Medical students treated to a change of perspective

The University of Melbourne MD Student Conference (MDSC) 2015 was a fantastic success. With support and guidance from the Melbourne Medical School, students from all year levels worked together to craft an innovative, diverse and unique academic program.

dan savage and students
Dan Savage at MD Student Conference

In its most ambitious year yet, MDSC2015 delivered 116 sessions over four days, with more than 200 speakers for an audience of 1,365 medical students.

As a medical student, MDSC provides a unique and exciting platform in medical education. In what's an Australian first, medical students were given almost complete control and invaluable resources to shape part of their own medical education. Everything from liaising with speakers to logistics, branding and promotions, a medical student was behind it.

MDSC provides a powerful advocacy platform for issues which often don't make it to the clinical curriculum but are invaluable to our future health professionals.

This year, MDSC welcomed its first international speaker, Dan Savage. An activist and prolific author, Dan is globally known for the It Gets Better Project, a movement he started with his husband. Gaining over 500,000 videos, the campaign aims to inspire hope and provide support for isolated queer youth facing bullying.

Mr Savage provided a perspective many medical students don't get to hear otherwise: people have a widely diverse range of sexual practices and doctors must hold an open, non-judgemental approach to their patients. The talk proved to be edgy, entertaining and generated a lot of much needed discussion amongst medical students.

Dan Savage got to the core of MDSC aims: exposing medical students to a range of ideas which they wouldn't get to hear otherwise, getting them to critically think about social aspects of medicine and ultimately enrich their future medical practice.

Other high profile speakers included Australian of the Year Rosie Batty who spoke about family violence intervention in primary care settings, and Richard Smith, former editor of BMJ on patient advocacy.

By Asiel Adan Sanchez

Asiel is a third year medical student at The University of Melbourne. He was an academic day convenor for The MD Student Conference, President of MDQueer LGBTIQ Health Collective and LGBTIQ Health Officer for the Australian Medical Students' Association.

Dan Savage was sponsored to present at the MD Student Conference 2015 by Audible.com.au/unimelb.

For more information about the University of Melbourne MD Student Conference visit www.melbournemdconference.org.au/2015.