Hey AMSA and UAEM folks,
I guess the AMSA resolution I submitted regarding Univeristies Allied for
Essential Medicine's (UEAM) mission was not attached to the last email.
It's pasted below along with a link to its main reference. Since I presume
many of you don't know what's up with AMSA's resolution process (I didn't
really know what a resolution was up until the night they were due), I've
pasted some of the relevant info about it after the resolution. If you take
a moment to explore AMSA's great website, you'll see that AMSA has a pretty
remarkable setup and it's PPP and Resolution process, similar to the US
Congress, is how AMSA gets things done. Resolutions are reviewed by each
chapter in February and then discussed and voted on when the House of
Delegates meet at the National Convention in March. I believe Caleb also
wrote a resolution about incorporating non-violence as one of AMSA's major
focus areas. We'll talk more about the national conference and our roles in
reviewing and voting on this year's resolutions at the meeting on Thursday
during lunch. It's a good way to learn how real policies are created,
passed and implemented.
I have a couple quick UAEM and Physican for Human Rights-related
announcements to make early in the meeting as I have to leave by one to make
a chiropractic appointment. See you all then.
----- Original Message -----
From: "A. Sitze" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 9:57 PM
Subject: AMSA Resolution: Universities, IP & Access to Essential Meds
Nice job -- you rock!
I sent the resolution to the tri-university list, so that the people from
Yale and Emory can look at it.
What happens now? (I.e. what's the time-line & procedure?)
Two days ago, Quy Ton submitted the following resolution to the appropriate
American Medical Student Association
House of Delegates 2003
INTRODUCED BY: Quy Ton
SCHOOL: University of Minnesota Medical School, Twin Cities
SUBJECT: University Research, Intellectual Property and Access to
Essential Medicines in Resource-Poor Settings
It is beyond dispute that we are in the midst of a global health crisis:
Millions of people around the world, the majority of them living in
developing countries, are dying because they lack access to life-saving
medications for diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Life-saving
antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS is available, but unaffordable prices
too often prevent safe and effective treatments from reaching the
populations that need them. Clearly, the current patenting and licensing
system, exacerbated by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Agreement, is not meeting the
needs of the majority of the world’s population because the world drug
market is concentrated in the North.
Universities have played early and crucial roles in developing many
HIV-related medicines, but still rely upon patents and licenses to
private-sector pharmaceutical companies to develop and market final
products. Because universities are “upstream”, they often are in position
to have early leverage over any drug that is developed and marketed. With
intellectual property (IP) rights now recognized as key levers in
determining prices, profits and access, universities face difficult
questions about how best to manage their IP policies to further their
mission of serving the public good. As yet, however, there are no
best-practices models that define specific IP management strategies
universities can adopt to promote access to medicines in developing
Students, faculty and researchers can greatly influence university
intellectual property practices and thus play an important role in
increasing access to essential medicines worldwide. For example, students
and faculty were influential in convincing Yale University and
Bristol-Meyers Squibb to announce that they would allow generic production
of stavudine (d4T, a widely-used antiretroviral drug patented by Yale and
licensed to Bristol-Meyers Squibb) and sharply reduce prices in developing
countries. The result was a rapid, thirty-fold price reduction of d4T in
South Africa and a subsequent agreement signed with a generic company to
make generic d4T in South Africa. This important change was made at Yale
without any negative consequences to the University – financial or
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PRINCIPLES REGARDING PHARMACEUTICALS AND
BE AMENDED to include:
7. Regarding University research, intellectual property and access to
essential medicines in resource-poor settings:
AMSA RECOGNIZES that Universities, as intellectual property holders, play
a crucial role in the development of new medicines and medical technologies.
How they patent and license these technologies can help determine whether
individuals in developing countries have access to the end products of
AMSA URGES Universities to utilize the following Principles, suggested by
the institutional ethos of universities, when making patenting and
licensing decisions that have potential impacts on access to essential
medicines and medical technologies worldwide:
+ University research is intended to advance the common public good, a
primary element of which is the advancement of health.
+ Global public health concerns need to be an important part of patenting
and licensing decisions.
+ The success of patenting and licensing programs should be measured
according to their impact upon public health.
+ University intellectual property policies should be implemented in a
manner supportive of developing countries’ right to protect public health
and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.
+ Technology transfer to develop capacity in developing countries is an
important part of universities’ mandate to advance knowledge and the social
AMSA URGES Universities to consider different strategies to implement these
Principles, including not patenting or allowing their licensees to patent
in developing countries, and issuing non-exclusive licenses for developing
AMSA RECOGNIZES that changes in University practices, with regards to
intellectual property, will require collective action and leadership
amongst Universities world-wide. Henceforth, AMSA URGES Universities to
act together to establish norms and implement strategies and best practices
to promote access to essential medicines in developing countries.
The Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Workshop Report:
Access to Essential Medicines and University Research: Building Best
Practices. Yale University, September 25, 2002.
