Black Medical Students Association of Canada AGM

Guest blog post by Abigail Barker

On April 1st, 2023, myself and six fellow Black medical students from the University of Saskatchewan attended the 4th Black Medical Students Association of Canada (BMSAC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Toronto. The BMSAC was formed by Dr Helen Teklemariam and Dr Yohanna Asghedom in 2020 to establish a national community with the goal of addressing the specific challenges that Black patients and healthcare professionals face. 150 Black medical students from all 17 Canadian medical schools convened at the Toronto Public Library for a day filled with learning opportunities, connection, and fun. The day started off early with a review of the progress made by each Black Medical Student Association (BMSA) chapter across the country. It was amazing to learn about the range of social events held by each chapter, as well as the advocacy initiatives addressing inequities experienced by Black patients and medical professionals. This was followed up by a series of informative presentations, including one focused on the Diversity and Inclusion in Cardiology Education (DICE) program, a mentorship program founded by Dr Mena Gewarges and Dr Tahira Redwood. Keynote speaker Paul Taylor, the former executive director of FoodShare Toronto and current co-CEO of Evenings & Weekends Consulting, delivered a thought-provoking speech on food insecurity and its links to systemic racism. Throughout the day, there were panel discussions on topics including wellness and student advocacy, particularly pertaining to the Black community. We were also given the opportunity to connect with each other through small group discussions on our personal experiences as Black medical students. It was a great feeling to look around the room and witness the direct result of the work that has been done to increase representation of Black people in medicine and I am grateful to the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine for its ongoing support and provision of funding to offset the cost to attend these events.   

The 2024 BMSAC AGM takes place in Montreal, Quebec in April.

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