The EMRA Medical Student Council is among the busiest branches of our bustling association, with student membership growing exponentially in recent years. This can make the position of MSC chair seem like equal parts limelight and hot seat. An interview with outgoing chair Sean Ochsenbein and incoming chair Seth Kelly brings you inside the world of the MSC.
Q. Sean, what’s the best thing about serving on the Medical Student Council?
Without a doubt it was working with the MSC student leaders from across the country. I have been blessed this past year to serve with some of the most hardworking and passionate students. It was inspiring to see the dedication so many have to ensure our future specialty is the healthiest for years to come. While serving on the MSC, it also becomes apparent how hard our EMRA/ACEP leadership works to ensure the specialty is one we are proud to join. At the end of the day, each person wants to make a difference in the world around them; the MSC provides the perfect medium to make the difference you want to make today, a reality!
Q. Seth, what expectations do you have as your term begins?
I couldn’t be more excited to continue working with our student leaders across the country, not only on the MSC but at all of our EMIGs and partner organizations as well. Each year brings new ideas about how we can best engage our student members, resident members, and faculty across the EM spectrum. As chair, I want to do what I can to strengthen the existing partnerships we’ve established and seek out opportunities to build new ones. The passion our student leaders have for EM is amazing; I see it as my role to ensure they have the opportunities and resources they need to continue creating value for all of our members.
Q. Which MSC initiative was (or will be) your favorite?
Sean: The most rewarding initiative was our collaboration with CORD/CDEM to establish an enhanced EMRA Match. This will provide students with more data on emergency medicine residency programs in an easy-to-use platform. Students can discover their best “fit” programs and access the information they want regarding residency programs. Working on this project showed me how collaborative and welcoming EM is for students, which speaks to the fabric of the specialty as a whole.
Seth: I’m a strong advocate for mentorship and have been fortunate to build relationships with a number of mentors in my career. As a student, there is no better way to learn about emergency medicine and ways to get involved than to work with those who have already traveled the same path. Our mentorship program pairs medical students with residents according to criteria they choose, such as geography, educational background, or career interest. We have remarkable members with diverse interests at all levels of training; this program is a good example of how we can provide a basic framework that allows our members to meet and work together to share experiences and expertise for the benefit of both the mentor and mentee.
Q. Why should medical students join EMRA and, more specifically, get involved with the MSC?
Sean: Because one is joining a family 3,500+ students strong, who are dedicated to their future specialty. One is never too low on the totem pole to make a lasting and measurable difference. It starts with EMRA membership and continues with participation in EMRA committees and the MSC. The MSC is the crucible of innovation and leadership. Anyone who enjoys making a difference and thrives being part of a team would love to serve on the MSC.
Seth: When I joined EMRA as a first-year medical student, I had no idea what to expect in terms of what I would be getting with my membership. The benefits and opportunities have been endless! Not only did I get some great “white coat” books that I use every day, but EMRA has been my go-to source for information about EM-related activities, research, and planning for away rotations and residency applications. EMRA has allowed me to write for EM Resident, get involved in committees, participate in advocacy initiatives with ACEP and the American Medical Association, and collaborate with emergency medicine residents and physicians who are working to improve the specialty every day. While these opportunities are available to all of our members, I encourage students to get involved with the MSC, too! It’s a great way to meet students who share a passion for EM and help peers across the country achieve success.
Q. Sean, what’s your quintessential MSC memory?
Belonging to a group of people who I can now proudly call my friends. For me, the most precious aspect of life is friendship and camaraderie while working toward a common goal. Even with all the projects and successes we had this year, my greatest memories are the laughs with friends, which makes life as rich as one could hope for. It brings me joy knowing I will have the opportunity to participate in a career with such amazing people. I am so proud to have served with the leaders of our future specialty.
Q. Seth, if you can only accomplish one thing as MSC chair, what do you want that to be?
Emergency medicine is an amazing specialty and is becoming more competitive each year. I want to make sure that we do everything possible to engage medical students across the county who are excited about EM and arm them with the skills and knowledge necessary to apply and match into an EM residency. We’ve worked hard to provide a good, solid roadmap for our student members to guide them from the first day of medical school to Match Day. By engaging the energy and expertise of our students and residents, we can continue to innovate and make the resources we provide for our members even better.