Note: As of April 25th, the position of VP Communications is unfilled. Nominations will stay open until midnight EST on Friday May 1st. If interested please submit a headshot, a 250 word platform and a maximum 90 second video to Debbie Brace at chair@omsa.ca

Congratulations to all the candidates who are running for this year’s OMSA elections! Below you will find the list of candidates, alphabetical by position. Elections will take place during OMSA Annual General Meeting, May 10th, 2020. Candidates have also submitted short videos which will be showed during the election. Candidates will then answer questions. If you are an Ontario medical student and interested in attending please email Debbie Brace at chair@omsa.ca.

Best of luck and congratulations again to all of our candidates!


President Nomination: Samveg Shah

I’m Samveg Shah, a medical student at McMaster. I’m excited and humbled to be running for the President. Prior to MacMed, I completed an undergrad in Biophysics at Western, and worked for a year as a software developer in Toronto. Over the past year, I served as the Director of Communications, and I loved it! I was able to harness my previous experience in technology and student advocacy to grow this role by

  • Developing OMSA’s internal infrastructure via online project-management tools
  • Working with other portfolios to increase student engagement via meaningful conversations, i.e. the Perspectives in Medicine website
  • Reducing workload by writing computer software and automating graphic design for the HHR booklet

Unfortunately, Covid-19 presents a distressing time for us across the province. The ramifications, though strongly felt in our education, are not completely understood and will need to be addressed. However, so do student concerns prior to Covid-19. As President, I would be honored to work with colleagues across Ontario to

  • Address inequities in rural learning opportunities - such as contesting HealthForce Ontario’s policy on reimbursing electives completed only at academic sites
  • Develop a sustainable relationship with Ontario Medical Schools’ administrations
  • Implement a sustainability plan regarding finances, strategic positions, and technical infrastructure to ensure OMSA’s presence
  • Ensure fairness in educational/career opportunities given the current pandemic

Moving forward, especially through Covid-19, we may face challenges, we may have to make unsatisfactory compromises, but we will endure! Through this, I hope to advocate for you as President!


President Nomination: Sharon Yeung

Hi everyone! This year, I had the honour of being OMSA’s Co-Chair, and I’m hoping to continue my work through the position of President next year. I am so proud of all the ways Ontario medical students have stepped up in these challenging times and inspired, more than ever, to shape OMSA to be an organization that supports and enhances student efforts.

If elected into this role, I hope to focus on three goals:

1) Advocating for students through the changes that COVID-19 will make to our medical education: I am committed to ensuring student voices are central in existing and impending changes. To this end, I will work with our existing provincial and national stakeholders and explore new relationships we can leverage to bring student perspectives on optimizing our education to the forefront.

2) Defining a position and future for OMSA: This year, we created a four-year strategic plan with long-term, student-designed goals to enhance the impact of our work. These goals include increasing diversity and improving wellness culture in medical education. I will pursue these goals and ensure OMSA is well-positioned to continue advocacy on these items after my term.

3) Expanding our outreach and engaging with more medical students: I believe this to be a perpetual goal – as the medical student body changes every year, we need to adapt to new needs and interests that arise. I hope to create more diverse, inclusive, and creative opportunities to be involved as we cater to the rapidly changing times.


President-Elect Nomination: Ushma Purohit

Hi everyone!

I’m excited to be running for the position of President-Elect.

Currently, I am the Senior Lead of OMSA’s Governance Committee, and in my role, I have been involved in the creation of OMSA’s mission, vision, values and 2020-2024 Strategic Plan (more details in the video!).

My experiences as a non-profit Board Director and my current MSc in health system leadership have helped me gain valuable skills in organizational management. As the CFMS National Officer of Partnerships, I have learned about student issues at the national and international level while quadrupling CFMS’s partnership portfolio. Being the VP Health Policy of the Interprofessional Healthcare Students’ Association has allowed me to engage in large-scale advocacy on range of issues involving student wellness and education. I believe that having a leader with significant experience in leadership, governance, partnership, policy and advocacy is a strong asset when your organization is as diverse as OMSA.

During my term, I will aim to:

  1. Prioritize Student Needs: upstream advocacy to the OMA, Ontario medical faculties, CaRMS and other groups with a focus on student concerns and wellness
  2. Increase Engagement: targeted outreach efforts to increase awareness and accessibility of OMSA initiatives in the general membership with the goal of equal representation from every medical school
  3. Improve Communication: create mechanisms for frequent communication to facilitate collaboration and transparency between OMSA portfolios and between Ontario medical schools

I would be honoured to play a role in driving OMSA’s growth over the next few years!


