Longitudinal Wellness Initiative
We are very excited to introduce the CFMS Longitudinal Wellness Initiative! This exciting initiative strives to highlight supportive strategies and resources to promote different components of wellness. Additionally we will be sharing the stories of medical students across Canada and their wellness journeys. We hope to inspire and encourage connectedness, support, and discussion around wellness in medicine.
We will be focusing on one aspect of wellness over a two month period throughout the year, beginning with Nutrition in March and April and moving to Mental wellness in May and June of 2019. After the summer break we will start the school year with Physical wellness in September and October, then move to Social/Relationships wellness in November to December. Stay tuned for our posts on the CFMS website, our social media and CFMS Communique featuring student Spotlights and wellness resources. Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved!
We are pleased to introduce our team members:
- Nicholas Reitsman
- Hi everyone! My name is Nicholas, and I am in the class of 2025 at UBC's Southern Medical Program in Kelowna. I graduated from UBCO in 2021 with my Bachelor's in Human Kinetics and was fortunate to stay home for medical school. During my undergrad studies, I played goalkeeper for the varsity men's soccer team and helped organize numerous events for social causes, such as Bell Let's Talk days and other mental health-centered events. I am incredibly passionate about the work due to my lived experience with depression, and I hope to help in any way I can. If I'm not studying, you can find me in the gym, on the golf course, or hanging out at home with my girlfriend!
- Mahraz Parvand
- Every student enters medical school with a different story at a different stage of life. So far as a medical student, I have recognized the importance of self-care and peer support when times get hard, and expectations are high. In this team, my goal is to share my journey of health with my peers, and tips that have both worked well and not so well in the past couple of years.
- Raveena Kapoor
- Hello! My name is Raveena and this is my second year being involved in the Longitudinal Wellness Initiative. I am in my second year of medical school at McMaster University, after finishing my undergraduate degree in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at McMaster. Ever since my first year of undergrad and dealing with the large transition of moving away from home, I have actively been making efforts to work on my own wellness through a variety of means. Some things I like to do in my spare time include yoga, painting, hiking, and listening to music and dancing in my room. I enjoy being involved with this initiative as it provides the opportunity to express thoughts about wellness and hear about personal experiences and tips from others. With life only becoming busier, I think it is necessary to take a step back sometimes and reflect and remember that it is important to take care of oneself!
- Sarah Smith
- Hello! My name is Sarah, and I am a second-year medical student at the University of Saskatchewan’s Saskatoon campus. Over the past few years, I have found myself on a journey towards centering wellness in my life, and it has taken on an increased level of importance since beginning medical school. Wellness is something that sounds simple, but it often isn’t easy. With the pressures of classes, networking, and preparing for the next stage of medical learning, I can attest to often pushing wellness to the bottom of my “to-do list”. Some of my favourite wellness strategies are creating space for quality time with my loved ones, “procrasti-baking” chocolate chip cookies, deep breathing exercises, podcasts, and my university’s counselling services. I am super excited to be a part of the CFMS-LWI Team and work alongside other students to promote longitudinal wellness strategies surrounding a variety of topics.
- Myriam Harper
- My name is Myriam Harper and I am a third-year medical student at the University of Ottawa. Before medical school, I studied in both Health Sciences and Psychology. I remember when I first started medical school, I told myself that I would always prioritize my mental and physical health above all else. I knew that medical school would be very challenging and that it could become all-encompassing if you let it, especially with the endless hours of studying and the wide variety of initiatives. This is obviously easier said than done, and even with consistent effort to achieve this, it can feel like you are being swept away by the workload. My goal as a part of the LWI is to redefine what it means to be successful in medicine and teach students early on in their education that their wellness is paramount. You do your patients no good if you are yourself not well and not enjoying your work. To be a good medical student, resident, and eventually physician, your actions must echo that of every pre-flight message: “please secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others."
- Hillary Wilson
- I am a strong advocate that you can better care for others when you take care of yourself. There are so many demands placed on medical students, which only grow as we progress in our careers. Building healthy, sustainable habits early sets us up for success, now and in the future. As a Registered Dietitian prior to entering medicine, I recognize the importance of preventative medicine and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I'm looking forward to working with the CFMS-LWI to help medical students make their personal wellness a priority in a sustainable and enjoyable way.
- Lotus Alphonsus
- "Long-hours studying, sacrificing sleep, and limiting time with loved ones have become synonymous with medical school. In a culture where burnout is almost seen as a badge of honor, it can be hard to find time for wellness. However, this challenging journey we are on requires self-care not only for ourselves but also so that we can be fully present for the patients we care for. I am excited to work with an inspiring team that hopes to help build wellness into our everyday lives and promote an improved school-life balance!"
- Sydney Sparanese
- One of my biggest takeaways during the clerkship experience so far is that wellness is not always a given. It will not be inherently engrained or prioritized given your new role transitioning into a clerk. You may not even realize what ‘wellness’ subjectively means to you until it’s not there! My goal is to support my peers and encourage the active discovery of what your needs are outside of the hospital, classroom or clinic. I’m grateful to be part of a culture that is normalizing the prioritization of wellness.