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Medical school is full of “firsts.” First organ-based sequence (cardio/respiratory) – check! First time taking a history for a standardized patient – check. And now, first health policy conference! The past few days I’ve been away from Ann Arbor in the wonderful city of Atlanta, Georgia at the AMA National Interim meeting. My interest in health policy started at Duke, and this week it has been fascinating to see the impact that physicians (and students) can have on local and national health policy. For instance, did you know the smoking ban in airplanes started as a medical student resolution for the AMA?

Listening to debate in the medical students section

In the medical student section (MSS), we learned about and passed several resolutions that were proposed by our colleagues. The topics ranged from addressing drug prices and shortages to pipeline programs for minority youth to enter medicine. We also had the opportunity to interact with many residents, fellows, and attendings in different fields across the country. I learned more about specialties that were unfamiliar to me, such as radiology, urology, and ob/gyn. In particular, I attended a reception specifically for Michigan physicians and loved getting to know people from our own state who are just as passionate about issues of health care access and quality!

Taking a "biopsy"

Another highlight of the weekend was the clinical skills workshop. Here’s a picture of me biopsying an abnormal growth (a strawberry!). I may have gone a little bit too far and also sampled a piece of the tablecloth. Shh…good thing I’m still an M1 and not a resident. We laughed it off, and I enjoyed seeing how ultrasound can be used to guide physicians to finding the correct location to biopsy. I hope I have better luck next time, and fortunately I was a lot better at placing an airway in our (fake) pediatric patient. It was great to put some of our anatomy in practice.

Atlanta has had other perks as well, such as catching up with college friends Samhita and Dan! So good to see them and learn what life has been like for them the past few years. I am fortunate to still feel connected to my college family.

Until next time!