I have stayed an active advocate throughout my time in medical school. Since 2016, I have taken on roles in medical advocacy, education and the community at large. These include advocacy through my role as the Government Affairs and Advocacy Committee (GAAC) Chair, my seat on the Post-Graduate Medical Education (PGME) Committee, working at the student-run clinic out of the Alex bus, and being a community mentor for students typically under-represented in medicine.

I believe my most significant contributions to medical advocacy have come through my role as the GAAC chair. The GAAC is a peer-elected position; the primary role is to oversee student advocacy initiatives and bring them to local, provincial and national politicians. Every year a group of students from the University of Calgary and University of Alberta go to the Alberta Legislature to meet with members of the legislative assembly to lobby a topic of interest in Political Action Day. 

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Adom Bondzi-Simpson, Calgary

In my first year, as the junior on the GAAC, my colleagues and I lobbied the Alberta government to increase infrastructure for mental health support through community-based care modalities such as those provided in primary care networks. In my second year, with the incoming changes surrounding the legalization of marijuana in Canada, medical students in Alberta decided that a topic in this area was immediately necessary. As the senior GAAC member, I organized a lobby day in collaboration with the U of A to ask the Alberta government to create a youth mental health and addictions fund. The fund would be financed with revenues from cannabis sales. 

Throughout my time as a GAAC member, I have also been actively involved in representing the Canadian Federation of Medical Students yearly at the national lobby day, attending annual AMA meetings, and helping with local advocacy initiatives, including the annual advocacy symposium at the U of C. 

Alongside my passion for political advocacy, I am highly interested in educational advocacy. In my first and second year, I was elected by my peers to sit on the PGME Committee, a group of all the residency program directors in the Faculty of Medicine that provides governance for the review of all aspects of residency education. In collaboration with Dr. Kelly Millar, Assistant Dean Education and Assessment Initiatives, I organized an educational workshop to introduce students to competency-by-design residency education curriculum. 

Coupled with my role in medical education governance, I am interested in medical education research. Currently I am a member of the Otolaryngology Cardinal Simulation team: a group of surgeons, residents, computer scientists and medical students who are interested in examining the use of surgical simulation for residency education. Currently the group is examining the utility of a surgical simulator course for improving outcomes for novice learners. 

Related links

Global News: Alberta medical students want pot tax used to help mental health

CBC News: Alberta medical students seek fund to inform youth on cannabis risks