Wayne’s AMA medical student section leads the passage of eight policies at national conference for policymakers

August 06, 2018

Students at the Wayne State University School of Medicine continue to gain attention as leaders in policymaking and advocacy on the national stage, most recently at the American Medical Association Medical Student Section annual conference, held in Chicago, where 17 medical students voted on 58 student-authored policies.

The students’ trip, June 7-9, was funded by the Medical Alumni Association, whose yearly contribution to the group covered transportation and accommodation costs for all students who wanted to attend.

More than 50 percent of the WSU School of Medicine student body has an AMA membership, with members active to varying degrees.

“Regardless of whether it is a state, regional or national event, Wayne State usually brings one of the largest crowds, which doesn't go unnoticed. We are often approached by other chapters for advice on recruitment and fundraising, and we are happy to help. The more we network with other chapters, the stronger our chapter grows,” said AMA Chapter President Aaron Sherwood, a second-year medical student.

Tabitha Moses and Brianna Sohl served as delegates, and Sherwood and Harrison Quaal served as alternate delegates at the meeting. Wayne policy successes included the passage of eight Wayne State University School of Medicine primary-authored policies in the Medical Student Section related to:

• HIV PEP for victims of sexual assault
• Opposition to lack of evidence-based medicine in drug courts
• Support for the use of evidence-based guidelines for determining liver transplant waiting periods in alcohol-related liver disease
• Improving training in Emergency Medicine residency programs for the care of sexual assault victims
• Prenatal (epidural) minor patient protections
• Increasing gun safety to prevent accidental child death
• Decreasing barriers to health care for homeless patients by making identification cards more obtainable
• Comprehensive human papillomavirus vaccination in youth education curricula

In addition, four policies that included WSU medical students as secondary authors passed. The AMA hosts resolution writing workshops for new members, and has an extensive review process to ensure authors are producing novel, well-researched and well-written policy.

“We usually do a pretty good job at getting our policies passed. We put in the work, though! Writing a resolution is a long and arduous process, and because we bring resolutions to the county, state and national medical societies, navigating the different requirements of each organization can get pretty confusing,” Sherwood said.

Historically, the WSU chapter produces members who pursue leadership positions:

Taymaz Joneydian was elected chair of the Region 5 AMA Medical Student Section, or MSS, after completing a year-long term as vice chair. Tabitha Moses was re-elected as membership chair of the region. Lauren Newhouse is serving as an AMA foundation liaison for a second year. Eric Walton is serving as chair of the Michigan State Medical Society medical student section, with Shannon Paquette as vice chair and Blake Sanford as alternate delegate. Jeremy Llaniguez finished his year-long service as vice speaker of the national Medical Student Section. Brianna Sohl was appointed to the National Committee for LGBTQ Issues. Josee Smith was appointed to the National Minority Issues Committee.

“We also have significant support from physician mentors, especially at the Wayne County Medical Society,” Sherwood added. “This was evident during our trip to the Michigan State Medical Society House of Delegates meeting last April. We were not expecting to have numerous Wayne County physicians provide testimony on the floor in support of our resolutions. It was very exciting.”

Seven student-authored resolutions were adopted as official MSMS policy at that meeting. New this year, the AMA is partnering with MSMS to develop outreach programs, including a voter registration drive and a community service project.

In addition, the AMA Medical Student Sections’ annual Oktoberfest fundraising event will be held Sept. 22.

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