In this blog post, MD/PhD student, Tyler Zahrli provides information on his experience starting a local chapter of APSA at SLU…
I quickly began organizing a local APSA chapter at Saint Louis University after learning of this new initiative at the APSA national Executive Board meeting in Philadelphia.
Speed is essential in creating a new student organization at a university. First, I contacted the Student Government Association’s (SGA) representative appointed to manage chartered student organizations (CSOs). After obtaining the necessary information from SGA, I recruited a small group of dedicated students and a faculty adviser as well as drafted a constitution. To guarantee efficiency, I assigned tasks to the other students with short turnaround dates, developing membership recruitment strategies and funding opportunities.
Advertising has been successful through official medical school and university events, providing new students with informational flyers and opportunities to give contact information and suggestions. Funding, which comes from chapter dues, the SGA, and the university administration, is the most difficult aspect of this project. Dues of a reasonable amount will not provide funding for national membership, lunch meetings, research events, scholarship opportunities, travel awards, poster printing, and everything else that we would like to provide students. Medical students must inquire about administrative monetary support through the dean of the medical school to make a local chapter practical. And this is where we are currently.
Our Saint Louis University APSA chapter will charge $12 dues for the academic year while hopefully providing national membership to students who maintain an active membership. Our chapter will include students from undergraduate education through MD/PhD students in their clinical years. We plan on holding monthly meetings focused on research basics and professional development as well as occasional poster sessions and other educational programs. To maintain undergraduate and medical student interests, we hope to develop an “APSA Research Certificate” as an end goal for APSA student members. The amount of work is manageable, and I strongly encourage other students to take the same steps I have.
Tyler Zahrli, St. Louis University