Texas Student Doctor: March 2011

News from the TMA Medical Student Section

Make Yourself Heard in Austin April 5 

The April 5 First Tuesdays at the Capitol event will focus on students and residents. Your participation is particularly important in this year's legislative session because of the proposed cuts in education funding.  

Here's the schedule: 

Monday, April 4
7 pm
NCAA Basketball Championship Game Watch Party
TMA Building – Thompson Auditorium
Food and drinks provided! 

Tuesday, April 5
6:30 am 
Registration and breakfast
DoubleTree Suites
Bluebonnet Room  

7 am
Issues briefing
DoubleTree Suites
Bluebonnet Room 

8-9 am
Student photos
State Capitol, East Steps 

8 am-noon
Visits with legislators, committee hearings, House and Senate sessions
State Capitol 

Noon-1 pm
Lunch and debriefing
Legislative Conference Center
State Capitol 

1-4 pm
Visits with legislators, committee hearings, House and Senate Sessions
State Capitol 

E-mail Christina Shepherd at TMA if you need more information. 

More than 140 students from The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) medical, nursing, and allied health schools didn't wait for April 5. They rode buses to Austin for the March 1 First Tuesdays event to meet with legislators. 

"Other schools may have shinier, newer buildings, but they don't have the people or the community that UTMB does," first-year medical student Lexanne Edington told the Galveston County Daily News

As the students filed into the House and Senate chambers, the newspaper reported, "Lawmakers and guests grew quiet as they saw the medical branch students, dressed in white coats and UT scrubs. The silence quickly gave way to applause from visitors and representatives alike."

The First Tuesdays at the Capitol program has been incredibly successful since it began in 2003. Lawmakers say seeing all those white lab coats in their offices and in the capitol galleries and hallways makes a difference. They listen when their hometown doctors and medical students show up in their offices. 

The final First Tuesdays event of this year's session is May 3.

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TMA Opposes Proposed Cuts in Medical Education Funding   

TMA asked Texas lawmakers to rethink proposed cuts in medical education funding, which the association says could exacerbate existing physician shortages in the state.   

In its legislative testimony, TMA says proposed cuts in both undergraduate and graduate medical education (GME) will make it difficult for the state's medical schools to maintain recent enrollment increases or to provide the necessary residency slots to keep Texas medical graduates at home for their postgraduate medical training.   

"It is not good fiscal policy to make a commitment of almost $200,000 in state funding for each Texas medical student, then force those students to leave the state for GME because of a shortage of entry-level GME positions," TMA said in written testimony submitted to the Senate Finance Committee. "However, this is exactly what is happening in Texas. The state's investment in medical students and potential new physicians are leaving the state because we do not have enough GME slots."   

The appropriations bill unveiled by Senate budget writers in January includes a 19-percent cut in the base rate for medical student per-capital formula funding, as well as a 29-percent cut in state GME formula funding and a 32-percent reduction in state funding for primary care residency programs administered by the Higher Education Coordinating Board.   

The bill also eliminates funding for the Medicaid Physician Loan Repayment Program established under the Frew v. Hawkins lawsuit settlement and cuts the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program, which encourages physicians to practice in underserved areas, by 31 percent.   

House budget writers have proposed even deeper cuts in medical education funding.   

TMA urged lawmakers to maintain medical student formula funding at levels necessary for medical schools to maintain recent class size expansion, grow GME slots in the state, restore funding for the Coordinating Board primary care residencies and the loan repayment programs, restore a proposed 29-percent cut in the Statewide Primary Care Preceptorship Program, and maintain adequate funding for the Joint Admission Medical Program, which encourages economically disadvantaged students to pursue a career in medicine. 

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TMLT Scholarships Available   

The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) will award four $10,000 scholarships in August.  

  Recipients will be chosen in a competitive process that weighs students' financial need along with their ability to evaluate the patient safety concerns in a closed-claim study and to communicate their recommendations in an essay.  

June 3 is the deadline to apply. Entries will be judged by the TMLT Board of Governors, which is composed of nine Texas physicians. For complete details, please review the TMLT Memorial Scholarship Rules and Regulations included with the application (PDF).   

For more information, e-mail or William Malamon at TMLT or call him at (800) 580-8658, ext. 5898. 

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Texas Students Win AMA Foundation Awards   

Three Texas medical students were among 24 U.S. medical students to receive the American Medical Association Foundation's 2011 Leadership Award. Presented in association with Pfizer Inc., recipients of the award are recognized for demonstrating outstanding nonclinical leadership skills in advocacy, community service, and education. The award provides medical students, residents/fellows, and early career physicians from around the country with special training to develop their skills as future leaders in organized medicine and community affairs.     

