Starting this month, the Yale School of Medicine will have new leaders at the helm of its student government.
Elections for the School of Medicine Student Council took place on Jan. 27., and medical students elected Joel Winer MED ’15, Dipankan Bhattacharya MED ’18, Apoorva Tewari ’11 MED ’15 and Amanda Wallace MED ’15 as president, vice president, treasurer and communications officer, respectively. The position of communications officer is new to the Council this year, and will be instrumental to the Council’s goals of launching a website or a blog, according to current vice president Sasha Gupta MED ’14.
“We’re very excited on the upcoming board,” Gupta said. “They are a group of very capable individuals who will do great things for the school.”
Gupta said the new position of communications officer represents the current board’s hope that the new board will “redefine” the way the Council interfaces with students and faciliates interaction between classes. She added that the Council envisions creating a website or blog with a “unified calendar” of social events.
But the position’s actual duties have not yet been officially defined — that will be left open for the new members of the Council to decide, Gupta said.
The Council has relied on virtual communications with the student body in the past, with successful results, according to Council members.
Alexander Marzuka MED ’13, one of two Council representatives of this year’s graduating class, said the group relies on emails and surveys to hear students’ voices, and has been pleased with the rate of response. He added that sending out surveys allows the Council to provide data to School of Medicine administrators when advocating for a new policy. For instance, he said, the Council’s use of this data helped them persuade administrators to provide iPads to all students at the School, rather than only first-year and second-year students as originally planned.
The Student Council has traditionally been responsible for voicing student concerns to school officials and organizing annual events such as Commencement and Second Look Week — a week in April when admitted students are invited to visit the school before they decide whether to attend.
Whitney Sheen MED ’12, co-president of this year’s graduating class, said in the past the Council has been involved in voicing students’ concerns about campus safety. After some students were robbed at gunpoint, she said, the Council’s work resulted in the Medical School increasing the number of nearby security guards, improving lighting and providing late-night transportation around campus.
As a member of the Student Council for the past four years, Sheen said that one of its goals is “get everyone together and support each other socially,” by organizing events such as Switch Weekend, a social gathering that marks the end of one rotation and the start of another.
Marzuka said one of this year’s achievements was securing Ben Carson ’73 MED ’77, a renowned Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon and Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee, as this year’s Commencement speaker.
Aside from the Council’s main officers, each class chooses its representatives officials independently in April.