2018 CFMS Spring General Meeting


Who was there?

Delegations from each of the CFMS member schools across Canada, including:

  • Travel Award Winners
  • VP Externals/CFMS Representatives
  • Global Health Liaisons
  • Medical Society Presidents
  • National Officers
  • Executive Members

Scroll down for an inside look at what the meeting was like from all of these different viewpoints, shared by your Manitoba Delegation!

What happened on Day 1?

Panel Discussion – the medical learner experience was discussed, including conversations on CaRMS and fourth year electives; representatives included:

  • Dr. Robert Whyte – AFMC Student Portal Steering Committee Chair
  • Mr. John Gallinger – CEO, Canadian Residency Matching Committee
  • Yves Lafortune – Director, Evaluation Bureau for the Medical Council of Canada

Royal College Interactive Session: Competency Based Medical Education

  • Representatives from the Royal College gave us a brief snap shot of what Competency Based Medical Education will mean for us as future residents
  • Stay tuned for a more detailed report coming your way in September!

What happened on Day 2?

Panel Discussion where the importance of developing leadership skills in medical school was discussed; panelists included:

  • AFMC – Dr. Maureen Topps
  • College of Family Physicians of Canada – Emma Leon (Student Representative)
  • Resident Doctors of Canada – Dr. Michael Arget (Vice-President)
  • Upstream – Dr. Monika Dutt (Executive Director)
  • CFMS – Dr. Jesse Kancir (Alumni Liaison)

Resolution Session:

  • The resolution session is where members attending the General Meeting can discuss CFMS Position Papers and vote on whether or not the CFMS adopts them
  • Position Papers help to guide the advocacy efforts of the CFMS
  • Check out the papers that were passed this year on cfms.org

Elections for CFMS President

  • The new CFMS President Elect is Stephanie Smith from the University of Calgary!


Here is what your Manitoba Delegation had to say about the Spring General Meeting, and the CFMS in General:

[acc-trig title=”Linda Lam, 2nd year medical student– CFMS Leadership Award, Travel Award Winner”]


Student Politics

“I don’t get student politics.” This was a sentiment that I once shared, but after attending two CFMS general meetings, being on the MMSA for a year and through my work with the CFMS Government Affairs and Advocacy portfolio, I have come to understand its importance.

The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) was developed to connect medical students across the country, to share concerns, passions and best practices. The CFMS also represents us on a national and international stage. In the past year alone the CFMS has spoken up about unmatched Canadian medical graduates, Indigenous Mental Wellness, and represented the student voice in supporting the need for a national Pharmacare strategy. Beyond this the CFMS is here to support us, the medical students that make up the organization. The CFMS hosted a wellness initiative, the CFMS-MD Leadership award and continuously advocates for improvements to our medical education. Internationally, the CFMS represents us to the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) and helps facilitate the SCOPE/SCORE international exchange opportunities.

There is a lot of great work being done by the CFMS and its student leaders, but the organization is only as strong as our willingness to engage with it. At the very least create an account here (developed with the help of Manitoba’s own, Pavel Yarmak) and stay informed through the CFMS Communique (which you will be receiving from your CFMS Representative, Fatemeh Bakhtiari through your myumanitoba email). There are often CFMS taskforces and working groups that call for student involvement across the country in a number of emerging topics that medical students have deemed important. Hopefully I have convinced you that the CFMS does important work that impacts all of us. Please contact us if you would like to get involved in some way!


[acc-trig title=”Melissa Bulloch, 3rd year medical student – Doctors Manitoba Travel Award Winner”]


I had a fantastic experience at the 2018 CFMS 2018 in Halifax. The opportunity to not only observe, but the privilege of participating in discussions about proposed and modified CFMS resolutions was a highlight. It provided me with a much clearer sense of how the CFMS as a national body decides what stances it will take on a wide variety of issues pertaining to health care and medical education.

Some issues highly relevant to me as med 3 in the latter half of my undergraduate medical education is the process of applying to external electives through the AFMC student portal and CaRMS. I appreciated being able to be a part of the CFMS body in hearing from Dr. Whyte and Mr. Gallinger about the current steps they are taking to improve the electives process and reduce the number of unmatched Canadian medical graduates.

