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NBC News Honors Christen Johnson During Black History Month

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Monday, February 13, 2017
 SNMA President Christen Johnson is being honored during Black History Month as a part of NBCBLK28 a series of article developed by NBC News to recognize the accomplishments of 28 African American innovators, vanguards, trendsetters and pioneers under 28 years old. According to NBC, "This year's crop is redefining what it means to be young, gifted and unapologetically Black. Make sure you check out Christen’s story on February 24th.

Christen described the being honored by NBC as "humbling and speechless,” and that the "honor is not only for me, but for SNMA.” Being President not only gives Christen a chance to change the way minorities look at medicine, but also as "[a] opportunity to inspire people.”

When asked what prompted her to go into the medical field, Christen recalls a story when she was younger and had an ear infection. She was treated by a black physician who let her play with the instruments. From that experience, Christen discovered that she didn’t chose medicine but "medicine chose her.”

To be a minority pursuing the medical field has always been intimidating for many people, and it often discourages them from pursuing the field. However, Christen described African American history as going "beyond the USA.” The "first doctors came from Africa” as slaves and were brought to treat various ailments. Therefore, the field of medicine is "in our blood.”

Remember to friend SNMA on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Tags:  #IheartSNMA  #SNMA 

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Register Today for AMEC 2017!!!

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Tuesday, November 15, 2016
 The holidays are just around the corner, but so is SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC). Each year, more than 1200 medical and pre-medical students gather for one of the nation's premiere and most diverse medical education conferences. SNMA’s AMEC 2017 will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from April 12-16, 2017.

This year’s theme, Lighting the Way: Creating Health Equity through Education, Advocacy and Service, will highlight the importance of community engagement and clinical excellence in solving the health disparities of today. The focus will be on opportunities for students to grow as future physicians while directly interfacing with the community in Atlanta and elsewhere. AMEC will also feature plenary sessions tackling the complexities of implicit bias and microaggressions in medical education, the impact of violence on public health, and the importance of physician advocacy in health care. Students will be provided with the opportunity to expand their knowledge through a host of innovative professional development workshops, yielding hands-on clinical skills and the tools to plan for their continued success.

For Attendee Registration, Click here.

· Hotel reservation at the Hyatt Regency, Click here.

For Exhibitor Registration, Click here.

More information about AMEC 2017 can be found at

  • Check out the latest AMEC updates under the Events tab at the top of the home page for details, such as Fees and Registration, Travel Accommodations, Conference at a Glance. 
  • Click the AMEC banner ad at the top of the home page to register.
  • See pertinent AMEC registration info under the Events section at the bottom of the home page.
  • View the AMEC 2017 Promotional Video in the upper right corner of the home page.
  • Browse the photo galleries from AMEC 2016.

Look for more information in the upcoming months on AMEC 2017 speakers, workshops, and all that AMEC and Atlanta has to offer. But, keep these dates in mind as you plan for the best AMEC ever!

  • Regular Registration: November 1, 2016 – March 10, 2017 (last date for cancellations)
  • Late Registration: March 11, 2017 – April 10, 2017
  • Online Registration Ends: March 24, 2017
  • Hotel Registration Rate Ends: March 28, 2017

Remember to friend SNMA onFacebook, and follow us onTwitterandInstagram.

Tags:  #SNMA 

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Channel Your Grief Into Action

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Monday, September 26, 2016
SNMA Family,

It pains me to have to address you concerning such tragedies yet again. Many of you are aware of several recent shootings of black males by law enforcement officials that have been in the news. Our hearts go out to their families and our minds have stayed on the consequences that each of these deaths have for our local communities, nation and world at large. Statistics consistently show that Black people and other people of color are disproportionately killed by law enforcement officials. This loss of lifeinevitably becomes a mental health issue for loved ones and the affected communities left to relive this trauma time and time again.

In my last statement on this issue, I assured you that the Board of Directors are working diligently to make sure that we are both present and professional when addressing these types of issues that deeply affect both the communities that we serve and for many of us, the communities from which we come.While we cannot stop the pain, grief and anger that some feel, there are some actionable and productive steps that we have taken. Following board approval at our National Leadership Institute this weekend, we will be able to provide the Mobilize and Activate Advocacy Manual. As a part of my executive agenda, a committee was formed and a manual was created to guide you in your advocacy efforts.This manual includes an explanation of a policy created for how our organization responds to these types of events, a policy for you to gain approval to use the SNMA name during advocacy programming, and an outline of safe and professional practices for activism as a student physician.This will also include all of our position statements for your review.

