History of the MSS
History of Student Involvement in the AMA
In 1950, the AMA House of Delegates adopted a plan to establish the Student American Medical Association, which is now the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), as a separate medical student organization. Initially, SAMA was headquartered in the AMA building and was supported by the AMA with staff and financial assistance. Medical students who were members of SAMA were not, at that time, members of the AMA. There was no membership provision for medical students in the AMA. By the end of 1954, SAMA had become self-supporting, moved its headquarters from the AMA building, and hired its own staff.
During the period between 1954 and 1971, there was liaison between the AMA and SAMA. Medical students were represented on various AMA councils and committees, SAMA received financial grants and support for its research programs, and two non-voting medical student delegates sat in the AMA House of Delegates. However, there were no formal bylaws providing for this liaison.
The president of SAMA, recognizing the need for formal medical student representation in the AMA, petitioned the Association to provide for medical student membership. In 1971, the AMA House of Delegates adopted a resolution of support for the creation of a special section within the AMA for medical students. Bylaws language was adopted in 1972, the Student Business Section was formed, and medical students were given the opportunity to join the AMA for the first time. Medical students now had a voting member in the AMA House of Delegates, were given a means through which to submit resolutions to the House, and were granted full rights and privileges of AMA membership at a substantially reduced dues rate.
The bylaws adopted by the AMA in 1972 relied heavily on input from the Student American Medical Association in the development of an activity for medical student members of the AMA. AMA membership provisions for medical students required them to be members in good standing of SAMA or to return their applications with the signatures of two regular members of the AMA. SAMA was given the right to appoint three of the five governing council members elected by medical student members of the AMA at the Annual Meeting. These provisions allowed for continued SAMA input into the AMA, and at the same time afforded students not involved in SAMA the opportunity to join the AMA and participate in its student activity.
In 1976, the AMA House of Delegates formalized medical student participation in AMA councils by amending the bylaws to specifically include students as members of the Councils on Medical Service, Legislation, and Medical Education. There had been a student member of the Council on Long Range Planning and Development since its formation in 1970. In 1977, the House approved the creation of a medical student seat on the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws, and in 1978 a student was added to the Council on Scientific Affairs.
By 1977, the meeting for AMA medical student members had outgrown its original structure. In June 1977, the membership created an ad hoc committee to study alternate structures for the group and charged the committee with developing a plan allowing for greater representation of medical students at the meetings for adoption by the AMA House of Delegates. The plan was devised to continue AMSA’s input, yet create a more representative structure based on a voting member from each medical school to participate in the student meetings and governing council members from four demographic regions of the United States. At the 1978 Annual Meeting, the Bylaws amendments necessary to implement the reorganization of the Student Business Section were adopted by the AMA House of Delegates.
The 1979 Annual Meeting was the first held under the new structure. At the 1979 Interim Meeting, the House of Delegates adopted an SBS-proposed bylaws change to provide for the appointment by AMSA of one of the voting members of the governing council.
At its 1980 Interim Meeting, the AMA House of Delegates adopted an SBS proposal to change the section’s name from the “Student Business Section” to the “Medical Student Section” (MSS).
At its 1981 Annual Meeting, the AMA House of Delegates adopted a Medical Student Section proposal to provide for the election of all five voting members of the governing council by the MSS Assembly (Chair, Vice Chair, Delegate, Alternate Delegate and At-Large Officer). The House approved bylaws language to implement the change effective at the 1982 Annual Meeting of the MSS.
At its 1984 Interim Meeting, the AMA House of Delegates adopted bylaws language to allow for a student member of the AMA Board of Trustees. The House approved bylaws language allowed for voting privileges for the medical student trustee on policy-making issues. At the 1993 Interim Meeting, the student trustee was directly elected by the MSS Assembly for the first time. The student trustee was given the ability to vote in all Board matters, including Intra-Board elections or other Board elections/selections/ nominations at the 1996 Interim Meeting.
At its 1986 Interim Meeting, the AMA House of Delegates approved bylaws language creating a medical student seat on the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs. Medical students now had a seat on all AMA councils as well as on the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
At the 1996 Annual Meeting, the AMA adopted bylaws amendments to provide for the addition of a Chair-Elect position on the Medical Student Section Governing Council. The election of the first Chair-Elect was held at the 1996 Interim Meeting.
At the 1998 Interim Meeting, the AMA adopted a resolution to amend the bylaws making the AMA-MSS Speaker and Vice Speaker ex-officio, non-voting members of the Governing Council. The Speaker and Vice Speaker have been active members of the Governing Council since the adoption of the resolution by the MSS Assembly at the 1998 Annual Meeting.
At the 2000 Interim Meeting, the AMA HOD passed policy to provide a proportional method for representing medical students within the HOD. Based on membership numbers, each designated region of the country receives a representative to the HOD in the ratio of 1 Delegate and 1 Alternate Delegate for every 2000 medical student members. The first regional student delegates were elected at the 2001 Interim Meeting and began service on their respective state delegations at the 2002 Annual Meeting.