Learner showcase

As part of this conference, we are organizing a Learner Showcase where students, either individually or as a group will be able to deliver 10- minute presentations on a grassroots EDID effort they have undertaken to reform medical curricula. We encourage applications from collectives across Canada who are not part of formal working groups. Presentations will occur from 11 AM - 12:30 PM on the day of the conference.


Zachary Chuang (presenting), Nessika Karsenti (presenting), Yoni Levin, Laura O'Gorman, Jordan Shapiro, Alex Sylvester, Anastasia Liu and Lyndsay Donovan

Project DescriptionFirst research project of its kind in Canada - looking at student and faculty perspectives on LGBT2SQ+ medical education content and is delivered and assessed to our future doctors. Qualitative research study featuring semi structured interviews and student surveys. Currently, on US and single-center Canadian studies exist. Preliminary results available now with >200 medical student respondents and growing and abstract prepared. The goal of this project is to capture the current landscape of LGBTQ2S+ med ed in Canada as there is currently no national picture. We have heard anecdotally that some schools have great programs while others severely lack. We hope to be able to make concrete recommendations to programs in order to improve their delivery of this content and help reduced health disparities for LGBTQ2S+ Canadians (roughly 3million people).

Chan Hwi (Matthew) Cho, Lunan Zhao

Project DescriptionDuring the last ten years, medical learners at the University of Toronto have designed a Companion Curriculum (CC) for weekly case-based learning seminars. This involved finding a short humanities piece and creating two discussion questions to add to the end of each week’s patient case. This component remained optional over the years. The aim of the original CC was to elicit critical reflection on the personal and professional relationships that medical students will build in the future, and to help them contemplate a patient’s lived experience.

Recent research conducted by University of Toronto medical students has indicated that the CC is not well integrated into core student learning, and that student and faculty engagement is low. Students have advocated for an opportunity to integrate one mandatory humanities question into each CBL case, which will ultimately be discussed in these small-group seminars to elicit dialogue. We aim to apply these questions not only to foster empathy in medical learners, but also to encourage them to develop critical reflection, such as considering how power relations, social norms and structural inequities may influence their interactions with patients, as well as critical reflexivity on the illness experiences of marginalized members in our community. We believe that the critical humanities can help achieve our goal, for it is a medium that weaves a patient’s voice into medical cases and humanizes them. Whether a video, poem, short story, or historical excerpt, the humanities is an entry point for students to begin critically evaluating oppressive social structures, who may otherwise find CBL simply a matter of breaking down a hypothetical patient into medical jargon.  

In addition to developing questions, the task will also involve drafting an accompanying tutor guide for physician facilitators who may be less familiar with the humanities or social justice. The aim is to ultimately redesign the “companion” curriculum to emphasize that humanities is a central component of the curriculum rather than a secondary piece. Three CBL cases will be presented to faculty in the late springtime. More cases will be developed over the upcoming year. 

Jamie Thompson

Project Description: The Beadwork Auction for Grassy Narrows was a fundraising project that took place in April 2021. Beadwork organ art pieces by Métis artist Jamie Thompson (Birch & Beads Designs) were showcased via a website and silent auctioned off to raise money for Free Grassy, a grassroots initiative to demand justice for Grassy Narrows First Nation, which has been affected by industry mercury poisoning to their waterways. 

The idea of the organ art pieces was to encourage medical professionals to buy the pieces and support the cause, as well wear the pieces in clinical settings as a sign of support and allyship towards Indigenous patients and communities. The pieces also are intended to start a conversation with non-Indigenous clientele about Indigenous issues and what’s happening to the community of Grassy Narrows. In total, the initiative raised $3,335.00 CAD for Free Grassy.

Eric Zhang*, Iku Nwosu, Aquila Akingbade

Project Description: Queens Medicine aims to prepare medical students to practice nationally and internationally, to care for diverse populations. However, students identified a lack of diversity in visual representations of skin tones throughout their pre-clerkship curriculum with respect to cutaneous presentations. 

A student-led group of 120 student volunteers reviewed all 909 learning events in the pre-clerkship curriculum to itemize which events included skin presentations, and which had equitable representation of skin colour. When cutaneous presentations were included, images of white skin tones as well as darker skin ranges were noted.  169 learning events included skin presentations, and 158 had images of white skin only. This issue affected numerous units: Cardiology, Endocrinology, Dermatology, and others.

