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SU election supplement 2020: Cumming School of Medicine representative

Aria Ahadzadeh Ardebili

Aria Ahadzadeh Ardebili has many ideas for what he’d accomplish in the role of medicine representative, but most of them seem to rely on his many “connections” to others.

One of Ahadzadeh Ardebili’s better ideas was to improve parking in the Foothills campus by creating carpool slots with parking passes. He seemed knowledgeable on who to approach to make this happen, though it is still an ambitious goal. As for addressing the constant issue of the summer UPASS for research students, he suggested that he knows someone who knows someone who knows people in public transportation and they would be willing to set up a meeting with him. This suggestion was pretty vague and not very promising.

“The other candidates, in my opinion, don’t have the same connections as me.”

A troubling theme in Ahadzadeh Ardebili’s interview was the constant mention of his “connections,” — friends he had in different areas that factored into his plans. When asked about issues of stress among med students, he suggested breaking up the school day to have classes from 10–1 and 3–6 rather than from 12–6. While it’s understandable why the included break would be beneficial for students, it’s unclear how feasible it would be to completely change faculty and student schedules. His other suggestion was to work with his friends who own a bubble tea shop, mass-ordering bubble tea at a discount and having it delivered to Foothills campus. It’s a nice gesture, but probably not the best use of a faculty rep’s time, and does little to actually address stress and mental health concerns of students.  

Ahadzadeh Ardebili emphasized the benefit of his connections, to the point where it became unclear whether these connections would actually be helpful to his position as med rep or if they were simply meant to be impressive on their own.

Although his goal of improving parking on the Foothills campus is worth the consideration of any med rep, he should consider if giving his friends business should be one of his priorities as a representative of student interests.


Jasleen Brar

Jasleen Brar has a feasible and well-constructed platform. Her three pillars “You,” “Your Community” and “Your Future” are thoughtful and show that she’s put time and effort into developing her ideas.

Brar wants to advocate for more resources at the Foothills campus. She plans to ensure that wellness opportunities are available to students at Foothills, recognizing that students in her faculty rarely come to the main campus to access services. When asked how feasible she thought this was, she quickly cited Pet Therapy being offered recently at Foothills campus. Brar believes that with a little more advocacy, more services and resources will be available. 

Brar recognizes that there are several different degree programs offered in the Cumming School of Medicine, whose students don’t often interact or work together. As a Health and Society major, she brings a unique perspective to the role but doesn’t have a silo focus on only this degree program. 

“I’m really concerned about wellness and academic supports for students.”

Her platform would benefit from advocacy surrounding a summer UPASS for students conducting research at Foothills, an issue commonly brought up by students in her faculty. Brar did mention that the bus system was less than ideal at times but said that she didn’t feel she was in a position to tackle the problem and that it fell outside her jurisdiction. 

Brar made a strategic decision to have a smaller platform, saying she didn’t want to promise anything that couldn’t be delivered. She wants to bring CASE competitions to the health sciences, a process that could likely be at least started within a one-year term and would benefit the students in her faculty.

She has leadership experience with committees and clubs and seems more than ready to move into the SU. 


Pranav Khosla

Pranav Khosla is a very competent candidate for med rep. He’s well-versed in the issues facing all the students in his faculty.

Khosla wants to streamline the process by which students receive information about internship opportunities and events. He thinks he can achieve this by creating a website that students can access. If he uses the right platform and gets in touch with the right people, this is actionable. His first priority is a mentorship program that connects students with MD and graduate students who can help mentor undergraduates who may be considering medical school. Again, this goal is very feasible if he works quickly once elected.

The summer UPASS has long been an issue for students at Foothills and Khosla plans to advocate for its implementation. He recognizes that many candidates have run on this as a critical piece of their platform and have failed. Khosla’s approach to engage the university’s Eyes High Strategy  is a unique one and seems like a plausible way to get them to the table. His maturity and ability to thoroughly explain his point of view makes him a likely candidate to actually get this done. 

“Targeting some of the core issues leads to increased wellness.”

One of the most interesting pieces of his platform is the desire to expand study abroad opportunities for students in his faculty. He recognizes that a diverse set of experiences can set a student apart in a competitive field. 

While Khosla didn’t specifically put mental health in his platform he plans to address the issue in other ways. He didn’t want it to be seen as a buzzword and didn’t want to simply pay lip service to the issue. He certainly has thought about mental health but believes the best way to help students is by alleviating some of the problems that plague them — career decisions, financial challenges and the overall student environment.

Khosla would be able to combine advocacy for not only the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, but also for the Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies. 


Labiba Nawar

Labiba Nawar would bring some much-needed diversity of opinion to the Cumming School of Medicine Faculty Representative position. She is a Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies (CRDS) student which has been an under-represented group of students in the SU. 

She is knowledgeable about the issues facing CRDS students and has a strong desire to represent their interests. Nawar brings a desire to help the CRDS students collaborate and connect with students from other programs in the Cumming School of Medicine and expresses the need to integrate the programs. That being said, she is very focused on CRDS students and some of her platform points are quite specifically geared towards CRDS-specific programming.

“I’m here to make changes — even if it’s only one or two, it’s a good start.”

Her platform point of beginning a Cumming School of Medicine Career Fair would show the diversity of work and further study available to students in the faculty and her year-end gala plan would be a great way to get students from diverse programs within Cumming to acknowledge and celebrate one another.

Though it would be great to have someone representing the CRDS students, she is perhaps too focused on their experience and our panel felt she would have a hard time representing students from other programs. She would overall be a good addition to the SU, provided that someone who represented another program at Cumming is elected alongside her. Nawar is knowledgeable, personable and her platform is well thought-out and actionable.


Sergio Plazas

Student life is at the foreground of Sergio Plazas’ platform as medicine representative. 

His top priority is mental health. Though Plazas acknowledges that events such as Pet Therapy cannot be the extent of mental health efforts on campus, he spoke somewhat vaguely about what he would work towards, besides generally being an advocate. He stated in his platform that he feels adding other points to his platform would “weaken the emphasis” he puts on mental health, but he would’ve done well to expand that point more.

Part of his plan for improving student life for med students is to encourage health science clubs to host more events on the Foothills campus. He cited that such events should be relatively easy to host, as many students have a set schedule and times where most are guaranteed to be free. This would help to improve student engagement, and is a pretty practical goal.

“I think it’s very important to instill a stronger sense of community.”

He mentioned a focus on academic life as well and promised to prioritize it, but wasn’t clear at all on what that looked like. Another vague area of his platform that there wasn’t really a plan for is to “recondition student areas” of the Foothills campus. Plazas has no plan to advocate for students in terms of budget cuts and is naive about the political climate facing health science graduates after their degrees.

Plazas is a very well-intentioned candidate who clearly cares about the well-being of his peers. Overall, however, his ideas aren’t fully fleshed-out. It would’ve made his platform a lot stronger to come up with more clear and achievable goals for improving mental health, similar to what he had done with general student life. 

Remember, the supplement constitutes the opinions of our panel — it’s important that you read the candidate’s platforms on the SU’s website, interact with those running for positions, ask questions and make up your own minds about who deserves your vote!


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