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. 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




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!***

[check back in June 2020 for the 2020-2021 application cycle]


The SNMA HPLA Fellowship is designed to provide select individuals, particularly those with an interest in Health Policy and Advocacy, exposure to health policy 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 and cc


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.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




November 19, 2019: "Resiliency" with Brian Williams, MD



  • 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)