OMSA Student of the Month of October: Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif

Sarah is an enigmatic individual who lives on the bright side. She radiates positivism, making no task seem too daunting or impossible likely because she, herself, has some truly amazing achievements in her lifetime. 

Sarah is a passionate disciple of the Humanities, having been employed as an avid journalist for the Toronto Star prior to medical school at Queen’s University. She regularly contributes to the Queen’s Medical Review. Sarah is also bilingual and offers her skills translating historic works for the Museum of Healthcare, so they may be appreciated by a wider audience. She was a leader and participant in the Medicine and Literature group, an elective humanities course for medical students, where she welcomes others into worlds of poetry and prose. Members and guests often gather on comfy couches, warm cups of tea in hand, to share and discuss how these characters relate to their own patient experiences. Sarah comes prepared with secondary sources and insightful questions for the group. 

Sarah is an exceptional leader and trailblazer who not only seeks, but creates her own opportunities. While on her family medicine rotation in Moose Factory, she partnered with a local radio station to produce the weekly radio show “Healthy Times, Northern Living”. The show addressed important issues about health and healthcare in Northern rural communities. She researched, produced, wrote, recorded, and edited every episode for the series. She demonstrates a strong commitment to developing a greater connection with the community in which she works. 

She continues to inspire through her pursuits of medical journalism. She independently organized an elective at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC in Toronto, ON) alongside Dr. Brian Goldman at the highly acclaimed medical radio show, White Coat Black Art. 

In pursuing her diverse interests, Sarah models professionalism and critical thinking. She was nominated by her peers as one of two facilitators to organize and lead Queen’s yearly seminar series on Professionalism for first year medical students. Sarah and her co-facilitatorspent months planning the curriculum. Not to mention, Sarah was selected as the class representative for the prestigious Travill Debate in 2013. The Debate - an annual tradition at Queen’s School of Medicine - pairs faculty with a medical student from first and second year to debate a contentious healthcare topic for a public audience. Sarah demonstrated a depth of critical thought, resolve, and charisma in formulating quick counterpoints that lead many audience members to question their own standpoints and think more openly.

It is for these, and countless more reasons impermissible by word limits, that her peers nominate Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif as a role model for medical students everywhere. We are anxious to see what successes her future holds.