newsletter will be a bit longer as I’ll be covering what we’ve done this academic year so far. I’ve split up our accomplishments in major themes.

Contents

  1. Wellness
  2. Career Advising
  3. Events
  4. Student Experience
  5. Information/Resources
  6. Advocacy
  7. Interest Groups
  8. Student Engagement
  9. Fiscal Responsibility

1. Wellness

  • What’s been done:
    • We created “Wellness Representative” positions for each of the class councils as we recognized that each year has its unique challenges and support needs. The newly elected class Wellness Reps will together form a committee under the MMSA Wellness Representative, Leanne Thompson, so that the classes can work together in addressing issues and the MMSA can be aware of any situations in the classes that require further advocacy
    • For the Peer Support sessions, the Wellness team has worked with Student Services to ensure there are formal support services provided after these sessions in case students are requiring more support.
    • Most medical students aren’t educated on how money works, how to minimize debt and how to plan for a debt-free future. By collaborating with the university, Doctors Manitoba and the CMA, a new MMSA Affiliated Financial Literacy Series was launched earlier this Fall to address this. These are new sessions and our goal is to over time develop an informative series on financial health, which is tailored to the year of medicine you’re in, to help you minimize your debt and better understand what the years ahead look like financially.
    • Charlenn Skead, our Corporate Relations Representative, worked extensively with MD Financial and the banks to create an up-to-date comprehensive “Finance 101” document on financial information for the incoming med class (though relevant for all years).
  • What we’re working on:
    • Leanne is working closely with the university’s Student Services and the College’s Student Affairs to incorporate CBT into the curriculum, as well as looking at options on how we can include optional Bystander programming or the Mental Health First Aid Kit Training for students. We’re currently working on reaching out to sponsors to help fund such initiatives.
    • The Wellness Committee will be organizing the annual CFMS Wellness Month that happens in the New Year’s
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2. Career Advising

  • What’s been done:
    • After considering your feedback from the first year of the Doctors Manitoba Mentorship Program, we made changes on how we match students to resident and attending mentors. We increased the flexibility and gave students the option of what criteria they’d like to be matched on. Chris Briggs and Achieng worked with Doctors Manitoba in ensuring all students got a mentor this year. There were no students on the waitlist this year!
    • This year, we started a new Workshop series in collaboration with Doctors Manitoba. These weekends for pre-clerks have introduced key concepts around how to get involved, what the road ahead looks like and how to best start early career exploration. They were very well received by those who attended!
    • Over the summer, we developed a guidebook for the incoming Med 1s that offered an oversight into the career planning process through medical school. We heard over the last couple years that students felt unprepared come CaRMS and we aimed to highlight what you can do throughout the years to equip yourself and be ready!
    • Achieng, the Vice Stick External, headed the new “Humans of CaRMS” series which shared stories from the Class of 2017 on their CaRMS experiences. These snippets are just a start at promoting inter-class information sharing!
    • Asked Student Services to provide more resources on CV building resulting in a CV webinar that was made available to the Med 4 class in preparation for the CaRMS applications.
    • We advocated to UGME to combine the Med 1 and 2 career/wellness fairs so that Student Affairs can bring in high-quality keynote speakers. This has been a work in progress as it needs to go through the Curriculum Committees.
  • What we’re doing
    • Alyssa, the Vice Stick Internal, is currently working with the university and with Doctors Manitoba to consolidate resources and provide a comprehensive shadowing database in the province.
    • Achieng and Maira are developing the Workshops for the Spring with an emphasis on how to be a more effective leader throughout Medicine and on gaining skills on public speaking, advocacy and leadership.
    • Will be getting CV webinar available to all classes!
    • Doctors Manitoba Mock Interviews – for Med 4s, will happen in January for CaRMS interview prep.
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3. Events

