HSS executive candidates appear at open forum

Candidates addressed ‘burnouts’ and ‘toxic’ culture

Executives provided hopeful responses to members-at-large.
Photo: 

The Health Sciences Society (HSS) Open Forum, held on Feb. 6, saw eight candidates running for the three contested positions of president, vice-president (operations), and vice-president (university affairs).

This year’s presidential candidates are Aisha McIntyre, HealthSci ’25, and Haleigh Schryer, HealthSci ’24.

Running for VPOPs are Joshua Lee, HealthSci ’25, Angela Li, HealthSci ’23, Angela Liu, HealthSci ’25, and Omar Hamed, HealthSci ’25.

Luca Manconi, HealthSci ’25 and Cameron Yung, HealthSci ’23, are the VPUA candidates.

Incumbent VPOPs Spencer Fansolato and President Lynne Altow officiated the forum. All executive candidates were present at the event with a small group of members-at-large in attendance.

Formal Question Session

Common areas of concern shared by all candidates included addressing mental health, low student engagement with or awareness of the HSS, and the need to expand and organize the range of opportunities HSS offers.

Some of the most notable new initiatives suggested by candidates included a semesterly event designed by Health Sciences students as proposed by Lee, the introduction of a clubs commissioner role as proposed by Li, a first-year intern program to improve engagement amongst new students as proposed by McIntyre, and the creation of additional wellness programs or spaces for Health Sciences students as proposed by McIntyre, Schreyer, and Manconi.

In terms of improving the HSS, many candidates hoped to focus on targeting issues like burnout and imposter syndrome in what some called a “toxic” and “competitive” program.

Expanding the number of opportunities available to students within the HSS also a key priority for many candidates.

Lee hopes to partner with external organizations and ensure students outside HSS have the chance to be involved in the society’s affairs, Liu wants to host social activities to build community between students, Li hopes to ensure the HSS has the resources to support its own initiatives in the future, and Schreyer is looking to revive the faculty’s student newsletter.

Open Question Session

Members-at-large asked candidates how they’ll put their respective mental health plans into place.

Yung plans to build upon the mental health initiatives she has already administered as this year’s VPUA—including hosting a mental health workshop, expanding the resource booklet developed by previous HSS members, and continuing with the regular resource spotlights on the HSS account.

McIntyre also hopes to host a speaker panel on topics like burnout. She called attention to her current involvement in mental health outreach as an intern for the Peer Support Center (PSC).

Manconi wants to create an OnQ workspace containing wellness resources for the Health Sciences program, while Liu plans to “indirectly” address mental health issues by organizing available assets better, especially when it comes to supporting incoming students’ transition into first year.

As the PSC’s current marketing assistant manager, Liu emphasized she doesn’t want to “saturate or concentrate the amount of initiatives,” and pointed to the PSC as an existing resource for students looking for mental health support.

Members also responded to questions about what they’ve done to improve the experience of Health Sciences students already and how they’ll build on this work.

As the founder and director of the QUxHSS Health Careers Conference this year, Schreyer hopes to continue introducing students to opportunities beyond medicine and to support students’ professional development.

Likewise, Yung hopes to continue with projects like interview preparation and course selection workshops she has already established in previous terms.

Voting for HSS elections occurs Feb. 7 and 8, with results announced Feb. 9.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.