By Christine DeCarlo, AACOM Advocacy and Public Affairs Manager
Wessley Square, MS, fourth-year student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)’s current Osteopathic Health Policy Intern, recently spoke with me about his interest in advocacy, his prospects for the internship, and his advice for motivating others to advocate.
Wessley is involved in numerous health care and higher education advocacy organizations, including the Student Osteopathic Medical Association, Omega Beta Iota, and ED to MED, and aspires to continue advocating throughout his career. Learn more about what initially attracted Wessley to advocacy and medicine, and how students today can help shape the policies of tomorrow.
Balancing Advocacy with Medical School
Being both a medical student and passionate advocate requires hard work and commitment. Wessley never loses site of his goal of becoming an emergency physician by prioritizing exams, interviews, and studying, but when he inevitably needs a break to recharge, he engages in advocacy to help him rejuvenate.
The Power of the Student Voice
A strong student voice is critical to effecting change, especially on issues that affect students directly, such as graduate student debt. To strengthen the power of your voice, Wessley recommends coalition building and not underestimating yourself.
When working to educate and engage others on policy issues and advocacy opportunities, Wessley focuses on connecting on a human level, remembering that he is one person talking to another. By being respectful and making sure your message is presented in a way that would persuade you, your chances of inspiring others increase.
If Wessley’s interview inspired you to begin advocating, we encourage you to take the next step and register for ED to MED today! You can also stay up-to-date about policy discussions and advocacy opportunities by following ED to MED on Twitter and Facebook.