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Legislation Meets Medicine: The Vision for a Student-Led Advocacy Committee

Electronic Fall 2022  |  Issue 52

Legislation Meets Medicine: The Vision for a Student-Led Advocacy Committee
By: Hibah Arshad & Agnes Mynarska, CCOM Class of 2024

Earlier this year, the Illinois Psychiatric Society Medical Student Committee (IPS MSC) was formally assembled, joining together medical students throughout Illinois in their shared passion for psychiatry. Since then, we have further developed a number of specific, goal-oriented sub-committees, including the Advocacy Sub-Committee. Our names are Hibah Arshad and Agnes Mynarska, and we are thrilled to serve as the IPS MSC’s first-ever Advocacy Sub-Committee Co-Chairs.
The extensive overlap between civic engagement and medicine was a major influence in the creation of this sub-committee. As future physicians, we believe our job responsibilities will extend far beyond the hospital and clinic, especially as politics and legislature can directly impact our patients, our practice, and our profession as a whole. As the sub-committee takes shape, we envision it to be an avenue for students to emerge as competent and empowered leaders at the intersection of legislation and medicine. We intend to use this sub-committee as a means of jumpstarting the involvement of medical students in politics, legislature, and activism, in part by providing opportunities to interact with individuals directly involved in relevant legal processes.
As third-year medical students, we are at a critical point in our training. Having recently completed our preclinical studies, and now being immersed in our clinical rotations, we are getting the opportunity to directly apply our knowledge of cultural sensitivity and social determinants of health into our interactions with patients. In addition, we are coming to see ways where the presence of medical students can make an important statement. For example, it is vital for medical professionals to demonstrate their unequivocal support for racial justice. Not only is this our ethical responsibility, but it is also an essential part of restoring much of the trust that has been lost between marginalized communities and healthcare providers in the past.

With the sub-committee being in its early stages, our initial goals are to develop a network of medical students, physicians, political leaders, local organizations, and activists to clearly identify social causes and movements that can benefit from our immediate involvement. We welcome collaboration and support from other IPS members to bring our vision to light. We hope to continue growing and we are looking forward to documenting the progress of this endeavor!
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