Health Policy & Legislative Affairs Committee
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Health Policy and Legislative Affairs

Welcome to the National Health Policy and Legislative Affairs (HPLA) Committee webpage!

Here, you will find a variety of resources ranging from official SNMA policy statements to our guide to student advocacy, the Mobilize and Activate Advocacy Manual, which you can find under "Our Work." Our committee has a strong passion for advocacy efforts, so throughout the year you will also be able to read here about any advocacy initiatives we are working on and would love to have you get involved with!


Our committee is also tasked with the important goal of providing educational opportunities focused on health policy and structural competency. To that end, we organize various webinars hosted by strong leaders from other organizations regarding the issues we identify as “hot-topics” that the SNMA should be aware ofFeel free to check that out in our “Announcements” section.


Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us ahealthpolicy@snma.orgHope to see you back soon!


In solidarity,

Eloho Akpovi & Justin Anderson

HPLA Co-Chairs, 2019-2020




SNMA Official Statements

February 23, 2020: Joint Statement by APAMSA, SNMA, and AMSA on U.S. Response to Coronavirus Outbreak
On January 30, the U.S. State Department updated the travel advisory for China to “Level 4: Do Not Travel due to novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.” Following this advisory, President Trump declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in the United States and signed a proclamation suspending entry of non-U.S. citizens who have traveled to China in the 14 days preceding their attempted entry, except for immediate family of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. 
The President also mandated quarantine and medical screening of U.S. citizens upon their return to the U.S. Those who have been in China’s Hubei Province in the 14 days preceding their return will be subject to 14 days of mandatory quarantine. Those who have been to other areas of mainland China in the 14 days preceding their return will be subject to screening at the airport of entry and to heightened monitoring for 14 days. 

Although a national response to this outbreak is certainly warranted, we are concerned that policies restricting international travel and collaboration may further escalate tensions by fomenting xenophobia out of proportion to the domestic threat of the outbreak. Through this approach, the U.S. is continuing a decades-old tradition of public health policies that encourage the blanket portrayal of Asian immigrants as carriers of terrible diseases. The American Civil Liberties Union also warned that these drastic measures may impinge on civil liberties. Jay Stanley, a ACLU political analyst, urges that “any detention of travelers and citizens must be scientifically justified and no more intrusive on civil liberties than absolutely necessary.” Plus, it is still unclear how much benefit would be gained from these restrictions and quarantines in addition to promoting basic hygiene practices alone.

In recent weeks there has been an increase in media reports of aggression against APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American) community members, particularly those of Chinese descent. These incidents have occasionally become violent, as in the cases of a man who assaulted a Chinese woman in a New York City subway, and an Asian American teen who was hospitalized following an assault by fellow high school students accusing him of having coronavirus. Similarly, there has been a rise in microaggressive actions targeting APIA students on university campuses, including demeaning comments from faculty and peers about Chinese dining and cultural practices. And some news outlets themselves have depicted the outbreak in ways that feed this paranoia, including using images of people wearing face masks without proper context and using blanket images of local Chinatowns in stories about the virus. 

We are also alarmed that there is no longer a federal official in charge of coordinating our national response to global health crises and pandemics. The Trump administration eliminated this office two years ago, leaving us with a patchwork of agencies struggling to mount an organized response to the coronavirus outbreak. We therefore call for immediate reinstatement of this position, as this would improve dissemination of information to local governments hoping to respond to cases that emerge. This would also strengthen our ability to collaborate closely with international health organizations and follow their recommendations as more data on the coronavirus becomes available through medical journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). 

Together we can quell this global outbreak through the work of many agencies collaborating to limit its spread while developing a vaccine or novel antivirals, not by closing borders in ways that feed fear and prejudice.

Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA)
Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)


Additional links:

Dear SNMA family and friends,

Our mission is simple. The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians. The Senate Appropriations Committee has drafted legislation that proposes funding cuts to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII and Title VIII programming. These funding cuts directly jeopardize our mission, strip underserved communities of resources, and most importantly disrupt vital pipeline efforts necessary to develop needed minority health professionals.

The Student National Medical Association stands in strong opposition to any funding cuts that jeopardize HRSA Title VII and VIII health professions diversity and workforce development programs.

