Jessica Fisher and Jadyn Lennea are third-year medical students at the USask College of Medicine. (Photo: Submitted)
Jessica Fisher and Jadyn Lennea are third-year medical students at the USask College of Medicine. (Photo: Submitted)

Choosing Wisely STARS: Advocating on the national stage

As our healthcare system continues to be stretched thin, it is important to be mindful of the cost and consequences of the tests and treatments ordered by healthcare providers.

By Jessica Fisher and Jadyn Lennea

Choosing Wisely is an international movement dedicated to improving resource stewardship in the healthcare system.

A few years ago, Choosing Wisely Canada began a program aiming to “inspire the next generation of physicians in resource stewardship” and called the program Students and Trainees Advocating for Resource Stewardship (STARS). To date, over 300 medical learners at 17 Canadian medical schools have participated in this program, leading initiatives and inspiring change in medical decision-making across the country.

When we were chosen as the STARS representatives for the University of Saskatchewan (USask) for 2022-23, we were excited to spread awareness of Choosing Wisely’s initiatives among our classmates. Little did we know that we would have the opportunity to present our work to physicians and students from all over Canada at the Choosing Wisely National Meeting in May.

In our term as Saskatchewan’s STARS students, we organized our projects and events around four provincial issues as identified by Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan: Using Blood Wisely, antibiotic stewardship, appropriate imaging of lower back pain, and safe opioid prescribing and deprescribing. Along with our friends and classmates in the Choosing Wisely USask student group, we organized six events throughout the year to spread awareness of these initiatives and advocate for thinking critically about our use of resources in clinical care as learners and in our future practice.

To increase awareness of Choosing Wisely amongst the pre-clerkship students at USask, we decided to begin incorporating the relevant Choosing Wisely recommendations into each module. We achieved this by contacting each module director and asking them to include the recommendations into their mandatory orientation modules. We also had the PDF copies of each set of recommendations available as a handout on One45. We believe this was very effective in exposing our peers to Choosing Wisely and encouraging them to use it as a resource in the future.

This year, for the first time, the STARS program offered a scholarship to highlight the work of their most innovative and exceptional participants. We were fortunate enough to have been one of the recipients of this scholarship, the SuperSTARS Award of Excellence. As part of this award, we were given the opportunity to present our work at both the Choosing Wisely STARS spring leadership summit and at the Annual Choosing Wisely National Meeting in Toronto in May.

The National Meeting was a valuable experience for us. We were able to listen to and learn from national leaders and researchers in the fields of resource stewardship and quality improvement. Hearing the initiatives others are working towards was very inspiring and we hope to take these ideas back to Saskatchewan. We also had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other medical students from across the country. We hope to maintain and build on these connections made at the meeting to allow for even stronger advocacy efforts in the future.

For more information on Choosing Wisely and the STARS program, visit and follow our interest group on Instagram @choosingwiselyusask.

Jessica Fisher and Jadyn Lennea are third-year medical students at the College of Medicine.