  • What we’ve done:
    • Our Social Programmers, Ryan and Kaitlyn, have been busy planning the yearly line up of MMSA social events. They organized the IceBowl trip to Vancouver, as well as Med Law, Winter Formal, and the Movember Coffeehouse which raised $1500!
    • With all years now following the new curriculum, the block party has been a thing of the past. The Class Exec of all four years brought back the block party with Optra being a huge success!
  • What we’re working on
    • Ryan and Kaitlyn are hard at work ensuring Winter Formal is a success and in the New Year will be planning Banny Bowl and the biggest event of the year, Beer and Skits!
    • The Global Health Liaison, Jaymie and Amy, are organizing the annual Rich Man Poor Man Fundraiser which will be held some time in February. This event provides us for the opportunity to give back!
    • Maira and Mariam from the Class of 2020 and 2021 have been organizing a Backpack drive for Agape table with an inter-class and inter-College competition!
    • Linda, our Government Affairs and Advocacy Rep, worked extensively on planning a trip to Shoal Lake for students to learn about the experiences that the local Indigenous community has faced with the Canadian Museum of Human Rights Violations Exhibit. Linda is currently working on finding a time that would be most appropriate to have this weekend trip!
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4. Student Experience

  • What we’ve done
    • CPR courses in the summer at a subsidized cost
    • Working with university to make BMS rooms more accessible for medical students with the institution of the swipe card access to increase study space
    • The confidential waste bin was removed from the old locker room next to the lounge and we’ve got a replacement now in the library to throw away any of those lingering patient lists – it’s a PHIA violation to take them home so this is a convenient way to get rid of them!
  • What we’re working on
    • Getting a water bottle station outside theater B
    • Continuous student lounge upgrades including getting a recycling bin in the student lounge, getting cable access to the lounge TV, and perhaps some video game consoles!
    • Starting an inter-college Green Team to help keep the lounge clean!
    • Removing the old art in the lounge that’s falling apart and instead putting up art from students in our College!
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5. Information/Resources

  • What we’ve done
    • The Med 4s have hosted panels for the Med 3 as they transitioned to clerkship. We are trying to share targeted information from year to year so that students are receiving relevant and timely information and increase inter-class collaboration.
    • We updated the MMSA constitution and Interest Group Policy (more below) to better reflect the current practices and structure of the MMSA.
    • Alyssa is currently working with the university in preparation for The Independent Student Analysis that we do yearly will be undergoing some major changes and this upcoming one will be significant for accreditation.
  • What we’re working on
    • The MMSA website has only been around for a year and a bit and is always a work in progress. We’re working on generating and updating content so that it remains relevant such as clerkship/rotation information, CaRMS resources and electives planning.
    • We recognize that the Bulletin Board has some issues that need to be worked out to make it more user-friendly in the sales of parking passes and books and are currently working with the developer to make some big changes!
    • With the changing climate, we know our social media presence is looked into. We’re working on Social Media Guidelines to help you remain professional and private in your online presence.
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6. Advocacy

