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Greetings everyone! I’m Shaan Gandhi, and I am your Region VII chair. Originally from southwest Michigan, I now spend most of my days taking care of patients as a third year at Harvard Medical School, but in my spare time, I play badminton (yes, it is a sport, and yes, it is exciting) and explore my new New England home. I’m excited for the new year ahead, not only because it’s new but also because of major event that will take place the first week of November.

That event forms the basis of my major goal for the upcoming year – advocacy. Multiple issues related to health care policy and medical education, from reform of graduate medical education funding to the future of the Affordable Care Act, are all front and center in the presidential and Congressional elections. Even on the state level, major changes in the structure of health care financing and practice (such as Massachusetts’s recent efforts to link health care spending growth to GDP growth) are afoot. As the largest and most national organization of future doctors, we as the Medical Student Section of the American Medical Association should get involved! The decisions that are being made today will affect our futures as physicians and surgeons, and for that reason, we need to play a larger role.

After talking to many of you at our last Region meeting in January and at Annual in June, it seems that there is a lot of interest within Region VII to get much more involved in advocacy on both state and national levels, and so I, along with the entire Region council, will work hard this year to increase your opportunities to effect change not only within the AMA but also within Congress and our state houses. On the AMA front, we will piloting a new project to help you translate your ideas into actionable resolutions, and on the legislative front, we will be working  the AMA and the MSS to organize passionate students into a network of advocates for reforming medicine and medical education. So stay tuned!

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