by Jessica Frankenberger
Medical conferences allow researchers, health professionals, and students to share their research and increase their knowledge in specific health fields. While undergraduate students usually do not attend conferences, some organizations are encouraging and facilitating undergraduate attendance.
USC’s Premedical Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) is one of these groups. By attending medical conferences, USC Premed APAMSA aims to bridge the gap between medical professionals and premed students, as well as keep undergraduates up-to-date on new information in the healthcare field.
“Conferences are probably the best way to stay informed on the current issues in the health field, and, especially with the upcoming changes from the Affordable Care Act, we need to stay on top of the shifting paradigm,” says Alexander Yuen, a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Biological Sciences double major and USC Premed APAMSA’s Internal Co-President.
USC Premed APAMSA is a premedical chapter of the APAMSA national medical organization, which aims to address healthcare needs of Asian Americans in the local community. As a premed chapter, USC APAMSA also engages students with professionals in healthcare careers.
Yuen stressed the many opportunities conferences provide for students to network with other students and healthcare professionals. He explains, “It provides a frank forum for premedical students and medical students to discuss current health topics and offers. This is especially true for premedical students that get the chance to inquire about their professional interests.”
Along with other medical and premed APAMSA chapters, USC premed APAMSA attends medical conferences one to two times a year. These conferences are selected for their focus on public health and policy as concerns the Asian American population. For example, according to Yuen, the most recently attended conference focused on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the Asian American population.
The medical conferences usually consist of guest speakers, expert panels, and scientific poster sessions, which address the specific conference theme.
Yuen feels that premed students could gain new insight into healthcare topics by attending medical conferences. “For me, [medical] topics are often much easier to understand when elaborated upon by experts. This to me seems to be the greatest reason to attend.”
APAMSA allows students to attend the conferences free of charge and makes an effort to cover all transportation costs, including flights if necessary. According to Yuen, students often only pay $10-$15 for conference fees. While members are given priority for transportation, all students are welcome to attend the conferences with APAMSA.
Students interested in attending medical conferences with APAMSA or becoming involved in the organization are encouraged to contact USC Premed APAMSA or attend any of their weekly Monday meetings this semester from 6:30-7:30 pm in THH 208.