The Senate has proposed the elimination of Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), a federally funded program that has been around since 1972. This pipeline program focuses on developing underserved and minority students to enter various health fields such as nursing, medicine, dental medicine and other various allied health fields. Most importantly, this program seeks to increase proportionately the representation of minority and disadvantaged populations in these professions. HCOP focuses on three key milestones of education: high school completion; acceptance, retention and graduation from college; and acceptance, retention and completion of a health professions program. HCOP programs can be found all over the United States from HBCU institutions like Morehouse College to PWI institutions such as the University of Connecticut (UCONN), and my own Alma Mater, the University of California, Berkeley. To many students, these programs provide them with the only opportunity of exposure to the health profession field. Like many devastated students nationwide, I am a graduate of the HCOP program and can attest to the many benefits that the HCOP program offers. I know for a fact that without HCOP, I wouldn’t have had the professional development to create a half a million dollar chronic disease management program immediately after graduating from college, the preparation to apply to medical school, the support to pursue a master’s degree in public health and ultimately the mentorship that helped develop me into a student leader willing and competent to serve as your National President!

On November 21, 2019 funding for HCOP will run out and without Title VII and Title VIII these programs will end. You can learn more about the legislation and how it is moving through the legislature here.

Protect this funding. Denounce all funding cuts. Make your voice heard. Sign the AAMC petition. The proposed legislation cuts funding for a variety of health sector agencies and departments and most importantly threatens grants and scholarship programs directly focused on filling gaps in our healthcare workforce.

Omonivie H. Agboghidi
SNMA National President




Health Policy & Legislative Affairs Co-Chair

Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University



Health Policy & Legislative Affairs Co-Chair

Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine




The HPLA is organized into four national subcommittees, with each subcommittee charged with their own mission and tasks:


Responsible for committee fundraising and administering the biannual Health Policy & Advocacy (HPA) grant. Chair 2019-2020: Jummy Akinsulire (



Responsible for HPLA programming for Regional Medical Conferences (RMEC), National Advocacy Forum (NAF), and Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC), including the annual poster forum. Chair(s) 2019-2020: Christy Nwankwo & Arham Siddiqui (



Responsible for SNMA advocacy opportunities, membership education for health policy and structural competency, and the HPLA fellowship program. Chair(s) 2019-2020: Katie Bernal & Daryl Turner (HPLA Vice



Responsible for the creation, revision, and distribution of the National policy statements and SNMA’s response to current events and liaising with other student-led medical organizations as well as the AMA and NMA in addressing current events and policy changes. Chair(s) 2019-2020Kelley Butler (




The goals of the HPLA include:

  • Spearheading all of the SNMA’s advocacy efforts;

  • Educating members about legislative and policy developments affecting medical education and health care;

  • Seeking opportunities to increase the SNMA's voice, brand, and influence in health care and education advocacy;

  • Identifying key legislation and court cases and decisions regarding medical education, health care reform, and minority and women's health; and

  • Providing opportunities for medical students to advocate at the local, regional, and/or national level.



Not sure about the policies on advocating on the behalf of the SNMA? Please check out our organization's advocacy guide, Mobilize and Activate, which goes over limitations as a 501(c)3 organization and protocols for advocacy work and responses to current events! 

Mobilize & Activate Advocacy Manual.pdf




The SNMA is proud to join the #MedOuttheVote campaign with the American Medical Student Association (AMSA)Citizen Physicians, and other healthcare provider and student organizations. Our vote as healthcare providers and students is so important, so take the pledge at If you're interested in finding out how to coordinate a voter registration drive at your institution, send us an email at!



***The Spring 2020 Grant Application is now OPEN!***

DUE: March 15, 2020 @ 5 PM EST

The Health Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee (HPLA) is excited to announce our bi-annual grant to provide financial assistance to SNMA and MAPS chapters interested in developing policy and advocacy projects! There is one grant available each Fall and Spring. Chapter projects should align with the mission and goals of the SNMA and should ideally relate to one of the efforts coordinated by HPLA. For more information, email

Past Awardees:

  • Fall 2019: Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM) at Temple University SNMA Chapter's Stress Management & Self-Care Leadership Academy
  • Fall 2018: Ohio University (OU-HCOM) SNMA Chapter’s Science Discovery Club



***The 2019-2020 application cycle is now CLOSED!***

Please check back in June 2020 for the 2020-2021 application cycle.


