THIRD-YEAR MEDICAL STUDENT, Josanne Lochan, was fascinated by the human body from a young age and always knew that she wanted to be a doctor.
“I have always had this intense, burning passion to become a doctor. I am so fascinated by how God put the human body together and our anatomy confirms how amazing and wonderfully made we truly are,” she recalled.
Lochan is the new president of the University of the West Indies Surgical Society (UWISS). Only the second woman to rise to this position in the society’s history, Lochan looks forward to accomplishing all the objectives of her mandate in her presidential term, as well as continuing the good work contributed by previous presidents. Chief among her objectives is to foster greater integration of the students within the Faculty of Medical Sciences. “We are going to have our UWISS social where our over 600 active members will be invited,” Lochan said. She added that the goal of the social is to provide a platform for each student to create networks with other students in the medical field whom they will be working with in the near future.
Lochan, a Trinidadian, is also passionate about an outreach initiative that she has planned. The society will be going to non-traditional high schools across Jamaica, with the hope of inspiring young minds and demonstrating to them that nothing is impossible once they believe and work hard. They will also inform them of the options available for education and the different career paths they may pursue. Lochan explains why this initiative is especially important to her, “I went to a non-traditional high school and I know the disadvantages associated with being in one.” Having always dreamed of becoming a doctor, her high school, the Diego Martin Central Secondary School in Trinidad, did not have the resources to offer the subjects required for her to matriculate to medical school. She had to pursue these subjects elsewhere. Having migrated to England at age 17, she sat her A-levels there and then returned to UWI’s St Augustine Campus in Trinidad to acquire an undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences, with a double minor in Sports Nutrition and Psychology.
When asked why she became a part of UWISS, Lochan said that the word ‘surgical’ in the title caught her eyes. An aspiring neurosurgeon, she was curious as to how this society could help her get closer to her dream. Having joined the society in the first year of her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery Degree (MBBS) at UWI, Mona in 2014, Lochan says that the society has offered her the opportunity to mentor younger students, having been a mentee herself in her first year. Additionally, she has made lifelong friends and added numerous people to her professional and social network. “UWISS has allowed me to fully embrace my school experience,” she said. Her passion to be a part of the medical field was shared by her UWISS colleagues and so created a relaxing environment in which the lessons taught in her classes were reinforced through study groups, discussions and quiz competitions.
The society also hosts several seminars throughout the school year, the first of which will be held in September and is titled, “I’m in Medical School, What’s next?” This is geared towards providing first-year medical students with critical information to help them transition smoothly into university life and provide tips on coping with what can sometimes be stressful first-year medical classes. Lochan stated that this seminar will also be broadcasted on social media and that more information can be gained by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lochan looks forward to serving as president of UWISS and wanted to leave these words of encouragement with the incoming cohort, “Go out and make things happen, it doesn’t matter how disadvantageous it looks, once you believe, it will happen.”
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