Vice President Communication Nomination: Zina Fathalla


Hi Ontario medical students! My name is Zina. I am a first-year medical student at the University of Ottawa and I would be honoured to serve as the next VP of Communications! I am running for this position because I enjoy using media technologies in innovative ways to convey information and would love to contribute to this great organization. If elected as VP of Communications, I aim to: 1) Develop a strategic communications plan to improve OMSA’s outreach, 2) Provide high-quality and efficient communications support to the various portfolios within OMSA, 3) Manage the communications committee with enthusiasm, creativity, and dedication. In the past, I was a member of several clubs where my role was centred around creating promotional material, managing social media accounts and updating websites. Therefore, I am aware of what works best to deliver information that catches students’ attention and improves turnout, engagement or resource utility. I plan to use these experiences to help the OMSA portfolios promote their events and raise awareness for different causes. I also have leadership experiences that refined my organizational skills and taught me how to work with others to achieve results through task delegation, clear expectations, strong communication, and positivity. This is important as I will be overseeing the communications committee to reach its full potential. Overall, I am passionate about advancing the goals of the OMSA and networking with like-minded students and I believe that my skill set and interests make me a great fit for this role. 

Vice President Communication Nomination: Saara Punjani

Hello everyone!

My name is Saara Punjani and I am in the graduating class of 2022 at McMaster University. I am so excited to be running for OMSA’s VP Communications. Since October 2019, I have been a part of the Communications committee on both the Design and Social Media teams. As a part of these teams, I have had the opportunity to familiarize myself with the workings of OMSA as I worked on our Communiques, helped design our first-ever Health and Human Resources Guide, and shared each committee’s activities and opportunities with medical students all over Ontario. The Communications team collaborates with every subcommittee in addition to OMSA’s general members, and I believe I have the necessary experience and familiarity to effectively spearhead it and improve OMSA’s reach to the rest of our colleagues.

As VP Communications, I would hope to see more Ontario medical students engaged with OMSA’s incredible opportunities and initiatives. Some of the ideas I have to fulfill this goal are:

1.     Holding a virtual OMSA Town Hall, where students can submit questions they have for us, and we can communicate with general members to see how we can support them during this time.

2.     Quarterly OMSA meetings and information sessions at each of the Ontario medical schools

3.     Send out a survey to our general members at the beginning and end of each academic year, asking for feedback and what students would like to see more of, as well as their satisfaction with OMSA’s current activities.

Vice President Communication Nomination: Mahdi Zeghal


Hi everyone!

My name is Madhi Zeghal and I’m currently a first-year student at the University of Ottawa. I’m running to serve as your future Vice President of Communication for the OMSA next year!

I come from a rich background of numerous experiences and qualities that relate to all realms of communication. I am English-French bilingual and continue strive to improve my French and advocate for equal bilingual representation. I held many roles and had numerous responsibilities throughout this year: 1) Graphics Design committee member for OMSA where I designed numerous posters/infographics 2) VP IT Assistant for the uOttawa Aesculapain Society and recently elected VP IT for next year to manage the student council website and FB page, and address students’ technological issues; 3) Site editor for the COVID-19 Central initiative site. 

Here is a brief overview of some of the things I hope to achieve and advocate for should you elect me as OMSA’s VP of Communication: 

  1. Continue to maintain OMSA’s active presence across many social media platforms (FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

  2. Establish a communication platform which can integrate a task-management platform to continue ensuring good work organization and productivity while facilitating communication, discussions and assistance between team members both within and across sub-committees

  3. Promote collaboration with other portfolios to realize ambitious projects/initiatives and work towards achieving common goals

Best of luck to all the other OMSA Executive position candidates, and I hope everyone is staying safe, staying healthy and doing well!


Vice President Communication Nomination: Melanie Zhang

Hi there! 

I'm Melanie Zhang and I am running to be your OMSA VP of Communications. I have a passion for graphic design and have worked extensively as a designer (infographics, posters, etc..) and media manager for various clubs during undergrad. I hope to apply my creative background to accomplish the following:

(1) Tailoring communication to general members to increase engagement 

With the extensive workload tethered to medical school, it is normal to become overwhelmed by the high number of emails and social media posts. To prevent communication fatigue, I hope to implement immediate feedback avenues to gauge student interest in newsletters, emails, and social media content so OMSA can ensure the best quality and quantity of information. 

Furthermore, suggestions would also be taken from the students regarding website structure and navigation. This will ensure students are able to access resources from the OMSA website easily and improve member engagement overall. 

(2) Increasing communication between schools 

Increasing student engagement with OMSA would pave the way towards forming inter-school relations. With more input from various schools, I hope to help develop increased sense of a student community that could pave way to curriculum and administrative changes if needed. 