Also available online at:
When AMSA members want to change one of AMSA’s policies, they write a
resolution, AMSA’s equivalent to a congressional bill. A resolution is a
written request to the House of Delegates (HOD) that asks AMSA’s membership,
through the HOD, to consider changing one of its policies. Every member of
AMSA has the right to write and submit resolutions to the HOD. This right is
a fundamental way in which the members of AMSA express their ownership of
the association. Every member’s voice is heard, and anyone can change AMSA.
Resolutions are of vital importance to AMSA because they form the policies
in the Preamble, Purposes and Principles (PPP), the official policy document
which guides AMSA. The board of trustees uses the resolutions passed in the
HOD from the previous year as a compass for the action they must take in the
following year. AMSA’s national president and legislative affairs director
use the PPP to prepare and present testimony, lobby Congress or advise other
medical groups about the opinions of medical students. Position papers and
policy summaries are based on the PPP. AMSA chapters often share the PPP
with their deans, medical schools and other local organizations. Your
resolutions will play a major role in directing AMSA for years to come.
Following are some guidelines for writing a resolution.
1. A resolution proposes a specific change in the PPP
A resolution is a written request to the HOD asking AMSA’s membership to
consider changing one of the policies in our Preamble, Purposes and
Principles. If the PPP already contains a section that addresses the topic
in question, the resolution needs to spell out exactly how the section
should be changed. If there is nothing in the PPP about the topic, a
resolution may propose that AMSA add a new section to the PPP. Before
writing a resolution, members should always read through the PPP to see if
any sections pertain to the topic of their resolution.
2. The different types of resolutions
There are three different types of resolutions, one for each of the three
PPP sections: “Constitution and Bylaws;” “Structure, Function and Internal
Policies (“SFIP”);” and “Preamble, Purposes and Principles.” If members want
to change the internal policies governing the way AMSA runs, they may write
a resolution that proposes an amendment to the Constitution or Bylaws. These
amendments require five authors and a two-thirds vote to pass in the HOD.
View a sample amendment to the Constitution and Bylaws.
If members want to amend the “SFIP” section, they may write a resolution of
Internal Affairs. These resolutions deal with the details of AMSA’s internal
policies and procedures. These resolutions require one author and a majority
vote to pass in the HOD.
The last type of resolution is the one that most members write, a resolution
of Principles. This type of resolution seeks to amend the “Principles”
section of the PPP, the section that lists how AMSA members feel about
various issues. Members interested in changing our policy on handgun
control, for instance, can look through our PPP section on handgun control
and write a resolution that spells out exactly how to change this section.
These resolutions require one author and a majority vote to pass in the HOD.
View a sample amendment to the Principles.
At the convention, authors of resolutions can work to get their resolutions
passed. On Thursday afternoon, authors are encouraged to attend the open
session of the reference committee considering their resolution. At these
sessions, authors may speak in support of their resolutions. They may also
speak in support of their resolutions on the House floor during the Friday
and Saturday business sessions. It may be more effective to lobby for a
resolution during the reference committee sessions than in the HOD since
each resolution is allotted only about 15 minutes for discussion on the
DETAILS OF RESOLUTION WRITING
TYPE OF RESOLUTION: Classify as one of the following:
a. Constitution or Bylaws Amendment - Requires five or more active members
for Constitutional amendment, one member for Bylaws amendment.
b. Resolution of Internal Affairs - Creates policy statement.
c. Resolution of Principles - Creates organizational changes and commits
resources to action in support of various initiatives.
Resolutions of principles and resolutions of internal affairs may be
compiled into the PPP; require a financial or personnel commitment from
AMSA; require a report back to the next HOD from the BOT or another
designated party. These resolutions can be used to create a study group, an
ad hoc committee of the BOT or any other change that is deemed necessary to
move an issue.
PREAMBLE: This is a concise summary of supporting evidence documenting the
need for, feasibility of, or interest in all activities and policy contained
in the resolution. The preamble has no specific heading; it simply
represents the argument for the action proposed. As such, effective
preambles are brief, to the point and cite relevant references when
necessary (please include all references at the end of the resolution). One
copy of each reference cited must be sent to the AMSA national office at
1902 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191, Attn: Carol Clarke, or sent via
email to [log in to unmask] Inappropriate preambles are excessively long;
contain inflammatory language; and make bold assertions of fact without
referenced support. The preamble should contain no specific language for
action, though it may cite (and most likely should cite) relevant language
from the PPP.
OPERATIVE CLAUSE: This clause contains the specific action recommended and
includes the exact language to be included in the PPP. There should be a
line separating the Preamble from this clause. By tradition, ALL OPERATIVE
CLAUSES BEGIN WITH THE WORDS, “THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED.” The clause should
specifically state where the language should be included in the PPP. The
clause should not refer to the preamble, which will not go into the PPP;
it's freestanding. Any specific deletions of the PPP may be accomplished by
simply asking for deletion of the relevant section, unless only certain
words are changed; then the clause should recommend a change to the new
wording. When wording is changed or added, please include the WHOLE SECTION
changed, not just the words changed. Cite the appropriate sections of the
PPP to be changed, listing exact lines and pages. If you're suggesting
additional “BE IT RESOLVED” clauses, begin them as follows: “BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED THAT...” Also, see the sample resolutions.