Our Month of Service next month has been dedicated to violence prevention.Along with chapter community service projects, we will be having town hall meetings across the country to open the dialogue between physicians, medical students, and community members as to how violence directly impacts our communities. Further we are hosting four (4) national webinars, the first being The Effects of Violence on Mental Health given by one of our founding members, Dr. Gilbert Parks on our Founders’ Day. More information will be released soon.

The SNMA Statement on Gun Violence and Statement on Policy Brutality can be found on the this website. Our hearts and our prayers are with all who have been touched by these acts of violence. As we take the time to mourn the loss of beloved lives gone too soon, channel your grief into action that promotes discussion and seeks prevention of such events. Please look for ways that you can get involved and stay informed in the coming days.

Stay Safe SNMA,

Christen Johnson
National President, 2016-2017
Student National Medical Association

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Stop The Violence

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Monday, July 11, 2016

 Recently, there have been more videos, more hashtags, three more black men killed in police custody, and now 5 police officers have been killed.

We, the SNMA, extend our deepest condolences to the families of Delrawn Small, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile, as well as the families of the officers slain in Dallas last night. We know that while our hearts are with them, this will never be enough to stop the pain that these tragedies have caused their loved ones. The Student National Medical Association has taken a strong stance against both the use of excessive force seen in these acts of police brutality and senseless acts of gun violence.

There has been much talk on social media about getting involved in the movement against these violent acts, members looking fora way to use this anger and frustration to make change. The SNMA outlined a plan to create a manual encouraging student advocacy while providing each and every one of you with the tools to know how to protect yourselves and your careers. We have organized a national ad-hoc committee that is working diligently to provide you with these materials as quickly as we can. In the meantime, please note that all of our approved policy statements can be found on the Health Policy and Legislative Affairs webpage for your review. For those who feel so moved, we also encourage you to get involved with the Health Policy and Legislative Affairs and the Community Service Committees here as we march towards our national programming, promoting solutions to the public health issue of violence in our country today. As the details unfold, please know that our thoughts are with all affected by these tragedies.

Be Safe SNMA,

Christen D. Johnson
National President
Student National Medical Association

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Thoughts with Orlando

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Wednesday, June 15, 2016

 The news of the events at the Orlando Pulse Night Club is a reminder of our mission.  In what President Obama has described as an act of terror and hate, we are reminded that these acts of senseless violence continue to impact minority communities.  Gun violence is more than an issue that can be left to legislators, it is truly a public health issue, cutting years off of precious lives.

In 2001, the Student National Medical Association adopted a position against gun violence in hopes of encouraging our participation, as an organization, in initiatives to begin to solve this issue. This concern remains today, even now as we continue to lose innocent people to gun violence. Doing our part to fight this health disparity, we have signed a petition in collaboration with over 100 other organizations to end the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ban on gun violence research. Further, we are dedicating October, our Month of Service, to efforts of preventing violence in the communities that we serve.

As we mourn the loss of 49 innocent people and support the 53 wounded, the Student National Medical Association extends our deepest condolences to the all of those affected by this tragedy. Our hearts and thoughts are with you.

Yours in SNMA,

Christen D. Johnson

National President

Student National Medical Association

Tags:  #SNMA 

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AMEC 2016 Survey & Reflections from SNMA's Immediate Past President

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Thursday, May 12, 2016
 Phew…we made it through another AMEC! After days of #teamnosleep and taking advantage of all the benefits of AMEC, I hope you have had the chance to recuperate and now feel rejuvenated to further advance the SNMA mission. With over 1,300 attendees at this year’s conference, I want to thank each of you for a successful event. Through fellowship, education, advocacy, and service, we certainly made an impact on Austin, TX! We were also able to launch the Membership Survey at AMEC.

Please take the next 15 minutes to provide your input here to help us better serve you as members in providing opportunities and membership benefits. If you are still pumped up from AMEC and interested in getting involved, check out the May President’s Newsletter from our National President Christen Johnson, as she provides advice on your next steps of becoming a SNMA leader.

In addition, AMEC is a time of celebration and reflection. We recognize several members and chapters who have worked tirelessly through the year to uphold our mission and those who have participated in our various programmatic initiatives, which currently target leadership development, research and community service. Below is a list of these deserving members and chapters who were recognized at AMEC.

