AMSA On Call
  • The Importance of Health to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

    By: Anna Zelivianskaia
    M.D. Candidate 2016 - University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine

    “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

    –Martin Luther King Jr.


    Health care is not listed as a basic human right in most constitutions, including our own. Yet I suspect the majority of citizens of any country would agree with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement. Most people rightly believe that access to health care is implied in the social contract. It certainly is for citizens who live in countries with single-payer medical systems. However, why is healthcare an implied human right? Besides the intuitive feeling that as a future physician, I should care for anyone who walks through my doors, I could not explain why healthcare is so transparently intertwined with justice and citizenship.

    In a broad sense, what are the basic human rights? The knee-jerk answer from the American experience is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Bill of Rights reflects these principles: freedom of speech and the right to bear arms fall under the “liberty” category; fear from excessive bail and unusual punishment allow for the pursuit of happiness. Yet, as ...

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  • The Challenges of an Out-of-State Medical School

    by Emily Hause


    Usually when I ask students where they would like to go to medical school, the answer is- wherever I get accepted. Now, while that’s a great attitude, the truth is that an out-of-state medical school can be extra tricky. Medical school is difficult to begin with, but being far away from your friends, family and support system is just one of many additional challenges.


    Challenge 1: Most of your classmates will have a support system nearby

    This was especially evident in my class (where over 2/3 of my classmates are in-state) after our last exam. It was a Friday exam and it was a fairly exhausting run up to the exam itself, which meant that by the time we took the test, everyone was dead tired.

    When I talked to my classmates about what they were doing after the test, almost everyone was going to have dinner with their parents or spend the night with their non-med-school friends. We had all spent a plethora of hours together and my classmates were ready to blow off steam with people who they hadn’t seen every day.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t have the luxury of recharging by hanging out with people ...

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  • Building, Maintaining, and Using Your Network

    Petros Minasi, Jr.

    At the end of this month, AMSA will once again host its annual national convention, this year in Washington, D.C.. The convention presents a great opportunity for pre-medical and medical students, deans and program directors, and health care leaders to come together and share ideas, thoughts, and discuss the future of medicine. 

    Attending conferences with your peers and future peers is one of the best things you can do to build you current and future network. Your network is an invaluable resource that is often overlooked by pre-meds. But perhaps overlooked is the wrong way to put it - the reality is we know we should have networks, but we don't always know how to properly build them and use them. Fundamentally, your network, like your friends, should have variety, because there are going to be different instances in your life where you will need the help and advice of people with different skill sets. Much how medical schools want academic and intellectual diversity in their incoming classes, you should want the same in your network. 

    Now building your network is sometimes a little hard, especially if you are "networking" just for the sake of networking. Oddly, ...

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  • Healthy exercises to start the year

    Tracy Lee, OMS II
    A.T. Still University-SOMA
    Wellness Coordinator

    AMSA Trainee Wellness and Professionalism Committee

    As promised in my last post, I will give a variety of easy exercises to start off your day and your year on the right foot. First, I will give some yoga exercises to start off breathing right and then some tips on how to get some cardio in.


    1. Child’s pose (Balasana): Start with kneeling on the floor. Spread your knees and touch your toes together. Then reach as far forward and with your stomach as flat on the floor as you can. This a good resting and starting pose. Try to concentrate on your breath and focus on what you want to gain from this practice of yoga today.

    2. Cat-Cow Stretch (Chakravakasana): Start with tabletop position, which is having your hands and knees on your floor and everything in 90° angle. To go into cat pose, hunch your back as how cats stretch (convex). Then to go into cow pose, move your back in the opposite direction (concave). This will help start your stretch. It feels really good in the morning when you wake up.

    3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukah Svanasana): Moving into ...

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  • New Year, New You!

    Tracy Lee, OMS II
    A.T. Still University-SOMA
    Wellness Coordinator
    AMSA Trainee Wellness and Professionalism Committee

    Welcome to the New Year! This means a new you, right? I know many have New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, stay fit, or be healthy. How about we start off the New Year on a good foot? One thing I read recently said to make it GOALS instead of a resolution. A goal is something we can work towards that will not necessarily “resolve” by the end of the year.

    According the American Psychological Association (APA), many people have a laundry list of goals they want to accomplish by the end of the year, but remember to take it one-step at a time. Here are some quick tips by APA to help accomplish your goals.

    1. Start small: Make reasonable goals —ones that you think you can accomplish rather than pushing yourself to make goals that may be a stretch for you personally.
    2. Change one behavior at a time: Behaviors are developed over time, thus, changing many behaviors at once can be overwhelming. Changing behaviors will require time. For example, I had a patient who was a heavy alcoholic and a minimal smoker. Since she ...

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