Award: Canadian Resident Matching Service recognizes exceptional student leader

David Zheng, Medicine Class of 2022, was the undergraduate winner of this year’s Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership from the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). 

With this award, CaRMS hopes to provide recognition, financial support and professional development opportunities for students like Zheng, who have demonstrated an interest in and aptitude for leadership, and potential as future leaders in medicine.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Zheng founded Creative Connection, a non-profit combatting social isolation in older adults within health-care institutions across Canada. He had previously volunteered within long term care homes for several years, playing piano for residents. Through Creative Connection, he has connected medical student volunteers across the country with more than 1000 patients and residents through virtual live musical performances, paint nights and health education group sessions.

He also helped establish the Interact Project, which helps to implement virtual reality activities in health-care institutions to provide continued cognitive engagement for seniors with limited mobility and individuals in inpatient wards.

At the School, Zheng has been involved in the Student Support Team and the University of Western Ontario Medical Journal (UWOMJ) as a senior associate editor.

He has previously been formally recognized for his community involvement with the Alex Trebek Leadership Award and the Associates in Psychology Volunteering Award.

The Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership was established in 2013 in recognition of Sandra Banner, an instrumental leader within CaRMS throughout her nearly three decades with the organization. As part of the award, recipients are given up to $3,000 in funding to support leadership activities including conferences and formal leadership education at an accredited educational institution.