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 the "Our Work" section. 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 of.  Feel free to check that out in our “Resources” section.


Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Hope to see you back soon!


In solidarity,

Eloho  Akpovi & Justin Anderson

HPLA Co-Chairs, 2019-2021


Our Committee Goals

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 healthcare;
  • Seeking opportunities to increase the SNMA's voice, brand, and influence in healthcare and education advocacy;
  • Identifying key legislation and court case sand decisions regarding medical education, healthcare reform, and minority and women's health; and 
  • Providing opportunities for medical students to advocate at the local, regional, and/or national level. 


Our Organizational Affiliates



Official Press Releases

June 8, 2020: Solidarity Statement by SNMA (with support of AMSA, ANAMS, APAMSA, MSPA & SOMA) on Recent Events Against the Black/African American Community

We mourn the wrongful deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and thousands more, and grieve with their families as they navigate these tragic circumstances. We stand with the Black/African American community in solidarity against the acts of police brutality that have been occurring across the nation. Recently, we have seen migrant children of color separated from their families and housed in cages along the US-Mexico Border, body bags instead of PPE sent to Native American clinics, and racist acts against Asian Americans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We denounce all incidents of violence and racism against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).  Read full press release.


May 18, 2020: A Coalition of Student Organizations Launch Advocacy Tracker Tool of Public Funds for COVID-19 at Key Universities

Today, May 18th, as the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) opens virtually due to Covid-19, student health advocacy organizations launched an interactive online advocacy tool that highlights key research universities and institutions receiving taxpayer funds to develop novel diagnostics, therapeutics, and/or vaccines for COVID-19. The tool, by visualizing where public funding is being directed, is designed to be used to hold research universities and institutions accountable to their responsibilities to the public. Read the full regional press releases: UAEM EuropeUAEM North America and UAEM Australia.


May 5, 2020: SNMA & ANAMS Urge Actions Be Taken to Address Inequitable COVID-19 Outcomes Experienced by Communities of Color

We have partnered with the Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS) on a statement addressing inequitable COVID-19 outcomes, particularly Black, Latinx, and Native American communities.  Read the full press release  .


March 16, 2020: SNMA Strongly Supports No Cost of COVID-19 Testing and Management

The recent outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, a family of viruses that infect the respiratory tract and include the “common cold,” has created what the WHO calls a “controllable pandemic” – a global yet containable outbreak. Efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have minimized the extent of its spread, however, limited knowledge of the virus warrants proactive measures to ensure equitable access to medical care for marginalized and vulnerable patients in the United States. The SNMA urges federal and state legislators and health departments to immediately institute policies and protocols aimed at widespread and expeditious management in the form of prevention, testing, hospitalization, and rehabilitation at no cost to all patients that are or will be impacted by COVID-19, regardless of their insurance or documentation status.     Read the full press release.


February 23, 2020: Joint Statement by APAMSA, SNMA, and AMSA on U.S. Response to Coronavirus Outbreak

On January 30th, 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. 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.   Read the full press release.


November 8, 2019: SNMA President's Statement on the   U.S. Senate Proposed Elimination of the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP)

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.  Read the full press release.








Health Policy & Legislative Affairs Co-Chair

MD-ScM Candidate, Class of 2021

Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University


Health Policy & Legislative Affairs Co-Chair

MD Candidate, Class of 2021

Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine

Vice Chairperson 2020-2021: Corey Boggs, Ross University School of Medicine (
Policy Statements Director 2020-2021: Kayla Holston, Sidney Kimmel Medical College (

Fellowship Program Director 2020-2021: Leah Carter, Trinity School of Medicine  (




The HPLA is organized into three (3) national subcommittees,   with each subcommittee charged with its own mission and tasks:



Responsible for committee budget and fundraising and administering the biannual Health Policy & Advocacy (HPA) chapter grant for support of local SNMA chapters' advocacy projects.

Chair 2020-2021 Ehab H. Elhag  (



Responsible for developing health policy and advocacy programming for Regional Medical Conferences (RMEC), National Advocacy Forum (NAF), and Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC), including coordinating the annual health policy and advocacy poster forum.

Chair 2020-2021 Kimberly Adu-Gyamfi (

NAF Coordinator 2020-2021: Comfort Orebayo (



Responsible for actively engage the SNMA membership in advocacy and seek advocacy campaigns and opportunities (internships, electives, events, etc.) to educate SNMA membership about health policy, legislation, and other issues important to healthcare advocacy and the SNMA's mission.

Chair 2020-2021 Christina Amutah (




Not sure about the policies on advocating on the behalf of the SNMA? Please check out our organization's advocacy guide, Mobilize and Activate Advocacy, 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 CLOSED!***

Please check back in November 2020 for the Fall 2020 application cycle.


Each semester, HPLA provides 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


Previous Awardees:

  • Spring 2020 : University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine SNMA Chapter’s Black Maternal Health Initiative
  • 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 2020-2021 application cycle is now CLOSED!***

Applications were due Sunday, May 31, 2020 11:59 PM EST


Letter of Support and Good Academic Standing


The SNMA HPLA Fellowship Program is designed to provide medical student participants with an interest in activism, advocacy, and health policy, exposure to health policy from the perspective of a non-profit organization. The program offers participants the opportunity to gain a more thorough understanding of a medical career in health policy and an introduction to current health policy, grassroots efforts, and critical health policy issues. It is the aim of this program to develop leaders in the SNMA that will influence the future of healthcare through advocacy and activism efforts that will systematically address the inequities faced by underserved communities. Questions about the Fellowship Program can be sent to


Current Fellows (2020-2021):

