Via the national lobby organisation De Geneeskundestudent, Amir Abdelmoumen has spent three and a half years lobbying for medical students all over the Netherlands. He is currently president of the Student Council at Erasmus MC. This is his final year as a student. The Student of the Year nomination feels like a lifetime achievement award to Amir. His response: “Amazing”.
Sense of justice
As president of De Geneeskundestudent, Amir arranged compensation for resident doctors (successfully, because the resident payment rose from zero to a hundred euros). He also lobbied for the return of a lottery system to allocate places to medical students, and he highlighted the importance of the #MeToo movement in the medical world. “But I didn’t do that alone”, he quickly adds. “I always worked with a team.” Together, they put a lot of hours into the projects.
Studium Generale and EM are looking for the Student of the Year. Not someone who excelled with high grades or a lot of study credits, but a student who has selflessly committed themselves to others. This can be within the study, outside the study, in student life, in a personal capacity or something completely different. The polls are now open!
“I’m driven by my sense of justice”, says Amir. “I hate it when people aren’t treated fairly. I am always looking for ways to counter such unfairness.” He mentions the lobby to bring back the lottery system for allocating study places. “Decentralised selection promotes discrimination, according to a study by the Ministry. Students with rich parents are more likely to be selected for Medicine. One of the reasons is that they can afford extra tutoring.”
Accessibility is a frequently recurring theme in the subjects that Amiri gets involved in. In the faculty council, assessments in residencies have been an important focus this year, particularly after news items about prejudice and racism.
Amir puts heart and soul and a lot of his time into participation councils and lobby organisations. “I did my residencies part time, but that meant giving up my holidays for two years. We achieved a lot, but I was always in ‘on’ mode.” It feels good that medical students appreciate his hard work and have demonstrated that by submitting nominations.
“Medical students know: if shit happens, go to Amir”, says Amir. When students have an issue, they come to him. “I’m quite assertive, and compared to other students, I don’t really worry what specialists think. Research has shown that the further medical students are in their studies, the less they talk to doctors about possible problems. You depend on those people if you want to make a career.”
Before Amir started as a columnist at Medisch Contact, various doctors advised him to write under a pseudonym, so that it wouldn’t damage his career. “Which is very strange because I’m just doing my job. I don’t want to give institutions a bad name; I want to work on improvement in the long and short term.”
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Lobbying for PhD students
After the summer, Amir will be finishing his second study Molecular Medicine. He will be taking a break from the world of participation councils for a while. “I then want to do a PhD. So, it won’t be long before I’m in a network for PhD students, but first some time out. For a bit.”
Find out more about Amir:
What do most people not know about you? “That I was once in the circus. In years 5 and 6 of secondary school, I performed all over the Netherlands as an acrobat and juggler. But I couldn’t combine it with my studies. Now I train once a week. During my residencies, I don’t have time for it.”
What is your favourite colour? “Red. Although I don’t know why. I did a test once which revealed that I was the colour red, which stands for a decision maker and leader.”
What films or series do you like to watch? “I never actually watch films or series. I do play piano for half an hour every day. Every two weeks I have a lesson, although that stopped too during my residencies. I taught myself at secondary school, and later had lessons.”
Planner or spontaneous? “Planner. I plan every day of every week. I also schedule free time. Bouldering, social things, I put them all in the diary. I can’t do couch potato.”