SNMA Member Scholarships

Pre-Medical Member – Olugabukola (Bukky) Ajaghe

Basic Medical Sciences – Kindred Harris

Clinical Sciences – Milele Bynum

Pre-Medical Member of the Year – Omonivie Hope Agboghidi

SNMA Member of the Year – Amy Feng

MAPS Chapter of the Year – Temple University

SNMA Chapter of the Year – McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

National Committee(s) of the Year – Osteopathic Committee and Publications Committee

Board of Directors Officer of the Year – Cortlyn Brown

Future Leadership Project Fellows – Gabriel Felix, Fernado Ferrara, Simisola Kuye, Shannon Pringle, Jessica Thomas, Jasmine Bryant, Janaya Shelly, Erica Odukoya, Danyelle Thomas, Colleen Laurent, Charles Grant, Brandon Durant, Ashley Snelling, Amiah McCray, Salma Mumuni, Ruth St. Fort, Oluwabukola Ajagbe, Kindred Harris, Ashley Sylvera

Lastly, as I reflect on the year, I am grateful for all of your support and hard work in executing my vision for the organization. By supporting my Executive Agenda, we have made an impact on addressing the mental health issues that continue to afflict ourselves, as well as the communities we serve. In a time where social justice is still needed, we as future physicians can still contribute to the conversation to make a difference. As current medical students, we have the power of declaring our support for addressing these issues within the medical field. Continue to use that power and be the advocate for your patients by serving as their voice during these important conversations.

SNMA as an organization continues to make strides in this area as we have recently signed a petition urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to raise their ban on gun violence research. Join me in supporting SNMA 2016-2017 National President Christen Johnson on her endeavor in "lighting the way with SNMA” as she works to tackle several health disparities through education, advocacy, and service.

Again, thank you for your support and it was an honor to serve as your 2015-2016 National President!

Yours in SNMA,

Anthony Kulukulualani

MD Candidate 2017

Tags:  amec 2016 

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Up Close: Meet the SNMA Headquarters Staff—Jacquelyn Lendsey

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Monday, May 2, 2016
Jacquelyn Lendsey joined the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) in August 2013 as interim executive director during a time when the organization was experiencing considerable uncertainty. As a consultant replacing the previous executive director, Ms. Lendsey’s role quickly expanded to meet the complex needs of SNMA’s operations. Initially, she took stock of the organization – its finances, membership, communications, etc. – then made recommendations based on her extensive experience in the nonprofit sector. She has been successful in managing the operations of SNMA and leading several new initiatives to improve current systems.

In June 2014, Ms. Lendsey assumed the permanent role of executive director. Despite the magnitude of the work and the rapid changes at SNMA during that time, she believes her transition was seamless because of the time spent as interim director, as well as the cohesiveness of the headquarters staff. "One of the things that I think is important for someone who steps into a new organization is being able to work as a team with existing staff,” Ms. Lendsey said. "I believe the staff is great and I can’t say enough about them. It definitely made my transition very easy and very seamless.”

Her driving force at SNMA is her commitment to the mission of the organization. One of the things she enjoys most about the SNMA is its membership. With a background in education, she believes strongly in the goals of the organization and in working with student leaders. "I really like being able to share what I know about how to run an organization and have members say, ‘yeah, give me more.’” She also takes great pride in building and helping to shape people that are in the community, who will become future leaders and play critical roles in improving the status quo.

Although there are inherent challenges to running a nonprofit organization whose leadership and membership comprise students, such as high turnover and limited resources, Ms. Lendsey considers these challenges simply as parts of the job with opportunities to apply her expertise. Among many things recently, she has been busy with the roll-out of a new communications and social media platform for SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC), increasing awareness and understanding of how to use the capabilities of the SNMA website, and securing funding for the continued growth of the organization.

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Up Close: Meet the SNMA Headquarters Staff

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Thursday, March 17, 2016
  The Student National Medical Association's (SNMA) National Headquarters (HQ) building is centrally located on Georgia Avenue, in the heart of Northwest Washington, DC, equidistant to the White House and the National Institutes of Health. The HQ staff members play pivotal roles in the execution of the daily operations of the SNMA. Although the HQ staff work tirelessly and consistently throughout the year, much of the work they do occurs behind the scenes. Furthermore, as a result of their many years spent working for the SNMA, they have a wealth of institutional knowledge, having seen the SNMA change and grow over the years. In the coming month the Internal Affairs Committee will be highlighting members of the HQ staff, providing their background and perspective. We hope these snippets will offer more insight into the inner workings of SNMA and the people who help to make it all possible.

