Med Student Leadership Selective

Doctors Manitoba made us feel empowered

Imagine trying to foster a group of leaders capable of making a difference not just years into the future, but right now. That’s exactly the challenge faced by the Max Rady College of Medicine and Doctors Manitoba. Both organizations committed to enhancing leadership skills within the medical profession, and teamed up to tackle the challenge together.

Led by Dr. Debrah Wirtzfeld, the Director of Leadership Development for the Max Rady College of Medicine, the Medical Student Leadership Selective continued in conjunction with Doctors Manitoba for the second straight year.

“The medical student leadership selective is my favourite part of the undergraduate leadership curriculum,” said Dr. Wirtzfeld. “The students have a passion for and are invested in making themselves better leaders by learning how to lead themselves, interacting with important stakeholders, and developing business approaches that will lead health care transformation. Doctors Manitoba has been very open in supporting our initiatives over the past two years. They are invested in developing the successful medical leaders of tomorrow.”

This year’s focus was the initiation of a campaign designed to reduce bullying, harassment and intimidation in the workplace – basically to create a more positive, productive workplace and learning environment for medical students, residents and practicing physicians.

The six medical students – Gurmeet Sohi, Garrett Johnson, Amanda Eng, Nicole Brokopp, Osama Jarkas and Neelan Sriranjan – worked throughout March to research the initiative, speak with leaders and develop a business plan, complete with a detailed budget.

Working many days at the Doctors Manitoba offices, the students, all of whom have since graduated medical school and are preparing for residency, brainstormed many different ideas and put together the plan.

Part of the process is designed to allow the medical students to work intensively together, thus forcing them to figure out how to best utilize each other’s skills to complete the task in a short time period. They each undergo an Emotional Quotient Inventory Assessment to gain insight into their own strengths and weaknesses.

“This Selective definitely taught me the importance of adapting to a team’s strengths and weaknesses. I feel Doctors Manitoba provided a great mentoring environment, where skills in project establishment could be improved,” said participant Neelan Sriranjan.

The project culminates in a formal presentation to members of the Doctors Manitoba Board of Directors, with a robust question and answer period. After deliberation, the Board agreed to provide some funding for the initiative to ensure the long-term involvement and collaboration of the MMSA, PARIM and Doctors Manitoba.

That transition is already in the works. General Surgery resident, Dr. Megan Delisle, herself instrumental in heling make this project a reality, is keen to ensure the project continues on and becomes a success. The enthusiasm of the medical students helped inspire her.

“The Medical Student Leadership Selective was very rewarding as it allowed me to see first hand how passionate the next generation of doctors are and it makes me confident that we will continue to improve as a profession. It inspires me to see that medical students are not afraid to speak up and do not accept the status quo without questioning it first. They are pushing the boundaries to make improvements. We will never fix today’s problems with the same ideas that got us here. We need to foster the development of our incoming medical leaders to ensure a bright future for our profession! This leadership selective was a perfect example of creative ways that we can achieve this.”

Delisle also drew inspiration from the ongoing collaboration between medical students, residents and Doctors Manitoba, stating, “Doctors Manitoba’s dedication to the initiative and desire to help us achieve positive changes was inspirational and truly demonstrated the core values of their organization. The partnership made me feel like we could have an impact on a broader level even as medical learners. Doctors Manitoba made us feel empowered.”