Initiating Change: Health Policy in Action at the 2013 American Medical Association— Medical Student Section Annual Meeting By Janelle N. Ruiz I would like to sincerely thank the Santa Clara County Medical Association for providing funding to allow me to attend the 2013 American Medical Association-Medical Student Section Annual Meeting, in Chicago, this past June. As a future physician with an interest in health policy and reform, I understand that the changing landscape of health care will affect many aspects of my future practice in medical research and clinical care. The AMA conference allowed me the opportunity to participate in health policy discussions directly, through contributing feedback to AMA policy resolutions, which ultimately could influence national health care lobbying and medical decisions. Nearly 600 medical students from across the country attended this year’s meeting and considered important issues including public reporting of physician outcomes, national support for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, and athlete concussion management and chronic traumatic encephalopathy prevention. Important policy issues which have a direct effect on medical education, including ensuring sustainable financing and financial aid for medical education, reforming and potentially eliminating the Step 2 Clinical Skills Exam, and gun safety counseling during medical training, were debated and voted on. In support of diversity initiatives, I attended the Minority Affairs Section meeting, which consists of medical students interested in issues relevant to increasing diversity in medical education and in the health care field, more generally. This counsel also discussed topics relevant to Latino(a) patients and medical professionals. Further, I attended various educational seminars on topics such as leadership, advocacy, community service, health care models and systems, and career development. Over 50 medical specialty societies attended the meeting and provided an introduction to their field, offering materials and advice to assist me and other medical students in making decisions regarding which specialties to ultimately pursue. A final highlight of the conference was a “Doctors Back to School” community outreach
event, in which medical students and physicians educated nearly 700 Third to Seventh graders about the AMA’s Healthier Life Steps Program wellness initiative and educated them on medicine as an attainable career. Overall, the AMA conference provided me with a unique and powerful opportunity to learn about and participate in health policy discussions and potentially
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make a difference on the national level. I want to again offer my sincere gratitude to the Santa Clara County Medical Association for this incredible opportunity to participate in this national discussion and to proudly represent and bring up health issues relevant for Stanford and Santa Clara County at the national level.