Prior to drafting a resolution, all potential authors should contact their Regional Delegate to determine whether a resolution is the best course of action. Sometimes it may not be necessary or appropriate to submit a resolution to the AMA-MSS Assembly for consideration. Alternatives include:
- Submitting a request for action to the AMA-MSS Governing Council
- Researching work being done by other medical societies or health care groups
- Working with state and county medical societies
- Working with the administration or other leaders at your medical school
- Co-authoring a resolution that someone else is submitting
Consider the following situations in which writing a resolution might not be the most efficient way of addressing the issue.
Situation 1: AMA policy exists, but there has not been much action.
Students are encouraged to submit a request for action to the Governing Council if there is an issue addressed by existing policy that needs follow up. Students should provide the Chair with background information about the issue, the AMA or MSS policy that covers action on the issue, and the proposed action that should be taken. It is important to note that the AMA and MSS face limited financial and time resources, so it may not be possible to follow up with every policy request. Similarly, though, it would not be possible to implement every new policy created by a new resolution in a thorough and meaningful way.
Situation 2: General AMA policy exists, but a specific issue needs attention.
Strong policies support general principles that can be applied across a variety of similar circumstances. In cases where general policy exists, but a specific issue demands action, MSS members are encouraged to bring these issues to the attention of the MSS Governing Council so that appropriate follow-up action may be taken. Such action may include encouraging the AMA to prepare a letter in support of a specific piece of legislation, disseminating existing information to chapter leaders to educate their peers, or working with the AMA to publicize our position on a certain issue.
Situation 3: The issue is important, but may be best approached by another organization or entity.
The AMA is a great venue for creating change, however some topics may be best approached by another organization or entity. In many cases we are not the appropriate group, or we do not possess the influence or expertise necessary to pursue the issue. In other cases, limited resources require the AMA-MSS to focus its energy on issues of national importance to medical students, rather than on issues of more limited scope. It is critical that, within the MSS, we acknowledge the need to focus our agenda to have a stronger impact on those issues that we have a can influence. Please contact a member of your regional delegation to learn more about different venues and vehicles for change and where your goals would be best achieved.
Students are encouraged to consider if their school, community, or state or local medical society could provide assistance with the issue of interest to them. In addition, National Medical Specialty societies may be more effective than the AMA in dealing with certain issues, since, by definition, the constellation of issues on which they spend their time and resources deals only with those related to a single specialty. Students are encouraged to check relevant medical society web sites to see what activity is already taking place. Also, students are encouraged to contact mentors, faculty, and other physician contacts to see if they would be willing to bring relevant issues to the attention of their specialty society.
Situation 4: I want to be involved!
To facilitate maximum involvement in the policy-making process, while at the same time respecting the need to prioritize issues and reduce the number of individual items of business, students are strongly encouraged to seek co-sponsors for their resolutions, and to work with their state delegations and their sections to build support for strong resolutions. Authoring a resolution is only one element of the policy making process, along with gathering research, educating the Assembly about the resolution, providing testimony in reference committee, and motivating implementation. Each of these elements is crucial to strong policy development, and many are currently left undone by resolution authors.