Members of BCOM’s chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) attended the SOMA Student Leadership Meeting and the National Osteopathic Student Caucus in Chicago where they helped pass seven resolutions with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) House of Delegates.
At the Leadership Meeting, BCOM third year student John Rajala led a leadership presentation along with SOMA Region IV Trustee Tyler King, a student at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine—Arkansas. Rajala, who serves as the SOMA National Treasurer, said the presentation focused on balance in leadership and personal obligations.
At the National Osteopathic Student Caucus (NOSC), SOMA as an organization submitted 13 resolutions to the AOA’s House of Delegates, including multiple resolutions that BCOM SOMA members worked on. “The NOSC is an annual gathering of osteopathic students from across the country who develop the student stance on the various resolutions submitted to the AOA’s House of Delegates,” Rajala explained. Resolutions are selected for discussion based on their impact on students/residents, the ability to warrant discussion, and their effect on medical education.
Third year BCOM student Harris Ahmed spoked on behalf of nearly 15,000 SOMA members on the floor of the House of Delegates. As a parliamentarian, Ahmed is responsible for presenting the organization’s arguments and responding in real-time to developing arguments on the floor of the House.
Of the 13 resolutions submitted, the following seven were granted “approved” or “approved with amendments” status:
• Adoption of Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) Policy
• Cannabis Reclassification: Effect on Research
• Combating Pharmaceutical Evergreening
• Comprehensive Gun Violence Reform
• Increasing the Education and Preventative Prescribing of Naloxone Use
• Recognizing Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights
• Supporting Policy that Accommodates DACA Status
Rajala said, “SOMA received a standing ovation from the House of Delegates, in recognition of the passionate and thoughtful work done by students to bring these important and timely issues forward, and for our well-researched and diplomatic representation of student opinions on the House floor.” SOMA also received the STAR Award (Strategic Team Award and Recognition) in recognition of the extensive efforts by the organization and Board of Trustees to strategically align programming and advocacy efforts with those of the AOA.
In addition to Rajala and Ahmed, two other BCOM students hold positions with SOMA’s National Board of Trustees and Board of Directors. Michael Davis, OMS-III, serves as Strategic Partnerships Director, and Megan McCord, OMS-III, serves as Region V Trustee.
Learn more about the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) at: studentdo.org