The duties of the Director of Community Engagement are as follows:
Supports students looking at their journey of healing, connecting students with cultural supports, finding workshops, including working with external community agencies to bring in workshops and events
Collaborates on community events with other organizations.
Manages networking opportunities and the mentorship program.
Responsible for recruitment of incoming Indigenous medical students, residents, and doctors for membership and mentorship.
Works with university-specific Indigenous medical student associations.
Candidate: Joclyn Armit
My name is Joclyn Armit and I am a third year Métis student attending the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. I have a red/yellow lab named Mia-Lynne who goes hunting with my husband, both of whom are the reasons I have made it to my third year in medical school! I love to go fishing, it is my absolute favourite activity, but I also enjoy camping, hunting, figure skating and doing anything at all with my dog. I will be doing my clerkship in the rural northern Ontario town of Dryden. I have lived in rural northwestern Ontario for my whole life and have witnessed firsthand the hardships that are faced by Indigenous people including myself. I have been mistreated and refused rental properties due to the fact that I was being funded by Métis Nation of Ontario, I have had racist comments said to me by preceptors who did not even realize I was Indignous and so much more. I don’t want to focus on the negative though, I am proud to say I am an Indigenous woman in the healthcare field and I am so excited to be a member of IMSAC. What a long way we have come as Indigenous people and it’s amazing that we are going to be connecting with each other from all other Canada to support one another on our journeys through medical school.
To be honest, my past experience is not robust but prior to medical school I worked as a First Nations, Métis, and Inuit graduation coach at Dryden High School. For this job, I advocated for Indigenous high school students who were struggling through school for various reasons that may not have been fully understood by their teachers. I connected them to various resources that were required to help carry them through to graduation. This included anything from tutoring services, dentist appointments, help with grocery shopping, to counselling and everything in between. One of the biggest challenges I found Indigenous students encountered was lack of opportunity compared to the rest of the general public and the lack of confidence that they could make it somewhere after high school without any funding. Students really required that motivation and connection piece in order to succeed. Something I found really helped students was connecting them with the correct resources for funding their post-secondary education as this is something a lot of us struggle with. I found even personally, knowing you will not be the only Indigenous student in a situation is extremely comforting and it’s important to form those connections with one another. I have not been involved in many things throughout medical school but I have never found something I was very passionate about. Connecting Indigenous medical students from all over Canada and forming a network full of encouragement and comfort is the thing I have been waiting to be involved in.
My goal as Community Engagement is to ensure that students are being connected with the resources they need just like I did in my job as an FNMI grad coach. Indigenous students require different resources than other students and sometimes those needs just aren’t met by other means. One of my goals is to help relieve financial stress of Indigenous students. Many students struggle in medical school simply due to the stress of financial instability and becoming irreversibly in debt. I want to help connect students with various bursaries and scholarships that are available but not known to many students. I want to make sure students have the support they need when filling out the application because there’s so many steps and it can be strenuous. I found working as a grad coach that doing this for my students helped not only increase their confidence and relieve stress but also increase their motivation because they know that there is help out there for them. Another goal is to connect students with mentors because while medical school prepares very well to be a doctor it does not prepare us well for the life we will have as a doctor nonetheless, an Indigenous doctor. I think being able to ask questions and talk to people who we trust and who are going through similar situations is invaluable. I have so many more goals for this group there are just too many to name!