I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Manitoba delegation, and had a lot of fun meeting all the other delegations from other universities in Canada. I found the whole experience highly motivating, and it gave me a much greater appreciated for all the work that students put into advocacy efforts and effective student councils. I can’t thank Doctors Manitoba enough, as participating in this amazing learning opportunity would not have been possible without their generosity.


[acc-trig title=”Helen Teklemariam, 2nd year medical student – Doctors Manitoba Travel Award Winner”]


SGM was an amazing experience that allowed the opportunity to hear what other medical students across the country are interested in and what their priorities are in their schools/communities, and how those priorities factor into their curriculum and extracurricular activities. I found that the small group discussions were most helpful for this – chatting in groups of eight or so made it easier to discuss in detail what each school was doing about issues important to all of us. I was surprised at how differently UGME is organized at different schools, the diversity made for very interesting conversations and a variety of opinions. It was also great to hang out with and get to know the delegates from other schools! Everyone was super friendly 🙂


[acc-trig title=”Henry Li, 1st year medical student – Doctors Manitoba Travel Award Winner”]


I really appreciated the opportunity to attend SGM. It definitely opened my eyes with regards to the great work that’s being done across the country by medical student leaders. I find that as students-at-large we can often feel far removed from our national organization simply because we aren’t exposed to it that much in our day to day lives. I particularly enjoyed the 1st panel discussion because it really showed how much organizations value our input and try to make things better for us, such as CaRMS and AFMC. In fact, I felt this tone throughout the entire conference, for example when we heard about the efforts of the government and the media to include us and to listen to our perspective. I also enjoyed the resolutions marketplace and being able to hear about all the thought and reasoning that goes into the resolutions that are presented at the general meetings. Overall I would highly recommend my peers take the opportunity to attend at least one general meeting throughout their medical school journey. I certainly felt empowered to be more engaged on a local and national level.


[acc-trig title=”Achieng Tago, 2nd year medical student – CFMS Representative Senior/VP External”]


Unmatched CMG’s – How the CFMS can help students advocate on multiple levels:

The CFMS Representatives/VP Externals start each General Meeting the night before the General Assembly with the Reps Round Table. This is an avenue where VP Externals from across Canada share information on issues that their schools may be facing, or initiatives their students may be doing. Every time I attend the Reps Round Table, I am always reminded, and blown away by how much medical students can accomplish when we come together. We all know about the current state of affairs when it comes to CaRMS and unmatched Canadian Medical Graduates, what we don’t always know is what we, as students, can do about it.

The amazing thing about the CFMS is they are able to tackle this dilemma from multiple perspectives. For example, this year the University of Toronto launched a grassroots effort to advocate for more Ontario residency spots. We discussed their advocacy efforts at the Reps Round Table, and the Reps from Toronto were able to advise other students and medical societies that wanted to launch similar initiatives. This ability to information share is a hallmark of General Meetings. This year the CFMS as an organization has also been advocating for greater support for unmatched medical students.

Read up on the Toronto advocacy initiative here

Check out what the CFMS has done here

By facilitating discussion amongst students who may otherwise not get a chance to meet, the CFMS is able to support and help student initiatives from a grass roots level. They are also able to spread these efforts, all the way to an organizational level. Watching different ideas come together to help students advocate effectively will always be what I love most about CFMS General Meetings.

[P.s. In case you were wondering where Manitoba sits in the unmatched discussion, not only do Manitoba unmatched medical graduates receive incredible support, our school is also used as a shining example in advocacy efforts made by other schools. It makes me very proud to be from Manitoba when the CFMS Representatives from other parts of the country point this out.]

If you have any questions regarding the CFMS, General Meetings, or anything discussed in these summaries, please feel free to contact any one of us.


[acc-trig title=”Fatemeh Bakhtiari, 1st year medical student – CFMS Representative Junior”]


CFMS SGM 2018 in Halifax was my very first CFMS general meeting and it was amazing. I had the opportunity to collaborate with, and hear from like-minded colleagues all over the country about issues that not only pertained to Manitoba students but everyone around the country. We discussed issues like what other schools were doing in regards to the increased rates of unmatched graduates, how CFMS could advocate and help these students, how we could improve the wellness programs in our respective schools and much more. It was inspiring and motivating to see all the advocacy efforts and work that students all around the country do to make our medical school experience memorable!

