The Special Projects and Community Involvement (SPCI) Committee’s mission is to empower medical students and groups looking to initiate and/or consolidate innovative community-based projects by providing them with access to funding and other resources. Funding is distributed biannually in the fall and winter semesters of each academic year.
Salima Ramdani – Coordinator
SPCI Sponsored Projects - Fall 2016
Intro to American Sign Language
Clinical French Club
Medicine on the Rocks
The Equity Bookshelf
Community Outreach Projects
Student Neurology Symposium
Share the Warmth Foundation
Rise for Rare
Heal with the Beat
Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work Wine & Cheese
Exhibition on the Refugee Crisis and the Syrian Civil War
Composting in McIntyre
SPCI Sponsored Projects - Winter 2017
SPCI Sponsored Projects - Fall 2017
Perspectives and Impact in Whole Person Care
MUHC Global Surgery Conference
Mental Health Awareness and Education
Share the Run
Clinical French Club
Symposium on MAID
Rare Disease Day
Community Health and Social Medicine
Médecine de Rue
Experience Careers in Health
Association of Women’s Surgery
SPCI Sponsored Projects - Winter 2018
Abortion Beyond Bounds Symposium
Winter 2017 Projects:
Canadian Alliance of Medical Students Against Human Trafficking
The Canadian Alliance of Medical Students Against Human Trafficking (CAMSAHT) is a pan-Canadian student-led anti-trafficking initiative. Our mission is to eradicate trafficking in persons through advocacy, research, and education. We have several ongoing projects, but our main goal is to modify the curricula of medical schools across Canada to insert a module that will teach students how to recognize the signs of trafficking in their patients and how to intervene using validated methods. As we work towards this goal, we want to ensure that we engage community members in our initiatives, which is why we are holding public lectures throughout Canada, to teach individuals that human trafficking is a reality, wherever they may be living.
On March 29th, we hosted a public lecture in Montreal called Open Your Eyes To Human Trafficking. Three speakers from local anti-trafficking organizations came to McGill to speak about the reality of human trafficking in Canada and Montreal, and about their work in advocacy, education, and victim services. The event connected individuals from different backgrounds such as medicine, psychology, graduate studies, and education, all of whom share a passion for the fight against human trafficking.
Canadian Journal of Surgical Techniques
Description will be updated soon
Maman et bébé en santé
Maman et bébé en santé is a project that was created in response to the lack of support for immigrants mothers in their post-partum period. In 2015, nearly 30 000 persons arrived to Montreal (1). Of those, many live in Côte-des-Neiges and recently had a child born here. Often, those new immigrants do not have support from family members or friends. Our project consists of 2 to 3 active group sessions per month in Côte-des-Neiges. Each session has an active component of 50 minutes (with the baby) and a preventive talk of 10 minutes. Our project was created to bring support to post-partum immigrant women by providing activities where they can meet other women and do physical activity while being with their baby. Also, our prevention talks bring a pedagogic aspect to the activity.
Source (1) :Institut de statistiques du Québec. Ville de Montréal, Immigration [Internet]. Unknown year of publication. [Cited March 1st, 2017]. Available here
McGill Students For Equity In Healthcare
“McGill Students For Equity In Healthcare offers volunteer-based provision of health and social assistance. We provide short-term assistance (i.e. socks, shoes or bus fare to a doctor’s appointment) to complement longer-term support (i.e. helping clients find a family doctor). Both efforts are meant to improve clients’ access to health services.
Together with Health and Hygiene for the Homeless (HHH), we assist with monthly foot care clinics at Maison du Père, a homeless shelter. While a podiatrist volunteers his time to conduct basic medical evaluations and procedures for shelter clients, we provide information on illness prevention and strategies to maintain foot health. We talk with clients to assess how we may best address their needs and provide socks, diabetic tensor socks, antibiotic ointment, anti-fungal cream, and other resources.
Additionally, we are working with an MUHC physician to connect clients from vulnerable populations with family doctors. When people have access to a family doctor and continuity of care, this often improves health outcomes. Unfortunately, wait times to find a family doctor can be long and many barriers make it difficult for people to connect with family doctors. We are working to help people overcome those barriers.”
