MMSA Newsletter February 2018













Here’s the second edition of the MMSA Senior Stick Newsletter! I’ve changed up the format a bit to reflect on the goals the MMSA had set out at the beginning of the year and to see how our work has accomplished these goals. It’s with your feedback and concerns with your student representatives that we run our programming and advocacy so I want to thank you for your continued engagement! I’ve also included the efforts by UGME and Student Affairs as they are very proactive in implementing and addressing our concerns! The “What We’ve Done” section is a continuation from the previous Newsletter so please see the “MMSA December Newsletter” if you haven’t already to learn more!


1. Promoting Indigenous Health and Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

  • What we’ve done
    • The CFMS federal lobby day, now called CFMS Day of Action was on Indigenous Mental Health and our delegation was selected such that Indigenous students would be able to attend and share their perspectives with the MPs.
  • What we’re doing
    • Addressing the student culture: We have come to the realization that the current culture in the medical school at multiple levels doesn’t provide a safe space for our Indigenous students. The prevalence of microaggressions, bias and harmful dialogue by students around the Canadian Indigenous applicant stream and the IH course are just some issues that have been noted. We will be reaching out to RFHS Leadership to address the challenges faced by Indigenous students at the Faculy level but are also exploring what we can do as allies to support our peers and help foster a change in the culture. We’ve engaged in a discussion as the MMSA Council on how we as student leaders can be more proactive and are asking all students to be cognizant of these experiences and to advocate for our peers if you witness any form of mistreatment.
    • Bringing Indigenous Awareness Week to Bannatyne Campus for the first time, with the focus this year being on the Metis Nation. Dr. Marlyn Cook will be speaking about Traditional Medicines in mid-March so stay tuned.

2. Developing Mentorship and Career Counselling

  • What we’ve done
    • Shadowing Database: Alyssa worked with Maggie Eade, from UGME, who collated information from UGME, Doctors Manitoba, and other resources to create a comprehensive shadowing database for all students, not just limited to the shadowing done during the consolidation block in M3. This was distributed to students in the last month!
    • Spring DocsMB Leadership Workshop: Achieng and Maira have planned an excellent second session of the Leadership/Career Workshops in collaboration with Doctors Manitoba to be held on March 10, 2018. For more information about the event, please see [insert link].
    • Student Affairs Elective Support: now has Dr. Robinson available to help with electives planning!
    • Student Affairs CaRMS Support: Kate Yee and Jim McLaren from Student Affairs provided not only personal letter and CV reviewing but also CaRMS interview prep for Med 4s throughout the winter so a mega thank you to the team there!
  • What we’re working on:
    • CV webinar: Getting the CV webinar, developed by Kate Yee from Student Affairs, available to all classes!

3. Enhancing Student Wellness

  • What we’ve done
    • Wellness Month: The Wellness Committee, in partnership with the CFMS, organized the annual Wellness Month challenge with ~100 students participating! Thanks to Doctors Manitoba for their ongoing sponsorship with this campaign.
    • CBT: Sharing input and interest with Dr. Tanya Sala with Student Services, a pilot CBT program has been made available to 10-12 students. An email recruiting students for this was distributed in the last month and there was a very strong interest!
    • Alex organized a Blue Monday board game night which had a great turnout and was well received!
    • Student Affairs: has developed a Med Hacks series covering topics such as tackling homework, taking care of your finances and career building in clerkship!
  • What we’re working on:
    • The Wellness Committee is working with Student Services in hosting a “Bringing in the Bystander” training program and is looking for dates to recruit facilitators
    • Working with the CFMS to develop resource lists for visiting students to be shared on the CFMS Website
    • Looking further into the “Mental Health First Aid Kit” course and looking into facilitating a weekend course here in Winnipeg
    • CBT: Ongoing meetings with Dr. Sala with how the CBT pilot project goes and if successful, perhaps advocating for it to be officially incorporated in the curriculum

4. Strengthening MMSA Communication and Relevance for Student Body

  • What we’ve done:
    • Clerkship resources: Achieng, Danielle, and Maira have been developing an updated resource list for clerkship that will be going on the MMSA website shortly!
    • MMSA Mid Year Survey: Ran the MMSA-Mid Year survey and had ~25% response rate. I’ve developed a report that will be distributed shortly and the results have been helpful in guiding what we need to focus on for the next couple months.
  • What we’re working on:
    • Bulletin Board changes: Meeting with KIK, the website developers, in the next few weeks to overhaul the “Bulletin Board” section to change it to a forum style. This will allow for people to post books for sale, parking passes etc and be able to respond on the website in real time so there aren’t delays in messages being posted or having to contact anyone to take down posts. Should be active by the end of March!
    • Will be combing through website to make sure all information is updated.
    • Have reactivated the ongoing “Anonymous Feedback” option for students to provide feedback throughout the year on concerns they may have.
    • 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.
    • These newsletters!

5. Broadening Student Engagement

  • What we’ve done:
    • At Large Student Involvement: Multiple opportunities to join committees for headship selection, university committees have been now being sent by myself to the student body at large instead of through the MMSA first. This is an effort to widen student engagement and there has been continued strong interest!
    • IG double booking policy: With our extensive interest groups, we made some changes to the Interest Group policy after consultation with all Interest Groups and have made some changes to clarify the double booking policy
  • What we’re working on:
    • IG event booking challenges: Working on improving the efficiency of booking interest group events and making the process more equitable. We’re starting to have discussions on the current state of interest group proliferation and will be reaching out to the student body on what they’d like to see happen with the groups.
    • Continue sharing opportunities with students at large to get involved!
    • MMSA Events: Beer and Skits is the last MMSA event of the year and Ryan/Kaitlyn are hard at work planning it!

