Don't Miss TMA Winter Conference
The Medical Student Section Business Meeting is on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 12:30 to 2 pm in Room 105 of the AT&T Conference Center in Austin during the 2012 Winter Conference. This meeting will offer information on upcoming elections, council and committee appointments, resolution writing tips, and much more. Lunch will be provided; however, please preregister for the conference so that we have an accurate count for food.
In addition, all chapter officers elected for the 2012 term are required to attend the MSS Leadership Training on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 2 to 4:30 pm. This session will help get you up and running and will brief you on all of the TMA resources available to you to help your chapter succeed.
You can register online. For more information, log on to the TMA Winter Conference webpage, call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955, or email the TMA Knowledge Center.
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Nominate Someone for a Medical Student Section Award
The Medical Student Section gives three awards annually: the Student of the Year Award, the Chapter of the Year Award, and the C. Frank Webber Award. The TMA-MSS Executive Council will consider all nominees and select the award recipient during the TMA Winter Conference, and the award will be given during the House of Delegates opening session at TexMed 2012.
Deadline for all submissions is January 20; the application forms can be downloaded on the MSS webpage.
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Leadership Positions Available
Two positions are up for appointment at the TMA Winter Conference: Medical Student Section member on the TMA Board of Trustees and alternate delegate to the Texas Delegation to the AMA. To apply for either of these positions, submit a letter of intent and CV to mssinfo[at]texmed[dot]org by Jan. 20. All applicants will be invited for an interview with the Executive Council during its meeting on the evening of Friday, Jan. 27.
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How To Plan an Epic Chapter Event
By David Savage, UT Houston Medical School, david.j.savage[at]uth[dot]tmc[dot]edu
One of the biggest hurdles facing AMA/TMA chapters at Texas medical schools is finding ways to implement programs on campus and service projects in the community in the midst of a very busy academic schedule. Planning a large-scale project or event can be daunting. As your respective chapters usher in a new year of leaders, I have a few tips learned as chapter president to share.
- Set a yearlong agenda at your FIRST officer meeting. It's remarkable how fast deadlines can come and go during the spring and fall semesters. Resolve to do a certain number of programs and service events at your first meeting and try to define dates, at least for the spring. This will aid in sidestepping conflicts with other student organization events and with testing schedules.
- Always delegate tasks and always designate a project champion. All medical students are busy; thus, it's very important to spread assignments for on-campus events and community projects among all of your officers so that each person does a small component of an overall project. Small, achievable goals are much more likely to get accomplished! It's also vital to assign a leader for every project who can follow up with volunteers to ensure that deadlines are met. In our experience, Google Docs spreadsheets and forms are excellent tools for managing project timelines and assignments.
- Take full advantage of TMA, AMA, and county programming funds! TMA will fund one "brown bag" educational lunch event each semester. Pick a date, reserve the room, decide on the food vendor, and submit a quick one-page form to the TMA-MSS coordinator. TMA will even find a topic and speaker for you if you're short on ideas. A brown-bag meeting can easily be planned in less than an hour, and there's no reason to pass up this opportunity! AMA also provides up to $1000 each year (August-May) in chapter involvement grants (CIGs). These grants are almost guaranteed to be funded and are in addition to the outreach funds that chapters receive for their fall recruitment activities. Finally, be sure to reach out to your coordinator for your county medical society. Those coordinators often have money and resources available for medical schools. In Harris County, for example, our county society helped UT Houston purchase $800 in food for a service event tax free, and they allocate up to $1,000 for each medical school to use for chapter events each year.
- Apply for TMA Foundation (TMAF) grants to fund a service event. Each August, TMAF calls for applications for projects that can serve your community. Medical and nonmedical organizations alike can apply for these grants, and the focus of the project must be to improve the health and well-being of your community. UT Houston has secured two significant TMAF grants in the past two years, and we used our first one this fall to serve 400 bagged lunches to residents at a Houston homeless shelter. The TMAF application is lengthy, but the review board will provide feedback if submitted early so that your application has the best chance of being funded.
- Be sure to apply for student senate funding. Most medical schools allocate student organization funding through student senate. At UT Houston, there is limited funding, so dollars are awarded based on the merit of the projects proposed. If you pre-plan the projects your chapter hopes to accomplish in the spring and fall at your first meeting, your chapter will be prepared to compete for student senate funding. Also, realize that just because your chapter may receive significant funding from the AMA-MSS because of recruiting or a CIG award, your chapter is not precluded from applying for institutional money, too.
- Leverage TMA’s Be Wise― Immunize and Hard Hats for Little Heads programs.TMA Outreach Coordinator Tammy Wishard runs two "prepackaged" programs that are easy to setup and that can provide amazing value to your community. Be Wise ― Immunize provides stickers, fliers, and even a full-body bee costume so that your chapter can run a community-based immunization event. At UT Houston this fall, we used our county medical society and student chapter funds to purchase 100 vaccines. We found a community partner and ran a health screening and vaccine clinic that served nearly 200 international refugees using Be Wise―Immunize support. The Hard Hats for Little Heads program provides low cost TMA-branded helmets that can be given away to children at a community event. TMA will also match 1:1 purchases so that, for example, 50 helmets purchased with chapter funds yields 100 helmets that can be donated. UT Houston secured $400 from a grant last spring and used it to buy $800 in helmets for two service events.
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USMLE Program Sets New Testing Limits
The Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners implemented new time limitsfor medical students and residents taking the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) on Jan. 1.
For exam applications submitted on or after Jan. 1, students and residents can take the same examination no more than three times in a year. The fourth and subsequent attempts must be at least 12 months after the first attempt at that exam and at least six months after the most recent attempt at that exam.
Attempts at that exam (complete and incomplete) before Jan. 1 will be counted in determining whether these rules apply. When students or residents reapply, their exam eligibility period will be adjusted, if necessary, to comply with these rules.
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AMA Region 3 Meeting in Oklahoma
Election of new regional and alternate delegates from the AMA Medical Student Section will highlight the AMA-MSS Region 3 Meeting March 2-3 in Oklahoma City.
Log on to the website or like the Facebook pageto stay informed of details as they are released.
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Empower Yourself: Join the Discussion
Become an avid reader and contributor to TMA's new Me & My Doctor blog. The blog is a place where you can have a candid discussion about today's health care system. Check out the blog today.
Here are four simple things you can do right now:
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Resources for You and Your Chapter
Looking for help planning chapter events? Want clarification on parliamentary procedure? Not sure who the contact is for your council or committee?
Visit the MSS Leadership Manual for resources on a range of topics from resolution writing to funding to leadership opportunities and more.
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