Exercise is Medicine Canada
Exercise is Medicine Canada (EIMC) is a McGill Club focused on promoting the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. This year’s Speaker Series attracted over 75 people to a set of talks from two athletes and a scientist. The theme of this year’s panel, Overcoming Setbacks, was aimed at speaking to a wide audience on the benefits of exercise in returning to daily life after an injury or extended time-off. To reach this goal, we recruited 3 speakers. The first speaker, Laurent D. Tardif, a professional NFL football player and in his graduating year of McGill Medical School, spoke about his personal experience in sport. In addition, Dr. Jeff Caron, a post-doctoral fellow in Concussion related research spoke about his research. Finally, Marie-Claude Molnar, a Paralympic, Parapan American Games and World Championships medalist spoke of her journey to come back from a devastating bike crash to continue towards her dream of becoming a professional athlete.
EIMC believes this panel of speakers inspired and educated our audience on the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. Over 50 audience members from a wide variety of backgrounds enjoyed the talks in a relaxed setting for FREE. After each panelists’ talk, there was active discussion between both speakers and audience members.
Because the hearing test iPad application is more entertaining and intuitive, Kids2Hear is able to accurately test the hearing of young children in as little as 45 seconds. The hope of this screening program is that it will enable more widespread and cost-effective testing resulting in earlier identification of children at risk or with hearing loss.
Our project proposes to use the ipad audiometer (Shoebox) to perform hearing screening in Grades 1 and 2 children at English and French schools in the Montreal District School Board. In addition the children will also undergo otoscopy to complement their examination.
Using this iPad audiometer, we plan to provide an incidence of hearing loss in preschool and Grades 1 and 2 children in Montreal. Children who are flagged to have a potential hearing impairment will visit partnered audiology clinics in Montreal for formal testing by an audiologist and potential subsequent ENT assessment and treatment. This would allow for further evaluation of the iPad App as a proper screening tool. Finally, we will evaluate the usability of the iPad App by the children, and plan to perform a cost-benefit analysis of iPad audiometry.
A similar school program has been implemented in Ottawa school-aged children in 2014-2015 school-year, and testing has taken place in various elementary schools in Ottawa that are part of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO).
Surgery Exploration and Discovery
Description will be updated soon.
Interprof’ Olympics is an interdisciplinary activity night, in which students from different health-care related disciplines are placed into teams in order to compete in a ‘timed’ series of stations involving a variety of trivia and skills based tasks – all in an effort to solve the overarching clinical case. The overall goal of the activity is to reinforce what has been done in the previous years to allow for students from different health-care related disciplines to get together in order to meet future colleagues in a stress-free environment. Our event will allow for collaboration and making use of each other’s own expertise to advance towards a common goal – an objective they will be working towards as professionals in their future careers. This is done on the basis that collaboration amongst health-care professionals is key to problem solving and improving patient care.
6th Annual Global Surgery Conference
Although global health has been the subject of much discussion and debate in the medical world, the surgical aspect of global health is often omitted from the conversation. Traditionally considered of lesser importance compared to communicable diseases, medical conditions treatable by surgery are nevertheless significant contributors to global burden of disease and mortality.
In hosting the 6th Annual Global Surgery Conference, we intend to bring attention to this component of global health and to facilitate discussion between practicing and future healthcare workers about the issue. The purpose of this daylong conference is to expose students to various experiences and opportunities in surgical global health. It aims to provide a forum for students and healthcare professionals to discuss the different challenges and approaches to the field. This conference will feature presentations from various healthcare professionals centered on their experience with the field of global surgery. Its focus is on capacity building, education and crating partnerships between different organizations and their involvement in this field. There will be opportunity for interaction between speakers and audience members. Further discussion and networking will take place during the post-conference wine and cheese event. The conference also allows for students to present relevant posters of their research projects in the form of a poster competition. More importantly, involvement of McGill will benefits its accreditation status in light of further raising awareness and exposing its medical community to public and global health issues.
