Halfway through 2007, a group of proactive students from our first ever cohort were looking for the most efficient way to procrastinate. They founded the University of Western Sydney Medical Society (UWSMS)*
*now re-branded to Western Sydney Medical Society (WSMS).
Since then, it has grown into the vibrant society that you see today.The founders of UWSMS wanted their colleagues' time at university to be remembered with a strong feeling of collegiality, built on good times with their new peers. It was such, that UWSMS began, primarily as a vessel for social events including the highly successful inaugural MedBall in 2007 and MedCamp in early 2008.
Since then, UWSMS has stepped up to the demands placed on it, thriving in the realms of academic events and education of students, in advocacy through our representation to the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), the NSW Medical Students’ Council (NSWMSC) and the Australian Medical Association (AMA), just to name a few. As we grew, we formed a strong relationship with the School of Medicine (SoM), with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2009, which outlines a positive and strong relationship and code of rights and responsibilities to govern our partnership with the SoM in order for you to get the best out of all facets of student life in your time at UWS.
In 2009, we also saw the launch of our Special Interest Group, Global Health Awareness Western Sydney (GHAWS), which allowed us to begin to contribute to our local and global community with mentoring programs, charity drives and various other initiatives. Since then, GHAWS has become one of the top Global Health Groups in Australia, raising tens of thousands of dollars every year and winning several prestigious awards, most recently the Building Inclusive Communities award, presented by Barry O’Farrell, the Premier of NSW to the GHAWS Presidents and our Dean, Professor Annemarie Hennessy.
2009 saw our first ever MedRevue, Slums Hog Medicare, a satirical comedy, which built on MedMash, the first comedy and talent show put on by UWS medical students. 2010 saw the inaugural Twilight Festival, which provided another creative outlet for our fantastically talented students. A hugely exciting moment was the graduation of our first students at the end of 2011. This first cohort, who founded UWSMS, left with a beautiful Graduation Ball, week of events and a fantastic Graduation Trip in Fiji to celebrate the last of their time with their peers. These students are leading the way for us in Australia and overseas, with word reaching the SoM of some of our students already being accepted into Surgical Training programs.
In 2012, we re-launched our Surgical Association (SAWS), another Special Interest Group, with a mandate to foster interest in surgery and to improve the surgical skills of UWS Medical Students through various workshops and peer teaching. We look forward with excitement to the growth of this new group in UWSMS. 2012 also saw our first ever Red Week to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS and our first mOSCEs, tuition nights for senior students to teach the junior years OSCE skills just before their exams, which also gave them an opportunity to revise and to practice teaching, something that they will do more and more of as their career progresses.
Throughout 2012 there was a huge push from UWSMS to (successfully) advocate for intern positions in partnership with AMSA, other MedSocs and several other representative organisations, with many students sending letters into Parliament, with film of their public reading found online as well a front page article in the Blacktown Sun from UWSMS on the intern crisis. 2012 also saw the creation of the first 'Life in the Real World' seminar for graduating students. In 2013, UWSMS was awarded 'AMSA Best Medical Society Website' as well as 'AMSA Wellbeing Cup' for Blue Week. We also saw the successful advocacy for the reduction of SSAF fees for our clinical students -thanks to our President and AMSA Representative at the time.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, we have launched an Executive and Council restructure; started the UWSMS Alumni Network; created the first-ever UWSMS Elective Database and made numerous changes to the Constitution to improve communication between and within students, as well as holding better social, educational and wellbeing events.
2015 saw the introduction of a night dedicated to Women in Medicine, successful internal-advocacy on education and academics from our Year Representatives, and successful advocacy efforts from Med-Soc to reduce the proposed Rural Clinical School Fee for our Fourth Year students.
2016 was a fantastic year for WSMS. Merchandise expanded to include not only hoodies but sweatshirts, trackpants, and School of Medicine-approved Medical Student scrubs for students to wear in the hospital. Academic advocacy saw a range of successes and improvements to the course, with the introduction of a revised attendance policy for clinical students, and the introduction of 'Wellbeing Days' into the policy to address the need for greater efforts to support students in maintaining their wellbeing. Future planning for incoming students also played a large role in the discussions between WSMS and the SoM. A new Wellbeing Committee was established with full support of the School of Medicine to facilitate a wellbeing culture and initiatives, composed of students passionate about improving medical student mental health at Western Sydney, and this Committee will be consolidated in 2017. Social events had their biggest year ever, with a new ticketing platform and fantastic work from the Social Director resulting in the most tickets being sold for Medball in our history, a Medrevue that has been called the 'best yet', and a whole range of other events that helped students kick back and relax throughout the year.
In 2017, we are excited to bring a Calendar Year full of time-honed events you'll never forget, continuation of successful internal and external advocacy, and academic programs to cater for and inspire our members. We'll be working extremely hard to ensure a culture of wellbeing and both mental and physical health for students is ensured too, and look forward to growing student involvement in the new Wellbeing Committee.
Keep an eye on our page for events, programs, initiatives and more ways to get involved!