Medical Students Advocate for Patients at Annual Lobby Day

While rounding during the pandemic, medical students observed an increase in mental health issues at pediatric clinic visits. They also witnessed first-hand how health disparities impacted the underserved seeking preventative resources or care for Covid-19.

They were lessons that could not be learned in books or the classroom, and they laid the groundwork for Albany Medical College’s annual Lobby Day efforts. Lobby day was held virtually last month, but in the past, students have traveled to the New York State Capitol to meet with lawmakers.

Sarah Theiner, ‘23, who helped coordinate this year’s event along with other classmates on the Medical Student Advocacy Committee, said she feels it’s the students’ obligation to address the issues that will impact their ability to care for their patients in the future. “If we don’t stand up for our patients, who will?” said Theiner.

Theiner and 40 fellow classmates lobbied lawmakers over Zoom in support of such topics as mental health resources in schools, residential care for mental health patients, improved funding for environmental conservation, and full funding of Medicaid—items they collectively identified as being important to the future of medicine and the health of their communities.

“As future physicians, it’s critical for us to become involved in the medical decision-making process that’s taking place at the state level, particularly when we’re studying medicine right here in Albany — the decision-making hub,” Theiner said.

Other student members of the Advocacy Committee include first-year students Janvie Naik, Linda Jiang and Fiona Berry; second-year students Ife Adelugba and Oge Opaigbeogu, and third-year students Kristiana Hanna and Samantha Sherman.