Fall 2016 Projects:
Intro to American Sign Language
Intro to American Sign Language (with health care focus) brings together students and professionals in different fields of health care to learn basic ASL and “Deaf Cultural etiquette” from a Deaf instructor. This course is offered by Seeing Voices Montreal, a community organization that aims to provide educational and collaborative opportunities to connect Deaf and hearing people. Students of this course will become more comfortable in the future when presented with a Deaf patient who uses American Sign Language, and they will appreciate the cultural exposure component of the course when interacting with Deaf volunteers in simulated patient-practitioner communication scenarios. Response from students in the past have been nothing but positive and it is a very sought-after experience.
Clinical French Club
Clinical French Club’s mission is to provide a structured and supportive environment to master the essentials of clinical French, including the language required to:
– Conduct a physical exam and describe findings,- Take a patient history,
– Explain the diagnosis and treatment plan,
– Answer a patient’s questions about their situation.
Our goal is to identify and practice simple, high-yield clinical language that can be put into practice immediately. Our meetings are organized as follows: quick intro and demonstration followed by interview practice in pairs and finally a feedback session in the end. Our main focus is to offer to students the opportunity to practice their clinical French in a friendly and cooperative environment with the help of our numerous student-tutors and medical French resources. During the winter semester, we also conduct mock interviews to allow the students to practice their French interviewing skills. In a format similar to the simulation center, the student will conduct a 7 minute interview in French with a patient-actor and then receive feedback from an evaluator. All actors and evaluators are student volunteers. Our club’s philosophy is that we’re all in this together, so let’s help each other learn faster and better!
Medicine on the Rocks
Medicine on the Rocks aims to promote wellness and foster relationships within the faculty of medicine and medical dentistry through the sport of indoor and outdoor rock climbing. We are focused on engaging students in a social and challenging physical activity.
Our goal is to have regular climbing sessions every week in indoor rock climbing gyms of Montreal and to have special events on a monthly basis. Our facebook group is also a platform for any member to schedule and organize their transport to a climbing session.
Two types of climbing are easily accessible
Indoor bouldering is a form of rock climbing practiced at the maximum height of 16’ above the safety of giant mats, without the gear associated with rope climbing.
Indoor top-rope involves someone belaying the climber from the ground for walls that are much higher than in bouldering. More equipment is evidently needed.
Ultimately, this is one of the few initiatives that allows networking on a regular basis between the different classes of medicine and dentistry.
The St-Low sisters is an alumni initiative to give back to Saint-Laurent High School basket-ball program. It is a big sister mentorship program for the juvenile student-athletes. These girls have many obstacles to face in their day to day life whether it has to do with their family/personal life, academics or sports. Basket-ball, for many of them, is a tool to help them get through their difficulties and often a motivation to persevere in school. Yet, it’s not always enough! This initiative aims to fill the gap and help these girls in areas basketball fails to do so. Through regular contacts with a mentor and monthly workshops, this program hopes to give them proper tools to become future confident women and active members of this society. This year, the program has 3 main goals: to improve academic performances, to improve self-esteem and to encourage resilience.
Composting in McIntyre 5th Floor
Composting in McIntyre 5th Floor aims to implement composting in McIntyre building, starting in the 5th floor cafeteria. We invite students to carefully select the compostable components of their leftovers and put them in the appropriate container. The material will be picked-up weekly by Compost Montreal. We will also organize an activity to raise awareness about composting and its benefits. In fact, composting can reduce up to 2/3 of the garbage volume, decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. This project thus invites medical students to take the lead in reducing their environmental imprint and contribute to a healthier environment.
Exhibition on the refugee crisis and the Syrian civil war
The Syrian civil war has been going on for the past 6 years and led to the death of more than 400,000 people. Tens of millions of Syrians became refugees, either internal (from city to city) or external (from Syria to another country). Many conferences on the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis have already been given throughout the past few years. So I decided to make an event that is different and original in order to attract more students. The exhibition “Je ne viens pas de l’espace” of World Press Photo will be exposed during approximately 3 days. This exhibition will show the reality that face the refugees and the problems they encounter when they immigrate to here through pictures and testimonials. Also, we will add some elements to this exhibition (made by the students) to show more about the Syrian culture and history. Food and drinks will be served during the first day (opening). The main goal of this exhibition is to try to humanize the Syrian refugees by showing their history and cultures in order to sensitize the students to get involved and to help.
Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work Wine & Cheese
Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work is organizing a wine and cheese for students in medicine, nursing, and social work. The goal of this event is to get students from these disciplines together, to get to know each other and to learn more about each other’s work. The event will start off with a guest speaker, Ms Julie Bedard-Mathieu, social worker, that will give a brief talk on how these three disciplines complement each other and what challenges health care professionals face when working together in clinical environments. We will then have icebreaker activities to get people to know each other better, followed by a casual wine and cheese.
The Equity Bookshelf
The Equity Bookshelf is a library for all med students interested in exploring social justice, racism in health care, access to health care for LGBTQ people, anti‐oppressive practices in medicine, and personal testimonies from marginalized people interacting with the health care system. Containing books, zines and online resources that students can view or sign out, the equity bookshelf helps students build skills they can use in their clinical practice. It emphasizes that we are becoming physicians in a system which has done a lot of good but also has the power to systemically harm.
McGill’s medical students are eager to learn about the impacts of discrimination in medicine. As students read and share the resources in the equity bookshelf, it will help them enrich and build upon an understanding of their own identities, those of their peers, as well as others’ communities. We anticipate the benefits to be to our student body, who will have improved access to these resources, but it is our greatest hope that this project will have a positive trickle down effect into the care that people with marginalized identities receive.
Student Neurology Symposium
The Student Neurology Symposium 2017 is a one-day conference that will feature exceptional keynote speakers, seminars by experts, and opportunities for poster presentation and viewing. Upon its creation, the purpose of the symposium was to challenge the conception of neurology amongst medical students and to stimulate local interest. Our vision was to organize an inter-faculty and inter-provincial event, involving Quebec as well as Ontario medical faculties. The 2017 Symposium will include lectures on topics such as pediatric neurology, neurosurgery, and neuroethics. In addition, there will be hands-on workshops teaching students basic skills in EEG, neuroimaging and perfecting the neurological examination. There will also be poster presentations to encourage research and innovation in neurology and neurosciences, as well as the “NeuroBowl,” a friendly inter-faculty competition.
Community Outreach Projects
Community outreach projects (C.O.P) is a student-run organization that aims to promote careers in health to high school students through presentations and on-campus projects. “Experience Careers in Health”, aims to raise awareness among high school students about different careers in health care through an interactive learning experience. With the help of volunteer students from the faculties of medicine, dentistry, nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech language pathology, morning workshops are held which allow students to learn in a practical way the role of each of these specialties. We present to the student’s different clinical scenarios and how different specialties would work together to deal with them. Students then take a lunch break over which they can discuss this experience and ask various questions to students from these faculties. In the afternoon, students visit the simulation centre where they are able practice, on high-technology mannequins, procedures such as CPR, blood drawing, and suturing. The event’s target audience is 3 main groups of students: Under-privileged, Aboriginal, and black high school students. The event is held over 3 days, with more than 90 attendees.
Share the Warmth Foundation
With the 5K Scotiabank Race (on April 23rd) as our goal, Share the Run will offer weekly 90-minute preparatory running clinics to 15 adolescent girls recruited through a community center called Share the Warmth (located in Pointe-Saint-Charles, a low-SES neighbourhood). Why adolescent girls? During the course of their adolescence, girls are faced with hormonal and physical changes that have an undisputed impact on their emotional state. Over the last decade, an increasing body of research has proposed that participating in athletic activities is correlated with improved self-esteem, mental health, school performance and fitness. It has also been shown to reduce stress and promote healthier interpersonal relationships. Thus, in the eight weeks preceding the race, the clinics will focus on building endurance and running technique, but also on strengthening self-esteem and sense of community. Eight volunteers, recruited from McGill’s Health Science programs and with experience in athletics, will lead the clinics. These clinics aim at creating a positive and friendly environment by having the volunteers run WITH the girls rather than simply overseeing and directing the practices.
