|School of Medicine students (from left) Dan Frendl, Matthew Lecuyer, Chelsea Harris and Eli Freiman are pictured here at the 2012 annual meeting of the AMA, where they served with distinction as members of the American Medical Association-Medical Student Section.|
Four UMMS medical student leaders recently represented their school, their state and their region at the national meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA). The student delegation to the annual gathering of the country’s largest physician organization comprised Matthew Lecuyer, SOM ’13, MD/PhD student Daniel Frendl, and Eli Freiman and Chelsea Harris, both SOM ’15. They agree that the benefits of being involved in organized medicine are well worth the time it requires.
“It’s been a lot of work but also a lot of fun, and I really enjoy it,” said Lecuyer, who became a student member of the AMA during his first year at UMMS. Lecuyer’s steadily expanding involvement with the AMA Medical Student Section (AMA-MSS) culminated with his election as the chair of the Massachusetts delegation for the 2012 meeting. “I think all my experience with organized medicine has helped make me a strong leader and a more confident person,” he reflected.
Days at the conference, held in Chicago in June, began at 6 a.m. as the AMA-MSS debated and voted on dozens of resolutions, a process led by state chairs including Lecuyer. All members of the AMA who attend the annual meeting—whether students, residents or fellows, young physicians, or senior physicians—can propose resolutions within their respective sections. Sections debate the proposals, often making amendments before voting on whether to pass the resolution along to the AMA House of Delegates. The House of Delegates votes on which resolutions to adopt as organizational policy when they meet again in November. AMA-MMS resolutions can have major impact, as was the case when one led to the national legislation banning smoking on airlines.
After much urging from Lecuyer, Freiman also joined the MMS and AMA student sections after attending his first MMS meeting and, like his friend, was immediately hooked. “As a medical student you’re often so bogged down in your own studies that you sometimes lose sight of the larger picture,” said Freiman. “Involvement in organized medicine and advocacy allows you to stay on the forefront of what is happening in the field.” At the meeting, Freiman was gratified to be elected the 2012-2013 membership chair for Region 7 of the AMA-MSS, which represents the 25 medical schools in the six New England states and New York.
With opportunities to participate in organized medicine available at the school, state, regional and national levels, Lecuyer and fellow AMA-MSS members encourage all School of Medicine students to test the waters. School of Medicine leadership seconds the motion. “We need physician leaders and it's never too early to start,” said Michele Pugnaire, MD, professor of family medicine & community health and senior associate dean for educational affairs.“Our students’ outstanding service in regional and national leadership roles brings distinction to our school.”