By Jenny Young, Associate Vice President of Membership and Engagement
When entering medical school, your first few weeks of orientation are packed with lectures and activities from the dozens of clubs and organizations you’ve been given the opportunity to join; each with a unique value proposition and list of benefits. Most clubs are clearly understood from their title such as the pediatric student interest group, yoga club, and women in medicine. You know what you’re signing up for.
Then you come across The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV), and its joint membership package with The American Medical Association (AMA), which fall into the category of organized medicine. You’ve probably heard of AMA in the news while reading how physicians were managing the COVID-19 pandemic. But what does becoming a member of MSV and AMA mean? And how can you take advantage of your membership to strengthen your medical school career?
The AMA represents physicians, medical students and patients on a national scope, lobbying Congress, while the MSV represents physicians, medical students and patients on a state scope, lobbying the Virginia General Assembly. The MSV and AMA are both led by their members: physicians, residents, and medical students. All policies, advocacy efforts, and organizational goals are debated and voted on by members – and medical students have a powerful voice and vote!
As a medical student member, you can take advantage of a combined membership with MSV and AMA for the duration of your medical school career. You get to decide how you’ll use your membership. Regardless of how engaged you become, the fact that you’re a member makes an impact in MSV and AMA’s advocacy work. More members equal greater influence in achieving important goals such as increasing access to care for our most vulnerable populations, or ensuring physicians can do what’s best for their patients without legislators or regulators dictating how care should be provided.
For medical students looking for more from their membership, medical students can have a major impact on changing healthcare through AMA and MSV.
Virginia medical students have been successful in crafting state and national policy through authoring resolutions. Several examples include:
- AMA – New policy to oppose the discriminatory blood donor criteria for gay and bisexual men
- MSV – New policy to support increased access and coverage for HIV-PREP
- MSV – New policy protecting care for individuals regardless of immigration status, gender identity, or expression
Access to Healthcare Influencers
Attending MSV and AMA meetings and events grant you with direct access to healthcare influencers and legislators.
- MSV and AMA hold lobby days for you to meet with your state legislators in Richmond, Virginia (MSV) and federal legislators in DC (AMA)
- Past speakers and attendees that students have met with at AMA and MSV conferences include leaders such as: national specialty society presidents, The Surgeon General, The Governor of Virginia, Virginia’s Health Commissioner and CEOs and Chief Medical Officers of hospitals and health tech companies.
Medical Student Members are given the opportunity to hold leadership positions through MSV and AMA. The leadership opportunities include:
- Leading your school’s AMA/MSV chapter
- Serving on a state or national medical student section (MSS) committee:
- MSV has standing committees on advocacy, community outreach, and member engagement
- AMA has committees focusing on topics such as bioethics and humanities, economics and quality in medicine, and minority issues. Take a look at the full list of AMA medical student standing committees
- Leading the MSV MSS on the MSS Executive Committee
- Joining AMA MSS’s Region 6 Leadership Board, leading medical students from VA, DC, MD, NJ, and PA
- Representing medical students on one of MSV’s Boards: MSV Board of Directors, MSV Foundation Board of Directors, or MSV Political Action Committee Board of Directors
Connect with Students and Physicians
Woven throughout all MSV and AMA events and leadership opportunities is the opportunity to connect with passionate medical students seeking to positively impact healthcare at your school, throughout Virginia, and throughout the nation. The friendships and professional relationships formed will have a lasting impact! The community powerfully galvanizes around doing what is right for patients and physicians.
You’ve earned the opportunity to join the hundreds of thousands of physicians and medical students who are members of AMA and MSV. Take advantage of a joint MSV + AMA membership to support our efforts to make Virginia and America the best place to practice medicine and receive healthcare!