As the CFMS representative junior, this meeting also clarified how the CFMS worked and the ins and outs of the organization. I had an incredible time and I am very excited to represent the concerns and ideas of our student body at the annual general meeting in the fall!


[acc-trig title=”Amy Sahai, 1st year medical student – Global Health Liaison Senior”]


There are generally two Global Health meetings that occur every general meeting at the CFMS level. At SGM, we had opportunities to discuss a number of key new initiatives and their subsequent integration into the curriculums and culture of each member school. For starters, CFMS has produced a Global Health Education Toolkit that highlights key areas in which Global Health education is lacking in schools across Canada, and gave the information necessary to help integrate more uniformed and fortified education at each school, which will culminate in a Social Medicine Certificate. Details can be found on the CFMS website! In addition, we discussed HEART, which is a new initiative established by the Advocacy portfolio through CFMS. HEART discusses the integration of environmental health education and advocacy in our schools, and strives to promote environmental literacy to all medical students. They intend on incorporating something akin to a “Local Officer for the Environment” at each school to help fulfill its mandate. Again, look at the CFMS website for more details! Finally, we had discussed the integration of consistent advocacy training at each medical school, as it is a CANMEDs principle. Generally, students felt disengaged from the Provincial and Federal Day of Actions, and so we brainstormed ways to better engage the students and incorporate advocacy understanding and training in our curriculums. If you have any more questions on what was specifically discussed at any of the meetings, or would like to share any comments or suggestions, I’d love to chat!


[acc-trig title=”Jaymie Walker, 2nd year medical student – Vice Stick Internal”]


Hi everyone!

SGM was a fantastic way to connect with other Canadian medical students and we had some really great conversations. One highlight for me was that Achieng, Alyssa and myself started the weekend off with an 8-hour session from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada on what is Competence by Design model being implemented in residency programs across the country! Stay tuned for our FAQs on what this system will look like and what it will mean for students going forward. If you have any questions about it feel free to reach out to Alyssa, Achieng or myself!

Bless you!


[acc-trig title=”Ruth Habte, 3rd year medical student – National Officer of Global Health Education, CFMS”]


I was able to attend the CFMS SGM in Halifax as the National Officer of Global Health Education (NOGHE), a position in the Global Health Program. I enjoyed representing medical students at a joint meeting with four AFMC networks (Social Accountability; Equity, Diversity and Gender; Global Health; and Distributed Medical Education) and presenting survey data regarding global health education at Canadian medical schools. I also enjoyed hearing Drs. Dutt & Kancir speak on a panel about developing leadership skills in medical school. Halifax itself was beautiful, even more so when it was not raining, and the people were incredibly friendly.


[acc-trig title=”Chris Briggs, 3rd year medical student – Vice President of Global Health, CFMS”]


Spring General Meeting in Halifax was my first meeting with the Canadian Federation of Medical Students as Vice President Global Health and a member of the organization’s Board of Directors. The last time I addressed the general assembly was in September during my election. General meetings are quite stressful from the Board’s point of view because of a lot of organizational and logistic pressures that many wouldn’t consider, but it’s also very exciting to be able to share what you’ve been doing with everyone and meet people you’ve been collaborating with face-to-face.

So I started SGM a little earlier than most members, Thursday afternoon we have a Board meeting where all the CFMS executive meet to go over the schedule one last time. The Canadian Conference on Medical Education runs concurrent to SGM and as representatives of the CFMS we all had various meetings at CCME to attend as well. We make some last minute changes to free up some time for certain exec to speak to the press and what not and then adjourn. SGM has officially began.

The Global Health portfolio of CFMS begins general meetings Thursday evenings. We meet with only the Global Health Liaisons from each school, the National Officers, VP Global Health (myself), and a random assortment of other invitees. We use this time to update everyone on what the National Officers are working on and have coming down the pipeline. We discuss any common issues schools are having and brainstorm solutions. I also use this time to present my vision of the Global Health portfolio under the new organizational structure, which will be voted on later in the general assembly. Friday morning, Global Health meets again before the general assembly is called. We discuss more strategic planning and organizational structure, but mostly ingest coffee and breakfast.

