May's OMSA Student of the Month is Western University's Jeremy Chitpin. He's quite involved in his school's student body, as his nomination comes from Schulich's Hippocratic Council's president. Read for yourself below.
Jeremy is VP Internal at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. He has done wonders for mental health awareness and will leave lasting impacts to the structure of our Student Affairs Committee (SAC), which he chaired.
In this past month, Jeremy organized two events around mental health that has completely shifted the cultural perceptions around how prevalent and serious mental illness can be during medical school. The Monday event was a support group for students to share their past experiences. There was also an option for students to submit narratives anonymously, which were then read out loud during the event. Stories were shared about past suicide attempts, being institutionalized, eating disorders, and so much more. On the Tuesday, over 70 students attended a lunch time session, during which there was an opportunity for sharing and learning. This event was eye-opening for many medical students, who heard the true impact of medical illness, and even invited spontaneous audience members to share more stories. Tears were shed, and eyes were opened. Jeremy was also instrumental in adopting Queen's Wellness Month Challenge and modifying it to really make students change behavioural patterns. Ever since Jeremy attended the OMSA Wellness Retreat, he has worked endlessly to promote wellness at Schulich.
For those planning wellness events, we often struggle with getting students to understand the importance of taking care of themselves, but this highlighted that it is imperative that we do. Furthermore, the CFMS Wellness Committee will be adopting the "anonymous" narrative tactic used by Jeremy in wellness events across the country.
Wellness is only one aspect of Jeremy's portfolio as VP Internal. Aside from taking care of facility requests and our lounge, Jeremy has done an outstanding job in simply connecting with the students, especially the incoming class of 2018. By being there for them and acting as the face of guidance and confidence, he acts as a great role model for their class. Several students feel safe approaching Jeremy with serious concerns in their life. Jeremy tries to be aware and conscious of the different facets of class culture that may affect student's learning, interactions and overall happiness. He always takes the time to listen and reflect, and ultimately care for his friends.
Finally, Jeremy is restless in thinking about the future and ensuring that there is continuity in the great work that he has done. He is taking the committee he chairs (SAC) and reorganizing and rebranding it to fit the needs of the school, adding positions and expanding on the mandate of the original committee. His forethought for creating long-lasting initiatives will be a valuable foundation on which Schulich will expand its wellness portfolio.