VP Student Affairs Nominees
Thank you to all the nominees! Elections will take place on June 8, 2023 at 6:30pm over Zoom. All medical students are welcome to attend and help deliberate!
Zoom Link: https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/j/96264032838 (Password: 194621)
Deyang Li | McMaster University, 2025
Hi everyone! My name is Deyang and I’m a c2025 at McMaster running for VP Student Affairs. Some of my relevant experiences include providing mentorship as a peer learning assistant and supporting other students through a graduate peer support centre. Working in these roles really reinforced the importance of wellness and supports for students, especially during the pandemic.
In addition, I helped plan or fundraise for events from charity dinners and sports tournaments to an undergraduate healthcare conference for 300+ attendees, so I feel equipped to help with logistics, sponsorship, and planning support for any events or initiatives. I was also fortunate to serve on the OMSA committee for the annual wellness retreat, in addition to advocacy partnerships and the Ontario Student Medical Education Conference this year.
Beyond gaining insights from a variety of volunteer, logistics, and sponsorship roles, I believe that I can bring enthusiasm for wellness initiatives, a passion for working within teams, and some new ideas to the portfolio.
One idea is expanding the OMSA mentorship program to provide support to aspiring youth from underrepresented backgrounds. In addition, we could run wellness themed raffles or a social media campaign. I would also try to run a mental health research abstract competition or conference and aim to make the wellness retreat more accessible by working on more transportation options and travel grants. These are just some of my ideas, and I hope to work with the student affairs committees to implement positive changes to the portfolio.
Mahtab M. Naeini | Western University, 2024
I am very honoured to have the opportunity to run for the unique position of VP Student Affairs for a second time, and with a renewed sense of commitment. I have nominated myself because, like many of you, I’ve dealt with a fair share of isolation, doubt, and depression during my medical school journey and I understand specially now, coming out of a pandemic, how much can be gained from having a strong network of support for all Ontario medical students at the heart of our representative body. I believe my experiences representing students in the Schulich meds 2024 class council for two years, co-founding the Schulich Mental Wellness Club, and extensive mentorship background have prepared me well for this role. My plans for each committee under Student Affairs include:
- Mentorship: Support continuation of targeted matching initiated last year and rectify issues with mentor recruitment for competitive specialties.
- WEP: Enhance social media presence of the “Perspectives in Medicine” initiative in collaboration with VP externals and other outreach means available to OMSA, to make this a more widely known and more interactive platform for students to share their wellness-related issues anonymously and receive support from peers.
- Retreat: Early planning to implement feedback from attendees and committee members organizing the retreat in previous years; Explore funding avenues to expand capacity.
- Research: Support OMSWell study in identifying barriers to student wellness by connecting research to practice.
Thank you for your time and looking forward to serving you!
Nainika Venugopal | Western University, 2025
My name is Nainika Venugopal and I am excited to be running for VP Student Affairs (SA)!
Medical school, although rewarding, can be very demanding and emotionally challenging. I believe that OMSA has the platform to foster an inclusive student community and implement initiatives promoting wellness, thereby positively impacting our medical school experience.
From being a Girl Guides leader, to being involved in student council and the OMSA SA portfolio for the past 2 years, I have had experiences advocating for students, leading teams, organizing events, and catering initiatives to meet student needs.
As VPSA, I will prioritize:
1. Empowering and Supporting Portfolio Committees. As WEPs co-Chair the past year, I recognized and appreciated the VPSA’s influence on my performance, which in turn impacted the committee’s performance. AS VPSA, I will continue supporting committees to optimize their potential through regular support and progress check-ins and cultivating an environment promoting positive group dynamics. I also plan on utilizing a platform (ie. Facebook group) in which SA committees can view each other’s progress and work plans to get a sense of the bigger portfolio impact on student wellness.
2. Expanding the Wellness Instagram page. The overwhelming amount of engagement with the Wellness Week Challenge highlights the platform’s potential in fostering a sense of community among medical students. By creating a committee dedicated to this page, we can continue building this community through frequent PiM and affirmation posts, de-stressor polls, and Q&As to share wellness tips and category-specific experiences with fellow students.
Ola Elsharif | McMaster University, 2025
Dear fellow medical students,
My name is Ola Elsharif, and I am delighted to run for OMSA’s Vice President of Student Affairs. I truly believe that strength comes from numbers, and with over 3000 medical students in Ontario, I want to use this position to harness our collective strength and foster connections across the province.
To connect students with their career paths, I propose implementing a double match mentorship program, where junior mentors (residents) provide valuable insights on clerkship and CARMS, while experienced physicians guide students in long-term career planning. I will advocate for diverse mentors because as a visible minority, I understand the value of a shared lived experience.
Our classmates work tirelessly to make an impact within our home schools but imagine if that impact spread across the province. I will spearhead the implementation of an inter-school networking program that cultivates collaboration, knowledge exchange, and camaraderie. Integrated with mental health research and wellness initiatives, I aim to create a supportive community that will keep us connected beyond our years in medical school.
With my leadership experience in student groups and non-profit organizations, I have witnessed the power of passionate collaboration. I see great potential within the OMSA team and would be honored to join you in advocating for the student body. Vote for me as your VP of Student Affairs, and together we will prioritize wellness, foster mentorship, and build bridges of collaboration throughout our medical education journey. Thank you for your support.
Sincerely, Ola Elsharif