AMA Adopts MSS Resolution on Junk Food
Baylor College of Medicine student Tyler Murray's resolution seeking to improve the nutritional value of food and drinks sold in public school cafeterias was adopted by the American Medical Association Medical Student Section (AMA MSS) at its interim meeting in San Diego earlier this month.
The resolution asks AMA to "oppose exclusivity agreements between school districts and food and beverage vendors unless those agreements contain provisions mandating that vendors predominantly provide healthful food choices that contribute to the nutritional needs of students."
Mr. Murray's resolution pointed out that:
- A diet of processed snack foods and soft drinks high in sugar and saturated fat and low in nutritional value has been linked to childhood obesity.
- Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States and has been linked to numerous comorbidities such as coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as decreased scholastic performance, quality of life, and lower life expectancy.
- American children now obtain 50 percent of their calories from added fat and sugar, and only 1 percent have a diet that complies with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Guide Pyramid recommendations.
- As of 2002, more than 240 U.S. school districts have entered into exclusive "pouring rights" contracts with soft drink companies in which school districts receive large financial incentives in exchange for the right to sell and advertise soft drinks within public schools.
- There is a growing political consensus against these "pouring agreements," as well as the presence of soft drinks and junk food in public schools with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s largest, voting to end the sale of soft drinks in vending machines in 2004.
- Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently proclaimed federal support for legislation to ban junk food and sugary drinks in public schools and to require public school vending machines to have nutritious offerings to make healthy choices easy for children.
- The AMA mission statement states the AMA's desire to enhance and be a leader in public health advocacy, and advocating the removal of soft drinks and junk food from public schools helps achieve that goal.
If you were unable to make it to San Diego, here is a summary of the meeting.
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Texas Medical Students Elected AMA Delegates
Congratulations to four Texas medical students on their election as Region 3 delegates and alternates to the American Medical Association Medical Student Section House of Delegates.
The two delegates are Neil Parikh and Archit Gulati, both from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The alternates are Jasmeet Kaur, from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and David Savage, a student at The University of Texas at Houston School of Medicine.
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TMA Offers Educational Loans and Scholarships
TMA has several loan funds available to medical students in Texas. Funds are limited to specific medical schools annually. Contact your financial aid office directly to see if you qualify.
- Dr. May Owen Irrevocable Trust Loan Fund
- Dr. S.E. Thompson Scholarship Loan Fund
- TMA Alliance Medical Student Loan Fund
- TMA Special Funds Foundation Durham Student Loan Fund
- TMA Special Funds Foundation Medical Student Loan Fund
TMA offers five scholarship programs for qualified Texas medical students:
Elections for Alternate Delegate and MSS Member of TMA Board of Trustees
The TMA Medical Student Section (TMA-MSS) is allotted a representative on the Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association and on the TMA Board of Trustees. Those two officers are elected at the TMA Winter Conference, and their terms run from the close of TexMed through the close of TexMed the following year.
To apply, the applicant must submit a letter of intent, a current CV, and a letter of support from their program director to mssinfo[at]texmed[dot]org by Jan. 15, 2011.
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2011 Medical Student Section Awards
You have the opportunity to submit nominations for three awards the TMA-MSS gives each year at TexMed.
The Outstanding Student of the Year Award recognizes a student member which serves the section and excels in furthering TMA-MSS goals and policies for a better Texas. Any medical student (except current TMA-MSS Executive Council members) is eligible to receive this award.
The Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award recognizes the TMA-MSS chapter that serves the section and excels in furthering TMA-MSS goals and policies for a better Texas.
The C. Frank Webber, MD, Award honors a TMA member physician who has provided outstanding service and mentoring to the section or an individual member.
Submit nominations for the 2011 awards via the online forms on the TMA-MSS page on the TMA website by Jan. 15, 2011.
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Mark your calendar now to become a TMA lobbyist for a day on April 5, when TMA residents, fellows, and medical students come together in Austin in the First Tuesdays at the Capitol program to tell lawmakers what medicine in Texas needs to thrive and survive and to best help patients.
First Tuesdays at the Capitol
TMA’s biannual “White Coat Invasion” has been the key to medicine’s successes in the Texas Legislature in 2003, 2005, 2007, and again in 2009. Physicians, TMA Alliance members, and residents and medical students make a big impression when they show up en masse during TMA’s lobby days, First Tuesdays at the Capitol, during a legislative session. Our senators and representatives listen when their hometown doctors — and future hometown doctors — show up in their offices.
During the 82nd Texas legislative session in 2011, it will be time to bring out Texas medicine’s secret weapon again on the first Tuesday of the month during February through May. TMA needs your help! Who’s the best lobbyist for patients? YOU are! TMA can’t do it without you — especially on April 5, when lobbying during TMA’s First Tuesdays program focuses on topics important to residents and medical students.
TMA will continue our full-scale push for health insurance reform. The family of medicine also will play offense on obesity, immunizations, and other public health issues. And we’ll ask legislators to help keep our newly graduated physicians here in Texas so that more patients have access to care.
So, plan to be in Austin April 5. TMA and the TMA Alliance are calling on you to be a medical lobbyist for a day. You will make a difference.
Lobbying tips, legislative briefings and debriefings, and personal visits to legislators’ offices are all part of First Tuesdays at the Capitol. Texas patients need you to be there.
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Sign Up New Members!
In an effort to reach our 2010 membership goal of 45,000 medical student and physician members, the TMA-MSS is making a final recruitment push!
To reward your efforts, a free hotel room for either TMA Winter Conference or First Tuesdays at the Capitol program will be awarded to the following category winners:
- Highest membership percentage of the first-year class, and
- Highest overall membership percentage for school.
The winner will be determined by online or paper application received on or before Dec. 31. Good luck!
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Texas Tech's Accelerated Family Medicine Track Gets Federal Grant
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine's Department of Family & Community Medicine received a $1.55 million federal grant to support its Family Medicine Accelerated Track (FMAT) program.
The Predoctoral Training in Primary Care grant came from the Bureau of Health Professions' Division of Medicine and Dentistry. The bureau is an office of the Health Resources and Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Tech established the first three-year medical degree ever approved by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education to address the nation's shortage of primary care physicians. The new FMAT program will allow primary care students at TTUHSC to complete their medical degree in three years at half of the cost of the standard four-year program.
"This is a program of national importance as we work to ensure that all Americans will have access to a primary care physician," said Steven Berk, MD, dean of the medical school. "Our hope is to encourage students to seek a career in family medicine, and federal grants such as this will promote competency-based family medicine accelerated tracks as a consideration at other medical schools."
The five-year grant involves TTUHSC Department of Family & Community Medicine faculty members at all three medical school locations in Lubbock, Amarillo, and the Permian Basin, and supports creative initiatives for the training of medical students and family medicine residents.
The Predoctoral Training in Primary Care grant will run through 2015. The project will develop, implement, and assess TTUHSC's three-year FMAT curriculum, which culminates in a medical degree, and will prepare students for a standard three-year family medicine residency to be completed at a TTUHSC family medicine residency program in Lubbock, Amarillo, or the Permian Basin.
The university began accepting students into the FMAT program in fall 2010 from the class of students currently completing their first year of medical school at the TTUHSC School of Medicine.
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TMA on Facebook and Twitter
For more inside news about TMA events and issues, become a fan of the Medical Student Section on Facebook.
You also can stay up-to-date about Texas medicine by subscribing via RSS to Blogged Arteries, which provides breaking news you need to know, and by following @texmed on Twitter.
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