Emboldening a New Breed of Physicians

If we are to achieve health equity, we need to begin with medical education: empowering future physicians to make change, challenge the status quo and harness innovation.

We’ve been on a mission to educate, train and support medical students since 1970, and, with the help of inspired supporters like you, we’re expanding our reach every day.

What we do

Progress is all around us — cross-disciplinary innovations that are transforming the ways we deliver health care. Yet, these advances fall short if physicians aren’t fluent in them. 

The AMSA Foundation exists to to fill gaps in medical education through hands-on learning experiences, training programs and practical applications of innovations that advance health equity. This prepares medical students to hit the ground running as inspired, informed and culturally-competent physicians — the kinds of physicians our world is in ardent need of today.

Think: learning applications of big data to solve public health challenges; the practice of identifying social determinants of health; hands-on, community based research projects side-by-side with physicians and experts — to name a few.

Our Model

We support the work of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) — an association of roughly 350,000 members; future physicians at over 600 medical institutions across the country and globe. We support AMSA’s work through specialized, immersive programs that champion innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration — offering members deep learning experiences not found in the classroom. 

Our work falls largely into four core areas — and often some combination therein.

Educational programs that delve deeply into urgent topics through hands-on, innovative experiences, for example: 

  • AMSA Academy
    • Educational programs that delve into timely, urgent issues often not addressed in medical school.  AMSA’s network of experts, alumni and allied partners conceive, create and implement immersive, experiential learning programs on topics that matter to future physicians. These range in size and scope — and can be customized in innovative ways. See what issues we’re tackling now.
    • The Humanistic Elective in Activism, Reflective Transformation, and Integrative Medicine (HEART-IM) educates medical students in integrative medicine, activism, and exploring the path of healing within the modern world and medical system.
  • Digital Health Project 
    • Through a partnership with Harvard, students learn to apply innovation to medicine in ways that advance equity through hands-on coursework, collaboration with innovators and experts and project-based learning in their communities.  
  • Community Research Projects
    • 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. 

Training programs for medical students to learn to lead, listen, organize, communicate and galvanize community —  locally or nationally — such as:

  • Life + Leadership Program:
    • Where medical students can learn to drive business decisions, expand financial literacy and develop vision and maintain strategy. Read more.
  • National Leadership Opportunities:
    • AMSA is student-led, student run (and has been for seven decades!) This model gives medical students the reigns — alongside the guidance, support and resources — to lead national teams, programs, campaigns and more. Learning to lead — by leading. See what this is about here.
  • Fellowships:
    • Driven medical students are paid for a year of deep immersion into specific issue or field — collaborating with experts, engaging AMSA’s tens of thousands of members, learning the art of partnership and advocacy. These can take many shapes and forms — over the years, our partner organizations have sponsored Fellows to zero in on many issues: PharmFree COI, health justice, education and research and more. Learn about the current Education & Advocacy Fellowship in partnership with Participant Media.
  • Local community leadership:
    • Each AMSA Chapter is run by a team of chapter officers. On campuses and communities across the globe, AMSA chapter officers are organizing drives, community projects, advocating for change in their states and more. See how.

Where future physicians learn to make change, lift their voices to legislators and learn to trailblaze. To name a few:

  • Action Committees & Campaigns
    • Student leaders organize in focused committees and teams to zero in on urgent issues that need change. Here, students learn to organize, plan and advocate for change through activism: meeting with legislators, building campaigns, raising voices on issues that matter to future physicians. Learn more here
  • Advocacy Training.
    • Medical students are trained to become leaders advocating for issues they feel strongly about — issues that need change. AMSA’s Scholars Programs offer opportunities to explore methods for community engagement and prepare for career as physician-advocates. Here, they can develop a project focused on a proposed piece of legislation in order to apply the skills they are learning.
  • Reproductive Health Project
    • Funded by an anonymous donor, the AMSA Reproductive Health Project offers students a wide breadth of scholars programs that prepare students to think critically about reproductive justice, abortion care and how coverage bans impact abortion access and undermine quality care, diversity and inclusion. This program also offers leadership training, advocacy workshops and mentorships for medical students interested in reproductive justice. 
  • Med-Ed Scorecard
    • AMSA, in partnership with the Beyond Flexner Alliance, is embarking on an initiative to create a first of its kind medical school scorecard based on data collected from active medical students. This scorecard will evaluate the degree to which US medical schools are addressing a range of essential issues — from environmental health and LGBTQ health issues to diversity in medical schools and student wellness — and thereby shine a light on where medical schools are falling short in adequately preparing future physicians.

Programs that inspire and support medical students — offering tools, resources and training for self care and wellness. To showcase a few:

  • AMSA Education & Advocacy Fellow in partnership with Participant Media
    • This yearlong fellowship, sponsored by Participant Media, offers a year-long fellowship for a student to delve deeply into the issues and trauma that threaten physician mental health and wellbeing. The fellow gains experience in teaching, curriculum design and grassroots organizing and leadership — while helping advance change that will benefit the mental health of our physicians.
  • Mandala Cohorts
    • For our medical student national leaders of color: we have partnered with Mandala, an organization whose core focus is supporting the mental health and wellbeing of POC. Here, students can join a small wellness group to participate in a Mandala-developed curriculum/program to talk, share and participate in a range of activities, from journaling to meditation.
    • AMSA’s Humanistic Elective in Activism, Reflective Transformation, and Integrative Medicine (HEART-IM) program focused on integrative medicine, intentional community building, social justice and activism, reflective transformation including meditative practices, and personal growth skills such as communication and intention.

Who we partner with

Organizations, businesses and individuals that share our vision of health equity — and a core belief in the next generation of physicians as a means to get there. Over the decades, we’ve worked with private foundations, corporations, federal agencies and inspired donors to conceive, create and implement bold programs with impact. Programs that have changed the course of health care for the better — programs that have changed the trajectory for countless medical influencers early in their careers. 

Interested in becoming one of our partners? Let’s connect.