AMSCAR promotes student wellness and collegiality

June 16, 2017

(L to R) Wade Coutinho, Kenji Miner, Michelle Young, Isabella Tu, Evelina Tijunelyte and Aran Yukseloglu.

The 13th annual Alberta Medical Students’ Conference and Retreat (AMSCAR) was a huge success and a wonderful experience for medical students from University of Calgary and University of Alberta. This year, it occurred in Banff over the weekend of February 10-12. The Alberta Medical Association (AMA) was a gold sponsor for this event.

Students arrived on Friday evening, when they had the opportunity to socialize with other students and begin a weekend promoting medical student resilience, health and wellness. They engaged in a bingo ice breaker exercise and enjoyed light refreshments. The evening culminated with options to attend a meet-and-greet party at a local pub, enjoy some board games or wind down with a paint night led by a second-year medical student.

On Saturday, students engaged in diverse sessions, from massage therapy, to clinical skills, to a hike at Tunnel Mountain. Dr. Padraic Carr, AMA President, gave a succinct and inspiring speech at lunch, during which he reminded us to recall the root motivations of why we entered the profession. A gala dinner included a keynote speech from Dr. Kathryn Dong, director of the Addiction Recovery and Community Health program at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, who discussed the importance of harm-reduction policies. Each session gave students raffle tickets for prizes from gift cards to gift baskets to chefs’ tables. Winners were announced at the end of the gala dinner.

Sunday provided an opportunity to either visit the mountains or the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Students returned in the afternoon refreshed and then returned (albeit reluctantly) on shuttle buses to their respective schools.

The weekend fostered student wellness and collegiality. In a post-AMSCAR feedback survey, students reported that Banff was an amazing venue and that they appreciated the weekend as a break to enjoy non-academic activities with their classmates.

AMSCAR would not be possible without the support of organizations like the AMA. Student feedback has been incredibly positive and we look forward to the 14th annual AMSCAR next year!

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.