The Osler Society celebrated its 99th annual Osler Banquet, in honour of McGill graduate and former professor Sir William Osler, at the McGill Faculty Club on November 1st, 2023. The latest edition of the event was particularly special as it marked the return of the banquet after a four-year hiatus following the pandemic. McGill University’s oldest existing student society, the Osler Society was founded in 1921 and aims to enrich medical students’ dedication to clinical medicine with an appreciation for the humanities.  

“Medicine and surgery have been built on an apprenticeship model, a constant reminder that knowledge accumulates in little droplets of wisdom, inspiration, and perspiration—most notably failures,” says Saman Arfaie, past Osler Society Co-president from 2020-2022. “We are descendants of this rich body of knowledge. Connecting with this past and appreciating the richness of history is remarkable for the opportunities it provides. The Osler Society and the banquet are unique in North America in their ability to bridge the present with the past.” 

As the first two female co-presidents of the Society, Neevya Balasubramaniam and Lilly Groszman emphasize their forward-looking vision for the Osler Society that puts inclusion at the centre of its principles. “We are resolute in our commitment to upholding Equity, Inclusion and Diversity as core values in our events,” say Groszman.  

Adds Balasubramaniam, noting her important connection to her Eelam Tamil heritage and appreciation for global history: “This event showcased enlightening presentations centred around the practice of medicine and its rich history, emphasizing the dual roles of a physician as a healer and a professional. We had esteemed speakers from Australia, the USA, and Canada, making this event a significant reflection on our collective past, present, and future.”  

A welcome return 

With over 100 medical students in attendance, the banquet – preceded by the 46th annual Osler Lectureship delivered this year by world-renowned leader in evidence-based medicine Gordon Guyatt, MD, Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Health Research Methods, Evidence & Impact at McMaster University – provided a convivial setting for students to engage with faculty members, industry leaders and members of the public, as well as foster connections with their peers.  

“The Osler Banquet was the highlight of the year for me,” says Groszman. “There were a lot of bumps along the way, and little guidance to follow, as this was the first banquet in four years. Still, we ended up having the largest organizing team, probably since the banquet was first established, so I am truly grateful to our growing and motivated members.” 

Balasubramaniam agrees. “I am immensely grateful and proud of the remarkable success of this year’s banquet, all thanks to our exceptional team. I am eagerly looking forward to next year’s 100th banquet!” 

About the Osler Society: 

Under the guidance of Rolando Del Maestro, MD, PhD, William Feindel Professor Emeritus in Neuro-Oncology at McGill University, the Osler Society continues to honour Osler’s legacy as a distinguished McGill Medicine alumnus and professor. In particular, his advocacy for integrating clinical methods into medical education and bedside teaching serves as the foundation for the society’s mission.  

The Osler Society, at its core, is dedicated to fostering networking opportunities for motivated students and esteemed faculty mentors while instilling a culture of philanthropy within the faculty. This commitment to the convergence of clinical medicine and the humanities plays a vital role in enhancing McGill University’s medical education. The Society’s mission is to broaden students’ perspectives on the intersection of humanities, social sciences, and medicine through various means, including the annual Osler Lectureship featuring distinguished speakers.  

The Osler Society eagerly anticipates organizing events that foster unity and collaboration. For more information, please visit us at  

Lilly Groszman (left) and Neevya Balasubramaniam (right), Third-year medical students and current co-Presidents of the McGill Osler Society 2023-2024.


In conversation with Gordon Guyatt: Department of Social Studies of Medicine’s Todd Meyers spoke with Dr. Guyatt on the occasion of his Osler Lectureship 


Some of the recent recipients of the Molina Scholars Program — from left to right: Saman Arfaie, Dr. Brendan Ross, Dr. Mario Molina, Ali Fazlollahi