Liberty medical student becomes student of the AAFP National Conference

Allison Smith, a fourth-year student at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), was recently elected as the student chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students. 

Smith began her medical journey with the intent to reach underserved people. She grew up in North Carolina in an area with underserved people and witnessed the mistrust these people have for the medical industry. This first-hand experience led Smith to want to pursue a career in family medicine.

“A lot of the farmers and older generation that were around kind of had some mistrust for the medical system,” Smith said. “It caused them to end up not getting the proper care they need(ed) and so they ended up with a lot of different health conditions.” 

Smith hopes to come alongside the underserved both internationally and long-term. The reason she chose to attend LUCOM was because she felt as though they supported this mission as well. Smith did not want to sit back and continue to watch diseases develop in these underserved communities. 

The application process for the position of student chair at the national conference is made up of multiple components. Interested students have to give a speech at the conference before election. They also need to be in good academic standing, and need permission from not only their own medical school, but also the state. There were only around 20 students who were qualified for the position because of how difficult it is, and Smith was the only one to finish the application process. 

“You have to make it to the national level by a certain point in order to apply,” Smith said about part of the qualifications for the role of student chair. 

Mentoring and networking played a crucial role in Smith earning the position. Before becoming student chair, Smith held a position in the student congress of the AAFP’s national conference, and she also held many other leadership positions in the medical field throughout her career. It was from here that her mentor encouraged her to apply to the position of student chair. 

The position of the student chair comes with many responsibilities including, but not limited to, conducting votes at the national conference, serving as a member of the AAFP Commission of Education, coordinating and making decisions related to student activities to help plan the national conference and attending the business sessions of the student congress of the National Conference. 

“I get to wear a bunch of hats,” Smith said. “Our biggest role at national conference will be being the presiding person over our student and resident congresses respectively.”

Smith describes that along with a lot of preparation and planning before the national conference, she will be leading the voting portion of the conference. She has been long preparing for this role. 

Through much time and preparation, Smith has achieved many milestones in her career, one of her personal greatest being the role of the student chair at the AAFP national conference. She encourages other students to keep going and follow the Lord through the doors that he opens. 

“Don’t stop trying. Just because one door closes, doesn’t mean another won’t open up,” Smith said, to encourage rising medical students.

Barnhart is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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