This month’s Leader Spotlight is Caitlin Curcuru! Caitlin is a third-year medical student at University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Medicine, and AMSA’s Professionalism & Ethics Advocacy Coordinator.
As medical school progressed, I became more aware of the challenges patients face while navigating our healthcare system. At the beginning of my third year, I sought ways to educate myself on how to best advocate for my patients and classmates in order to bring about meaningful change. I joined AMSA after discovering the Advocacy Scholars Program and am very grateful AMSA provided me this opportunity for growth.
I applied to become an AMSA leader because I was inspired by the idea of positively affecting patient care at a policy level and wanted to share the knowledge and skills I acquired as an AMSA Advocacy Scholars Program graduate with others. Many medical students have expressed the concern to me that they are not taught by their home institutions on how best to advocate for their patients on a local or national level. I hope to bridge this gap, specifically in areas concerning professionalism and ethics in order to provide future physicians the resources they need to become agents of social change.
Part of our role as students in the Advocacy Scholars Program was to develop and execute an original advocacy project. My project was centered on the Safe VA Care Act, which promoted the physician-led model of anesthetic care for veterans as opposed to the adoption of new regulations granting nurse anesthetists full practice autonomy at VA hospitals nationwide. I hosted an informational session at my school to encourage others to also take a stand and support high quality care for this vulnerable population. The number of medical students who attended this event was greater than I had imagined and I was thrilled that so many wanted to continue these informational sessions. We are now in the process of setting up a school sponsored organization and monthly meeting to keep students up to date on recent political actions affecting medical care. This would not have been initiated if not for the AMSA Advocacy Scholars Program, and I am very grateful to have had that experience.
To know your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has different skill sets and it is only by working with others and utilizing a team based approach that efficient and innovative solutions can be reached.
Do you know of an AMSA Leader who deserves to be recognized? Do you want to share your leadership story with other AMSA members? Share your story for consideration! One outstanding leader will be featured each month in AMSA’s Leader Spotlight on the website.