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Earlier this month, a group of UMMS students travelled to Chicago, IL for the AMA Annual Meeting as delegates from our school to the medical student section.

In addition to voting on policy issues that affect medical students, physicians, and patients, we also attended educational sessions such as “professional advocacy in an election year” and “outbreaks and the olympics,” which was focused on the Zika virus and other communicable diseases.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was attending the AMA Healthier Nation Innovation Challenge finals. There, we had the opportunity to hear from innovative startups about how they are solving pressing issues in healthcare.

These remarkable projects ranged from a technology solution that empowers first responders to share real-time patient data with healthcare providers in hospitals (Twiage) to a novel catheter that self-disinfects using phototherapy. Amazing solutions that are widely applicable!

The final day of the conference we attended reference committee meetings for the House of Delegates, which is the full voting body of the AMA. I particularly enjoyed hearing and live tweeting the debate on the End Step 2CS resolution that Andy Zureick (M4 from UMMS) and other students and physicians from across the country had been working hard on. Step 2 Clinical Skills has not been shown to improve patient care or education quality, has an extremely high pass rate, yet costs medical students over a thousand dollars plus travel time and expenses. The proposal to advocate for elimination of this exam in its current form was passed in a form that combined four separate resolutions with the same intent.

We are all grateful to the Washtenaw County Medical Society and the Michigan State Medical Society for providing funding without which we may not have been able to attend! I look forward to continuing to work on AMA projects:  Andy and I were elected to leadership roles at the Regional level. He will be serving as our region 5 vice chair and will be serving as our region 5 AMA foundation liasion.

Attending this meeting was incredible opportunity to partipate in policy-making and connect with students and physicians across the country. I left feeling more energized to lend my voice and enthusiasm to organized medicine & health policy!