We empower medical students through hands-on, immersive educational programs that offer a broader understanding of medicine.
Here, medical students can learn — first-hand — the social and racial contexts that impact our patients’ health — and gain the skills and expertise to make positive change in medicine.
Our work at the AMSA Foundation supports the mission of the American Medical Student Association — a global organization committed to preparing medical students to become culturally conscious physicians, informed healers and advocates for equity.
Since 1964, we have furthered this mission by conceiving, guiding and funding educational programs through partnerships with allied organizations and inspired individuals. Partners, like you, who believe change is possible — if we equip and empower future physicians in bold, innovative ways.
Our story: collective changemaking.
The American Medical Student Association was originally formed under the American Medical Association in 1950 — a short-lived alliance. AMSA broke off in 1968 due to philosophical differences: the desire for a more progressive stance on racial issues driving the division.
A quest for equity in society and health care has defined AMSA since the beginning.
Since then, the AMSA Foundation has teamed up with donors, organizations and corporations to conceive, guide and fund:
- opportunities that address equity as well as other essential and tangential issues
- leadership development — as this is an essential element in helping affect long-term change
- programs that equip future physicians with the skills, knowledge and experience to become confident leaders, informed healers and ushers of a more inclusive, just society through medicine.
Creative partnerships with purpose
Browse a collection of a few of our hallmark programs from over the last five decades & get to know us.
As access to quality abortion care has been increasingly under threat in the US, AMSA, with support from an anonymous donor, continues multi-pronged efforts including educational programming and advocacy, to ensure the US continues to prepare physicians to provide comprehensive reproductive health care.
With funding from Pew Charitable Trusts, AMSA developed and in 2008 launched the AMSA PharmFree Scorecard which graded schools based on their conflict of interest policies. The initiative had widespread impact, delivering on its intent of limiting pharmaceutical marketing — pharmaceutical influence — on medical school campuses. (In fact, AMSA was referenced in Bad Pharma as helping steward transparency in this space).
In 1986, the AMSA Foundation, through an innovative partnership with Key Bank of Maine, Knight Tuition Payment Programs of Boston, and the Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae), established the first nationally discounted Health Education Assistance Loan Program available to medical students. The $200 million-dollar program offered students with high levels of indebtedness substantial savings ($50,000 to $100,000) over the life of their loan payout. The program also provided borrowers with professional counseling in debt service management and financial planning. Unfortunately, AMSA lost its allocation of the Heal moneys and the program was discontinued.
Sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service for over thirty years, AMSA has had a history of introducing health professional students to community-based primary care careers by placing them in stipended, summer positions in community-based health centers to learn about health care access issues and work on service projects.
International health fellowships were awarded to prepare medical students to work on primary health care teams in developing countries, develop cultural competence and language skills and to learn about career options in international health and community service. Sponsored by the USA for Africa, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Security Educational Program.
Through seed grants from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Department of Education and several private foundations, AMSA continues its commitment to help medical students examine their own health and well-being and facilitate the establishment of student wellness and peer support programs throughout the nation’s medical schools.