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March 2006

Volume 26 | Number 1

Collection of Articles

American Medical Student Association: Taking Control of You Premedical Experience
Benny Esparra
Trina Denton

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) is the oldest and largest of the student medical associations. Originally part of the AMA, the organization became independent to focus its energies on issues of the underserved, inequities in the health care system, and issues of medical education. There are chapters at many undergraduate as well as medical schools. The focus at all levels, national, regional, and local is service. At the local level this takes the form of projects such as health fairs and screenings. At the regional and national levels, there is more emphasis on legislative activism and public policy. At the national level there are a number of committees that focus on very specific issues. The national organization is run by medical students who take a year off from their studies to work on AMSA business and projects. Students wishing to establish a chapter on their campus must have five active members and submit a petition to be chartered to the national House of Delegates. Information may be found at www.amsa.org/premed/charter.cfm. Among the advantages of belonging to this organization are the monthly journal, The New Physician, and opportunities for leadership development.

The Student National Medical Association: A History of Service, a Tradition of Caring
Alden M. Landry

The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is the oldest medical student organization that focuses on the needs and concerns of underrepresented minorities. It is dedicated to increasing and retaining the number of students of color in medical school. At the pre-medical level, the primary initiative is MAPS (Minority Association of Pre-medical Students), a mentoring program that puts pre-medical students together with medical students. The national SNMA is involved in legislative advocacy and health policy issues as well as community service projects and research forums. The details for starting a MAPS chapter are outlined in detail in the article. The first steps are identifying a sponsoring medical school and contacting a regional liaison. Further information may be found at www.snma.org.

Predental Enrichment Activities of US Colleges and Universities
Lauren E. Mentasti, B.S.
Edward A. Thibodeau, D.M.D., Ph.D.

HOSA: An Inclusive National Health Professions Organization
Debra Kirchhof-Glazier, Ph.D.

HOSA (Health Occupational Students of America) is a national organization endorsed by the U.S. Dept. of Education. It distinguishes itself from other student organizations in a couple of ways. First, and most importantly, it is an inclusive organization, encompassing students interested in all types of health professions. It is not an honor society and welcomes students of the full range of academic achievement. Finally, although there are college level chapters of the organization, the majority of chapters are at the high school level. One advantage to the inclusiveness of the program is that students are introduced to a wide variety of health care careers. Even if they do not choose to enter one of these careers, they are better informed about them and better able to think as a health care team member.

Research Report: Validity of the Medical College Admission Test for Predicting Medical School Performance
Ellen R. Julian, Ph.D.

A Premed Advisor's Curriculum for Increasing Verbal Reasoning Scores
Gina Paul, Ph.D.

As the advisor and professor for the MEDPREP program for underrepresented minorities at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Dr Paul has developed a program to help students improve their Verbal Reasoning scores on the MCAT. This program, when used in its entirety, has proven quite successful. The basis of the program is that students approach a Verbal Reasoning passage as a scientific passage, focusing on the details and often missing the big picture. The program has seven major components: clue words; identification of the main idea; paragraph summary; underlining question and answer stems; analysis and rule making; reading and vocabulary logs; and diaphragmatic breathing.

Clue words (i.e. contrast and emphasis) help students identify the main idea. The basics of sentence and argument structure contribute to understanding the main idea. Students practice summarizing passages in their own words. Underlining Q&A stems helps students focus on what the question is asking and what the answer is saying in relation to the question. Students analyze their mistakes to prevent them from making the same ones repeatedly. Rules are developed to help them overcome common mistakes.


Biomedical Research as an Integrated Feature of the Undergraduate Pre-Medical Curriculum
Melissa Betz Cichowicz, Ph.D.

Highlight on a Profession

What is Occupational Therapy, Anyway?
Barbara P. Kresge, M.S., O.T.R.

Occupational therapy is a rehabilitative profession that seeks to improve or sustain an individual’s ability to perform daily functions. Taking a holistic approach, occupational therapists help people retrain their mind or body, or to discover new ways to do activities that have been affected by injury or illness. This therapy may help a person return to work, return to living without assistance, or become more independent in general.

Occupational therapists study human anatomy and physiology, the psychology of illness and disability, and the relationship of the person to her environment. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, industry, private practice, wellness programs, and adaptive sports. They work with people of all ages and a wide variety of debilitating conditions. Entry level programs are currently at the master’s level and involve two years of academic work and 24 weeks of fieldwork. Most occupational therapists are generalists, but there are specialized certifications available in geriatrics, neurorehabilitation, and pediatrics. The job outlook is very good for this field. More information may be found at www.aota.org.

Book Review: Polio: An American Story
Book by David M. Oshinsky
Review by Robert Cannon, Ph.D.

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