October 1, 2020
SAN ANTONIO – The UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine has received the Texas Medical Association Medical Student Section (TMA-MSS) 2019-20 Chapter of the Year Award. TMA’s House of Delegates policymaking body announced the award during its virtual meeting earlier this month.
“The UT Health Chapter is honored to win TMA-MSS 2019-2020 Chapter of the Year,” said Sanjana Reddy, the medical school’s chapter president. “The previous board, led by current TMA-MSS Vice Chair Swetha Maddipudi, laid a great foundation for our chapter’s community engagement and advocacy in San Antonio.”
“The UTHealth San Antonio Chapter exemplifies the TMA pillars of advocacy, community service, and membership,” said Sarah Miller, TMA-MSS executive council chair. “They continue to show outstanding effort and commitment across all aspects of organized medicine both at the local and state level. We are thrilled to recognize their accomplishments.”
“Receiving this award serves as proof that we've helped further the belief that a physician's work includes advocating on behalf of their patients, inside and outside of the clinical setting,” said Ms. Maddipudi, the chapter’s past-president. “We are extremely honored to have been selected for this award and our chapter members are very excited to remain engaged with TMA!”
Long School of Medicine students spearheaded efforts to continue improving community health across the San Antonio region. The chapter hosted two TMA Hard Hats for Little Heads events, educating more than 200 children and their families about the importance of protecting their head when riding a bike or doing an activity involving wheels, and giving out free helmets.
They also partnered with Alpha Home, a local substance abuse rehabilitation center, and provided free flu shots for its residents while teaching them about vaccination. Chapter members plan to continue hosting vaccination drives next year by offering hepatitis vaccines to individuals who identify as LGBTQ through the school’s student/faculty-run clinic.
The medical students also teamed up with other campus organizations like the Pediatrics Interest Group, hosting health exam screenings and Head Start physicals for underserved families.
The chapter also was involved in advocacy, recruiting a record-breaking number of students to participate in TMA’s First Tuesdays at the Capitol legislative lobby days during the 2019 Texas legislative session.
Building on First Tuesdays, the chapter set up appointments with national legislators at the American Medical Association (AMA) Medical Student Advocacy and Region Conference in Washington, D.C., to promote health policy. Chapter leaders also successfully advocated for resolution writing as part of the medical school’s curriculum and saw more than 50 students attend the first workshop. As a result, TMA and AMA adopted more of the chapter’s resolutions during later policymaking meetings.
In the past year, the chapter strengthened its alliance with the Bexar County Medical Society (BCMS). Several students now are active in various society committees, informing the student body about BCMS activities.
After successfully increasing membership engagement within the school and getting more students involved in leadership roles, chapter leaders want to add to this year’s accomplishments.
“Riding on last year’s momentum, our current board is planning multiple vaccine drives, more resolutions passed by the TMA House of Delegates, and physician advocacy panels to engage the student body,” said Ms. Reddy. “We look forward to future UT Health chapters building on this enthusiasm for policy and shaping future physician advocates.”
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 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.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336
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