AMSA Council Reports

AMSA National Council #3

On the 21st to 23rd of September, 153 medical students from across the nation gathered at the third and final Australia Medical Students Association (AMSA) Council of 2018. Held at the University of Melbourne, it was the perfect opportunity for student convenors to present the outcomes of their events and initiatives, engage in policy discussion and vote for the 2019 national priorities.

Activ8 Campaign

As the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, AMSA runs a multitude of projects and events including AMSA Mental Health, National Convention and much more. This year, we saw the launch of Activ8, an 8-month campaign as part of AMSA Mental Health that focuses on eight pillars which promote mental health e.g. food, mindfulness, community and connection. The social media initiative shared thought-provoking articles, methods to create achievable lifestyle changes and held various online competitions. With 1 in 5 medical students considering suicide in the last 12 months, this project has effectively generated much needed discourse and engaged more than 5000 students an undoubtedly important topic. This emphasis on medical student mental health and wellbeing was continued, appearing as AMSA’s top national priority of 2019 as voted by thousands of students which the body represents.

Internship Crisis

Another priority included preventing the increase in medical student numbers (due to insufficient internships) which is relevant to another primary priority i.e. ensuring quality internships are available for all Australian medical graduates. The National Internship Crisis is a persistent concern for medical students and AMSA will continue advocating for coordinated action between Federal and State Health Ministers, Medical Deans, Health Workforce and more to ensure internships are available for all graduates.

Keeth Thaya (UNE) and Jo Fu (UoN) at AMSA National Council

Policy discussion

An essential part of council is policy discussion. Policies are written by volunteer medical students who have spent hours researching and writing statements and then are voted upon by AMSA representatives from 22 universities, as discussed at their respective Think Tanks. This council included policies about disability care and support, early streaming and more. The majority of these policies were passed. The passing of these policies allows AMSA to take a strong evidence-based stance on topics and allow them to advocate on behalf of medical students across Australia.

Final words

For many people, both AMSA and council is about representation, leadership and empowerment. For me, that’s definitely true, but it’s also a reminder that there is so much more than having our heads buried in textbooks. For me, being involved in AMSA has been all about opportunities and as someone once said to me, “if you’re passionate about something, you’ll find something to do in AMSA.”

For more info on getting involved with AMSA, take a look here.

AMSA Global Health Council #2

AMSA Global Health Council 2 was held in conjunction with the AMSA National Council 3, however it’s a completely different experience – other than joining together on global health policies there was little overlap. Instead, GH focussed on the inner workings of AMSA Global Health, and upskilling global health representatives on strengths that will be useful in their roles.

What is AMSH GH?

For those of you who don’t know what AMSA Global Health Council is (which, let’s face it, is most of us – including me this time last year!), it’s a weekend held twice a year, aiming to equip students passionate about global health with the skills they need to achieve their goals, as well as learn about everything AMSAGH has to offer. Within AMSA, the Global Health subcommittee is by far the biggest. It was the original body that started the AMSA Global Health Conference, and projects such as AMSA Academy. There’s a role for anyone in AMSAGH, as long as you’re passionate about global health!

Skills-based activities

Discussions at councils are global health based, but many of the skills taught there can be applied to many situations. For example, key sessions over the weekend involved how to be effective in advocacy, tips on improving sponsorship, and how to talk someone over to your point of view.

A photo from AMSA GH Council, including Gabby Cullen

2019 planning

Finally, a focus at all second councils is looking forward towards the upcoming year. Plans for 2019 were created, both at a university level for the representatives to follow, and also for the national team. One of the most exciting events each year is voting in the new AGH executive team, and UoN is very proud to show off that our very own Helena Qian is the incoming chair for 2019!

Announcement of the 2019 Executive Team for AMSA GH, including Helena Qian (3rd from right)

Final words

Overall, Global Health Council is an amazing experience, and you learn heaps of skills that translate to everyday life, medicine, and other societies. If you’ve been to GHC and wanted to continue an interest in global health, or want a cheaper introduction to global health, then council is a great opportunity to get involved!

For more info on getting involved with AMSA GH, take a look here