6. Improving Fiscal Responsibility

  • What we’ve done
    • Med 1 fees: There were concerns about Med 1 fees not being collected through Aurora. We have started exploring this as an option but recognize there are strong barriers for this. Currently Med 1 fees cover O-week and the CFMS fee as well as MMSA programming at large (IG events, MMSA events etc). With ongoing issues around unpaid student fees, the council will be making changes such that next year onward, not paying MMSA fees will result in the revocation of MMSA benefits (such as IG events, MMSA events, etc). The fees will be allocated to better reflect how they are utilized as they are used to enhance the student experience in multiple avenues.
    • Sponsorship: Charlenn continues to bring in sponsorship programming which is a substantial help for running our programming!
  • What we’re working on:
    • Continue strengthening policies on fee payments, reimbursements, and allocation of funds and enhance accountability and transparency.
    • 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.
    • Finance Series: We’re also working on promoting fiscal responsibility and education! Dr. Aaron Chiu and UGME, along with DocsMB, MD Financial and MMSA, have ben identifying gaps and high yield areas to provide unbiased information on finances. The series have been well received and the next one is scheduled for March 5 (hyperlink to event).

7. Advocating for Curricular Change and Improving the Student Experience

  • What we’ve done
    • PH clerkship: A team of us met with Dr. Morrow and shared our concerns about the PH curriculum during clerkship. The redundancy of the content and the timing of the sessions is being explored further and we’ll be having a follow up meeting in the Spring with Dr. Morrow
    • Shadowing during consolidation: We asked that shadowing be allowed during the “Assigned Study” time during the consolidation block. We were unsuccessful in this advocacy and will monitor how it goes for this year. Concerns regarding engagement/participation by students during consolidation tutorials was cited as the reason to not allow shadowing during that time.
    • E-chart/Impax: After a long time, with UGME’s strong advocacy, clerkship students now have access to e-chart and Impax – success!
    • Post call taxi stipends: now available to clerkship students so don’t have to take the bus or drive home post call! (We’re looking into starting a discussion to get a two way taxi stipend so any cars left behind can be recovered)
  • What we’re working on
    • Surgery rotation: We’ve expressed our concerns about the variability of experiences students experience on their Surgery rotation as well as some of the structural challenges of the subspecialties. UGME has been very receptive to our feedback and is working with us on addressing these!
    • U-Pass Opt Out: Blake, our UMSU Rep, is currently in the process of working with UGME and UMSU to allow Med 3/4s to opt out of the U-pass program as it has limited utility during clerkship and electives. UMSU will be bringing this forward during the contract re-negotiations.
    • Expansion of Safe Walk areas: Alex and UGME are working on the possibility of expanding the safe walk boundaries
    • Elective time: We’ve expressed our concerns about the amount of elective time we have and are looking for options that can increase the amount of elective time in the 3rd/4th year.

8. Supporting Environmental Responsibility, Social Accountability and Community Advocacy

  • What we’ve done:
    • Pack-a-sac: Maira and Mariam organized the backpack drive competition and the numbers are coming in for how much we raised for Agape Table and which class donated the most!
    • The Global Health Liaisons, Jaymie and Amy, are organizing the annual Rich Man Poor Man Fundraiser which will be held February 21. This event provides us for the opportunity to give back and this year, proceeds will go to North End Women’s Centre.
  • What we’re working on:
    • Provincial Lobby Day: Training for PLD will be on Feb 26 with Feb 28 with this year’s ask being on youth mental health resources
    • Water Bottle Station: With UGME’s support, we’re getting a water bottle filling station outside Theater B AND in the lounge
    • 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!
    • The GH Team is working on a lot of programming including Careers in GH night, possibly a second Documentary night after the success of the first one, International Women’s Week and a GH podcast will be released sometime this month!

9. Student Space Improvements

  • What we’ve done
    • Richard, ran a survey on what students would like to see in the lounge and is currently exploring getting a vending machine in the lounge with healthy snacks along with some other
    • Alex has been working on getting wet wipe dispensers in lounge after his success in getting them in the library and upstairs study areas!
    • Lounge/Campus Security Cameras: UGME has been extremely proactive in helping move this along and there should be security cameras in the lounge as well as in the hallways where lockers are sometime in March. UGME is also looking into the camera situation outside Brodie.
    • Locks/break ins: There were unfortunately thefts from some of the lockers so after talking with UGME, they are now offering the key locks again to the Med 1s.
    • BMS Study Rooms: We realize students were having a hard time getting access to these rooms as they were always occupied by non- Bannatyne students. UGME was able to change the time to make swipe access earlier and put up signage which has improved the situation dramatically!
  • What we’re working on:
    • Lounge Temperatures: we get it seems to be way hotter or colder than it should be and are reaching out to Physical Plant to see if there’s a way to fix this!
    • Computer lab: UGME is working on getting a new multi-functional computer lab and Andrew will be working with them on this!