University medical students named to national positions

Three students from the School of Medicine have been chosen for prominent offices in the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).

Leana S. Wen was elected national president, Andrew R. Reinink was named an associate regional trustee and Kao-Ping Chua was hired as the Jack Rutledge Fellow at the AMSA annual convention last month in Washington, D.C.

“The School of Medicine is privileged to educate the most academically gifted and broadly talented medical students in America,” said Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the medical school.

“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. “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 its 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. “AMSA continues to give me and countless other students hope for the future.”

The Jack Rutledge Fellow focuses on issues pertaining to universal health care, which is exactly what drew Chua to the medical field.

“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,” Chua said.

Founded in 1950, AMSA 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.

The association has given more than $100 million in grants for initiatives that improve health or health care.