Future physicians tackle Canada's toughest health issues

Indigenous health and medical assistance in dying top the agenda at national gathering in Edmonton.


The University of Alberta hosted the Canadian Federation of Medical Students’ Annual General Meeting September 22 - 25, 2016 with Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s students Julianna Deutscher, Brandon Christensen, Brendan Morgan, Fatemeh Ramazani and Swati Chavda spearheading the bid to bring the conference to Edmonton for the first time.

The CFMS represents Canadian medical students from 14 Canadian Medical Student Societies to the public, governments and other organizations. Hosting the meeting in Edmonton was a mark of pride for the delegation of 29 U of A students who gathered with more than 160 students from across Canada.

“It was such a positive experience for students to become involved not only at a local level, but to work with students from across Canada on national projects,” says Julianna Deutscher, second-year medical student and winner of a 2016 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame student award. “It’s one thing to have nationwide teleconferences discussing possible project ideas, but it doesn’t even come close to the momentum and energy you get when finally meeting in person to really push your ideas forward. It really reminds you why you chose to become involved in the first place.”

This year’s meeting featured advocacy themes such as global health, Indigenous health, human trafficking, student wellness, medical assistance in dying, and safety and inclusiveness in medical education. Local officers of Indigenous Health from schools across Canada showcased their work from the past year, including the creation of an educational toolkit, advocating for the incorporation of territory acknowledgement statements, and incorporating key elements from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into strategic plans.

Alongside the formal program, entertainment, socializing and self-care were emphasized as key components of medical student success. Participants enjoyed evening socials, a mental health and wellness booth, river valley running and yoga, and the first-ever art wellness event at CFMS. Richard Fedorak with attendees of the CFMS AGM

The planning committee is grateful for the strong support from the FoMD, Edmonton Tourism, and a number of other sponsors. Dean Fedorak notes that “such events do not happen without real commitment and honest energy. The planning team are to be saluted for making this Faculty proud.”