The following are intended to inspire to medical students and residents to learn more about organized medicine. Whether it be at the national, state, county, or specialty level, there are numerous societies with opportunities for contribution.
1. To pull back the curtain. Many physicians are innately curious and like to “see how the sausage is made,” so to speak. There is a great deal of policy behind the scenes of our day-to-day workflow, as well as the larger picture of the state of medicine today. Resolutions and debate include topics such as Medicare coverage of services provided by proctored medical students and the requirement for updated H&P within 24 hours of surgery. In order to best understand the health care milieu, it is helpful to know the policies and laws in place that define its processes and direction.
2. Civic duty. Arguably, as human beings and physicians, there is an obligation to advocate for our beliefs. We are uniquely positioned to provide insight from the healthcare provider world on a spectrum of topics ranging from firearm safety to preventive care coverage and access to essential resources.
3. Old-timey insults. As a millennial, I am a member of the generation that thinks it invented “shade.” We did not. In the heated but respectful debates that occur, you will hear things such as, “If what you want to say does not improve upon the silence, do not say it,” and “You Are Out Of Order Sir.” Feel free to add these classy idioms to your repertoire as well.
4. Networking and mentorship. The institution of organized medicine and the national, state, and county societies are absolutely stocked with role models for young physicians and physicians-in-training. By attending events and offering one’s own services to the societies, members are exposed to articulate, brilliant, powerhouse figures.
5. The surgeon general himself, Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, gave a rousing speech to the House of Delegates at this most recent AMA annual meeting. He touched upon his several decades as a proud AMA member, conceding that the reason that he had first joined as a medical student was because he had “heard that he could get a free trip to Hawaii” for an interim meeting.
Participation in organized medicine and attendance at local and national meetings has been an extremely positive and enriching experience. There are a range of active specialty societies as well. I would strongly encourage medical students and residents to consider these opportunities in their journeys to become well-rounded and well-informed professionals.
Frances Mei Hardin is an otolaryngology resident.
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