Annette McLane

Annette McLane is the Associate Director of Programs and Conference Services. The current breath and scope of the Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC), as well as its growing popularity and attendance, keep Ms. McLane very busy. Her full-time responsibilities include staging and directing the onsite management of the annual conference and working with the rest of the staff to organize the quality programming that many of us enjoy each year. She also helps to organize and manage quarterly National Leadership Institutes and Board of Directors meetings.

Mrs. McLane has been part of the SNMA for 25 years, initially working as a consultant, managing the AMEC in 1991 before becoming employed first as Executive Director. She subsequently took on several other roles, before accepting her current position. During that time, she has seen the SNMA go through many transitions, including the monumental effort to purchase and move into the National Headquarters building in 2000. One of the challenges for all the staff each year, she says, has been, and continues to be, the annual change in Board leadership. Another challenge, is maintaining a consistent and sound financial base. However, despite these challenges she remains motivated by all that the SNMA has to offer. She states:

"As a non-profit, we have no commodity to sell, no tangible product … no books or widgets, no toasters to give to new members. We have to entice members and supporters with an idea, with our mission. What we have to sell is LOVE. We sell love through the administration of our community service protocols and the learning and camaraderie enjoyed at AMEC each year. Progressively, we promote a vision that quality healthcare can be made a reality available to everyone and that students of color can and will become the best healthcare professionals in the world.”

This is a dedication, a drive and a goal that all SNMA members can emulate and share. Her commitment to the SNMA is rooted in an ideal that we should all strive for: Pay it forward.

Tags:  #SNMA  AMEC 

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AMEC 2016 is Fast Approaching, So Register Today

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Thursday, February 25, 2016
 AMEC 2016 is less than a month away! Register today or get  more information at You don't want to miss all that AMEC has to offer.

The Student National Medical Association will host AMEC 2016 on March 23-27 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Austin, Texas. Be a part of the conversation on Mental Health: Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century, as we examine the role of mental health in today's society. AMEC 2016 will provide education on integrated care and will highlight the effects of social determinants of mental health.

AMEC will also look at the scarcity of African-American men entering the field of medicine, with an eye on advocacy at the National Advocacy Forum. For attendees, workshops will focus on developing tangible skills that are applicable in both their personal lives and professional careers.

Click here to register for AMEC 2016. For more information, go to and:

Keep these dates in mind as you plan for the best AMEC ever!!!

  • Regular registration ends – February 29, 2016
  • Late online registration – March 1 - March 9, 2016
  • Onsite registration at AMEC – starts March 24, 2016
  • AMEC Hotel Reservation Rate ends – March 6, 2016

Remember to friend SNMA on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 


Tags:  AMEC 2016  Mental Health 

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#LEADwithSNMA and Leave Your Mark on SNMA

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Friday, December 11, 2015


SNMA has been a part of my life for a while now. Over the past seven years, I have planned my schedule around AMEC and regional conferences to make sure that I didn't miss the annual reunions with my fellow pre-medical and medical students, better known as my SNMA family.

Looking back, I wonder just what my life would be like without the SNMA. The answer: it would be different, but incomplete. I definitely would not be a medical student. My dreams would have fallen by the wayside after my first biochem exam. That one shook me so bad. In fact, my SNMA mentor sat with me in the library for hours helping me see that I could do this as we picked through the steps to find an unknown pka.

Ask yourself, where would you be without SNMA? Better yet, how can SNMA continue to have an impact on so many without your help, without leaders like you? Better still, how can you get involved?

Leadership in the SNMA will allow you to improve your leadership skills on the job, to network with professional organizations and physicians from all over, and (my favorite)to make lifelong relationships with other medical students.

Worried that you don't have the experience? Don't be! We have leaders ranging from one year of SNMA experience to the life-timers like me.We need your gifts and talents to ensure that our organization continues to grow, serve our communities, and impact the next generation that will diversify the face of medicine.

Interested in leaving your mark on the SNMA?

Check out the elections application for more information. It includes all of the position descriptions, the application itself, and details about the process. Thinking about leadership and not so hot on running in a national election? Look into the National Committee Chair positions.The deadline for the Election Application is February 12, 2016! After you submit your application, we will confirm you as a candidate, then have an informational call to help you along the way to #LEADwithSNMA.

Email questions to me at

Yours in SNMA,

Christen Johnson

National President-Elect

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