(3) Engagement en deux langues (Engagement in two Languages)

Je continuerai d'augmenter le montant des ressources fournies par OMSA en français. Je travaillerai pour m'assurer que OMSA fournit des informations et l'infographie en français, et inclut des ressources des réseau médias francophones. 

I will continue to increase the amount of resources provided by OMSA in French. I will work to ensure that OMSA provides more information, infographics, as well as social media in French.


VP Finance Nomination: Rae Woodhouse

My name is Rae Woodhouse and I am a third-year student at Queen’s University. I am also the current OMSA Director of Finance and Internal Affairs. In this role, I have learnt so much about the internal workings of OMSA and have become intimately familiar with the organizations financial systems and situation. This past year I have focused on reworking the budget to ensure long-term financial stability, updating the reimbursement process to be more efficient and organized, and making improvements to the existing grants structure to make our awards more accessible and diverse. One of the projects that I am most proud of is the creation of the Hidden Hero and Art of Medicine Awards, which saw their inaugural winners selected earlier this month. With OMSA’s new structure, I would be honoured to be selected to continue my financial work in the capacity of VP Finance. For this year, I have four main goals:

  1. Update and amalgamate the OMSA and OMA reimbursement documents to reduce the burden on individual students while ensuring adequate financial oversight
  2. Ensure smooth financial carryover for the various events that saw interruptions due to COVID-19.
  3. Collaborate with the President and President-Elect to secure additional financial sponsors to allow OMSA to gain independence and expand its reach.
  4. Ensure that OMSA funds are spent maximally to benefit students, while ensuring a balanced budget is kept.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope that I have proven myself worthy of re-election!


VP Finance Nomination: Melanie Zhang


I'm Melanie Zhang and I am running to be your OMSA VP of Finance! If elected I aim to improve accessibility and growth of OMSA budget through the following points:

(1) Simple & Timely Reimbursement Process

Let's face it, most of us in medicine dislike bureaucracy;  filling out forms makes for an onerous and tiresome experience. My goal is to streamline the reimbursement process and make event planning easier. I will push for an easy step-by-step process through online transfers in a timely manner that is built in to the OMSA website.

(2) Detailed & Consistent Oversight of Budget

One of the current challenges faced OMSA is the difficulty accessing the full budget as it is currently managed through the OMA. I will advocate for the OMA to provide OMSA clear and consistent updates on the status of the OMSA budget, and clear-cut dates regarding when OMSA will receive their budget.

(3) Accessibility and Transparency of Spending

OMSA's budget will be clearly kept for future councils, helping the transition of one council to the next. Meanwhile, consistent updates of the budget will be provided in laymen's terms through accessible platforms such as social media. Information on sponsorship negotiations and deals will also be made available.

(4) Instructions and Workflow for Future VP Finance

Understanding OMSA's funding model consists of a steep learning curve which makes transitions difficult for the council, I hope to draft a manual and workflow for the future VPs of Finance. I will also ensure my own smooth transition into the role by proactive communication with the OMA to ensure a full understanding of the current model.


VP Operations Nomination: Zachary Barkhouse

Hello friends, my name is Zachary Barkhouse and I am a McMaster C2022 student running for OMSA VP Operations. As a new role, it is important to establish the position clearly. I plan to create detailed, accessible standard operating procedures for many council tasks. These SOPs will ensure council congruence among years, guaranteeing internal standards are consistently met while also emphasizing flexibility for ongoing improvements. These processes will be made available to everyone, allowing OMSA to remain transparent to students.

Secondly, my event planning experiences will help me positively transition OMSW during this abnormal climate. OMSW uses 16% of OMSA finances and impacts almost every first-year student across Ontario, both professionally and socially. As COVID-19 continues to impact society, alternative planning for OMSW becomes more important than ever. As a McMaster student, I am able to be on the ground alongside the McMaster planning team to alter planning dynamically; both locally and virtually. Together, our combined skills will help us plan an amazing weekend for students.

My final initiative is to better coordinate the OMSA committees, specifically regarding position applications. I will develop a centralized system for OMSA committee applications. This platform will keep selection info for all positions available year-round and provide new year-specific information regarding applications as early as possible prior to deadlines. Inclusion and growth are two of OMSA’s core values. This renewed process will allow students across Ontario to gain increased access to OMSA committee opportunities, helping them grow for the future through the positions.


VP Advocacy Nomination: Jessica Scott

My name is Jessica Scott.  I am a first-year medical student at McMaster University, and I am running for the position of Vice President of Advocacy with the Ontario Medical Students Association.  Throughout my first few months of medical school, I have had the opportunity to advocate for patients on an individual and system-wide level.  In October, I was selected as a delegate for McMaster’s Municipal Day of Action. In this role, I met with city councillors to discuss the opioid crisis and to advocate for the implementation of managed opioid programs in Ontario. I am also the Health Promotions director of the Health Advocacy for Refugees Program at McMaster University. As the Health Promotions director, I organize and facilitate health-related presentations at a local centre for newcomer health. 

