AMA student engagement

Sunday, July 01, 2018 12:28 PM
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Medical students report on a successful meeting

by CMS Medical Student Component Society

Editor's note: Colorado Medical Society has a long tradition of commitment to its medical student members, including funding the medical student component society to enable it to send interested students to state and national meetings. This feature is made up entirely of direct quotes from students writing about their experience at the AMA Annual Meeting held in Chicago in mid-June. What follows are unedited, direct quotes from some members of this year's student delegation.

Joshua Abolarin
University of Colorado School of Medicine, MS2

“I have to say, my experience at the conference was very enlightening. As a person who hopes to advocate for the underserved community, I felt the conference provided me with an understanding of the procedure behind policy making /approval.

But most of all, I was truly impressed with how passionate the people were about creating change they truly felt would benefit their communities. Furthermore, the level I received in support from our team actually makes me believe that I too can make a difference through policy! I am truly grateful for the experience, and I am excited for an avenue for advocacy!”

Ryan Friedman
University of Colorado School of Medicine, MS2

“At the beginning of medical school, I believed that every physician had the duty to not only take care of patients inside the clinic but also to advocate for these individuals on a broader level when the medical system failed to meet their needs. As such, I entered the LEADS track, hoping to acquire a theoretical foundation of medical policy. Moreover, I applied to attend the AMA conference because I wanted to supplement this theoretical knowledge with practical application.

The conference far surpassed all of my expectations: my biggest disappointment was learning how much the AMA and CMS accomplish and recognizing that I missed out on engaging in these organizations for the past year. Once I was able to understand how parliamentary procedure works, I was very impressed by the resolutions that medical students put forward. While I still do not feel knowledgeable enough about gaps in the medical system to develop resolutions on my own, I intend to continue having conversations with the “veteran students” from CU, drawing on their expansive understanding of medical policies to provide me with the foundation of information that I need to feel confident to develop policy.

My interactions with members of our MSS region and the Colorado delegation developed my pride in being an AMA member. At the Colorado delegation dinner I was impressed by the multi-layered depth of knowledge that members had on topics across the political spectrum, ranging from how discussions can be enhanced in a polarized political climate to what needs to be addressed to minimize gun violence, and I was amazed at the humility of the delegation heads.

I sat next to the president-elect of CMS who, while clearly more knowledgeable than me on many topics, happily engaged me in conversation and took the time to hear my thoughts on issues. Moreover, I found the passion for policy, which was unanimously shared by members of the Colorado delegation, to be infectious.

Now that the conference is over, I want to continue working with this incredible group of people, drawing from (and hopefully contributing to) their energy and passion for developing medical policy. I have spoken with Lakshmi and Tosin about finding a role for me within CMS or within the greater AMA that would allow me to draw on my strengths to help develop better health policy. I plan to meet with Halea to gain her input as well.

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the conference. It was definitively one of the best experiences of medical school thus far for me, and I cannot wait to continue to be involved with CMS.”

Marcus Marable
University of Colorado School of Medicine, MS2

“Over the past year I’ve learned about anemia, memorized all the bones in the body, and have learned how to read an EKG, but I did not learn much concerning the medical field as a whole, or the business aspects of healthcare. Initially, I expected to spend the conference bouncing my ideas off of colleagues, and while this did happen, in attending the Small Changes, Big Results lecture, I underwent my most affecting experience. During this session, experienced physicians detailed their own payment structures, the ongoing innovations, and the unadopted evidenced- based practices. While I was ecstatic to be able to understand the words exiting several physicians’ mouths, the arguments and perspectives given flew right over my head, and over the heads of the other medical students in the room. Coming away from this session, I am now more aware of the gaps in my knowledge, and have a path to pursue my own development. Thank you for this opportunity.”

Gerald Yeung
University of Colorado School of Medicine, MS2

“The annual AMA conference was a truly amazing experience. It was incredible meeting so many other students and physicians coming together on their interests and passions within policy while having the opportunity to sit in on very relevant talks.

For one, the scale with which AMA operates was energizing and it was inspiring to see this large body of individuals involved, spending their own time and money promoting changes they want to see in the medicine, both in terms of protecting/improving the profession and in terms of advocating for patients.

This conference helped me find comfort knowing that I am not alone in my desire to change medicine for the better. In fact, here I have met colleagues that I will work with to champion issues such as single payer health care and the opioid crisis, and role models currently setting the foundations for this work, whose footsteps I will follow.

While the more nuanced politics and parliamentary procedural elements of the AMA are aspects I realized do not fit my personality, it is still incredibly valuable for me to understand and appreciate. Vetting policies take incredible persistence and collaboration and these allow for everything downstream to follow. This has given me a newfound appreciation for this and now I have an idea of how policy formation works on the national level and on the more local level from my involvement in the CMS COL.

Additionally, the workshops that were held throughout the conference provided me with useful tools and introductions to topics I was previously less familiar with. For example, during the mass casualty incident talk, there was mention on how to deal with media as they are always trying to bolster the story that sells with accounts of “babies crying, injured screaming,” but one can actually effectively utilize the media to broadcast a message such as a call for supplies while serving in a remote area. This is definitely a tool I can employ when I am in such situations in my career.

Another interesting talk I had the chance to attend was the one discussing capitation and different models of taking on risk for value-based care. While much of the discussion went passed my current knowledge base, it was still very enlightening hearing how these different groups have been moving away from purely fee for service models.”

Zainab Zullali
University of Colorado School of Medicine, MS2

“Going to this year’s annual AMA conference in Chicago was an enriching and empowering experience. As a member of the Colorado Medical Society Council on Legislation, I choose to play an active role in understanding and engaging in policies that affect patients and physicians; this conference allowed me to take a glimpse at the national issues that are at the forefront of the field that I am becoming a part of, and to begin formulating solutions to them with other individuals that are passionate about health care policy. It was inspiring to see the collaborative effort that was already underway amongst the student delegates from across the country, their passionate testimonies, and their commitment to moving medicine in a positive direction.

The most impactful lecture that I attended was “A day in the life of me: Tackling prejudice against providers.” Four medical students detailed their experiences as minorities in the field, which solidified my desire to become an advocate and mentor to future students who, like me, do not have easily accessible role models who look like them. This lecture was an affirmation of the struggles that students like me face, and the impact that we can have by making our voices heard.”

Posted in: Colorado Medicine


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