A few days ago, the student representative for the First Patient Program wrote to ask if we would like him to touch base with his classmates before our next session with them. He even had the feedback survey questions designed! How helpful and proactive this is. And this made me think: our meds students and our Aesculapian Society are extremely supportive of and committed to our Undergraduate Medical Education Program.

In this article, I’d like to write a huge “Thank You” note to the students in our Queen’s Aesculapian Society!

The Aesculapian Society (AS) was first organized by the medical students of Queen’s University in 1872, and has remained a strong voice for Queen’s medical students ever since. All students registered in the School of Medicine become members of the Society, which includes as honourary members, all graduates in Medicine and members of the School of Medicine at Queen’s University.

The Society is dedicated to the promotion of the general interests of the School of Medicine and to the control of matters affecting medical students in their relationships to one another, to other student organizations at Queen’s and elsewhere, and to the School of Medicine, Senate, and other governing bodies of Queen’s University.

While the AS is active in working with its members in many ways, I wanted to talk about the work of AS student representatives on the Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) Committees and in advising and acting on UGME programs.

Aesculapian Society student representatives sit on all of our UGME Committees (and there are over 11!) including Curriculum Committee, Admissions Committee and Student Assessment Committee. Many students sit on more than one committee providing a very thoughtful and important voice for students and voting on key issues. In some committees there are often 3 or more representatives, (one for each year of meds school), and in the case of the UGME Teaching and Learning Committee, currently 7 students are representatives, as there are 4 student monitors who track learning event types for our annual reports in addition to the three students representing preclerkship and clerkship.

Appointed student representatives for each class meet, often weekly, with Course Directors to give them feedback about the course, including Clinical and Communication Skills as well as all other courses. Our Technology representatives podcast classes, and also are there to spring to the aid of faculty when struggling with technology.

We also have student representatives for programs. For example, there is that representative for the First Patient Program who started this article, who will help us plan our final event of the program, and who is poised to give us feedback on the program as it is unfolding for the students. We have student Competency Reps, usually two for each competency/role, who work with the Competency Leads and plan events and strategies related to that competency, and funnel student feedback to the Leads.

In fact students are also involved in the accreditation process, including the self-study which is mandated by all schools, and also in tours and dialogues and discussions with accreditation visitors. Our students have impressed our accreditation visitors over the years!

Queen’s medical students run the Orientation Week for new students in the fall with the first year class council and Vice President coordinating it. Students are also heavily involved in the Admissions Weekends for the MD program. In first year, the students are ambassadors to the new students as well as making those great videos that have gone viral in many years. In second year, the students assist with the interview process and admissions process. Conservative estimates put 80% of the students involved in Admissions work.

The point of this is twofold: Queen’s Medical School has a tradition of listening to its students, even in the highest committees, and seeks their representation out actively. Not only do those leaders in the school listen, they take often act on the student concerns, suggestions and proposals.

But my main point today in writing is to laud the active participation, and willingness to serve that is a part of many many students enrolled in Queen’s Meds and serving on the AS. These students are giving precious time taken from study and sleep to give to their school. To me, they are already demonstrating the competencies of a good physician, in their collaboration, in their communication, in their advocacy, and in their management of time and energy. They are demonstrating their commitment to be part of solutions rather than problems, and they are demonstrating the importance of service. We are fortunate to have such a committed group to help us in our school. So Thank You! to the Aesculapian Society Executive and all its student members!