Q&A with Shannon Munsie, President of the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations (FCDSA)
We are pleased to present this Q&A with Shannon Munsie, President of the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations (FCDSA)
What is the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations?
In 2012, CDA put forward the idea of a unified national student voice. A meeting was held with 20 delegates from the 10 Canadian dental schools. The meeting was a brainstorming session to discuss the possibility of creating a student federaion or association. Later that same year, the delegates met again and officially established the Federation of Canadian Dentistry student Associations or FCDSA. During the meeting, the delegates defined the Federation’s mission, vision, bylaws, the election protocol, and the short- and long-term goals. Elections were also held to identify the executive team:
- President and Vice President
- Western Regional Councillor, representing British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan
- Central Regional Councillor, representing Manitoba and Ontario
- Eastern Regional Councillor, representing Quebec and Nova Scotia
Each dental school is requested to nominate 2 representatives from their student association who are in different years of study.
What are the Federation’s objectives?
Currently, our short-term goals are mainly:
- To connect dental students so as to foster the sharing of common interests and challenges;
- As a united national student voice, to advocate for the promotion of accessible, optimal dental education and patient care; and
- To provide an avenue for introducing and involving dental students in organized dentistry.
We are also working on establishing a sustainable financial structure for the Federation, building a reputation for the Federation and developing a network within organized dentistry with organizations such as CDSPI, the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB), the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) and the provincial dental associations.
Who are the representatives of the Federation?
They are students of the 10 Canadian dental schools. Each dental school nominates 2 students from their student association who are in different years of study, in the hope to have a good representation of students across Canada. Hopefully, this structure will also allow for continuity, with the junior representatives gaining experience and then taking on a leadership role on the Executive team or within committees when they are in 3rd or 4th year of their studies.
The Federation also welcomes representatives from other organizations, such as CDA, CDSPI, NDEB, ASDA and other organizations to whom we extended participation requests.
The Federation is soon to hold its annual general meeting (AGM); can you give us more information about this meeting?
Yes, it is actually the second meeting of the Federation and it will be held on June 21st, 2014. The meeting is divided into a business session and working group sessions. We usually discuss dental student-related issues, such as clinical learning experiences, gaining more experience caring for patient in rural communities and in the North, and access to care issues, where students can help to make a difference. The AGM is also an opportunity for students to share their interests and their stories and experiences in dental school.
What are the activities of the Federation?
At this point, our activities are mainly working at establishing ourselves as an organization. Our Executive and working groups have been busy setting up a website, designing a logo, defining our communications strategy, networking, and trying to establish a sustainable financial structure for the federation.
Our Executive has attended several organizations’ meetings, such as CDA’s Annual General Meeting, the NDEB Annual Meeting, and last year’s ASDA’s Annual Session. It has been a great learning experience in networking and leadership and we hope that funding will allow us to continue to attend these meetings.
Why is the Federation important for students?
It is important for many reasons. The federation constitutes a united national voice for students. For some time, there has been a clear lack of student representation on the national level in addition to the fact that some provincial associations have student representatives while others do not. The Federation also provides students with an avenue to bring forward their issues, concerns, and ideas and to share learning experiences that will help work towards achieving the Federation’s mission of advocating for optimal dental education and patient care in dental schools.
What is CDA’s role in the Federation?
CDA has played and continues to play an important role in the Federation. As a matter of fact, CDA brought forward the idea of establishing a student federation and they have been providing leadership and guidance in this process. CDA has provided the initial financial and administrative resources and during the 2012 meeting, CDA agreed to host the Secretariat and helped us establish the Federation’s professional structure. We look forward to continuing the collaboration with CDA and we greatly thank Ms. Monique Bouchard who has been helping us tremendously.
Shannon, we thank you very much for granting us the opportunity to meet with you and learn more about the Federation of Canadian Student Associations.
For more information on the Federation, please contact:
Ms. Monique Bouchard at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ph: (613) 520-5001 – 1-800-267-6354
Shannon Munsie (University of Western Ontario 2014) had been involved in the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations since its inception. Shannon completed her Master’s degree in Business Management at UBC in 2010 and was a student leadership consultant after that. She hopes to put her organizational skills and business background to help make the FCDSA an active, trustworthy entity in organized dentistry.