Students aim to stretch medical boundaries
These students are a force to be reckoned with.
A tight-knit group of 14 medical undergrads, most of whom are 20 years old, have organised one of the largest University of Auckland medical conferences ever.
Mobilise: Connect, Change, Catalyse is a two-day event which kicks off this weekend.
International speakers include Singaporean paralympian Dr William Tan and Dr Jeph Mathias who will speak about medicine in remote Himalayan villages, a Phnom Penh slum and the Colombian jungle.
Even Helen Clark was on the list, but is now unable to attend.
More than 250 medical students have signed up to take part.
Convener Carmen Chan says the event has been worth the slog.
‘‘It’s the first of this size. What we’re doing now hasn’t really been paved before. It’s like a dream.
‘‘We never expected it to be this big. We haven’t even been to a conference before, we just heard about it and thought we could do it.’’
The idea came out of a casual conversation between Chan and another medical student last year and it took off, she says.
Apparently medical students ran a conference in 2012 but it was on a much smaller scale, she says.
This year’s event includes a political panel, 18 workshops, a creative competition and a cocktail party.
Chan says the aim is to get students thinking outside the box.
‘‘It’s about mobilising students to go beyond what’s normal. We want to connect students with concepts outside of the clinical learning we focus on.
‘‘It’s the human side of medicine.’’
Everything from organising the speakers to booking a venue and catering, getting sponsorship, setting up a website and printing lanyards was done by the undergrad students. None of them had any experience and it was all done around a hectic schedule of lectures and studying.
Central city resident Joevy Lim says it was only possible because of teamwork.
‘‘Everyone just came on board of their own will. It’s not easy to come across a team like that.
‘‘It comes down to us having the same goal and why we’re in medicine in the first place.’’
Blockhouse Bay student Chelsea Heaven was in charge of sponsorship and says pulling the event together was a steep learning curve.
‘‘Without our sponsors we wouldn’t have a conference to run. We needed help and we had to learn how to get it.’’
Young leaders: Conference convener Carmen Chan with medical students Harry Yoon, Chelsea Heaven, Nikhil Magan, Joevy Lim, Alistair Lock, Katie Van Rijn and Gerald Lee.
Go to aucklandcityharbournews. co.nz to see a video about Mobilise.