Prior to this process, there was a significant lack of racial diversity in skin images in the pre-clerkship. Students are often first to notice the gaps in their learning. This initiative highlights the importance of student-led equity work and the need to incorporate insights from students who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) in efforts to improve medical education. While this review was supported by the Curriculum committee, it is recommended that institutions must find ways to support BIPOC students through academic opportunities and appropriate funding to continue improving inclusivity in medical education.The second phase of the project includes students assisting faculty in finding racially diverse images and finding sustainable measures to address the inequity within lecture materials.

Cate Giffin, Yael Ripstein

Project Description: Our project involves three main components: first, a student educational exposure initiative designed to link students with faculty members developing new curricular content; this has the the goals of facilitating collaboration from students, enhanced learning of pre-clinical material, and an opportunity for students to be recognized formally for their curriculum development work through medical student performance report (MSPR)/Dean's Letter recognition. Second, we will describe the identification of gaps in our pre-clinical curriculum - specifically in LGBTQ+ representation - and how the student educational exposure initiative was leveraged to ensure students were being recognized for EDI related curriculum development work. Finally, we will describe how EDI curriculum development was formally scaled-up through the implementation of an EDI rep and 4 curriculum working groups (Sex and Gender, 2SLGBT+, Race and Ethnicity, and Indigenous Health) to expand on this framework for curriculum development and ensure that medical students are being recognized for their unpaid work in curriculum development and EDI.

Kimya Manouchehri (presenting), Anastasia Liu, Divya Santhanam, Rini IIangomaran

Project Description: This project is a thorough curriculum review of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry pre-clerkship and clerkship medical education curriculum. This project began in the 2020-2021 school year and involved gathering interest and subsequently putting together a large group of medical students across all four years of the program who were interested in reviewing the curriculum and providing recommendations on ways to make it more centered from an equity-lens. 

This project has involved leading a large group of around 50 students who meticulously went through the many avenues of our curriculum, from large-group sessions to asynchronous learning modules and analyzing the ways in which the material was lacking in EDID focus while also providing ways in which faculty members may improve for the future. We also focused on highlighting student feedback that we made sure was sought out many times during the past year and a half. Student feedback has helped us make sure that the EDID curriculum committee was transparent and had inputs from many students and their different identities and viewpoints. Our project contributes to curriculum reform by providing to our administration a concrete and thorough document outlining the ways in which our school can improve their handling of EDID issues, ways that they can make the curriculum more equity-focused, and ways in which they may have been short sighted in the past and where mistakes have been made. Every aspect of the curriculum has been analyzed in this report, and the concrete recommendations we have compiled are a strength that the group who has been working on this report really values. Ensuring accountability from our Undergraduate Medical Education administration was a huge goal for us, and we believe that this report will work towards making sure that changes are truly made at Western.

Jenna Simpson

Project Description: The Dean's Lecture Series is a student-lead initiative to provide educational sessions to students and faculty outside of formal curriculum under the umbrella of EDI. We host an annual session on a topic of importance chosen by our students in collaboration with our Dean, Dr. Sarita Verma. Last year, we hosted a panel to discuss racism in medicine and just last week we held an afternoon discussion on environmental sustainability and accountability in medicine. While we are currently operating outside of curriculum, one of the valuable roles of our initiative is that in collaboration with our Dean, faculty have been more participatory and have, as a result, really seen the importance of the topics that we are covering. 

Our project is unique because it operates counter to most medical education models. Many times, it is the students driving change in the realm of EDI because of personal experiences, exposure, and general awareness about the importance of the principles of EDI. Unfortunately, most curriculum change is in the hands of the administration, who may be lagging behind. By partnering with our Dean and her office, there is inherent value to the information being provided at the Dean's Lecture Series, and these sessions serve as educational material for the staff and faculty at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, alongside students. Rather than having students advocate for curriculum changes, these sessions present the information to the drivers of curriculum change themselves, inviting them to see the importance, the gravity, and magnitude of issues such as racism in medicine and planetary health. This model positions them alongside students to advocate changes in our curriculum.