April 1, 2019
At the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) Spring 2019 House of Delegates in Washington, D.C., ACOM’s SOMA Resolutions Committee successfully passed two resolutions for the first time in the history of the student chapter. The two resolutions are Destigmatization of Mental Illness in Physicians and Advocating for Women’s Right to Reproductive Healthcare Access. See below for more information about each resolution.
Resolutions aim to address critical healthcare topics that affect medical students, physicians, and the general population. During their 2018-2019 term, the committee, addressed four major topics: physician mental health, women’s reproductive healthcare rights, the opioid crisis, and organ donation education.
Resolutions are requests presented at the National SOMA House of Delegates asking for a variety of actionable items involving the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), or other major organizations. These actionable items range from modifications to SOMA policies and bylaws, advocating to, or directly asking for action from the AOA, COCA, AACOM, and other association organizations. Approved resolutions become SOMA policies and move on to be presented at the AOA House of Delegates if required by the resolution. Resolutions passed at the AOA House of Delegates go on to become AOA policy.
Destigmatization of Mental Illness in Physicians
First-authored by ACOM SOMA Resolutions Committee Vice Chair Samantha Gooch, this resolution proposes that SOMA and the AOA support changing current physician licensure questions, which inherently deter medical students, residents, and physicians from receiving proper mental health care out of fear that a mental healthcare record may affect their ability to receive their medical license. The ACOM SOMA resolution asks for SOMA and the AOA to support physician licensure question changes to further destigmatize mental illness among physicians. Passing of this resolution unties SOMA and the AOA with the FSMB (Federation of State Medical Boards) and the American Medical Association (AMA) who recently released recommendations and policies that promote removal of intrusive and stigmatizing questions about past diagnoses and/or impairments and instead focus on current impairments.
Advocating for Women’s Right to Reproductive Healthcare Access
First-authored by ACOM SOMA Resolutions Committee Chair Mayen Gonzalez, this resolution asks for SOMA and the AOA to support women’s healthcare rights. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), along with many other physician organizations and the medical community, have recognized that access to reproductive healthcare is a critical component to safe and comprehensive healthcare for women. Programs in place, like Title X, allow for women of low socioeconomic backgrounds and those who face barriers to healthcare to receive crucial and safe access to reproductive healthcare services. Advocating for the safety of current and future patients is a major component of serving as physicians.