The Texas winners are:   

Joshua J. Goldman, third-year student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. Mr. Goldman's interest in philosophy motivated him to found and chair the Medical Ethics and Humanities Society. He is a member of the TMA Council on Science and Public Health, as well as vice chair of the AMA-Medical Student Section Committee on Bioethics and Humanities. He hopes both positions will allow him to positively affect health care reform and medical education in the future. Throughout his academic career, Mr. Goldman's extensive research in oncology has been presented at internationally attended conferences and published in noteworthy journals. He was recently honored as a third-year selectee for his school's chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha. Mr. Goldman plans to pursue residency training in plastic and reconstructive surgery with a special interest in using his oncology experience toward research in post-cancer reconstruction.   

Bhavika Kaul, second-year student at Baylor College of Medicine. Ms. Kaul seeks to pursue a career in public health advocacy. While an undergraduate at Rice University, she conducted research at the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy and helped organize conferences on topics ranging from science education to global health. She has volunteered abroad extensively, working with refugees in India and, most recently, with disadvantaged children in Argentina as a Loewenstern Fellow. At Rice, she also served as an AMSA Global Health intern and helped organize the National Medical Student Lobby Day on the African Health Capacity Act and the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Last year, as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, Ms. Kaul established a rotating mobile clinic program in partnership with Catholic Charities and Texas Children's Hospital to provide health care to Burmese refugees in Houston. Now, as part of Baylor's Underserved Communities Track, she volunteers at the HOMES clinic, a multidisciplinary, student-run free clinic for the homeless of Houston. Ms. Kaul serves as a class officer and is a voting member of the medical school's admissions committee.   

Gregory Charles Valentine, third-year student at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Mr. Valentine aspires to work in academic medicine with an emphasis on primary care and international medicine. He has volunteered in Romanian orphanages in the summers since 2006 through the Broken Heart Foundation. While in Romania two years ago, he helped create the first written educational materials covering wound care basics in the Romanian and English languages for a wound care organization that reaches more than 500 patients a month. In addition, as a first-year student, he founded Hands and Feet Medical Missions, which provides free health care to residents on the Texas/Mexico border. This organization has now expanded to other medical schools throughout Texas and has had more than 1,000 patient encounters since it first began. Recently, Mr. Valentine created a program entitled "Sir William Osler's Name That Book" to promote self-directed learning through a reading competition for third- and fourth-graders in the Galveston school district. He has a passion to advance patient education practices and health policy, both domestically and internationally, through public service endeavors.   

"As our nation continues to struggle with issues of access, disease prevention, and disparities in care, encouraging the next generation of leaders is critical," said Barney R. Maynard, MD, AMA Foundation president.  "We need individuals like these award recipients who are taking the initiative to tackle health care's most difficult challenges."   

The AMA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of AMA and is committed to improving the health of Americans through support of quality programs in public health and medical education. Their programs include grants for free clinics and healthy lifestyles projects, medical student scholarships, and health literacy initiatives. Visit www.amafoundation.org to learn more. 

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Symposium Highlights Student Learning and Service Projects   

Projects that allowed medical students to learn while simultaneously meeting community needs were highlighted at the first annual Service-Learning Symposium at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso.    

Service-learning projects allow students to apply theories and concepts discussed in class to the real world. Connecting course content to projects that meet community needs often facilitates students' learning, diversity appreciation, and civic awareness and responsibility.   

Among the projects highlighted through presentations during the symposium were:   

La Posada Project
Students educated women and children on topics pertinent to their health at the La Posada shelter for women, raised money for the shelter through art projects with children, and exposed the women and children to higher education. The students in the project reported that they learned how to apply the knowledge they gained from medical school, learned about the Hispanic culture, and learned how to work with women and children who have been through difficult situations. They also said the project showed them "what it takes to help women get back on their feet from an abusive household and how to utilize feedback from the participants to expand the La Posada project into many other realms."   

Texas Tech University Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and the Affiliation with the Baptist Clinic of El Paso: A Partnership to Impact the Community
The Baptist Clinic was established almost 40 years ago and cares for indigent patients, many of whom have chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. The students in the project reported that they developed history-taking and physical exam skills, learned how to effectively organize a volunteer effort and how to work as a team with clinic volunteers, and developed an awareness of social responsibility and active citizenship. "As a result, we have gained a deeper understanding of the importance of providing continuity of care to a population that many chronic and potentially debilitating illnesses who might otherwise not have access to healthcare," they said.   

Other student projects included mentoring disadvantaged children to explore careers in health care, mentoring premedical students, and raising money for the victims of floods in Pakistan. 

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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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May 13, 2016