  • Anita Luxkaranayagam, UConn School of Medicine
  • Ayesha Quraishi, Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Bisrat Woldemicheal, UC Davis School of Medicine
  • Mahima Karki, MSU College of Human Medicine
  • Victoria Okusanya, St. George's University School of Medicine
  • Yvonne Adigwu, Keck School of Medicine at USC

Past Fellows:

  • Corey Boggs, Ross University School of Medicine, 2019-2020
  • Leah Carter, Trinity School of Medicine, 2019-2020
  • Jasmine Douglas, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 2019-2020
  • Edwige Dossou-Kitti, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, 2019-2020
  • Nuha Fariha, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2019-2020
  • Rachel Buckle, Emory University School of Medicine, 2018-2019
  • Kelley Butler, UC Irvine School of Medicine, 2018-2019
  • Fred Loor, American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, 2018-2019




The national Health Policy & Legislative Affairs (HPLA) committee aims to uphold SNMA's mission to create culturally humble and 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.


Members of the national HPLA committee develop policy statements on key public health issues related to the mission of the SNMA. 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:

HPLA Needs YOU !

We are enlisting the help of the 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









Beyond Climate Surveys: Achieving Inclusion Excellence in Research and Clinical Settings
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
3:00-4:00 p.m. ET
DE&I leaders are called to move their institutions beyond compositional diversity and towards inclusion excellence. To assist with these efforts, the AAMC developed the tool FPIE (Foundational Principles of Inclusion Excellence). Through rich and transparent dialogue, the FPIE allows stakeholders to assess their institutions’ work and learning environments based on 9 principles of inclusion. The webinar’s goal is to share the experiences of schools that piloted the tool (i.e., launching strategies, implementation, and action plan execution) and invite attendees to think about how they may employ the FPIE at their institutions in research and clinical spaces.
Learning Objectives
  1. Participants will be able to gain and/or increase their awareness of the FPIE toolkit to assess and enhance inclusive excellence in the biomedical community.
  2. Participants will be able to demonstrate an understanding of potential opportunities and challenges in launching and implementing action plans to assess inclusive excellence across mission areas.
  3. Participants will be able to reflect and identify opportunities and challenges they may encounter when utilizing FPIE to achieve inclusive excellence in their institution's research and clinical environments.
Toi B. Harris, MD, Associate Provost of Institutional Diversity, Inclusion and Equity & Student and Trainee Services, Baylor College of Medicine
Antonio Bush, PhD, Director of Research, Diversity & Inclusion, Association of American Medical Colleges
Katherine B. Greenberg, MD, Vice Chair, Diversity and Culture Development, UR Medicine Golisano Children’s Hospital, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Carolyn Smith, PhD, Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine
Paul Klotman, M.D., FACP, President and CEO, Baylor College of Medicine
Creating Safe and Inclusive Environments for Faculty and Students in the Biomedical Setting
Friday, October 14, 2020
2:00-3:00 p.m. ET
With the presence of #MeToo, Time’s Up Healthcare, and diversity and inclusion efforts broadly at member institutions, leaders in academic medicine are increasingly aware of the need to create safe and inclusive environments. Recent studies have highlighted the prevalence and profound impact of sexual and gender harassment. Institutional leaders are looking for best practices to create safe environments that go beyond simply legal compliance. This webinar will explore the more nuanced aspects of creating safe and inclusive environments including gender harassment, understanding the prevalence and impact of intimate partner violence (IPV), and strategies to promote inclusion in the scientific environment.
Learning Objectives
  1. Participants will be able to identify experiences and behaviors related to gender harassment, microaggressions and intimate partner violence through data from AAMC, NASEM and the ACS Intimate Partner Violence surveys.
  2. Participants will be able to understand the nuanced ways, beyond legal compliance, institutions can create safe and inclusive environments for a holistic approach to diversity and inclusion.
  3. Participants will be able to integrate gender harassment, IPV, and/or diversity and inclusion education into current programming or institutional culture and climate efforts such as leadership development
Diana Lautenberger, MA, Director, Faculty and Staff Research, AAMC
John P. Cullen, PhD, Director, Diversity and Inclusion, CTSI, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Patricia Turner, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine
Creating Successful Institutional Culture Change Initiatives at Academic Medical Centers
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
2:00-3:00 p.m. ET
*UPDATE: This webinar date has been moved to Tuesday, November 24, to accommodate the holiday weekend.
This webinar will explore culture change initiatives in the context of a basic science setting. A panel of inclusion and diversity leaders at academic medical centers will describe and critique their own initiatives, and share their initiative’s effects, successes and missed opportunities in three areas: engaging basic scientists v. clinicians, addressing power dynamics, and understanding intersectionality. Attendees will then participate in facilitated discussions regarding any perceived need for culture change in the basic sciences, possible drivers for change, their own institution’s inclusion-based initiatives, and potential success of the programs presented at their academic medical center.
Learning Objectives
  1. Participants will be able to describe culture change and inclusion initiatives at three institutions, with a focus on basic science communities.
  2. Participants will be able to compare effects of culture change and inclusion initiatives on learners, faculty and staff that are clinically or non-clinically based.
  3. Participants will be able to consider the effects of power dynamics in academic medicine and their relationship to inclusion efforts.
Moderated by:
Julie E. Tetzlaff, PhD, Associate Dean of Postdoctoral Affairs and Graduate Career Development, Associate Professor of Patho, Medical College of Wisconsin
Elizabeth Ellinas, MD, Associate Dean of Women's Leadership, Medical College of Wisconsin
John P. Cullen, PhD, Director, Diversity and Inclusion, CTSI, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Leon McDougle, MD, Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion; Chief Diversity Officer, The Ohio State University College of Medicine; The OSU Wexner Medical Center