The SNMA HPLA Fellowship is designed to provide select individuals exposure to health policy and advocacy from the perspective of a non-profit organization as well as the experience of organizing an advocacy project. This program offers the opportunity to gain a more thorough understanding of a medical career in health policy and an introduction to current health policy, grassroot efforts, and critical health policy issues. It is the aim of this program to develop leaders in the Student National Medical Association that will influence the future of healthcare through advocacy and activism efforts that will systematically address the inequities faced by underserved communities. Questions can be sent to


Current Fellows (2019-2020):

  • Corey Boggs, Ross University School of Medicine
  • Leah Carter, Trinity School of Medicine
  • Jasmine Douglas, Saint Louis University School of Medicine
  • Edwige Dossou-Kitti, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School
  • Nuha Fariha, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Past Fellows:

  • Rachel Buckle, Emory University School of Medicine, 2018-2019 Fellow
  • Kelley Butler, UC Irvine School of Medicine, 2018-2019 Fellow
  • Fred Loor, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, 2018-2019 Fellow



Members of the HPLA Committee develop policy statements on key public health issues related to the mission of the Student National Medical Association. Proposed policy statements are peer-reviewed and only become official SNMA policy after approval from the SNMA Board of Directors (BOD). Our policy statements are used to represent the position of the SNMA on specific public health issues and highlight major health disparities in the country and globally.


Current Policy Statements:


The national Health Policy & Legislative Affairs committee aims to uphold SNMA's mission to create culturally competent & socially conscious physicians that serve underrepresented minority communities. In order to accomplish this, it is important that we make official policy statements on topics in social medicine. For this reason, we are enlisting the help of SNMA membership: We are looking for passionate individuals to draft official policy statements on public health topics such as obesity in minority communities, the negative health impact of poor education and many more. If you have an idea for a statement we do not currently have or would like to edit a pre-existing one, please contact us at




Stay tuned!



  • November 19, 2019: Dr. Brian Williams on Resiliency
  • May 16, 2019Dr. Dowin Boatright from Yale Med on Implicit Bias & Microaggressions – (click here for recording)
  • February 10, 2019: Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Talk on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – (click here for PPT)
  • November 05, 2018Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) Webinar on "Meet the Candidates" –  (click here for PPT)
  • September 30, 2018: NMA Webinar for Intro to Health Policy & Advocacy – (click here for PPT)



  • Health Policy Podcasts:
    • What The Health?: Health policy analysts discuss the past week's happenings in US health policy.
    • 2 Docs Talk: Drs Kendall Britt and Amy Rogers examine current medical concerns and health policies taking into consideration current best medical practices and the priority of best doctor-patient relationships.
    • The Business of Healthcare: Health policy experts provide their insight on current events in health policy.
    • Reconstructing Healthcare: Companies are interviewed as they offer innovations that may address the ever increasing US healthcare costs despite much being left to be desired when it comes to healthcare services.
    • The Week in Health Law: Podcast hosts discuss health law and policy issues of the week.
    • Dr. Death: Laura Beil narrates the real life cautionary tale of neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch who was able to kill and/or injure 33 people before becoming the first MD prosecuted and sentenced to life in prison for his gross negligence as a physician. Due to investor interests and hospital systems who wanted to stay clear of the burden of litigation, he was able to practice 3-4 years as patients continued to suffer life altering injuries and even death.
    • The Healthcare Policy Podcast: Health policy experts provide insight on how current health policy could affect new trends in healthcare.
  • Race, justice, poverty and access to medicines: How Students Can Hold Universities Accountable for Promoting Equitable Health Systems: A discussion on race, justice, poverty, and #access2meds with guest speaker, Gloria Tavera from Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM). Learn how students can hold universities accountable for promoting #healthequity(click here for recording)
  • How Medical Students Are Pushing for Industry Regulation on Campus (click here for PPT; click here for recording)
  • Does Diversity Matter for Health? Experimental Evidence from Oakland (click here for recording)
  • Addressing Transportation to Improve Community Health (click here for recording)
  • Messaging to Advance Health Equity in Public Policy (click here for recording)
  • Amplifying the Impact of Partnerships: A Framework for Researchers (click here to recording)
  • Maryland Center For Health Equity's HAIR Campaign: No Research On Us Without Us (click here for PPT; click here for recording)
  • Restorative Justice for Academic Medicine (RJAM) Series
  • Developing the Pipeline for Health Professionals to Advance Hispanic Health (click here to recording)
  • A Public Health Approach for Firearm Injury Prevention (click here for recording)
  • Key Issues in Science and Research Policy: Data Sharing and Foreign Government Influence (click here for recording)