Welcoming Canada to Kingston

I woke up on Thursday September 18th to the most incredible mix of anticipation and disbelief. It was actually here. This was the day that an incredible team of Queen's students had relentlessly planned and worked towards for the better part of 2 years. It was the beginning of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students Annual General Meeting 2014 - and we were the hosts! Later that night, as I left the first meeting of CFMS representatives, I saw a group of what I later learned were University of Toronto medical students returning from dinner and enjoying a laugh. I stopped them to say what I had been bursting to say since we first set to work trying to bring this event to Queen's - "Welcome to Kingston".

It was a whirlwind from there. The first day was jam-packed with Small Group Discussion sessions on topics ranging from finances to CaRMS to global health initiatives to learner wellness. Then Dr. Chris Simpson, current CMA President-Elect, and coincidentally also Chief of Cardiology at Queen's, arrived to address and inspire us to demand more of and work in conjunction with the CMA to undertake our joint responsibility as caretakers of not only our patients, but the broader healthcare system. The day wrapped up with a 1000 Islands cruise at sunset, and a memorable address from Dr. Jacalyn Duffin, the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine and beloved Queen's hematologist. 

On Saturday, the undisputed highlight of the weekend for me was the Resolutions session. Students from across the country are provided the unique opportunity to bring forward ideas they are passionate about for discussion and consideration by the General Assembly. They range from procedural, such as installing a formal budgetary review process for proposals requiring financial support above a predefined threshold, to issues in the realm of social justice, such a position paper on HIV nondisclosure decriminalization. The debate maintained professional integrity, and it was incredibly satisfying to hear so many school representatives deliver thoughts derived through direct feedback from their respective student bodies - the system works! The elections for Executive positions followed, and I am ecstatic to see so many respected colleagues and friends forming what I am sure will be an incredibly productive leadership nucleus for the CFMS IN 2014-15. To conclude a jam-packed day, we sat down for a lovely gala dinner overlooking Lake Ontario and danced well into the night. A particular point of pride for myself was my dinner company Saturday evening. Sitting surrounded by colleagues from Quebec schools, including McGill, Laval and Sherbrooke - all politely excusing my ridiculous lack of French speaking skills - I laughed and cheered the evening away. I encourage the CFMS and Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec to continue developing shared resources, joint strategies and lasting friendships. It was great to see members of OMSA (such as the Co-chairs who are fellow Queen's meds) attend as none of this would have been possible without their generous sponsorship and partnership.

It was an honor to host members from UBC all the way to Memorial. You made all the work our group did entirely worth it, and as Dean Reznick alluded to, we'd love to see each and everyone of you back here for residency ;) 

Go Gaels!

- Branden D. (Queen's University)