Student serves as American Medical Association delegate, discusses health-care policy

April 4, 2014 | Features, News, UToday, Medicine and Life Sciences
By Samantha Watson

As the sole delegate for the American Medical Association (AMA) Women Physicians Section, Carolyn Payne represents a group of more than 67,000 women doctors.



Payne is a third-year medical student in The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

“She is an unparalleled talent at this early stage in her career,” said Dr. Claudia L. Reardon, immediate past chair of the American Medical Association Women Physicians Section Governing Council. “I know of no other AMA sections that elected their medical student representative as their delegate to the AMA House of Delegates.”

Payne was elected as the Women Physicians Section’s inaugural delegate to the AMA House of Delegates last fall during her second consecutive one-year term as the medical student representative of the section’s eight-person governing council.

As delegate, Payne represents the Women Physicians Section at the annual and interim meetings of the AMA House of Delegates. At the meetings, she testifies, debates and votes on policies on behalf of the group of women physicians.

“My favorite thing about being involved with the Women Physicians Section is that our section is uniquely positioned to advocate specifically on behalf of issues that are important to women physicians and women patients,” Payne said. “I enjoy this work because as an aspiring ob-gyn and female physician, I have an opportunity to help develop smart and compassionate health policy in areas that will directly affect my medical practice and the patients I care for.”

Payne was selected by the section at-large through electronic ballots and emails. She plans to run again to serve a second term as delegate.

“She has the rare and wonderful combination of not being afraid to push the envelope in suggesting policy initiatives that may not be popular in all circles while also understanding political limits that exist and appreciating the importance of incremental change when working toward large, long-term goals,” Reardon said.

Payne is no stranger to health-care policy. In 2012, she completed an internship with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Washington, D.C. She said the experience gave her a better understanding of how to more effectively advocate for women’s health.

In the future, Payne seeks to ensure all women have access to the health services they need, and that legislation acts as a catalyst, not a barrier, to women receiving that care.

“As a future ob-gyn, providing safe and comprehensive care to my patients is of the highest priority,” Payne said. “I want to be able to follow best practice guidelines when caring for my patients, and much legislation surrounding reproductive health — specifically around abortion — currently prevents me from doing so.”

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