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Medical students lobby DC for health care needs

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SIU medical students Alexandria Wellman, Matthew Riley and Leighton Kraft traveled to Washington, DC, to advocate for policies on behalf of Southern Illinois University as a part of the AMA MSS Medical Advocacy and Region Conference on March 7-9. At the Capitol they met with legislative aids from Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Darren LaHood’s offices to promote policies to improve health care in the regions of central and southern Illinois. Their advocacy efforts included:

  • protection and expansion of GME funding through support of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2019 (S.348)
  • ensuring access to primary care services and training through support of the Community and Public Health Programs Extension Act of 2019 (S.192)
  • encouraging that a certain percentage of its additional residency spots be reserved for new primary care residency seats — family medicine, psychiatry, and obstetrics and gynecology
  • requesting funding for the CDC to conduct epidemiological research on gun violence
  • requesting support for the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act of 2019 (S.340/H.R. 965)
  • consideration of the AMA’s request for increased pharmaceutical market competition, pharmaceutical supply chain transparency and efforts to combat anticompetitive practices amongst pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and health insurers


The trio also proposed some actions to specifically aid SIU School of Medicine and Simmons Cancer Institute in Springfield. They requested that community-based medical schools (ones that don’t own their own hospitals) be included in Section 340B of the Federal Public Health Act. This would allow these institutions to expand patient care with additional funds included in this program.


Wellman, Riley and Kraft are second-year medical students at SIUSOM. Each will be serving on the Board of Directors for the Sangamon County Medical Society for the duration of their medical school education. They will also be continuing to represent the university to the American Medical Association and Illinois State Medical Society in their respective roles. Wellman was recently elected school delegate and ISMS Student Board of Trustee-Elect for the coming year. Riley and Kraft were both recently elected as school alternate delegates.

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