A fiscal note must be included at the end of the resolution if the proposed
amendment or resolution will require a financial commitment from AMSA. The
fiscal note estimates the cost to the organization. It often requires
contacting the national office to determine operating expenses.
HOW AMSA MAKES POLICY--
BEFORE THE CONVENTION
What follows is a quick overview of the AMSA policy-making process. You can
get involved in almost every step of the way. The most exciting, of course,
is to debate the policy when it goes before the HOD at convention, but there
are some important steps that happen before that.
1. Think of an idea for change
Any member can write a resolution to create a new policy, change an
existing policy, delete an old policy, change the Constitution or Bylaws, or
direct the Board of Trustees to take certain actions.
2. Look in the PPP to find the current policy (if there is one)
The Constitution & Bylaws and the Structure, Functions & Internal Policy
are the documents that defines how AMSA works. The Preamble, Purposes &
Principles (PPP) is the document that defines what our beliefs are on a wide
range of issues. It was written entirely by members who wrote resolutions
that passed in the HOD. Contact the trustees-at-large, your regional trustee
or your chapter president for more information.
3. Write the resolution!
A resolution has two parts. The PREAMBLE explains why the change should be
made or why the actions need to be taken. The RESOLVED section is the new
policy statement or what specifically you want AMSA to do. View a sample
4. Mail the resolution to the national office
This is important! The postmark deadline date to submit resolutions to the
national office is January 18, 2003. If resolutions are emailed or submitted
online, they must also be received by January 5, 2002 in Word format and
without any viruses. All resolutions received after this date will be
considered late and will not be accepted for the 2003 convention. Exceptions
to the deadline have to be approved by the BOT and must be of an “emergent”
5. All resolutions submitted by the January 18 deadline will be mailed to
the chapters at least one month prior to the convention
6. The Most Important Step: Chapters meet to decide how their delegates
will vote on each resolution.
It is extremely important that chapters meet and discuss resolutions prior
to convention. Chapters should arrive at a consensus on each resolution and
identify any changes they would like to see.
AT THE CONVENTION:
7. Regional Meetings
Regions meet to discuss the resolutions. One AMSA member records the
opinions of the region in order to report to the reference committee during
the open session.
8. Reference Committees—Open Session
The reference committees have an open session to hear testimony from all
of the regions, Board of Trustees, chapters and individual members who want
to give testimony.
9. Reference Committees—Closed Session
The reference committees have a closed session to assemble all of the
testimony and to make a formal report and recommendation on each resolution.
10. House of Delegates
The reference committees give their reports and resolutions are debated.
The resolutions are amended, wording is changed and each change is voted on.
Then, a final vote is taken and if the resolution passes….
New AMSA Policy!
The HOD is truly where AMSA’s members take ownership of the Association. As
AMSA’s official policy-making body, the HOD is a delegation of AMSA members
from each local medical chapter who meet once a year at the Annual
Convention to vote on AMSA’s policies and to elect our national officers.
The HOD is open to all members of AMSA to speak and vote. You, the members,
debate the issues, make the amendments and cast the votes that shape AMSA’s
policies. Most importantly, any member of AMSA has the right to write and
submit resolutions to the HOD. We encourage everyone to assert their right
to submit and debate resolutions.
AMSA’s policies and principles are changed only by the HOD. This body is the
sole force that determines AMSA’s official views on all issues. The Board of
Trustees (BOT) spends its year implementing policies originated in the
House. Because the House is similar to Congress, AMSA’s policies are set
when members submit resolutions to the House. Similar to bills in Congress,
a resolution is a call for AMSA to endorse a certain principle, change its
internal structure or even eliminate a past policy that is no longer the
view of the membership. These resolutions are sent to the chapters at least
a month in advance of the convention. The chapters are urged to call a
chapter meeting to review the resolutions and come to some consensus on
their feelings for each resolution.
At the annual convention, the chapters discuss the resolutions again in
their regional meeting, to come to a consensus with the chapters in their
region. On Thursday of the convention, the reference committees go into
session. The reference committees are composed of AMSA members who read and
present recommendations about the resolutions to the full HOD (i.e. like
congressional subcommittees). During the open reference committee meetings,
members can give their testimony and opinions about the resolutions, alone,
or as a representative for their region. The reference committees then
report out on the resolutions to the HOD according to the testimony they've
The HOD is in session on Friday and Saturday. Following a relaxed Robert’s
Rules of Order, the House debates the resolutions submitted by the members.
The HOD is chaired by the senior trustee-at-large with assistance from the
junior trustee-at-large and a second vice chair. During business sessions,
the delegates from each chartered medical chapter listen to the reference
committees’ recommendations about each resolution, debate about their
opinions and vote on the resolutions. Those resolutions that the House
adopts are then included in AMSA’s Preamble, Purposes and Principles (or
PPP, AMSA’s official policy document). These new policies can then be acted
upon by the BOT and AMSA staff members.