WHAT’S AN AMSA?
Represent, inform, connect
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is the peak representative body for us 17 000 Aussie medical students. They organise amazing events, have committees on many medical student interests and advocate on our behalf to the AMA and government. I’m Jess, your friendly WSU AMSA Rep and I’m here to show you what AMSA is all about and make sure you all have the best experience with AMSA this year. If you have any questions, absolutely send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three times a year, I’ll be holding “ThinkTanks” – meetings with as many Western Sydney med students who want to come – to gather your opinions on various policies that AMSA may pursue. These include things like internship priorities, new medical schools, global health focus and improving medical education across the country. These ThinkTanks involve free food, and there will also be online surveys throughout the year to get everyone’s opinions heard.
Your opinions will then be taken to Council – a meeting of all the AMSA Reps and other people who make up AMSA’s teams and committees – where Reps vote on these policies based on what you guys have said.
AMSA has a multitude of projects and committees for everyone to get involved. These are Global Health, Rural Health, Mental Health, Medical Education and the International Students’ Network. They also produce publications in hard-copy and online; including the Internship & Residency Guide which collates information for final-year students to apply for their next chapter, and Panacea, a bi-annual magazine filled with pieces by medical students (to which you can submit!).
Probably their most memorable project is Vampire Cup – AMSA’s annual national blood drive. Medschools compete against each other to see which can get the highest percentage of students donating blood and plasma to the Red Cross during a multi-week period later in the year. Last week we came second last (beat UNSW though!), so let’s roll up our sleeves this year!
And of course, there are the ever-famed events.
National Convention (July 2-8), this year in Sydney, brings together more than 1000 medical students for an amazing academic and social program. Days are spent listening to inspiring speakers and attending workshops, while nights are spent socialising in themed parties with costumes galore! Tickets go extremely quickly though (think, within minutes), so there is even a practice registration before the actual tickets go on sale. There are a few opportunities to win guaranteed registration, so stay in the loop!
Global Health Conference (August 18-22) is in Adelaide and promises to bring an amazing experience. This event is focused, predictably, on global health and has previously included speakers like Julian Assange and Ahn Do. Workshops can take you from warzones to rainforests, and themed socials will keep you on your feet all night. Again, tickets tend to sell out fairly quickly so there is also usually a practice registration.
AMSA’s National Leadership Development Seminar (date not confirmed, April?) is for all you go-getters who want to dip your feet into advocacy and the political side of things. Every year, it is held in Canberra and only about 80-100 people who apply are chosen to attend. You get the opportunity to meet your MP, speak to politicians about medical student issues, and learn from speakers who are specifically there to upskill you. Applications will open in February and the event is usually 4 days long.
Rural Health Summit (date not confirmed) is AMSA’s newest event. Now in its second year, it will be held just a stone’s throw away in Wollongong where there will be a focus on rural health. Rural practitioners and medical professionals from hours away will be there to show you how to get the most out of a rural placement. It will probably be in the later half of the year and will likely be placed on a weekend.
Also, you can attend AMSA Councils where Reps and team talk about policy – you can even get involved as a policy writer. These happen three times a year, usually in March, July (before Convention) and September.
I’ll be around at Convention to lead the delegation, and your AMSA Global Health Rep Shreeya will be taking on that duty at GHC. If you end up snagging a spot at any of these amazing events, please make sure you get approval for leave so there aren’t any hiccups with the faculty!
AMSA Representative 2018