Newswise — A student group at UT Southwestern Medical School has been named the 2022 Chapter of the Year by the Texas Medical Association Medical Student Section.

The chapter was honored for its work on several community health initiatives. The students joined with Brother Bill’s Helping Hand organization in Dallas to combat vaccine hesitancy and misunderstanding by developing and coordinating a vaccine clinic and vaccine education to reach patients in multiple languages. They also launched the Diabetes Self-Management Program, a free clinic that helps diabetic patients in underserved communities in Dallas learn to control their blood glucose and make healthy lifestyle changes. Both programs were funded by Texas Medical Association (TMA) grants.

“During a time in which COVID-19 has forced many organizations to scale back, our chapter has fought hard to continue to expand and contribute meaningful work,” said Tanooha Veeramachaneni, a second-year UTSW medical student who nominated the chapter for the honor. Ms. Veeramachaneni is a previous UTSW TMA Medical Student Section President and current Vice Chair of the Texas Medical Association's Medical Student Section.

The chapter also reached out to the Dallas County Medical Society to initiate organized student involvement on its boards, committees, and councils; and wrote resolutions to propose new TMA policy, such as encouraging more equitable access to medication for opioid use disorder, amending an existing policy involving equal pay for equal work, increasing the autonomy of adolescent pediatric cancer patients, and protecting a physician’s ability to provide care in dynamic legal environments. Each of these resolutions was either adopted or referred within the TMA for study.

“We are incredibly proud to have our student chapter receive this award, which reflects the tremendous effort our hardworking students have put into making positive changes in the health of our community and their passion for health advocacy,” said Angela Mihalic, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Dean of Medical Students, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at UTSW.

The award was launched in 1998 and recognizes the chapter that excels in upholding the Medical Student Section’s goals and policies for a better Texas. It recognizes leadership, dedication, and service to TMA and the American Medical Association.  

UT Southwestern Medical School is ranked among the top 25 for research and the top 20 for primary care among 192 medical schools nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Graduate Schools rankings.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s premier academic medical centers, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has received six Nobel Prizes, and includes 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 2,900 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in more than 80 specialties to more than 100,000 hospitalized patients, more than 360,000 emergency room cases, and oversee nearly 4 million outpatient visits a year.