  • What we’ve done:
    • Our MMSA and class executives sit on many committees and those are usually the platform we use in advocating for what students are asking for. Sometimes we’re successful in our advocacy and sometimes we’re not. Some highlights of this year so far
      • Convocation: We had >50% of the student body sign a petition about preserving components of the Convocation ceremony including the valedictory address, awards ceremony and Transfer of Sticks Ceremony. We communicated our concerns to Dr. Postl and have gained assurance that the Valedictory Address and Transfer of Sticks Ceremony will stay in place. Award winners will be announced as they graduate instead of having a separate ceremony.
      • Med 2 Summer Research Project: The 2020 Class Exec was very active in their advocacy to ensure this opportunity continued to be available for med students interested in pursuing a summer of research and were successful in doing so.
      • Exam Feedback: Alyssa advocated for improved and more transparent exam feedback. She researched the current state of exam feedback throughout the country and brought forward a proposal to UGME. Though we weren’t successful in getting our goals, UGME did commit to working on improving qualitative feedback, such as for the OSCEs.
      • Clerkship rotations: We asked for Public Health week to be removed from the Family Medicine Rotation. Though this was unsuccessful, it has brought to UGME’s attention that students aren’t satisfied with that component of the rotation and further advocacy can be done for this. We also noted that students who did Gen Surg in the first part of their rotation didn’t get formal feedback on their FITER and this has now been rectified!
      • Post-call taxi stipends: As residents are offered post-call taxi reimbursements from the Dean’s money, I asked for medical students to also have access. This was incorporated in the new “Clerkship Duty Hours Policy” which is has successfully passed!
  • We also work on advocacy with external organizations to ensure that medical students are being heard
    • Loss of Return of Service: We were in the media, print and television (CBC and Global) to share our disappointment over the loss of the return of service initiatives for students. We also had a letter campaign which involved all the MLAs asking to be included in any replacement initiative the provincial government may be working on
    • Research Funding – Andrew, our Research Rep, worked with CITAC to develop a national database of funding resources for dual MD/MSc or MD/PhD students.
  • What we’re working on:
    • E-Chart/Impax Access: It’s very difficult for clerks to offer thorough patient care when we don’t have access to certain electronic health records. Dr. Ripstein is working with us in advocating to the WRHA that these services be provided to us and we have been assured that this will happen, just a matter of when now.
    • U-Pass Opt Out: Blake, our UMSU Rep, is currently in the process of working with the College and UMSU to allow Med 3/4s to opt out of the U-pass program as it has limited utility during clerkship and electives.
    • Unmatched student feedback: Currently, unmatched students receive a lot of support from our UGME. I have asked Dr. Postl to see if there would be a mechanism by which PGMEs can give feedback to unmatched students as their Program Directors are involved in residency selection. Dr. Postl has been receptive to this idea and was going to take it forward to the Deans Council
    • Federal/Provincial Lobby Day: The federal lobby day, now called CFMS Day of Action will be on Indigenous Mental Health. We are working on seeing if there is opportunity for local travel awards to be made available. Provincial Lobby day will be organized in the Spring
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7. Interest Groups

  • What we’ve done
    • We passed a new Interest Group Policy this year that addresses concerns from years prior about the conflict with too many events being held at the same time. The new policy ensures that no double-booking of events can happen so that Interest Groups can plan events which allow for maximal attendance.
    • We have also introduced consequences for students who are absent for interest group events they sign up for. We heard from our Interest Group executive who have had to overcome challenges in recruiting residents and attendings when students don’t show up. We have encourage Interest Group executives to start using sign in sheets for their events.
    • We were also able to improve the website so that Interest Group Executive were able to get real-time access to attendance lists so they can prepare for their events better.
  • What we’re working on:
    • We’re working on having Interest Groups submit event profiles so students that couldn’t attend have access to some information on what the event was about. We also think it would be worthwhile highlighting the interesting and novel programming our interest groups and student leaders come up with to increase opportunities for collaboration.
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8. Student Engagement

  • What we’ve done
    • We’ve tried to expand our social media presence to include reminders/highlights on Instagram and Twitter.
    • The Global Health Team hosted a “Hack-a-Thon” to see what initiatives students are passionate about and how we can support them better
  • What we’re working on
    • These newsletters!
    • Re-activating the “MMSA Anonymous Feedback” survey for students to share concerns in an anonymous way.
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9. Fiscal Responsibility

  • What we’ve done
    • Our treasurers, Rebecca and Simmi, have worked on organizing our expenses and setting and monitoring the budget to ensure we are being financially responsible and in a position to do all the amazing things listed above that requires money
    • Our treasurers have also been working closely with Alyssa to ensure Interest Group executive get reimbursed in a timely manner!
  • What we’re working on
    • Setting more clear policies on fee payments, reimbursements, and allocation of funds
    • Establishing working guidelines for the MMSA executive on the utility and availability of the various accounts that fund MMSA operations (Dean’s Fund, Capital Fund, Doctors MB fund, etc to maximize monies available for programming.
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As usual, if you have any feedback, ideas, or concerns, feel free to get in touch with me at sohig@myumanitoba.ca!

Kindly,

Gurmeet Sohi, MMSA Senior Stick