July 7, 2022

Medical students maintain powerhouse reputation at American Medical Association’s annual meeting

Fifteen students from the Wayne State University School of Medicine represented the university at the American Medical Association Medical Student Section and American Medical Association House of Delegates conferences, held June 9-12 in Chicago, where more than 450 students from across the country met to discuss and vote on 80 student-authored policies.

This was the 50th year of the AMA Medical Student Section and 175th year of the AMA House of Delegates meeting.

Students presented and listened to policy resolutions at the conference.
Students presented, listened to and discussed policy and resolution passing.

The AMA Medical Student Section adopted one policy School of Medicine students presented at the meeting that aims to support research for evidence-based pain management options for long-acting reversible contraception procedures and other gynecological procedures. Second-year medical student Aarti Patel is the primary author of “Pain Management for Long-Acting Reversible Contraception and other Gynecological Procedures.”

“When I started medical school, many of my friends shared with me the difficult and painful experiences they had receiving gynecological procedures, including intrauterine device placements, and how they never received information on pain management for these procedures. Many other friends shared that they were hesitant to receive these procedures because of the anticipated pain,” she said. “After doing some research, I realized that there was a lack of pain management options and no standard guidelines on pain management for many gynecological procedures. I felt compelled to write a resolution to urge the American Medical Association to support more research into evidence-based pain management options and to encourage conversations between physicians and patients about pain control options. This is really the power of our AMA chapter. Any student who is passionate about an issue can write policy and turn their ideas into action. As medical students, that ability to incite change is invaluable.”

Her co-authors at the WSU School of Medicine included Sara Kazyak, Denise Bilbao, Chayton Fivecoat, Mirna Kaafarani and Lucas Werner. The team collaborated with medical students from across the country on the resolution, which also asks the AMA to recognize the disparity in pain management in gynecological procedures and to encourage the discussion of pain control options, risks and benefits as a part of the shared decision-making process between a physician and a patient.

“It was very important to us to be able to write and pass this resolution given the recent news of the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Patel added. “Long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as IUDs and other forms of birth control, will rapidly grow in demand and this resolution aims to address the existing barrier of anticipated pain associated with these procedures. Thus, we felt it very important to have the AMA support research for pain management options and encourage physician-patient discussions about pain management for these procedures.”

The AMA chapter is dedicated to connecting policy with community service. Its next goal is to host a women’s health-related community service event similar to its AMA Riverwalkers and AMA Friendship Baptist Church Tutoring and Mentoring programs.

Patel, who serves as president of Wayne State’s AMA chapter, received the Outstanding New Policy Leader Award, given to a new member considered a rising star within the organization, and has shown outstanding involvement.

“I came to medical school and knew I wanted to incite real change,” she said. “One of the many reasons I chose Wayne State was because of its mission of creating physician-leaders who engage with their community and use their voice to advocate for issues that are important to them. As a part of AMA, I’m able to create and catalyze changes in issues I am passionate about.”

Students also observed and testified during the AMA House of Delegates portion of the conference, attended by physicians from across the country. National Delegates Alexandra Yorks and Riya Shah, and Wayne County Medical Society Delegate Sara Kazyak gave powerful testimony on gun violence, Patel said. Kazyak is a second-year medical student and the Wayne County Medical Society Delegate who attended both sections of the meeting.

The American Medical Association-Medical Student Section is a robust student organization made up of School of Medicine students.

“Being able to observe gaps in health care in current events or patient interactions on a local level and elevate these concerns to the state or national level through resolution writing is invaluable,” Kazyak said. “At this year’s annual AMA conference, I was able to actively advocate for my patients by testifying on behalf of proposed resolutions, while engaging other students from medical schools across the country to ensure the future of health care is more equitable for all patients, regardless of identity, background or location.”

During the conference, students attended several educational programs, including Establishing Trauma Informed Case as the Standard of Care, and Protecting and Advancing Care for Transgender Patients. 

“Wayne State’s AMA is known for being a powerhouse,” Patel said. “We always bring one of the largest student groups to represent our school and we’re proudly engaged in the policy writing process, from having Resolution Writing Workshops and brainstorming ‘Table Talk’ sessions to submitting several policies to providing testimony on various different topics on the regional, state and national stage.”

The Wayne State-based group holds several leadership positions with the organization as well. Third-year student Mirna Kaafarani is the Medical Student Representative to the AMA Women Physician Section Governing Council; third-year student Ashton Lewandowksi serves as Michigan State Medical Society Alternative Representative to the AMA House of Delegates and is a member of the AMA MSS Committee on Scientific Issues; and third-year student Trisha Gupte serves as a member of the AMA MSS Committee on Health Information Technology.

“Being in a room filled with other medical students passionately speaking for the policy issues they cared about was an experience that absolutely could not been replicated on Zoom. I’d virtually attended AMA-MSS conferences as a national delegate the year prior but all of it paled in comparison to this. Our delegates this year spoke with such passion and grace, and it’s this collective passion that pushes the Medical Student Section forward and brings us together when it comes to fighting for policy that we believe in,” Gupte said.

The group’s next conference will be held in Hawaii in November.

“We have a number of fundraising efforts well underway to send students to represent our school at this conference. We have many exciting events planned as well, including a resolution-writing workshop and other informational policy and advocacy meetings, guest speaker events with physicians who are involved in advocacy, policy writing and AMA, and our numerous community service events,” Patel said.

This is the first year that student leaders from AMA are involved in providing Cultural Humility Training for incoming students during the Class of 2026’s orientation. The initiative has been led by student leaders at AMA, specifically Community Service Co-Chairs Denise Bilbao and Chayton Fivecoat, Patel and Vice President Pragathi Pathanjeli, along with collaboration from several faculty and administrative members.

“As community service co-chair, it was a really unique experience for Denise and I to talk to other medical students to see how policy can have an impact on our service initiatives at Wayne. The resource networking was almost more impactful than the policy conversations,” Fivecoat said.

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