AMA Advocacy Night

Providing frank advice to medical students on getting involved with tough issues

June 17, 2017

Finola H.W. Hackett | student, Class of 2019, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

Contributed by: Finola H.W. Hackett | student, Class of 2019, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta

On February 6, outstanding physician leaders joined University of Alberta students in an evening of celebration and mentorship in health advocacy and leadership in medicine. The first-ever Alberta Medical Association (AMA) Advocacy Night took place at Bernard Snell Hall on campus. Around 50 students and seven physicians attended. These physicians included AMA President Dr. Padraic Carr, who gave an opening address highlighting how delighted he was to continue supporting student leadership endeavors after his involvement began as a trainee when he was the Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta (PARA) representative to the AMA.The Advocacy N¡ght student representatives said they were very grateful for the AMA's strong support of mentorship initiatives

The physician mentors made up this all-star cast:

  • Dr. Allan Bailey, family physician in Spruce Grove and a leading advocate for primary care in Alberta
  • Dr. Helly Goez, pediatric neurologist, physicianship course coordinator and advocate for patients with orphan diseases and for diversity in medical education
  • Dr. Tracey Hillier, radiologist and associate dean of the MD program, involved in faculty and student engagement in the curriculum
  • Dr. Kimberley Kelly, family physician passionate about prevention and improving student and community health in Alberta
  • Dr. Melanie Lewis, pediatrician and associate dean of learner advocacy and wellness who has worked extensively in medical education and physician health
  • Dr. Ameeta Singh, infectious diseases specialist involved in sexually transmitted infection prevention and improving care for marginalized populations

In the first portion of the evening, students engaged in roundtable discussions with the physicians. Students heard about each physician’s career and leadership experiences and followed up with any burning questions they had for the speakers. Students expressed gratitude for the chance to hear frank advice and guidance on their current and future endeavors from doctors with such a wide range of experience.

The second portion of the evening was a poster presentation session celebrating students’ existing advocacy projects. Students presented these 10 fantastic projects:

  • Structuring success: Student government in medical education by Miranda Mengyuan Wan
  • Can MEDs teach healthy living? Developing interactive lessons for youth by Marya Aman, Shauna Regan, Jennifer Weekes and Aran Yukseloglu
  • Innovative organ donation curricula for undergraduate medical education by Calvin Tseng, Teresa Li, Jessica Luc, Betty Wang, Hollis Lai, PhD and Dr. Helly Goez
  • Collaborative care and dementia by Kristin Pon
  • Sexual harassment of Canadian medical students by Tanis Quaife, Jenna Webber, Stephan Imbeau, Deanna Hagan, Dr. Susan Phillips, Dr. Rachel Ellaway and Dr. Jacques Abourbih
  • PedsCases: Pediatrics for medical students by Amarjot Padda and Larissa Shapka
  • AMSCAR: Promoting medical student resilience, health and wellness through an interactive weekend by Krista Ingram, Swati Chavda, Carly Yim and Ivanna Kruhlak
  • Medical Students' Association leadership retreat: Integrating leadership competency training into student governance by Fatemeh Ramazani
  • HealthLINC: Health literacy and information for newcomers to Canada by Karl Narvacan, Christine Patterson and Shez Kassam
  • Integrating LGBT competencies into undergraduate medical curricula by Derek Fehr, Julianna Deutscher and Hollis Lai, PhD

The poster presentatlon session celebrated students' existing advocacy projects.The seven physician mentors were delighted to hear the students present their projects and to offer feedback. Following compilation of the judging rubrics, the winners of the outstanding poster prizes were announced:

  • Collaborative care and dementia by Kristin Pon
  • Sexual harassment of Canadian medical students by Tanis Quaife, Jenna Webber, Stephan Imbeau, Deanna Hagan, Dr. Susan Phillips, Dr. Rachel Ellaway and Dr. Jacques Abourbih

This evening was a great opportunity to celebrate students’ ongoing work in community health advocacy, medical education, governance and leadership. On behalf of the AMA, Dr. Carr congratulated the poster presenters on their fantastic work.

The student representatives said they were very grateful for the AMA’s strong support of advocacy mentorship initiatives. The stage has been set for this inaugural Advocacy Night to be followed by future collaboration, building the next generation of leaders in medicine.

The Alberta Medical Association stands as an advocate for its physician members, providing leadership & support for their role in the provision of quality health care.