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The duties of the Director of Student Affairs are as follows:

  1. Coordinates wellness events and resources.

  2. Oversees IMSAC wellness initiatives.

  3. Supports Indigeneous medical students regarding the access of emotional, mental, and spiritual resources locally and nationally. 

  4. Promotes and advocates for the well-being of Indigenous medical students on a national level.

  5. Coordinates Elder supports and cultural events.

Candidate: Shaelynn Barry


Hello, my name is Shaelynn Barry (she/her) and I’m a proud Mi’Kmaq woman with the Qalipu First Nation Band in beautiful Newfoundland and Labrador. I am writing from the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu, and Inuit.  


I hold many titles, and some of the most important ones include daughter, friend, and aunty to my niece and nephew in Alberta. I was born and raised on the beautiful West coast (best coast) of Newfoundland where I found my love of the beautiful outdoors. I enjoy any type of physical activity and movement, including hiking, snowshoeing, going to the gym, and skiing. I also have a passion for travel and adventure, am and looking forward to my first trip to Europe with some classmates this coming summer.


I am a second-year medical student at Memorial University who is eager to start clerkship, with an interest in family medicine and the care of underserved populations advanced training program. I am the VP External on Memorial University’s (MUN) Medical Society and I am a part of many interest groups and committees. I am passionate about advocacy and am travelling to Ottawa this weekend as a member of the Medical Day of Action Research Team and delegate to advocate to politicians. We are seeking to expand the number of medical residency positions and to help ameliorate the current healthcare human resources crisis in Canada.


Before starting my first day of medical school, I was approached to help co-lead the national Political Advocacy Training (PAT) team. It was an exciting opportunity, as it spoke to my expertise and passion for political advocacy and teaching others. I led our team to modernize the PAT and supported team members to develop mini trainings on topics they were knowledgeable and passionate about (e.g., accessibility in advocacy). I delivered 5 PAT sessions last year myself, including to my colleagues at MUN, and in-person in Ottawa, ensuring that medical students had the knowledge and skills to thoughtfully advocate to politicians for positive change.


As the VP External Junior for the MUN Medical Society, I am responsible for ensuring that Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) communications, opportunities, and updates are communicated timely and effectively to the MUN student body. Furthermore, since I am awarded a seat at the roundtable, I represent and bring forward concerns from the broader MUN Medicine student body.


I am also on the Executive team for the Indigenous Health Interest Group at MUN, helping to plan advocacy events at our school. I have helped plan remembrance runs and am currently supporting a project that highlights Indigenous creators (e.g., musicians, directors, actors). Our leadership team are also in the planning stages of offering a second iteration of Indigenous Language Learning series to MUN students this coming fall. I am passionate about advocacy and wellness project which I hope to continue as the IMSAC Director of Student Affairs role.


Before applying for this position, I reached-out to the current IMSAC Director of Student Affairs to ask for advice, lessons learned, and project ideas. If I were elected, I would also collaborate with the rest of the Leadership Circle to gather ideas from the other Directors. Within the first month of being elected, I would prioritize sending out a survey to IMSAC’s members to gain insight into the wellness needs of Indigenous students across the country. As a Director, I believe that we have a duty to represent the voices of those we serve, so I would prioritize hearing from those voice initially and throughout my term. 


One goal I have is to collaborate with the Regional IMSAC Representatives to host hybrid in-person and virtual events during this fall semester to engage with the dispersed Indigenous medical student body. This could involve introducing the leadership circle, having time for student networking, games, and giveaways. 


Additionally, I would like to collate the available wellness resources at each school and make it accessible on the IMSAC website for easy access. Finally, many schools including MUN, do not currently have a full Elder-in-residence program. A top priority I would have in this role would be to support schools in increasing access to this program to ensure Indigenous students have their wellness and spiritual needs met. Thank you for your consideration!

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