AMA student engagement

Saturday, July 01, 2017 12:26 PM
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Medical students report on a successful meeting

Kiara Blough, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine

With the generous support of the Colorado Medical Society, the Medical Student Section (MSS) from Rocky Vista University was able to send four medical students to the American Medical Association’s Annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting in Chicago. During this meeting, physicians and medical students from across the country gathered to address health policy. Working intimately alongside our colleagues from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Colorado MSS played an active role in both the MSS and main HOD meetings, including authoring and reviewing resolutions, serving as delegates and alternate delegates to the House, and giving testimony on the floor.

Rachel Landin and I served as delegate and alternate delegate, respectively, to the MSS. I also served as alternate delegate to the main HOD. Sohayla Rostami worked diligently in prior weeks to co-author a resolution, “Recognizing Poverty-level Wages as a Social Determinant of Health,” which was adopted as MSS Policy. We are especially proud of Rostami for being elected vice chair of Region 1, which leads and organizes 15 states from across the country. While the conference itself was a valuable learning experience for all, RVU and CU medical students invested countless hours during late-night meetings and conference calls reviewing resolutions. These meetings allowed us to discuss our stance early, propose amendments, anticipate opposition, and strategize and prepare for debate in the House. Thanks to the leadership of CMS advisor Brandi Ring, MD, the Colorado MSS was well prepared and poised to create and pass important and timely resolutions.

RVU students left with a shared sense of inspiration. When asked about their experience, here’s what our classmates had to say:

“It was and continues to be absolutely inspirational to see all students, from myriad backgrounds, various geographic locations, and different years of medical training, come together and find a single, strong voice on difficult issues. We see, in real time, representatives and delegates set aside their personal beliefs and advocate for their patients and the medical field. Especially with the AMA Annual Meeting this year, there was a clear resounding stance on major issues plaguing our politics and one that the students decided to take ownership of as we will be the future of medicine. The students were initiating proactive measures in an otherwise very reactive political landscape. The compassion and care of the students transcend the classroom and clinic walls and reach a level where thousands of lives across the nation can be positively affected.” – Sohayla Rostami, MS4 RVUCOM

“I left the AMA-MSS Annual Meeting feeling incredibly inspired by the brilliance of our fellow medical students. The event had such an enormous impact on my view of medicine and policy, and I am thrilled to know that the next generation of practitioners is so passionate to push the current boundaries of medical policy to advocate for their patients in the strongest way possible. The three greatest accomplishments the AMA-MSS achieved included the following: passing support for the future development of single-payer health care with the allowance of intermediate steps such as a public option; supporting the creation of supervised injection facilities, which not only passed through the MSS House but also through the main AMA HOD; and requiring religiously affiliated medical institutions to fully disclose all reproductive health service options. I cannot emphasize enough the excitement I have for the future of medicine and medical policy, and I look forward to seeing more policy that will benefit the diverse range of our patients.” – Rachel Landin, MS2 RVUCOM

“I attended the Women Physician Section breakout mentoring session. As medical students, we heard advice from multiple female physicians on leadership, contract negotiation, patient advocacy, landing that residency, and how to not only survive but also thrive in often male-dominant areas of medicine. I can truly say that I will keep with me the personal stories and advice shared during this session for the remainder of my career in medicine.” – Krista Allen, MS2 RVUCOM

When speaking about the interim meeting in November, Allen says, “I’m inspired and ready to work with my Colorado peers and students across the nation. We already have resolution ideas in mind and I’ve applied to the Bioethics and Humanities standing committee of the MSS governing council!”

In addition to working hard at the meeting, we made sure to find time to explore the beautiful Millennium Park, listen to blues music, dance the night away at the Presidential Inaugural Ball, and connect with new and old friends and colleagues from across the country. We are proud of the work accomplished by the Medical Student Section and look forward to bringing progressive resolutions to the AMA Interim Meeting in November.


Halea Meese, University of Colorado School of Medicine

University of Colorado School of Medicine Delegate Allee Torres and Alternate Delegate Eric Lakey saw the resolution they co-authored, “Air Ambulance Regulations and Reimbursements,” pass the AMA-MSS with minor amendments. Lakey also served on the AMA-MSS reference committee that reviewed resolutions from colleagues from across the nation. Laylaa Ramos-Arriaza and I provided live testimony on the floor of the MSS on topics such as divestment from fossil fuels and full disclosure of all reproductive health service options at religiously affiliated medical institutions. Kiara Blough (RVU) and I also served as alternate delegates in the main House of Delegates.

In addition to our time in the MSS and AMA House of Delegates meetings, we visited the very first Nutella café in the U.S., went on an architectural boat tour of the river, ate delicious deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s (with the rest of the CMS delegation; thank you!), explored the Magnificent Mile at night and danced at the AMA inaugural ball.

CUSOM students left feeling energized and engaged. When asked what impacted them most from their time at the meeting, here’s what our classmates had to say:

“Sitting in the Region 1 policy meetings had the biggest impact on me. It was fascinating seeing just how much of the strategizing, writing and discussion on policies happened beforehand to help the AMA-MSS meeting go smoothly and ensure everyone’s voice was heard in the shortest amount of time.” – Eric Lakey, MS2 CUSOM

“My favorite part of the AMA meeting was seeing the amount of knowledge students and physicians had about policy and how passionate they felt about patient advocacy.” – Laylaa Ramos-Arriaza, MS2 CUSOM

“I left the AMA-MSS meeting feeling overwhelmed with everything I had experienced, yet incredibly energized to act. Learning that the AMA is the third highest spender for lobbying in Washington and that the resolutions that medical students wrote have turned into U.S. laws made me realize what a powerful platform I have to enact change. I am energized to write new resolutions and am highly interested in being part of various committees as I see a tangible way to advocate for my patients through AMA.” Subada Soti, MS2 CUSOM

“After spending the last few months reviewing policies with Region 1 and with CMS, it was amazing to see them go through debate, to see how passionate students were about them, and to see the best policies become adopted by AMA-MSS.” – Allee Torres, MS2 CUSOM

“I left the AMA meeting in Chicago feeling more energized and hopeful than I have in a long time. I slept less and learned more in one week than I ever have before about health policy. It was awe-inspiring to see my Colorado colleagues and other students from across the nation work with physicians to get their ideas to become the official policies of our AMA. This meeting showed me that the impact of student advocacy is truly limitless. I’m hooked.” Halea Meese, MS2 CUSOM

Posted in: Colorado Medicine


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