The general meeting itself runs very similarly for me as it would for anyone, with the added administrative piece to make everything is running smoothly, help with the meeting’s minutes, and make sure Rosemary (CFMS General Manager) is content. I also have to present a 3-minute thesis to the assembly. Condensing the work of my 6 National Officers and myself into 3 minutes was tough, but if you speak fast enough anything is possible.

Another great part about being on the executive at general meetings is having my own vote. I vote in the elections and the resolutions. Because I am also Senior Stick, I have to proxy my vote to Jaymie because otherwise I would have TOO MUCH POWER. The Presidential elections are held at SGM. 3 of my colleagues, all other Vice Presidents of the CFMS ran for President. So thrilled to be able to present a good friend of mine, Stephanie Smith of University of Calgary as the new President-Elect.

All-in-all, SGM for me as VP Global Health is super busy but also incredibly fun. I essentially have to juggle my time between 3 simultaneous meetings while making sure first time attendees feel welcome and know what’s going on. Being a member of the exec is great because I’m an easily recognizable face in the crowd for many so lots of people will stop and chat with me, this might be my favourite part.

If you are curious about taking a larger role within the CFMS please feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to give you any more information you’d like.


[acc-trig title=”Pavel Yarmak, 2nd year medical student – National Officer of Information Technology, CFMS”]


Being the senior national officer of information technology, I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of CFMS meetings in the past and saw the board transition to a new model. The most interesting part to me during SGM 2018 was to actually see how the new strategic plan is coming to fruition. I remember attending the summer executive meeting last year when we were brainstorming ideas of how the next 5+ years of the CFMS will look like. Then, at AGM 2017 in Ottawa, the general assembly proceeded to pass the strategic plan resolution — but it wasn’t until this past SGM that I got to truly appreciate that the CFMS as an organization will go on without all of us, the current members. I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to interact with many brilliant and dedicated individuals from all of the different portfolios that the CFMS has to offer as part of my role as the gatekeeper of the website. It has been a very rough, bumpy, road at time, but looking back now as my terms at the CFMS is coming to an end at the close of a wonderful two years, I believe that I was a part of something truly meaningful and I am elated to have had the opportunity to apply my skillset in this challenging and incredibly rewarding environment.


[acc-trig title=”Alyssa Archibald, 3rd year medical student – Competency Based Medical Education Delegate”]


CFMS SGM in Halifax was an excellent experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have gone and represented the University of Manitoba. This was my third CFMS meeting, and each time I’ve come away invigorated and inspired by our colleagues at other medical schools.

One of my favourite parts of the weekend was the CBD Workshop the day before the actual SGM itself. Having a large amount of time dedicated to the topic meant that we could spend time discussing and asking questions, rather than getting just a quick introduction to it. The workshop also allowed us to meet and work with students from other schools, and I’m excited to bring back the information we learned and disseminate it to our students.

My favourite part of the weekend overall, however, was interacting with friends and colleagues from other schools. Having attended a couple of meetings prior to this one and working on committees with some students from other schools, it was so nice to see familiar and friendly faces again and catch up, both personally and professionally. Hearing about the successes and struggles students face at other schools helped to put my own into perspective, and having informal conversations was so valuable in brainstorming how to make our own school and students’ experiences better. I think it’s where there’s the most value in the in-person meetings at CFMS – being able to candidly talk about how things are going at our schools always stimulates better discussion than the facilitated sessions. Being able to attend the first in-person Academic Round Table was another highlight, and I hope that there are more opportunities for ART to meet in person! I have made some great friends at and through the CFMS, and I hope that I’ll be able to see and work with them in some other way in the future!

Also, the drama from the Resolutions Session is always AMAZING. I live for Robert’s Rules. Being serious though, I loved seeing our delegation seriously debate certain topics and positions – we’re a smart crew and I felt very proud of everyone in those moments.

Also, staying up late chatting and venting – always amazing.

Would not list sleeping on the floor and waking up at 3am as a highlight.

CFMS SGM was fantastic, and I had such a great time with our delegation in Halifax. I’m very thankful I was able to attend. Manitoba has a great school and great students – glad to see us so well represented!


Kristen Braun

Back to top