Lauren Welsh deserves the recognition of Ontario Medical Student of the Month for multiple reasons, the most significant of which is her ability to make sure that no one gets left behind. Over the course of her 4 years at Queen’s, Lauren consistently worked to better the wellness of her immediate class peers and of Queen’s medical students in general. She does this from the initiatives that she spearheads and/or participates in, the way she carries herself on a daily basis and her constant attention to inclusivity. Lauren is that person who you would turn to if you were in need of a hug. And even if you didn’t want a hug because platonic physical contact isn’t your thing, you would turn to Lauren too because she would understand the sensitivity around that and know how to navigate a politically correct way to make you feel better.
Example ways that Lauren improves the wellness of her peers is through her work to co-organize and facilitate a series of emotional debriefing sessions for her classmates known as “Clerkship Confidential's.” During these sessions, a lead student will help facilitate a close-door, confidential discussion around challenging topics that medical students are experiencing at that time in order to provide an opportunity to vent and heal. These incredibly cathartic sessions are well attended and received by medical students due to the sensitive planning and execution carried out by Lauren & her co-leads on the project.
Lauren also works tirelessly on her class council to directly improve academic wellness for her peers as the student representative for both the Family Medicine & Psychiatry clerkship courses. Through liaising between students, administration and faculty, Lauren has developed new relationships for medical students at Queen’s to influence their education such as her work to get student representation on a Department of Family Medicine curriculum committee.
Additionally, as foreshadowed above, Lauren does not only do great work when she is holding a position or has a title, she also does it in her spare time without looking for any sort of recognition. For example, in the pre-clerkship years at Queen’s Medicine, there are a number of lectures in multiple courses in which a patient is brought in to speak with the class to discuss what it is like to experience a particular disease (ex: multiple sclerosis). During the entire Class of 2016’s pre-clerkship years, Lauren personally acquired & wrote thank you cards on behalf of the entire class thanking these guest speakers, independent of any student government role or involvement. This extraordinary care, attention to detail and initiative is just one of example of many that could be detailed here for Lauren. It is for these reasons that Lauren Welsh should be recognized with this honour. Her continued ability to look out for others, improve wellness and bring a warm, welcoming personality to any group surely demonstrate her story of excellence.