From the Chair
I hope that everyone is having a fantastic summer! My name's David Savage. I'm an MD/PhD student at The University of Texas Medical School in Houston and this year's chair of our TMA-Medical Student Section (MSS). This will be my fourth year of involvement with the section, and I'm humbled to serve and eager to lead in such an interesting legislative year.
We recently learned than the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandate is a tax, and that mandatory state Medicaid expansions are unconstitutional in one of the most anticipated Supreme Court rulings in decades. Next year, we will be in another legislative session for Texas, and this will surely be a hot topic of debate. Fortunately, TMA will have "First Tuesdays at the Capitol," where we can participate in the process in Austin!
The last two months have been quite busy for our MSS.
In May, we had a productive meeting at TexMed 2012 in Dallas. I was especially excited for our many student authors. We had an unprecedented number of student-authored resolutions pass the House of Delegates, and I hope to continue that momentum this year. Many thanks to school chapters for providing an exceptional volunteer turnout at the TMA Foundation Gala, which supports programs like Be Wise –ImmunizeSM and Hard Hats for Little Heads in our communities. Finally, special thanks to outgoing chair, Gavin Roddy, for leading an outstanding MSS business meeting in Dallas, and to UT Southwestern's TMA-MSS leadership for planning fun social events for those of us visiting Big D for TexMed!
In June, leaders and voting delegates from many of our chapters attended the American Medical Association Medical Student (AMA-MSS) meeting in Chicago. Four Texas resolutions were debated within the physician House of Delegates, and many more were debated within the MSS assembly. One of the Texas student resolutions regarding support for multilingual patient assessment tools passed the House of Delegates, and a Texas co-authored resolution opposing unnecessary procedures and counseling in a woman's obstetric care passed the student assembly to become policy. We had many students serve on AMA-MSS convention committees, and several of our students were elected to Region 3 leadership for 2012-13. Finally, thanks to the generous help of the TMA and many of you, I was elected to be this year's speaker for the AMA-MSS Governing Council.
Your new TMA-MSS 2012-2013 Executive Council is already fast at work planning for the year ahead. I intend for our section to focus on policy advocacy, leadership development, and community service. Our organization is full of great leaders in each of these fields, and I hope to feature their work and experiences at our three meetings this year. We are also going to make it a special point to promote opportunities to get involved in these areas at the state level and nationally within the AMA-MSS this year. This summer, the AMA received a record number of Texas applications for year-long national standing committees within the AMA-MSS, and many of our students were selected. This is an outstanding boost to Texas medical students' presence within national organized medicine.
I look forward to meeting many of you in the year ahead! In the meantime, I offer an open invitation to contact me at dsavage[at]gmail[dot]com at any time with ideas you have about ways your TMA-MSS leadership can improve your member experience. I'm also always happy to assist with your goals with your chapter, the TMA-MSS, or the AMA-MSS, or to connect you with the appropriate people who can.
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AMA Opposes Foreign Medical School Money
The AMA House of Delegates, meeting in June, called for federal or state laws or regulations to stop for-profit, unaccredited medical schools that are not in the United States from making substantial payments to U.S. teaching hospitals in exchange for training positions in those hospitals for their students.
TMA is fighting such a plan proposed for Texas from the American University of the Caribbean.
In other action, delegates unanimously adopted a pair of Council on Medical Education reports that called on AMA to recognize physicians' concerns over the validity and effectiveness of maintenance of certification (MOC) and maintenance of licensure (MOL) exams.
Most significantly, the reports say physicians should not lose their state licenses just because they don't have MOC or are not board-certified. They also ask specialty certification boards "to explore other ways to measure the ability of physicians to access and apply knowledge to care for patients as an alternative to high stakes closed book examinations."
The AMA Council on Medical Education says it will continue to study how MOC and MOL affect the U.S. physician workforce and encourage certification boards and state licensing agencies to coordinate certification and licensing requirements.
Finally, Surendra Varma, MD, associate dean of graduate medical education and resident affairs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, was named to the Governing Council of the AMA Section on Medical Schools.
Here are the highlights of the AMA meeting.
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Students: Low Payments Biggest Problem
Some 32 percent of Texas medical students responding to the TMA Student Survey say low or declining payments are the biggest challenges facing physicians. An additional 7 percent say decreasing payments and increasing practice operating expenses threaten the economic survival of independent practices.
Ten percent of students report that health system reform is the biggest challenge facing Texas physicians; there remains a lot of uncertainty as to the future of medicine. Access and quality of care are concerns for 9 percent of students. Similarly, physician supply topped the list of concerns among 8 percent of students. Students report that there are not enough physicians, particularly in primary care and in rural areas, to meet the needs of patients. Students express concerns that this shortage would worsen under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and an expanding Medicaid population would further exacerbate the lack of access to regular and quality care.
Students often listed a physician supply problem secondary to insufficient residency slots and funding for graduate medical education.
TMA conducted the survey to enhance efforts and strengthen advocacy measures. TMA surveyed medical students across the state to assess how they perceive TMA activities, programs, and services. A personalized link was e-mailed to 5,105 students; 254 students answered the survey for a response rate of 5 percent.
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TMAF Offers Community Health Grants to Medical Students
The Texas Medical Association Foundation seeks proposals from medical students for the
2012-2013 Medical Student Community Leadership Grants Program. The grants of up to $3,000 fund initiatives that compliment one or more of TMA's active public health or science areas. They are:
- Public health advocacy and resources;
- Health promotion and disease prevention;
- Targeted public health issues (including areas of prevention, bioterrorism, violence, addictions, injuries, and special populations);
- Evidence-based clinical decisionmaking and clinical advocacy; and
- Tobacco cessation.
Students at the state's nine medical schools may apply. Email your proposals to sean.dunham[at]texmed[dot]org by 5 pm, July 31. Late proposals will not be evaluated.
For more information, email TMAF Executive Director Lisa Stark Walsh.
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Save the Dates
The TMA Fall Conference will be Oct. 19-20 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin.
The American Medical Association Medical Student Section Interim Meeting will be Nov. 8-10 in Honolulu.
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Want to Be an AMA Leader?
Oct. 4, 2012, is the deadline to apply for an American Medical Association leadership position.
The AMA-MSS Assembly will elect students to serve in the following Governing Council positions for 2012-2013: vice chair, delegate, alternate delegate, at-large officer, speaker, and vice speaker.
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BCM Honors Poets for 10th Year
Baylor College of Medicine announces the 10th Annual Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Award.
This contest honors the cardiovascular surgeon, pioneering medical scientist, medical educator, author and scholar, and advocate of optimal health care throughout the world. Michael E. DeBakey, MD, long advocated a role for the humanities in medical education and in the development of a full, enriching intellectual life.
The 2011 winners are:
- First-place cash prize of $1,000: "Intimacy," by Daniel Grosser, Northeast Ohio Medical University;
- Second-place cash prize of $500: "My Almost Autumn Moon," by Kory Benjamin Combs, Duke University School of Medicine; and
- Third-place cash prize of $250: "In A Blue Mourning (Camille Monet on her deathbed)," by Sara Trowbridge, Harvard Medical School.
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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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