Watch the AMA's daily COVID-19 update, with insights from AMA leaders and experts about the pandemic.

In today’s COVID-19 update, a discussion about the AMA’s upcoming Physicians of the Future Summit and how medical students can get involved in policy-making during the pandemic. Visit the AMA Medical Student Section (MSS) for more on how the group gives voice to and advocates for issues that impact medical students.

Learn more at the AMA COVID-19 resource center.


  • Stephanie Strohbeen, chair, AMA Medical Student Section Governing Council
  • Thomas Pak, officer at-large, AMA Medical Student Section Governing Council
  • Shane McGoey, director, AMA Medical Student Section

AMA COVID-19 Daily Video Update

AMA’s video collection features experts and physician leaders discussing the latest on the pandemic.

Unger: Hello, this is the American Medical Association's COVID-19 update. Today we're talking about the AMA's upcoming Physicians of the Future Summit. And how medical students can get involved in policy-making during the pandemic. I'm joined today by Shane McGoey, director of the AMA's Medical Student Section in Chicago. Thomas Pak, the at-large officer of the AMA Medical Student Section Governing Council, and a medical student at the Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City. And Stephanie Strohbeen, chair of the AMA Medical Student Section Governing Council and a medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Wausau, Wisconsin. I'm Todd Unger, AMA's chief experience officer in Chicago. Mr. McGoey, let's start with you. Can you begin by telling us what the Physicians of the Future Summit is and what it aims to accomplish?

McGoey: Sure. Thanks, Todd. The Physicians of the Future Summit has been around for several years and was rebranded last year to the title it has now. Its focus really is to allow students at various regional levels to come together to talk about issues that affect them from a regional perspective, allow them to provide training on resolution writing and regional advocacy efforts. We're pretty excited about this program because the attendance continues to rise every year. And this coming program, we are at 532 registrants already, and we still have another week of registration, so we're pretty excited about that. And the program allows us to really allow the students to network amongst each other and to really engage in some thoughtful policy discussion.

Unger: Excellent. Mr. Pak, Ms. Strohbeen, what do you personally hope to get out of this year's summit?

Pak: Thank you, Todd. As future physicians, we'll be serving as leaders in our field and communities. This summit is aimed to empower medical students. While the summit does not have the same zeal as our normal physical event, the virtual format allows a greater group of students to connect. I'm looking forward to all these new connections and then new ideas and leaders that will arise from the summit.

Unger: Ms. Strohbeen?

Strohbeen: I agree with Thomas. I think that this virtual space is really unique in that it really allows more participation from members across our regions and I'm really looking forward to seeing how some of the leaders we already have in place find their role in mentoring some upcoming members within the MSS.

Unger: Ms. Strohbeen, there's a new joint session. Can you tell us a little bit about more what that is and what you're most looking forward to in the lineup?

Strohbeen: Yes, absolutely. So we have a fantastic lineup. Actually, we have our GRAF which is our Government Relations and Advocacy Fellow, who is a medical student who takes a year off from medical school to work in D.C. with our advocacy group, as well as Blake Murphy, our student member to the Board of Trustees. And they will be giving updates on the things that they've been working on over the past several months. We also have Dr. Maybank, who will be having a conversation about equity in health care. Dr. Andrews, who is going to be talking about how to leverage your AMA and MSS experiences for residency applications. So, definitely something to look forward to for some of our M2, M3 students.

And then we have Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who will be talking about advocacy in action. This is just an amazing human to have join us for this event. She has been recently recognized as USA Today's Women in the Century for her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis, so it should be a good conversation surrounding that. And honestly, Todd, I have to give my hat off to Thomas and the AMA staff. They have been working tirelessly with our region leaders to make sure that this all goes really well.

Unger: What are you most excited about in the lineup?

Strohbeen: I don't think that's an easy choice.

Unger: Good answer. Mr. Pak, can you talk about the joint session? How's this going to break down and work?

