Personally, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my role in being able to advocate for students across different levels, both at a university level and federal level. In 2023, it’s incredibly exciting to see the revival of medical student advocacy at a state level through the Medical Student Council of Western Australia (MSCWA).
MSCWA was developed to provide leadership, support and advocacy for education, welfare, training, and professional and personal development for medical students in WA, representing the interests of the Medical Students’ Association of Notre Dame (MSAND) and the Curtin Medical Students Association (CAMS).
During the tumultuous pandemic period, MSCWA was a key stakeholder in advocating for medical student placements in hospitals to continue, and thus became a key stakeholder in medical student issues around the State.
In 2023, MSCWA hopes to develop closer relationships with organisations that work to advocate for doctors at every level, and to begin that advocacy mission from the moment a future doctor starts medical school. With the State finally exiting a pandemic, and the healthcare system having slowly and finally returned to pre-COVID functionality, the change in health policy priorities is key.
So far, on a state level, our key advocacy priority is engaging with the medical schools and the Department of Health to evaluate the proposed final year clinical schools’ model, through conducting consultations with students across the State and engaging with key stakeholders. With medical students travelling interstate frequently to intern in various states other than where they studied, MSCWA is also collaborating with other state councils to set up national internship evening nights and discuss key advocacy strategies federally.
At a university level, we also hope to conduct curriculum reviews and aid in standardising and improving teaching opportunities to medical students, as well as look into the wellbeing space to set up mental health leave days and processes for clinical and pre-clinical students. MSCWA is working closely with AMA (WA) to assist with medical student career planning in WA and to aid strategic workforce planning, through sitting on the AMA (WA) Doctors in Training Committee and the PMCWA Junior Medical Officer Forum.
This year’s MSCWA Chair and Deputy Chair team, made up of Rahil Ajmera and myself, are incredibly excited to lead this forum, having both previously been on the 2022 National Executive for the Australian Medical Students’ Association, as National Coordinator and National Treasurer respectively. We hope to bring some of the skills we learnt on a federal level to WA.