AMSA Members Meet with Legislator’s Office to Impact Policy!

December 14, 2015

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students and AMSA members Max Feinstein, Yang Sheng, and Alana Van Dervort pose for a photo after meeting with Senator Sherrod Brown’s staff in Cleveland, OH to advocate for women’s reproductive rights.

Last month, students from Case Western Reserve University SOM held their own advocacy training for students to get more involved with policy impacting our patients lives.  The training focused on meeting with elected officials and was followed by an immediate opportunity to put the training into practice by a meeting with Senator Sherrod Brown’s office that afternoon!  Read about their experiences below.

“Our visit to Senator Brown was a refreshing break from being buried in medical school lectures and books. It was great to literally go out into the city and advocate for issues that I am passionate about in healthcare. Our brainstorming session was even more fruitful than I expected, and it was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our personal stories and what we want to get out of political advocacy. I also appreciated how thoughtful and honest Matt was, whether it was describing Senator Brown’s likely support for the EACH Woman Act or tactfully letting us know that the senator probably would not bring up the act in the immediate future. I still came out of our meeting feeling like I learned more about the political landscape around healthcare and how to better advocate in the future.”

-Yang Sheng, MS2, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

“Direct activism with local politicians was not part of the student-activist’s toolbox at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) until this year, when AMSA showed us how powerful a tool it can be. Inspired by the political advocacy workshop that Dr. Case conducted at CWRU in August, 2015, a group of medical students held a follow-up workshop that took place in November. The event included step-by-step training on how to engage local politicians on legislation that affects the health and well-being of our future patients. The most exciting part of the event was our visit to US Senator Sherrod Brown’s office, where we expressed how important the passage of the EACH Woman Act is to people in need of access to abortion services. We are grateful to AMSA for teaching us how to engage in this kind of political activism by visiting local legislators. This skill is applicable to the wide range of issues that medical students are passionate about, and we hope that students across the country will consider how their voice can influence the politics that affect their future patients.”

-Max Feinstein, MS2, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

These awesome advocates had met with the same staffer just months before on a different AMSA campaign issue, passage of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR). This is a great example of AMSA students developing sustainable relationships with staffers–the staff is now someone who knows the crew and who is getting an idea for what AMSA is about and what issues are important to future physicians!

Want to hold a training at your chapter?  Or want to get more involved with advocacy?

E-mail Alison Case, AMSA’s Education and Advocacy Fellow at eaf@amsa.org.