Pak: Definitely, and thank you for the shout out, Stephanie. So, after we have this wonderful joint session we will also have region-specific sessions. The region leadership runs these sessions, which allow the region leadership to show their drive and vision. We have seven regions. Region one is led by Vanita Shivakumar and Elisa Edwards, and they have set a marvelous panel on health equity. We have region two led by Neha Siddiqui and Michael McNamara, and they have organized a stirring presentation on how to be anti-racist and allyship.

Region three is led by Swetha Medapati and Natasha Topolski who have planned this fascinating mini TED Talk series. Region four is led by Ian Modi and Erin Bailey-Lutz who are bringing in a dynamic speaker to talk about addiction medicine and advocacy. Region five is led by Elena Tershy and Megan Shu, and they have set up an empowering talk on how to make your voice heard. We have region six led by Nate Hoff and Sammy Malaturi, and they have set up an insightful session on leadership development and advocacy and residency. And our last but not least region seven is led by Peter Chu and Leanna Night. And they have designed an interactive resolution session with AMA staff. So all of these sound great and I'd love to attend all of them, but unfortunately I can't be in seven places at once.

Unger: Well, they do sound really interesting. That's fantastic lineup, Mr. McGoey why is it so important for medical students to get involved in events like this and how has the pandemic made that need even greater?

McGoey: Excellent question Todd. And first let me just compliment Thomas and the student leadership we've worked with, they've been very creative in how they've approached this and the programs that we'll be presenting. So we're pretty excited on the AMA staff as well, to your question. I think it's important that we involve students, first off as they prepare for their careers and their continued professional development.

I think the AMA and the programs we offer, offer them the leadership skills they can further develop and use throughout their career. Additionally, as they advocate for themselves and more importantly, their patients it's vitally important for them to understand what the AMA is doing to assist in that area and prepare them as well, to collaborate in those areas as well. And then finally, as it relates to the pandemic.

I think the focus really has been on making sure they have up-to-date information because as Stephanie and Thomas will tell you their experience during the pandemic has turned their medical education upside down, it's paused a lot of challenges and a lot of issues that they didn't think they'd have to deal with. So the ability for students to interact with AMA professionals and other folks who are trying to address these issues and work on their behalf, I think is vitally important for students to be a part of.

Unger: Mr. Pak, what are your thoughts?

Pak: Yeah. So during the pandemic, medical students really have risen to the challenge. I saw students holding drives for personal protective equipment, students participating in the social media campaigns to mask up and like doing errands for health care workers and the elderly. So it's been amazing. However, we have seen the need for students to advocate for each other, such as when medical students were still required to go to clinics with limited personal protective equipment, or currently where some medical students in clinic have not been started on the COVID-19 vaccine. The Physicians of the Future Summit will help medical students develop the tools for advocacies at different fronts, whether within AMA or within the community. We are the future of health care.

Unger: Ms. Strohbeen, what are your thoughts?

Strohbeen: I think that aside from the things that have already been mentioned, I think the pandemic has really highlighted issues. And the medical student section is already very passionate about, I think we've seen a lot of issues surrounding health equity, and really bringing some light to those topics and something that our other colleagues are now able to see more clearly as to why we are so passionate about these issues. And I think that has really helped our student voice.

Unger: Yeah, it's really exciting to see this event evolve and grow. I'm really excited for you. Mr. McGoey, if students want to get involved, what should they do?

McGoey: Well, first off, there's still time to register. They'll have until January 18th to register. So they can go to the website, or, excuse me. If someone has questions, they can email us directly at [email protected] and we'll be happy to assist them. And then also be on the lookout throughout the year. The MSS provides leadership opportunities, whether it be serving on committees, both standing and convention committees, as well as other leadership opportunities at the local regional and certainly national level.

Unger: That's really important if you are a medical student, take this chance to get involved in the medical student section. And thanks again for being here again, if you have questions about the summit email, [email protected] for more information. Thanks so much, Mr. McGoey, Mr. Pak and Ms. Strohbeen for being here today and sharing your perspectives. I know it's going to be a great event. We'll be back soon with another COVID update, for updated resources on COVID-19 visit Thanks for joining us.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed in this video are those of the participants and/or do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.

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