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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:

  • Huaying (Helen) Zhao
  • University of Alberta, Class of 2021
  • [email protected]
  • During our medical education, students are often quickly consumed by coursework and other commitments. Ironically, as we focus on learning how to provide care to support the wellness of others, our own well-being is put on the back burner. This stress and anxiety manifests onwards to clerkship, residency, and our future careers, with an astounding amount of reports about physician burnout and depression and suicide. Hence, the promotion of wellness is important to start early in medical school; I am excited to be a part of an initiative that aims to promote long-term student self care and wellness.
  • Jiunn-Yiing Brandon Lam
  • University of Ottawa, Class of 2020
  • [email protected]
  • Wellness is an important subject that isn’t taught in medical school. Medical students often have to balance long hour workdays, studying, extracurricular activities, and many more other commitments which can be overwhelming. I think that practicing wellness equips med students with the tools that help prevent burnout and stress which is so prevalent in medicine. This wellness initiative that I am glad to be a part of will teach med students about the diverse options wellness can offer and how it can positively impact not only their career in medicine but in all aspects of their lives.
  • Kevin Karivelil
  • McMaster University, Class of 2020
  • [email protected]
  • I’ve never been more acutely aware of my ability to breathe perfectly through my nose than when I have a cold, and think of all the times I took normal breathing for granted. I think there’s a lesson here that can be applied to our overall wellness, too. Wellness sometimes feels like this nebulous concept we’re supposed to instantly master on top of everything else on our plates. That’s quite the expectation. Instead, I hope all of us can make daily strides to maintain our overall wellness by engaging in activities and relationships that make us happy. I’m thrilled to work with this team to promote just that.
  • Kelsie Ou
  • University of Ottawa, Class of 2021
  • [email protected]
  • As medical students, we are exposed to demanding workloads, long hours, and a longstanding pervasive culture that tells us “the more you sacrifice, the better a doctor you are”. It’s crucial that we work together to practice wellness, because at the end of the day, we have to take care of ourselves in order to be in a good position to provide care for our patients! I’m grateful to be part of such an amazing, supportive, and inspiring team for the Longitudinal Wellness Initiative. Let’s support each other in our journey towards better wellness!
  • Simaran Kalkat
  • University of British Columbia, Class of 2020
  • [email protected]
  • I think wellness, in its entirety, is key for happiness and good health. To me, wellness is about healthy relationships with our loved ones, our communities, our food, our minds and our bodies. It can be difficult to achieve, especially with the stress that comes with medical school on top of our daily lives, and we all have moments when we aren’t taking care of ourselves to the best of our abilities. I joined the CFMS-LWI to help make personal wellness feel like a natural part of our everyday lives, rather than a chore. I’m excited to be a part of an initiative that promotes student wellbeing all year long!
  • Neraj Manhas
  • uOttawa, Class of 2020
  • [email protected]
  • I want to support my peers and colleagues so that we can be the best versions of ourselves and provide the best care for our patients. I'm excited to be a part of a team committed to promoting wellness within the medical school community and beyond. Medical training can be even more challenging when wellness isn't prioritized. Maintaining my mental health and physical health are components that I am trying to prioritize in my own self care and wellness strategies.
  • Karine Gou
  • McGill University, Class of 2021
  • [email protected]
  • As medical students, it goes without saying that we often strive for success by committing endless amounts of time into performing and impressing our colleagues in our clinical settings all while integrating countless extracurricular activities into our schedules: it is what is crucial, natural and to be expected of a medical learner on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said about wellness: it is often perceived as this trendy luxury or reward that only those who are burnt out or who take time off work can indulge in. My hope is that we can stop perceiving wellness as a crutch to rely on in times of crisis or as a last palliative resort, but rather as a vital companion that we can proudly have accompany us in our every step towards success.
  • Audrey Le
  • McGill University, Class of 2021
  • [email protected]
  • I think that the majority of medical students applied to medical school because of their desire to help heal others. However, the path that we must travel to become future physicians, is one that is extremely challenging. We are constantly being pushed to our emotional, intellectual and physical limits. The challenging nature of our studies can sometimes lead us to neglect our needs outside of school. My goal as one of the members of the CFMS-LWI, is to help other students obtain better balance in their lives, through providing relevant resources, tools and tips. I would hope that these could help guide them towards discovering their own personal and unique definitions of wellness. I also hope that being part of this committee will serve as my reminder to take care of myself during this demanding but rewarding journey.
  • Portia Tang
  • Queen’s University, Class of 2021
  • [email protected]
  • I’m excited to be part of this team and promote longitudinal wellness. Wellness is a part of the formal pre-clerkship and clerkship curriculum but often discussed in theoretical terms rather than practical advice. I personally find it difficult to prioritize wellness with the demands of medical school, so I hope the resources we provide as the LWI can help students stay healthy and feel supported throughout the year.
  • Randi Mao
  • McMaster University, Class of 2022
  • [email protected]
  • Throughout my time as a medical student, one of my greatest fallacies is this tendency to get ‘tunnel vision’. I become so focused on the future, that I often forget to enjoy the present. ‘What specialty will I choose?’ ‘How do I prepare for clerkship?’ ’How can I make my CaRMS application competitive?’ It is so easy to become fixated on the diverse aspects of my career, that my own well-being is often put on the back-burner. (I have a feeling that many other medical students may feel the same way.) My goal as a part of the LWI committee is to remind students about the importance of prioritizing self and engaging in tools and resources that can bolster our wellness. Ultimately, I believe that we can best promote health wellness within patients through promoting it within ourselves first.