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Engaging the Next Generation of Physicians: Choosing Wisely Canada STARS

Evidence shows that habits and behaviors learned in medical school persist in practice.  These habits can be hard to change. To help shift the culture of medicine to understand that more is not always better, Choosing Wisely Canada is actively engaged in medical education. Students and Trainees Advocating for Resource Stewardship (STARS) was launched three years ago, in partnership with the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) and Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec (FMEQ) .

In April 2018, the third cohort of medical students from coast to coast came together for a Leadership Summit in advance of the Choosing Wisely Canada National Meeting. Students travelled to Toronto with the support of their local medical school leadership or Choosing Wisely regional affiliates. The students fully participated in the two days, immersing themselves in the Choosing Wisely Canada community! These students will lead local activities at the medical schools to advance the campaign and resource stewardship in 2018/19.

With each new cohort of students, there are opportunities for learning and improving STARS. In particular, Choosing Wisely Canada has embraced the principle of co-designing the Leadership Summit and overall program with students. The planning committee includes a student representative from CFMS and FMEQ, along with past students who have participated in the program as well as speakers. In the programs’ first and second year, many of speakers were faculty and physician leaders who delivered content related to communication, advocacy and leadership skills. For the 2018 STARS Leadership Summit, the objectives reflected the maturity of the program. These included building individual leadership capacity so students continue to lead Choosing Wisely-related activities throughout their professional careers. In addition, this cohort of students is focused on sustaining and continuing to advance STARS-related activities and interest groups that have been started by students before them as well as maturing national collaborations and activities for STARS.

The 2018 Leadership Summit faculty included a resident along with 4 medical students who are past STARS participants, teaching alongside the Choosing Wisely Canada medical education team of Drs. Brian Wong, Chris Hillis and Karen Born. Dr. Melanie Bechard, a pediatrics resident in Toronto and president of Resident Doctors of Canada delivered a keynote address on how to lead as a medical student based on her experiences and insights as a national student leader. Catherine Friedman (STARS 2017/18) and Bushra Khan (STARS 2015/16) presented about their experiences integrating resource stewardship into the curriculum at McMaster University, and launching a resource stewardship interest group at their medical school. Anastasiya Muntyanu (STARS 2015/16), a University of Ottawa medical student and the CFMS representative, and Matt Desruisseaux (STARS 2017/18) and McGill University medical student and FMEQ representative presented on national opportunities for student leadership including aligning STARS with national medical student association activities and priorities. Student participants said that having students and trainees as faculty was motivating and energizing. The Leadership Summit also included time for students to work on local priority setting and planning, as well as national working groups.

One student participant summed up their time at the Leadership Summit and that National Meeting as “extraordinarily inspiring to see students from across the country believing in this initiative! This really is the future to cultivating an ethical, responsible and sustainable health care system.”

Thank you to our Choosing Wisely Project Assistant, Joanna Wong for capturing the moments of this year’s STARS Summit.  See our photo album highlighting key moments of this year’s meeting:


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Joanna Wong Photography
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