Indigenous peoples across Canada face inequitable disparities that crosscut several indicators of well-being be it employment, food insecurity, education, access to healthcare, mental health, among others.
Medical education, providers and learners have been focused on addressing the urgent needs in the community. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the extent of existing disparities that were further compounded by the pandemic. There is a need for upstream approaches to address health disparities experienced by Indigenous peoples at all levels of healthcare.
Together, with the guidance of faculty, staff, and preceptors, we hope to begin addressing the upstream issues facing Indigenous people in Saskatchewan while simultaneously advocating for Indigenous health sovereignty.
This past summer, students from the College of Medicine had the opportunity to work with students at Westmount Community School as part of their urban inner-city practicum for Making the Links: A Global Health Certificate Program. Through this initiative, students hosted small interactive group sessions and shared knowledge at the school. Through similar activities, medical students hope to share their passions with the younger generation, bridge the education gap, and replace barriers with pathways to care.
While there are several remarkable student-led initiatives, Students for Harm Reduction & Informed Policy (SHRIP), has had great success advocating for harm reduction. Last year, SHRIP created an evidence-based, open letter to the Saskatchewan provincial government, urging them to provide more significant funding for safe consumption sites in the province. Through their work, they met with Members of Parliament in Regina and later with Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, to further discuss the state of harm reduction efforts in the province and the country.
The 2022-2023 school year requires cognisant and tactful navigation as we move into a post-pandemic world. The SMSS is aware of the current state of the pandemic and continues to work with the UGME, SHA, and SMA to ensure that we offer as many safe events as possible for students. As well, with the introduction of first year medical students to the Regina campus site, the SMSS is working diligently to ensure ample integration for students between both cities to foster community, support, and a collective spirit.
With the support of the College of Medicine, we eagerly look forward to continuing student engagement and fostering the sense of community upon which medicine is built. We also wish to express our deepest gratitude to the Alumni Association for the continued support that allows us to host successful events for students at the College of Medicine.
We have many exciting events planned for the year to come. This year, we are hosting Ice Bowl, a hockey tournament for medical schools in Western Canada in April. We also want to highlight the annual Alumni-Student Hockey Game, tentatively scheduled for April. Along with the White Coat Ceremony and Fall Formal, these events are long-held traditions by students at the College of Medicine and are essential for building community and collegiality among medical students.
If you have any questions about events, or are interested in partnering with the SMSS, please contact our VP External at firstname.lastname@example.org, and see our calendar at saskmedstudents.com.