For premedical students, it can be a struggle sorting through the overwhelming amount of information they are presented with the moment they step foot on campus. The American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the largest and oldest group of physicians-in-training in the country, is an organization that helps to streamline and clarify the the premedical experience.
The AMSA carries out its mission by bringing together pre-medical students, medical students and practicing physicians, meaning that pre-medical students are able to receive guidance from more experienced members who have personally gone through the same process. The organization also allows members to receive practical experience by hosting clinics and demoing medical technology.
For Jasmine King, a second-year chemistry student, AMSA provided a way to connect to peers who were going through the same academic journey.
“From med school mentors to hands-on experiences, AMSA truly provided a young premed like me with helpful guidance, new friends to tackle these next four years with, and a deeper understanding of the medical field,” said King.
The local AMSA chapter at Case Western Reserve University focuses on being an educational resource for aspiring doctors while providing a variety of activities and opportunities that students otherwise may not be able to find. Some of their activities include bringing in speakers in different healthcare fields, issuing resources for taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and volunteering at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. As a basic requirement, members are expected to attend AMSA’s programming and contribute a minimum of 10 service hours.
Since AMSA brings together such a large portion of the medical community, it is a resource for students to find new branches of the medical field that they previously may not have considered. Group members carry positions in a diverse range of occupations each with their own interests. For some, that means looking at universal health care policies, while for others, that interest lies in trying to the AIDS pandemic globally.
“Even though there were many premed organizations I signed up for, AMSA stuck out to me,” said Tara Tadimalla, a third-year chemical biology major. “Each meeting offered new opportunities and perspectives on the medical field.”
In particular, the speakers helped King expand her view on potential career paths.
“As both [Doctor of Medicine] and [Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine] from a variety of fields came to speak,” she said, “my rigid view of the path to becoming a doctor was altered and expanded as I learned about different specialties and careers in the medical field.”
Most recently, AMSA hosted their fourth annual benefit dinner, which took place last Friday on Nov. 30. The event, which supported the local organization Mission4Maureen, was coordinated by the director of philanthropy Ria Mittal. Based in South Euclid, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, Mission4Maureen focuses on providing financial assistance to families dealing with the heavy cost of brain cancer treatments. The dinner was an open event and featured performances from student groups like Spartan Bhangra and Solstice.
Even though AMSA has finished with their their events for the semester, fourth-year student Nimra Hassan, the organization’s president, is busy planning a variety of initiatives for the upcoming year.
“Some of the events we are programming for next semester are doctors of osteopathic manipulative training, a suture workshop, a guide to the medical school application and blanket making for Rainbow Babies with Operation Smile.”