Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association: A Network for Pre-Med Students

by Aimee Chang

The Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) provides networking and volunteer opportunities for students interested in the health professions by hosting informational events and clinics in which students can get involved.
According to USC sophomore co-President Katherine Fu, APAMSA is a student organization with two major goals.

“The first goal is to address Asian Pacific American (APA) specific health issues, and the second goal is to provide pre-med students at USC with a supportive network of faculty and upperclassmen,” Fu said.

Despite the organization’s name, “[a]nyone interested in addressing APA-specific health issues, community outreach, and alternative Eastern medicine can join,” Fu said. “They don’t need to be pre-med, or even Asian.”
Pre-medical members, in particular, benefit from APAMSA’s networking events with current medical students at the USC Keck School of Medicine, she said. These events consist of activities such as medical student shadowing and mentoring programs.

“APAMSA provides a network of upperclassmen who have gone through similar experiences, have taken many of the same classes, and who are friendly, willing to help and to give advice,” Fu said

APAMSA also facilitates interaction with faculty through various guest speaker programs, and “basically provides all the information a pre-med student needs to know, such as advice on medical school admissions and on preparing for the MCAT,” she said..

To students who are interested in getting involved with APAMSA, there are many leadership opportunities available as well as upcoming volunteer and informative events.

“APAMSA will be instituting a new e-board soon for the next school year, and is looking for new members to take on intern positions.

Current APAMSA events include promoting hepatitis B awareness and screening and expanding in community outreach and clinics through planning future activities. APAMSA is also planning a medical student panel for students who want to know more about medical school.

Said Fu: “[w]e want to emphasize that APAMSA is a very friendly, open organization and that we really encourage students to join. Rather than creating a strict or intimidating environment, we make APAMSA meetings casual so that students don’t have to be afraid to ask questions.

“Membership is also extremely flexible, although we do promote responsibility and the commitment to follow through with activities once you have signed up to attend them.”

For more information, students can visit the APAMSA website or ask questions anonymously on the APAMSA Formspring site.

To join APAMSA, students can send an email to uscpremedapamsa@gmail.com to be on the mailing list, join the APAMSA Facebook group to be notified of upcoming events, or go to one of APAMSA’s meetings, which are held at VKC 152 every other Thursday from 6-7 PM.

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