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Lauren Nelson, a third-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently attended the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition (NCE), where she served as an assistant district representative on the Medical Student Subcommittee (MSSC).
The AAP NCE is an annual pediatric conference for physicians, residents, medical students, nurses and allied health members giving practical updates and reviews of pediatric practice, research, and advocacy. The 3-day conference includes over 350 educational sessions, including practical hands-on learning and networking, in addition to the largest pediatric technical exhibit of its kind.
The MSSC works within the AAP to develop and provide medical resources for medical students. Students across the United States are represented by the subcommittee’s 10 districts, with each district featuring both a district representative and an assistant district representative. Nelson serves as assistant district representative in district 10. “It was an awesome experience to get to meet in person with the medical student sub-committee leaders that I communicate with frequently,” Nelson said.
Nelson also worked as the medical student ambassador to Dr. Alisa Acosta during the conference. Dr. Acosta is the associate program director for the pediatric residency program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Acosta, along with other panelists, gave medical students the opportunity to have residency application questions answered by the experts.
Nelson was grateful for all of the networking and learning opportunities she experienced in meeting with pediatric leaders, as well as fellow students during the conference. “It is important to surround yourself with others who share your passion and work ethic, as this helps you stay goal-oriented and motivated,” Nelson said.
Medical students in the AAP are part of the Section on Pediatric Trainees (SOPT), which includes medical students, residents and fellows. Within SOPT, the medical student subcommittee has a myriad of opportunities for medical students to get involved. Nelson encourages all medical students to get involved with the AAP.
“We’re always looking for medical student contributions to our quarterly newsletter, and there are several workgroups within the medical student subcommittee that always have projects going on that need medical student help. I am happy to put medical students in touch with the appropriate workgroup leader if they would like to get more involved,” Nelson said.
Nelson is very grateful for the opportunity to learn more as she brings knowledge and awareness of pediatric issues back to the USA community. “Since being involved with the NCE, I’ve realized how important advocacy is in pediatrics. Kids need a voice to advocate for them.”
For more information about the AAP, SOPT and MSSC, click here.
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