Mohit Sodhi and Daphne Lu were recognized today for their outstanding leadership skills, as the 2023 recipients of the Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership (SBSAL).

The Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) Board of Directors launched the SBSAL in 2013 with the aim of encouraging the development of future leaders in medicine. The annual award recognizes the exceptional leadership of one undergraduate medical student and one postgraduate medical trainee. Each of this year’s winners will receive $3,000 in leadership development funding.

Undergraduate recipient Mohit Sodhi, a fourth year medical student at UBC Vancouver, is the CEO and co-founder of the YNOTFORTOTS Society, a charity that has donated over $203,000 worth of equipment to dozens of local underfunded elementary schools in the Greater Vancouver area. YNOTFORTOTS has also been featured in over a dozen national media outlets including the Globe and Mail, CBC, CTV, Global News, the Daily Hive, and the Vancouver Sun. He has also volunteered time to STEM Fellowship under a number of positions including CEO, COO, Chief Science Communications Officer, and executive advisor. Mr. Sodhi was also awarded UBC’s top leadership award, the Nestor Korchinsky Student Leadership Award, as well as the Governor General Gold Medal and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award, and he has co-authored 37 peer reviewed publications. The funding from the SBSAL will go towards providing underfunded local elementary schools with equipment to help their students play, learn, and grow.

“I want to thank all those who have supported me throughout my life and encouraged me to become the person I am today and the physician I will soon become,” said Mr. Sodhi. “I also want to thank the SBSAL awards committee for providing much needed funding for my charity, YNOTFORTOTS. Thousands of children in the Greater Vancouver area don’t have access to essential supplies to foster their education; the goal with YNOTFORTOTS is to help bridge the gap and to work towards offering equal and equitable opportunities for our leaders of tomorrow. I truly hope that my journey can inspire and motivate other young scientists and philanthropists to pay it forward by thinking globally and acting locally.”

Postgraduate recipient Dr. Daphne Lu is a general surgery resident at the University of British Columbia and a Sommer Scholar at Johns Hopkins University, pursuing a Master of Public Health and Master of Business Administration. Having served as President of Resident Doctors of British Columbia, she became increasingly familiar with healthcare challenges faced on both a provincial and national level and her participation in clinical research demonstrated the power of using data to drive policy and improve patient outcomes. These experiences fostered in her a core belief that the future of healthcare requires the integration of clinical medicine, public health, and business. Dr. Lu will be putting the SBSAL award funding towards attending the 8th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research to share Canadian perspectives and bring back knowledge from global contexts related to social, political, and economic determinants of health.

“It is truly an honour to be recognized by today’s healthcare leaders,” said Dr. Lu. “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the committee as this award will make it possible for me to attend the 8th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research to learn from scholars, policymakers, and industry leaders in various global contexts.”

CaRMS Board of Directors Awards Committee Chair Dr. Jay Rosenfield congratulated the winners. “On behalf of the CaRMS Board of Directors and the Awards Committee, I would like to congratulate Mohit Sodhi and Daphne Lu,” said Dr. Rosenfield. “These two truly outstanding medical learners have demonstrated a deep understanding of the importance of local philanthropy and mentorship to support and engage students and communities in need; the power of clinical research data to better understand the social, political, and economic determinants of health to drive policy and improve patient outcomes; and a level of leadership which is sure to strengthen and enrich the Canadian healthcare system in years to come.”

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