Banner is Fitz Hall, thumbnail is Danielle Rivera and Sally Midani
By Michael Haederle

Collegial Candidates

UNM Medical Students Elected to AMA Medical Student Section Leadership

Two fourth-year students in The University of New Mexico School of Medicine have been elected to senior leadership positions in the Medical Student Section of the American Medical Association.

Starting this fall, Danielle Rivera will serve as vice chair and Sally Midani will become speaker of the Medical Student Section’s Governing Council for 2021-2022.  The pair, both Albuquerque natives, have been active with the organization for several years, helping one another with crafting policy statements and tackling issues that resonate with their peers.

Each brings a unique set of experiences to the job.

Danielle Rivera (left) and Sally Midani (right)
Danielle Rivera (left) and Sally Midani (right)


Rivera, who graduated from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, taught English in Laos on a Fulbright fellowship before starting medical school, where she became active in the student AMA group during her second year.

She has written three resolutions that have been passed by the AMA House of Delegates. One concerned long-haul COVID syndrome, another called for redesigning personal protective equipment (PPE) so it fits more body types and face shapes and the third urges the federal government to better maintain PPE stockpiles.

Midani, whose parents emigrated from Syria to the U.S. before she was born, ran for the UNM Student Senate when she was enrolled in the Combined BA/MD Degree Program, and eventually served as the organization’s vice president.

“The role of speaker in the Medical Student Section is very much akin to the role of vice president on UNM’s Main Campus,” she says. “I really like the idea of being a hospitable host to all of these people coming with great ideas. No idea is too outlandish, and everyone is just met with respect, no matter where they’re coming from or what their background is.”

Earlier this year Midani drafted a proposed policy that was adopted by the House of Delegates affirming the public’s right to peacefully protest and supporting prohibitions on the use of rubber bullets and tear gas by law enforcement in crowd control.

Midani was motivated in part by her awareness of the oppression that sparked the Syrian civil war. “I really wanted to advocate for people who were exercising their right of free speech,” she says.

“The AMA is one of the biggest lobbyist groups in the country,” Rivera says. “There’s a lot of power in that to push our representatives and senators.”

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