Fundraiser for National Centre for Dance Therapy
Heal with the Beat is a personal project by Eloise Passarella (Class of 2020). Heal with the Beat is a personal project of mine combining my two greatest passions – dance and health care. I started dancing ballet at six years old, and have since then found joy in numerous other dance styles. In the course of my dance training, I was able to participate in a study on dance and its benefits to the motor skills of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. This experience deeply moved me and gave me a small glimpse of all the wonders that could be obtained through dance therapy. I therefore decided to start this fundraiser for the National Centre for Dance Therapy that was recently founded by les Grands Ballets Canadiens. I have no doubt that this wonderful initiative of les Grands Ballets Canadiens will better the physical and mental conditions of many and help the isolated to discover and express their creativity and learn a new way of interacting within society. Consequently, I present to you the McGill Medicine Class of 2020 Dance Calendar, featuring the dancers of our cohort in medical and learning environments. I hope you enjoy the pure happiness expressed by these dancers in the photographs and you are able to imagine dance therapy bringing a similar joy to many!
Support Group for Medical Students
This WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) project consists of creating a peer psychoeducation group of up to fifteen first-year medical students to share their concerns and feelings and learn about coping skills in a confidential environment. WRAP has already been running for general McGill students through the McGill Mental Health and Counselling Service and this will be a specific group open to only medical students. The group would meet weekly for a total of 4 weeks from mid-March to mid-April on campus for 1.5 hour-long evening sessions. The members would be recruited via an online registration form. The sessions will be facilitated by a Mental Health Service staff member and a student co-facilitator who both have received training to provide WRAP. The participants will be guided through a series of workshops that discuss planning for self-care, maintaining wellness, managing through stressors, and finding solutions to challenges that may reach crisis. The objective of this psychoeducation group is to foster a bonding opportunity for its participants and to build coping strategies among medical students in hopes that they may be better supported and prepared to face inevitable stress. The benefits of this psychoeducation group are to help some students who are more vulnerable to stress gain a greater sense of autonomy and agency in the face of stress. An additional benefit of this project is learning that they are not alone in their struggles and developing more coping mechanisms and support from their colleagues in a safe and healthy environment. Long-term goals consist of improving the quality of life and stress management during 3rd year clerkship and beyond their medical school training.
In collaboration with Suicide Action Montreal, we will invite a professional instructor to give a 7-hour long training on detecting signs of suicidal distress among peers. Due to the maximal capacity of 15 medical students per training, we will be organizing two sessions in Spring to train a total of 30 students. The workshop, called Sentinel training (also called Gatekeeper training) is a mix of theory and role play exercises. This training also allows trainees to have direct and privileged access to resources of suicide prevention for future case by case management. Following last year’s Sentinel training, the anonymous feedback from students was very positive. The skills taught in this training are highly valuable for medical students who can detect distress signs among their friends, colleagues and peers. An official certification (Sentinel certification) follows the completion of the training and the training will take place. This training will be offered to medical students of all four cohorts on the McGill campus. By training 30 students in suicide prevention this year and again next year, we hope to see this project grow. This hopefully will translate into better overall mental health among students and offer a support network for the students who are in distress.
There will be a research project organized by a group of medical students to measure the effectiveness of this training. The students who will agree to participate will be asked to fill out short questionnaires both before and after the training.
Rise for Rare
Rise for Rare is an event whose main objective is to spread awareness on Rare Diseases. Although rare genetic conditions are individually rare, collectively they are common- affecting 350 million individuals worldwide. Close to a quarter of those individuals diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, will not live to see their 5th birthday and it is estimated that half of all rare diseases affect children. These families often struggle not only from the medical condition itself, but getting a correct diagnosis and accessing care is often challenging for financial and social reasons such as stigma. Rare Diseases are affecting our communities, and it’s important for us to help make a difference in educating, supporting and help those affected. World Rare Disease day takes place on the last day of February each year, with over 80 countries participating around the globe. Join us for the inaugural event at McGill University, with several distinguished speakers. This year’s theme focuses on research linked to rare diseases. Each of the four talks will be organized around one of the four core pillars of Canada’s Rare Disease strategy: diagnosis, expert care, community support, and access to therapy.