The idea for OMS was initially born out of a want to provide and create better clarity for high school students regarding a career path that is oftentimes vaguely defined and confusing to navigate. When considering medicine as a possible future path in high school, the information is mostly unclear if it exists in the first place. This is where Ola Lemanowicz comes in (for those who do not know her already, she is the founder and creator of OMS); having had a passion for healthcare since her youth, just as many of you do, she noted the struggles she and her high school classmates were going through in trying to decide what direction to steer their lives. She noted that one of the biggest obstacles in making this decision was the chasm of non-existent information provided to students, especially about what becoming a medical professional in particular might require and look like as a committed career path. It was to combat this chasm that Operation Med School was conceived in the first place, as a conference where like-minded youth would be able to gather and actually get the data they need to make an informed decision about their future.
As most student-led initiatives do, OMS began as a ground-up, grassroots organization. It began with Ola handing out homemade packages to various schools in hopes of recruiting OMS’ very first executive team. In due time, through interviews and meetings, OMS Vancouver had fielded a team that worked towards putting on its very first conference. Despite the hiccups you would typically expect for a conference in its first year, Operation Med School, in conjunction with Simon Fraser University, would successfully hold its first conference in February of 2013. From there, the positive feedback and success of the first conference pushed Ola and the team to further expand OMS across Canada and perhaps even elsewhere. 2014 saw Toronto’s first conference alongside a second iteration in Vancouver. From there, OMS has expanded across Canada with new teams being created from sea to sea by motivated youth. Even the international goal will come to fruition this year on November 3rd with our very first conference being held in New York City. From an idea within the head of a high school to better provide clarity for her classmates to its current iteration, the central mission of OMS had remained the same, to provide useful, engaging, and clear guidance to young students looking at a possible future in the health sciences.