Officer Briefing.

Timing is everything here. Set up a time to meet with the outgoing Chapter Officer
(and any relevant other chapter leaders) right after elections happen, when insights
and deep wisdom are fresh. It’s an excellent (and critical) first step here—
success for the upcoming year hinges on this, really. (No pressure!)

What to discuss? These items will inform a productive session:

  • Set this meeting up—invite the outgoing Chapter Officer and other outgoing leaders she/he feels would be helpful to have join.
  • Ask them to bring any important materials to facilitate understanding and conversations.
  • Learn past successes and challenges; understand what efforts worked best, what didn’t, etc. 
  • Collect contacts—learn how to get the ear of the Dean, and/or other school leaders invested in student life. 
  • Talk fundraising: what worked best? What didn’t? Ask them who/what/where worked best here. Take notes!
  • Discuss details of the past year’s projects and ask for any recommendations for this year.   
  • Secure the communication channels for future collaborations—your outgoing officer and team are invaluable resources to bounce your ideas and plans off of, once you have them codified.

Here’s a handy 1-sheeter Officer Briefing pdf you can take with you to this meeting, if you like.

Meet your Sherpa.

Contact AMSA’s Membership HQ—we’ll connect you with an AMSA-sherpa.

Our membership leaders are experienced, impassioned AMSA activists, elected to help guide you along through the year — helping you serve your chapter members and make things happen. She or he will be an invaluable resource all year long, offering things like:

  • Tips, assets to share and ideas to help get your chapter off to a great start.
  • A secret bat-phone for advice on anything. That’s what the membership leads are here for—to help you grow, to help your chapter grow, to help AMSA be awesome.
  • Ways to get involved, reminders on the latest programs, campaigns and opportunities (also published here)

Communications Plan

Forge a high level plan to connect with your members on an ongoing basis.

You likely learned from your officer briefing a bit about how communications to members worked in the past. You may want to share news in a few different ways to engage your members—some may prefer email, some may prefer a private social media group and some prefer in-person events. The most successful chapters utilize a nice mix of all relevant tactics.

A recommended approach, based on experience, is to follow a format like this (you’re encouraged to customize as-needed based on your member needs. Remember: this goal is to engage and inspire your members, so pay attention to their needs):

  • Monthly email newsletter. Content will come to you via the AMSA Rounds newsletter and will be posted on the What’s On? page routinely; you can cut and paste the contents quickly to easily share with your chapter members. Plug. Play. Done! 
  • Private FB group for your chapter. It’s free, most folks are on Facebook and it can be good place to post / share graphics, etc. 
  • Monthly Chapter meetings. These can align with awesome webinars, advocacy initiatives — but also can just be a good way to get together for a happy hour or other social gathering. 
  • Mobile messaging. Ask your members to share their contact info with you, then save their names in a tidy list on your phone. This can be a great way, used sparingly, to send alerts and client updates.

Chapter Advisor

Secure your inside informant: a trusted chapter advisor.

A chapter advisor is someone on your school’s campus, a professor, department head or other school academic official, that can assist your chapter in things like:

  • petitioning to receive money from your school for an AMSA event
  • offering advice to engage chapter members
  • connecting your members with officials and professors within your school and beyond.
  • guiding the operational details: copying, phone costs, mailing and supplies

Once your chapter finds a chapter advisor, be sure to submit their information via the chapter advisor submission form.

Say hello to the big cheese.

Contact your dean’s office. It is rare to find a dean who is not supportive of student organizations in some way. Make an appointment with the dean or another customary contact person — consider looking to the Student Affairs office — to introduce yourself and outline your goals.

Ask your Dean or Associate Dean how she or he envisions AMSA’s role as at your school. Feel free to bring this handy sheet with you — it offers a few, key talking points for your meeting, and you can leave it behind. In this meeting, be sure to:

  • Ask about sharing a welcome letter to go out to incoming students, letting them know about the AMSA awesomeness. (Need one? Let us know!)
  • Ensure AMSA is listed on the student organization list on your school website — like here or here for examples. Here’s some language to leverage if you like: For over 70 years, AMSA has existed to support, train and embolden medical students to become tomorrow’s leaders — advocates for a brighter, more equitable and just future. 
  • The school fair scoop: very early in the semester, campuses often hold fairs where students can learn about various clubs, associations and groups available on campus. Find out when, where, and how AMSA can participate — is there space to set up a table, or, a virtual room, for example (this is a great opportunity — ok, the best opportunity — to connect with new members).
  • If you do meet with a Dean, lend us their email address! AMSA TEAM: Holly M here: let’s id where this can live (maybe in part b of the submission form??)

Enthusiastic deans or advisors may want to know about AMSA’s Institutional Partnerships. This is where the school teams up with AMSA to offer an incoming class free membership. There are a lot of advantages for medical schools in this partnership that a dean may like to know about.

Jack-In Checklist

  • Officer Briefing

  • Follow AMSA National on  InstagramFacebook Twitter

  • Urge your Chapter members to follow the above social media accounts.

  • Join this  Facebook Group  just for Chapter Officers. It’s awesome.

  • Meet your Membership Sherpa

  • Craft your Communications Plan

  • ID your Chapter Advisor

  • Meet the Dean.