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Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by windsurfr, Apr 23, 2002.
Do you recomend/not recomend becoming a member of
ooh, I was just wondering the same thing!
If I am about to start med school, when is the best time to join?
To the op, I recommend joining. It's a cool EC and they have discounts on med books. And I have seen The New Physician magazine and I really liked it. I think they have conventions to meet other med students, and they are very active in health care issues.
As a current, outgoing chapter officer at my medical school, I am probably a bit biased but I think that AMSA is one of the organizations that is worth joining, especially if you are interested in getting involved in health care policy issues. I recently attended the National Conference which was held this year in Houston, and I was amazed at the number of medical students who take enough interest in policy issues (both at the national level, like universal health care issues and limiting resident work hours, and at the community level, like sponsoring health outreaches in individual cities) who were willing to take time out of their schedule to gather with other students, hear what was going on in other states, and rally for improved immigrant health care in Texas (this year's convention topic).
In some ways I think AMSA may fall trap to the bureaucracy that plagues large organizations, but maybe this is the only way to go to be taken seriously... I do know that AMSA also sponsors interesting summer electives for first year students as well as connects people to international health issues and rotations abroad. At our school, AMSA, one of the 'wealthier' organizations, tends to be very active in supporting grassroots efforts and community awareness activities.
This is probably a lot more information than you wanted to know about AMSA and not much about the other 'big' organization, the AMA (which gets you JAMA free, a nice perk if you ever have time to read it). My recommendation would be to join both if you can... they both offer a lot of opportunities and connections if you take advantage of the organization, and both should give some nice freebies for joining (my year, we got a free Netter for joining AMSA and a free Stedman's for joining AMA).
If your school is anything like ours, there will be a activity fair or some event early on where you can find out more about different groups and whether its worth it to join. I would recommend AMSA and AMA (get free weekly JAMA throughout med school). I also joined a Family Practice group because it was free and we got a free magazine (American Family Practitioner) which was great to read during third year (kind simplified review stuff). Try to join or start a specialty interest group if you think you know what you wanna specialize in (even if you think it will change). I made many great contacts through my membership in the American College of Physicians (Internal Medicine), one become my advisor and another wrote me a letter of rec.
You guys are in for an exciting, tiring, sometimes overwhelming, oftentimes fun 4 years. Congrats and good luck.
AMSA does some good things for the students. However I do not always agree with their policies. I joined both, but looking back I would have joined only the AMA. One thing they won't tell you when you join (until you sign up) is in order to get your "free" Netter you must apply for an MBNA credit card. I also don't feel that they represent my views (ex; Universal Health Care) as a member nor do they ask for my views. From what I have seen they represent the views of a minority of students. I know I just lit a fire under several people and will probably get blasted for speaking negatively, but that has been my personal experience with AMSA. As for the New Physcian magazine, I find only a few articles worth my time. On the other hand, JAMA has many more articles directed toward my interest. When you get to school find out about AMSA and the AMA-MS in more detail or check out the websites for both. If anyone tells you they are the same diregard that info and move on, because they are not the same!
I posted on the same topic in the everybody forum:
<a href="http://forums.studentdoctor.net/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=005133" target="_blank">http://forums.studentdoctor.net/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=005133</a>
feel free to ask me any questions about AMSA.
One other thing about the liberal leadership of AMSA... this might be true, but I've noticed that a lot of the people with the more liberal viewpoints tend to be very involved with organizations such as AMSA... whereas the more conservative people aren't as active with the counterpart organizations like AMA... maybe because the conservative viewpoint is the status quo? Or is this different at other schools...?