The American Medical Association hosted the 2021 Medical Student Advocacy Conference on March 4-5. While traditionally many medical students and speakers would flock to the nation’s capital, this conference was held in a virtual format for the first time. Despite this, the agenda was replete with knowledgeable and esteemed speakers. Participants listened to congressional addresses from various senators and representatives, a keynote from Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith of President Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, as well as other illuminating presentations on health equity, public health infrastructure, and the role of lobbying in medicine.
Participating in these sessions were three 1st-year College of Medicine students who represented NEOMED at these training sessions - Oroshay Kaiwan, Rommel Morales, and Michaela Ward. All attended a training program on 3 bills presented to Congress, pertaining to combating maternal mortality (S.411), regulations surrounding medical marijuana research (S.253), and telehealth accessibility and innovation (S.368). These students learned effective lobbying techniques from the AMA Congressional Affairs team and met with other students at medical schools across Ohio to develop presentations to advocate for these patient-centric issues. The next day, they took to Capitol Hill to meet with staffers from Senator Sherrod Brown’s office (see above), as well as the offices of Representatives Jim Jordan, David Joyce, and Anthony Gonzalez.
Though the conference was hosted during their Spring break, all students were grateful for the opportunity and the skills that they could use in their future practice. Oroshay Kaiwan is a member of the Urban Primary Care Pathway. Michaela Ward is a member of the Rural Medical Education Pathway. Rommel Morales holds various board and committee positions at NEOMED.
-Submitted by Rommel Morales