Participant Media x AMSA — a fellowship with impact.

November 10, 2023

AMSA collaborates with a diverse range of organizations united by a common vision: the transformative potential of future physicians to drive positive change. Through our partnerships, we craft innovative collaborations, programs, and initiatives that bring impact. Here’s one. Let Amanda Chen, Senior VP, Impact at Participant lend the details. 

I am writing in support of the fellowship program at the American Medical Student Association.

For the past year, Participant, the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that stands at the intersection of art and activism, sponsored the Education and Advocacy Fellowship within AMSA as part of our impact campaign for the documentary The First Wave, a film that spotlighted the enormous burdens borne by health care workers at the epicenter of the first wave of the pandemic. 

Throughout the yearlong program from May 2022 – May 2023, Oak Sonfist, as EAF Fellow, and their team at AMSA elevated the profile of The First Wave for new stakeholders in the medical professional community, brokered new advocacy connections, and—critically—strengthened mental health protections for not just medical providers, but also the often-overlooked medical student community. 

Notably, Oak’s engagement of their medical student peers, advocating on behalf of better conditions for the mental health wellbeing of the workforce, has also played a significant role in effecting positive change in the space, alongside the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes Foundation and others, to ensure state medical boards remove problematic barriers to mental healthcare for clinicians. 

What’s more, Oak and AMSA’s work helped to inform first-of-its-kind discussion and engagement on the urgent needs of healthcare workers, including meaningful contributions to plenaries, toolkits, and discussion guides in tandem with screenings of The First Wave for hospital systems as well as for medical and nursing schools. Oak also spearheaded a national phone-banking campaign, quite literally calling on state medical boards to audit their licensure procedures and make necessary changes to otherwise stigmatizing language. As a result of this effort and the work of our partners, many state medical boards heeded the call and have begun reforming their licensing language to stop disincentivizing mental health treatment.

We are proud to have been sponsors for the EAF Fellowship and are proud of the work Oak and their team at AMSA accomplished through this partnership!

Amanda Chen, Senior Vice President, Impact at Participant