Frequently Asked Questions


What is the American Medical Student Association?

AMSA members include medical and premedical students, residents and practicing physicians. The organization is committed to improving medical training as well as advancing the profession of medicine.


What are AMSA’s aspirations?

Previously called strategic priorities, the now aspirations for the organization include advocating for quality, affordable health care for all, global health equity, enriching medicine through diversity and professional integrity, development and student well-being.


Is AMSA part of the American Medical Association (AMA)?

No. AMSA did begin under the auspices of the AMA in 1950. Starting in 1960, medical students refocused their energy on the problems of the medically underserved, inequities in our health-care system and related issues in medical education. In 1967, they cut ties to the AMA and became a fully independent student organization. AMSA remains the nation’s largest, independent medical student organization.


Does AMSA host an annual meeting?

Yes, AMSA’s annual meeting is the largest gathering of medical students in the United States. AMSA’s next Annual Convention will be held March 31 – April 3, 2016 in Washington, DC.


What are the organization’s publications?

AMSA publishes The New Physician, an award-winning magazine that covers the social, ethical and political issues facing medical education and health care.


What is AMSA’s policy on universal health care?

AMSA’s aspirations include working toward a system of ‘Quality, Affordable Health Care for All,’ guaranteeing access to quality and affordable health care for all persons. This care should be provided regardless of a person’s socioeconomic status, geographic location, race/ethnicity, employment status, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability or occupation. Furthermore, special provisions should be made to ensure that no persons residing in the United States are discriminated against based upon the legality or documentation of their citizenship/residency status; however, this specifically excludes persons who enter the United States for the sole purpose of obtaining medical care. AMSA supports a publicly and progressively financed, privately delivered federal single payer system of high quality, affordable health care for all persons.


What is AMSA’s policy on residency work hours?

AMSA continues to lead the campaign to reduce resident work hours through federal and state regulation. In 2010, AMSA joined other advocacy groups and petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to take doctors-in-training under its purview. Previously, AMSA crafted the Patient and Physician Safety and Protection Act of 2003, which was introduced by Senator Jon Corzine (S.952) and Representative John Conyers (H.R.1228). AMSA believes the number of hours a resident may work per week should not exceed 80 hours, without averaging hours worked over a period of greater than one week. The number of hours a resident may work per shift should not exceed 16 hours, including time for transfer of patient care and resident education.


Does AMSA work on international issues?

In 2008, AMSA became the U.S. member organization of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA). AMSA members now sit at the epicenter of the international medical student community and can take advantage of various international exchanges around the globe. AMSA also helped create the AIDS Advocacy Network, a group of health professionals students dedicated to creating a national network focused on advocating for the fight against the global AIDS pandemic.


What is AMSA’s Just Medicine Campaign?

In 2002, AMSA launched the nationwide PharmFree Campaign as an educational effort targeted at medical students in order to continue teaching the qualities of honesty, humility and accountability in undergraduate medical education and beyond. While AMSA recognizes that pharmaceutical companies provide a valuable resource for research and development of new and potentially lifesaving medications, it also realizes that the industry has sales representatives deliver sales pitches to doctors.

AMSA encourages all physicians-in-training and health-care providers to seek out evidence-based and unbiased sources of information rather than to rely on pharmaceutical industry representatives for “education.” In addition, AMSA encourages medical schools and academic medical centers to develop policies that limit the access of pharmaceutical company representatives to their campuses and prohibits medical students and physicians from accepting gifts of any kind from these representatives. In 2007, AMSA released the first AMSA PharmFree Scorecard, which was a first-of-it’s-kind ranking of medical schools according to their pharmaceutical influence policies. In 2008 and 2009, AMSA collaborated with The Prescription Project to update the AMSA PharmFree Scorecard with a rigorous methodology and an interactive Web site. In 2010 and 2012, the scorecard was released again.

In 2014, the PharmFree Campaign was relaunched as the Just Medicine Campaign to better reflect the goals of the initiative.


What leadership development opportunities does AMSA provide medical students?

For more than a half-century, AMSA has provided the world with humanistic and ethical physician leaders of the future who serve as a united force for change and advocate for our patients and communities. AMSA provides leadership opportunities on every level, including more than 100 national positions and a wide variety of leadership institutes. AMSA members are shaping the world of healthcare as clinicians, educators, researchers, administrators, public health officials and FDA commissioners.


How is AMSA policy determined? What is the structure of the organization?

At AMSA’s annual House of Delegates (HOD), chapter delegates vote on resolutions submitted by AMSA members. The Board of Trustees governs the organization; while AMSA’s ten action committees promote areas of interest to AMSA members.