UM Medical Students Meet State Legislators for FMA Legislative Visit Day

Six Miller School students joined medical school classmates from across the state for the Florida Medical Association’s Legislative Visit Day at the Florida State Capitol.

Jenna Bordelon, Jessica Li, Gaurav Singh, Richa Taneja, Eric Weiss and Laura Stone were selected to represent the University of Miami at the exclusive event for FMA Medical Student Section members.

Stone, who described the experience as “impactful and motivational,” said the visit helped her realize how much hard work and collaboration are required to formulate health policy. “I also felt re-energized as a future physician and advocate for both my patients and my profession,” said Stone, who is vice chair of the Florida Medical Association Medical Student Section Governing Council.

During the visit, the students met with state legislators, including Senators Aaron Bean, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health Policy, Rene Garcia, and Gwen Margolis, and Representative Eduardo Gonzalez to discuss health issues, such as the Florida Needle Exchange Initiative, a grassroots campaign launched by four Miller School students to convince state lawmakers to allow the transfer of clean needles and syringes to people who inject illegal drugs.

“Being able to discuss the needle exchange program with our legislators was especially rewarding, since the legislation is founded on the research and dedication of our own schoolmates,” Stone said.

The group also attended committee hearings, including the Health Innovation Subcommittee hearing that passed a cancer drug parity bill, and a lecture by FMA President Vincent A. DeGennaro, M.D., who is affiliated faculty for the Miller School’s Department of Surgery, and Chief of Staff and Assistant Chief of Surgical Services at the Miami VA Healthcare System.

Each year, the Florida Medical Association Legislative Visitation Program allows students from Medical Student Sections at six Florida universities to visit FMA headquarters to see firsthand how the association gives its members a strong voice in state legislation, and medical, ethical, and legal affairs.

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