Helping OUWB students prepare for residency — and stay healthy — are top goals for the new executive board of the school’s Medical Student Government.

Preparedness, wellness top MSG priorities for upcoming school year at OUWB
The new MSG board for 2022-23
Board members for the 2022-23 school year (from left to right) are Verna Halim, treasurer; Kristin Sarsfield, secretary; Nataly Salman, vice president; and Suhani Gupta, president.

Helping OUWB students prepare for residency — and stay healthy — are top goals for the new executive board of the school’s Medical Student Government.

Board members for the 2022-23 school year are Suhani Gupta, president; Nataly Salman, vice president; Kristin Sarsfield, secretary; and Verna Halim, treasurer.

The board is the head of the OUWB Medical Student Government (MSG), which serves as the official representative body of medical students to the OUWB administration, faculty, Beaumont Health, Oakland University, and the community. MSG generally strives to investigate, discuss, and act on issues pertinent to the student body.

In addition to the four-person executive board, each class has four senators. Each class also has a member on the Organization of Student Representatives (OSR).

Gupta says top priorities this year include making sure students have enough support after Step 1 moved to a pass/fail system, as well as promotion of healthy living.

“We are prioritizing wellness and making sure that despite all of the changes that are happening nationally, our students feel prepared,” says Gupta.

Gupta set to lead board

Gupta grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and went to University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill as an undergraduate.

Attending any Midwest medical school wasn’t on her radar until she met a resident who had attended OUWB and had nothing but good things to say about the school.

“I applied and on my interview day, I absolutely fell in love with the community,” she says. “I feel like the values of this school are very much focused on student growth and student receptiveness.”

Gupta says her experience at OUWB has been great and that she feels lucky “to be part of a class that really values one another…and is really diverse.”

Gupta says she has had plenty of opportunity to get involved with groups like the South Asian Medical Outreach Student Association, the Ophthalmology Interest Group, and the Hispanic Newcomer Outreach program.

“One of the most important things for a medical student is to not limit themselves to the classroom,” she says. “Ultimately everything we learn in the classroom is applied in the community and I think the best way to understand what the people around us need is to immerse ourselves through service, volunteering, research, and so on.”

Gupta also served as a senator during her first year of medical school. Running for MSG e-board seemed a natural progression, she says.

“It felt natural for me to want to take another leadership position where I could have more widespread change and get to work with administration on a higher level…work on some of the themes I’ve seen throughout our first year and address those.”

Among the priorities Gupta has identified:

  • Increasing transparency between students and OUWB officials
  • Building relationships amongst all four of OUWB’s classes, especially in light of the impact of COVID-19
  • Advocating for more study time for board exams
  • Working on getting subsidized resources for students

To learn more about the new MSG e-board and their priorities, check out the questions and answers below.

Why did you feel it was important to be on the MSG e-board? What do you feel you bring to your position?

Sarsfield: I wanted to increase transparency on the administrative side of things and to facilitate fun events on the social side. Since we are pioneering medical school after the height of a pandemic, I am excited to help ease the transition to our new normal. I bring strong organizational skills and creativity to make this upcoming year productive and memorable.

Halim: I wanted to get a chance to see the ways that student concerns are addressed, and I wanted to be a part of the conversation to initiate and implement change. I feel that as an individual, I can hear the concerns of my fellow classmates and present them to MSG as a whole so that the student body is actually adequately represented.

Salman: I felt that serving on the MSG executive board would enable me to further understand the inner workings of our medical school and provide me an opportunity to employ my leadership skills and innovation to drive positive changes at OUWB.

What do you feel are the most important issues facing OUWB students this year?

Sarsfield: I hope that OUWB’s social events help to encourage a healthy separation between school and personal life. Another important issue that OUWB students will face this year is navigating the transition from a pre- to post-pandemic medical school experience.

Halim: The changes regarding STEP and how residencies will be evaluating medical students for residency are probably some of the most important issues that OUWB students are concerned about.

Salman: Since we are going to advance back to in-person classes this upcoming fall semester, many students will have to again adapt to this schedule change. It is important to recognize that this may be a challenge to many students and there is a demand for support and enthusiasm from peers, faculty, and administration to foster a seamless transition for the entire community.

What do you hope to accomplish in your role?

Sarsfield: I hope to promote a more transparent and unified climate at OUWB. I am eager to share forward progress and the implications of student-centered discussion with the student body. I am also excited to facilitate bonding experiences through social events such as the Big Sib/Little Sib Program.

Halim: I hope that in addition to my treasurer duties, I can be a person who students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with and that I can properly relay messages and concerns to my MSG colleagues so that we can find solutions to student issues.

Salman: One of my goals for this year is to further bridge (the communication) gap and allow for more transparency and unity amongst the functioning members of MSG (executive board, senators, OSR, committee and subcommittee student representatives) and the OUWB community as a whole. I also hope to promote more collaboration of events and opportunities to improve organizational productivity and enhance our medical school experience.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at 

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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