Medical students elected to national positions in AMSA

Leana Wen

Three students from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been chosen for prominent offices, including national president, within the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).

Leana S. Wen was elected national president and Andrew R. Reinink was named an associate regional trustee for Region VIII at the AMSA annual convention, held March 16-20 in Washington, D.C. Kao-Ping Chua was hired for the position of Jack Rutledge Fellow.

“The Washington University School of Medicine is privileged to educate the most academically gifted and broadly talented medical students in America,” said Larry Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Our mission is to graduate future leaders in biological sciences and medicine. It is therefore quite gratifying to see so many of our students playing a leadership role on a national scene with this important medical organization.”

The office of president and the Jack Rutledge Fellow are full-time salaried positions. Both Wen and Chua will take a one-year hiatus from medical school and relocate to the Washington, D.C., area to serve their terms.

“It’s an enormous honor for these students and a testament to their longstanding dedication to this organization,” said Leslie Kahl, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and professor of medicine at the School of Medicine. “They have both been actively involved with AMSA since coming to the medical school.”

Wen has been an AMSA member for more than seven years. As president, she will oversee the Board of Trustees, guide all initiatives of the organization, represent AMSA in all external affairs and serve as an ex-officio member on all AMSA committees.

“It was the community service and advocacy work I’ve done for AMSA that convinced me medicine was the right career for me,” Wen said. “Now that I have been in medical school for four years, AMSA continues to give me and countless other students hope for the future.”

The Jack Rutledge Fellow, one of four positions that work closely with the president, focuses on issues pertaining to universal healthcare, which is exactly what drew Chua to the job.

“It’s actually been an interest of mine for a number of years,” Chua said. “When my brother got appendicitis and had to pay a lot of money for a medical procedure, it really drove home to me the problem of being underinsured or uninsured.”

AMSA, founded in 1950, is the oldest and largest association of physicians-in-training in the United States. The student-governed, nonprofit organization of nearly 50,000 members is dedicated to the concerns of medical students and advancement of medical practice. AMSA has given more than $100 million in grants for initiatives that improve health or health care.

Washington University School of Medicine’s full-time and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.