As Vice President of Advocacy with the Ontario Medical Students Association, I hope to encourage medical students across Ontario to explore healthcare issues that matter to them and to make meaningful impacts in their communities. Moreover, I hope to organize workshops to allow students to learn about evidence-informed strategies for advocacy. I also plan to provide opportunities for students to work with local community partners to identify healthcare gaps and to brainstorm sustainable solutions. Additionally, I aim to encourage students to engage with political representatives to advocate for meaningful change. I look forward to leveraging my experiences with and passion for advocacy, in order to make long-term improvements within the Ontario healthcare landscape as Vice President of Advocacy.


VP Education Nomination: Michael Scaffidi​

My name is Michael Scaffidi and I am running for the position of the OMSA Vice President of Education. I am a second-year medical student at Queen’s and co-chair on the OMSA Education Committee’s Medical Student Education Research Grant (MSERG) Working Group. I have a strong interest in med ed, having completed a Master of Education and also having worked in a lab for 4 years on research related to simulation-based training.

I believe that my experiences with OMSA make me well prepared to take on the role of VP Education. In addition to MSERG, I am currently involved with other OMSA-related projects, including creating educational material for the COVID-19 pandemic, updating the OMSA clerkship guide for Queen’s, and co-leading a white paper on best preceptor practices.

I plan to continue the excellent work of EdComm in the following ways. First, I want to work with the Educational Services Working Group to update and harmonize all of the existing clerkship guides for Ontario schools. Second, I want to evaluate MSERG’s impact by creating a system to track any associated publications and/or knowledge translation efforts that have come from the award. Finally, I would like to engage all working groups within EdComm, particularly Mental Health, OSMERC, and Policy, to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical education and provide actionable items to help manage this impact.

Above all, I am looking to channel my passion for med ed into service if elected as the 2020-2021 VP of Education!


VP Student Affairs Nomination: Courtney Leach

Hello, my name is Courtney, I am a QMed 2021 running for the position of Vice President of Student Affairs.

This portfolio has seen a number of changes and successful new initiatives over the past year. I would like to optimize these new initiatives, while bringing in a selection of fesible new ideas. With this in mind, these are my main platform points:

  1. Support the continuation of the Perspectives in Medicine Initiative, seeking opportunities for this platform to be used as a tool for Mental Health Advocacy. Additionally, I think that this would be a unique medium for students to connect as we together navigate the challenges we experience as a result of COVID-19.
  2. See through the full rollout of the Mentorship program, including an increased number of Mentor/Mentee pairings over the next year. 
  3. Optimize the Winter Retreat to solidify the relationship that has been built with the YMCA Camp and ensure long-term financial sustainability.
  4. Revamp the OMSA wellness blog, inviting new submissions and updating the links to different general and school-specific wellness resources. This may entail collaborating with the CFMS to incorporate/build upon the resources that they have collated. If updated, the hope would be that this site could be a tool for collaboration between the various Ontario MedSoc Wellness Teams.

I believe that with a combination approach of support for current initiatives while seeking to innovate and expand, I would be able to foster the continued success of the VP Student Affairs portfolio. 


VP Student Affairs Nomination: Nadeesha Samarasinghe

Hi Ontario medical students!

My name is Nadeesha Samarasinghe and I am excited to be running for the VP Student Affairs role within OMSA!

As a former personal trainer and fitness instructor, I have always advocated for the importance of cultivating both physiological and psychological health and wellbeing. Entering medical school, I utilized this passion and expertise, along with my position as a member of our schools Hippocratic council, to identify the needs of our student body and launch several wellness initiatives.

Furthermore, having been a part of the OMSA wellness portfolio for the last two years, first as a general member and then the Senior Retreat Lead, I believe I have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to be successful in this position.

As the situation surrounding COVID 19 continues to evolve, the need to offer support for medical students through this challenging time becomes increasingly prevalent. If elected, I will strive to adapt the traditional duties of this role to best suit the current climate.

My goals:

  1. Partner with companies promoting health and wellbeing to offer students promotions on services such as home exercise, meditation and meal preparation.
  2. Establish anonymous peer support network for students seeking a safe space to talk and the listening ear of a fellow medical student
  3. Re-launch OMSA mentorship program in online format and broaden scope to include residents as mentors
  4. Survey medical students across Ontario to identify their wellness needs and use this feedback to develop new initiatives


Thank you for participating in the OMSA elections!