May 17, 2019
DALLAS - The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine on Friday received the Texas Medical Association Medical Student Section (TMA-MSS) 2018-19 Chapter of the Year Award.
“As one of the newer medical schools in Texas, we were extremely honored to be selected as chapter of the year and proud to have our efforts recognized at the state level,” said Patrick Ojeaga, UTRGV medical school’s TMA chapter president. “This recognition will serve as a driving force for the coming years as we continue to expand the presence of organized medicine within our medical school.”
The annual Chapter of the Year Award, which TMA launched in 1998, recognizes the TMA-MSS chapter that excels in upholding the Medical Student Section’s goals and policies for a better Texas. The award recognizes leadership, dedication, and service to TMA and the American Medical Association (AMA).
“UTRGV did an astounding job of recruiting TMA members and submitting high-quality resolutions,” said Luis E. Seija, TMA-MSS chair. “Additionally, the UTRGV chapter held strong community service events and had committed, proactive leadership.”
The UTRGV medical students were busy participating in community outreach throughout the year to improve the health of their Rio Grande Valley-area neighbors. They hosted two TMA Hard Hats for Little Heads helmet giveaway events, teaching more than 570 children the importance of wearing a helmet while biking or playing on anything with wheels, while giving the kids free helmets.
They also hosted a TMA Be Wise – ImmunizeSM event through their student-run clinic, vaccinating more than 60 South Texans and teaching them the importance of vaccination. Then the students learned how to “Stop the Bleed” – to save a life using proper bleeding control techniques. More than one-third of the school’s medical students also learned how to use naloxone auto-injectors to stop the effects of an opioid drug overdose, as part of an AMA Advocacy Week Naloxone Training event.
The chapter also proposed new TMA policy by submitting three resolutions to the MSS to be considered by the TMA House of Delegates, the association’s policymaking body.
“Our chapter is still growing so we have put a lot of effort into having not only a breadth of activities for our members to participate in – including the outreach patient-care events – but also being active within the TMA-MSS in participating in resolution writing and governance,” said Mr. Ojeaga.
Meanwhile, all of the UTRGV initial class of medical students joined TMA, also sending two medical school classmates to serve on the MSS Executive Council.
The TMA-MSS presented the award during its TexMed business meeting, held Friday during TMA’s annual conference. The TMA-MSS Executive Council, composed of medical student leaders, votes to select the winning chapter.
In addition to helping area patients now, the students are confident their year’s activities – emphasizing compassionate involvement – will serve themselves well in their future medical careers.
“As future physicians and members of the TMA, we will also be leaders in our communities, and these initiatives have helped us cultivate the necessary leadership skills to elicit change in the health care field and advocate for both our profession and the health of all Texans,” said Mr. Ojeaga.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Be Wise – Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
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