Students from American Medical Association student chapters at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Michigan State University made national headlines this month for a collaborative resolution banning the practice of reparative/conversion therapy for sexual orientation or gender identity first introduced at a meeting of the Michigan State Medical State Society Conference in May.
The resolution was formally adopted in the American Medical Association House of Delegates Interim Meeting, held Nov. 14-16 in San Diego.
“This is huge,” said resolution author Brianna Sohl, a third-year medical student at WSU. “This will put manpower and funding into banning this awful practice not just in Michigan but all over the country. And people are noticing, including, but not limited to NBC News, Reuters and someone with a couple of twitter followers.”
That someone was 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who on Nov. 22 tweeted the news to her 26 million followers.
“We received significant feedback and support at the House of Delegates from GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Michigan’s delegation, New York’s delegation and Wayne County Medical Society. I’m sure there were plenty more, as I was told this was a unanimous vote on the floor,” Sohl added.
The final language, adopted by the HOD, will now serve as a platform for advocating for federal legislation and help develop state legislation to ban the practice.
“It is beyond exciting to see our collaborative resolution pass the Michigan State Medical Society, then the House of Delegates. A few months ago we were giving testimony, and now it’s official AMA policy. Thank you so much to our WSU and MSU medical students who brought forth this resolution,” said AMA student chapter member May Chammaa.
Chammaa and Harrison Quaal are WSU delegates to the AMA Medical Student Section.
Sohl was the primary author of the original resolution, “Opposing Conversion Therapy of LGBTQ Youth in Michigan. Secondary authors included Tabitha Moses, Jacob Wilson, Kyal Lalk, Fiona Clowney, May Chammaa, Nora Akcasu, Wyatt Shoemaker, Rohit Abraham, Miriam Rienstra Bareman, Jordan Lippincott, Austin Olano, Debbie Pumarada, Enrique Rodriguez-Fhon and Sara Teising.
The School of Medicine Alumni Association’s annual fund provided transportation and accommodations for the student attendees. “Our achievements as a chapter are made possible by our WSU alumni funds, which help us fund our AMA chapter to make going to conferences possible for our WSU medical students,” Chammaa said. “We have a very involved AMA chapter at WSU, and it has been an amazing experience to represent WSU this year as a delegate. I've had the great honor to work with many inspiring and impassioned individuals, like my co-delegate Harrison Quaal; Tabitha Moses, who is our Region 5 Legislation and Advocacy chair and a powerhouse of resolutions to protect patients with substance use disorder; Brianna Sohl, the GLMA (Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality) delegate to the Medical Student Section and powerhouse of resolutions to advocate for LGBTQ health; as well as Jay Llaniguez, our MSS Speaker and outstanding mentor. When we work collaboratively as a united chapter, region and medical student section, our impact on medicine is undeniable.”
Students were primary authors of three resolutions adopted at the Medical Student Section meeting, including:
Oppose Tracking of People who Purchase Naloxone. Primary author: Tabitha Moses. WSU secondary authors: Sachin Ketkar, Dhruvil Patel, Aileen Haque, Abubakr Ziaullah, Preetha Ghosh, Aishwarya Panneerselvam, Renieh Nabaty, Aneesh Hehr
Expansion of Epinephrine Entity Stocking Legislation. Primary author: Sachin Ketkar. WSU secondary authors: Aayush Mittal, Vikas Kanneganti, Leya Maliekal, Amer Abu-kwaik, Zara Sragi
Urban Forestry as Public Health Infrastructure. Primary author: Charles Tsouvalas. WSU secondary authors: Firas Askar, Fiona Clowney, Amanda Manly, Aileen Haque, Olivia Rizzo, Aashna Sahi, Aaron Sherwood, Amitosh Singh
Wayne students were secondary authors on two adopted resolutions:
Emergency resolution – Oppose Mandatory DNA Collection of Migrants. WSU secondary authors: Brianna Sohl, May Chammaa
(Referred for study) Support for Standardized Interpreter Training for Medical Students, Residents and Practicing Physicians. WSU secondary author: Tabitha Moses
Reports based on WSU resolutions:
CGPH Report A – Improving the Health and Safety of Consensual Sex Workers. Adopt as amended. WSU authors of the original resolution: Primary author Dana Benyas; additional authors Fiona Clowney, Jessica Johns, Connor Beuchler, Tabitha Moses, Elana Folbe, May Chammaa, Morgan Potter
Resolution successes at the House of Delegates (HOD) meeting*:
Opposing Conversion Therapy of LGBTQ Youth in Michigan. Primary author of the original student resolution: Brianna Sohl. Secondary authors of the original student resolution: Tabitha Moses, Jacob Wilson, Kyal Lalk, Fiona Clowney, May Chammaa, Nora Akcasu, Wyatt Shoemaker, Rohit Abraham, Miriam Rienstra Bareman, Jordan Lippincott, Austin Olano, Debbie Pumarada, Enrique Rodriguez-Fhon, Sara Teising
Advocate to End Child Marriage. Primary author of the original student resolution: Brianna Sohl. WSU secondary authors of the original student resolution: May Chammaa Tabitha Moses, Akhila Nerusu, Nadeen Mansour, Vikas Kanneganti
Expansion of Good Samaritan Laws. Primary author of the original student resolution: Tabitha Moses. WSU secondary authors of the original student resolution: Deepti Shanbhag, Aileen Haque, Akhil Vedere, Ariana Ganji, Vikas Kanneganti, Afreen Qadeer, Lakshman Mulpuri
Free public sunscreen programs in public spaces such as parks, beaches, schools and other public places with high risk of sun exposure as a public health good. Primary author: Connor Buechler. WSU secondary authors: Andrea Daniel, Katanya Alaga, Aaron Szpytman, Vikas Kanneganti, Mike Franklin
Students in standing committees of the Medical Student Section include Harrison Quaal, Committee on LGBTQ+ Issues; Michael Moentmann, vice chair for Committee on Bioethics and Humanities; Aayush Mittall, Committee on Economics and Quality in Medicine; Tabitha Moses, Committee on Bioethics and Humanities; and May Chammaa, HOD Coordination Committee. The WSU chapter is also engaged in the Michigan State Medical Society-Medical Student Section, with Lauren Newhouse as the chair and Jaya Parulekar as secretary.
*This is not a complete list of WSU resolutions in HOD. A full report of adopted HOD resolutions is not yet available.