Upstate medical student Cristina Fox has more than just her own studies and clinical clerkships to think about.
As the elected student representative on the Onondaga County Medical Society’s Executive Council – and a student voice in state and national medical organizations – Cristina sees the bigger picture of health care and medical education.
“I never saw myself doing this, but I got involved and then became passionate about it,” said Cristina, now a third-year. “It’s been really organic. I kind of fell into it.”
Cristina worked in the corporate world for several years after earning a degree in finance, but the notion of applying to medical school never left her. She plunged in, and has been happy with that decision ever since.
Because of her interest in health care systems from her corporate experience, Cristina became active in Upstate’s American Medical Association chapter, then the county and state medical societies. She’s traveled as a student rep to AMA meetings in San Diego and Chicago, and is scheduled to attend a conference in Honolulu in November.
“It’s completely transformed what I thought medical school could be,” Cristina said. “When I first started, I was a fish out of water. But this became an outlet and it grounded me.”
Issues that concern Cristina include adequate funding of Graduate Medical Education (so that hospitals can pay the salaries of medical residents) and the growing debt faced by medical school graduates.
With new doctors owing more in loans, Cristina said, a nationwide shortage of primary care physicians likely will continue because earnings are higher in other specialties.
That’s one of the messages that Cristina tries to spread, not only to fellow medical students but to practicing physicians. “I don’t have answers, but I can raise awareness,” she said.
She’s trying to encourage more medical students at Upstate to get involved in charting their own future. One opportunity arrives Aug. 14 — “Succeeding in Medical School,” a presentation for first- and second-year medical students featuring lunch, a talk by Cristina and a panel discussion with Upstate medical students. It’s at noon in the ninth floor auditorium in Weiskotten Hall.
E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I have a lot of ideas to build on and gain momentum,” Cristina said.