President’s Welcome

Welcome to the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA)

Dear SOMA membership,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the National SOMA family! As we begin our leadership journey together, take a moment and embrace that we are on the precipice of creating a new SOMA legacy cultivated by the seeds of advocacy and change you begin to sow today. The independent voice of osteopathic medical students for over 50 years, the Student Osteopathic Medical Association has grown to be recognized as an organization of excellence founded in leadership and focused on amplifying the medical student voice. Today, we represent the collective interests of more than 31,000 United States medical students to key stakeholders in osteopathic medical education and the profession. I could not be more excited, and proud, to work with you all as you take root within the organization as begin to grow as SOMA leaders.

As the membership, you are the heart of our organization – the most rewarding and important position SOMA offers. Your upcoming year will present the opportunity to plant ideas, nourish these visions for change, and bloom as student leaders influencing the future of the profession. Locally, you will have opportunities to work to combat health disparities, organize service events to aid our underserved communities, engage local stakeholders in advocacy efforts, and enrich your osteopathic medical school experience. Nationally, you represent the osteopathic medical student voice. This upcoming year will cultivate your skills as an ambassador of osteopathy and nourish your experiences as a future physician. As National President, I was in your position just two years ago. Take advantage of this opportunity to impact your community, propagate new friendships and connections, and mature as the future of the osteopathic profession.

This year is all about growth. Although the past few years have uprooted traditions, we have the unprecedented opportunity to plant new customs to take root within our organization. The vision, mission, and success of SOMA are driven by how you choose to shape the profession today. As we return to in-person programming, I encourage you to take a moment and visualize the future of osteopathic medicine you want to engage in as an osteopathic physician – the power to effect positive change is in your hands.

The Student Osteopathic Medical Association has a long history of producing the osteopathic leaders of tomorrow. As you may know, our predecessors have continued to advocate for the profession as physicians at the local, state, and federal levels. Many of those same leaders began their journey by joining SOMA so many years ago. I cannot think of a better way to honor SOMA tradition than by propagating a new generation of talented, driven SOMA membership. It is my absolute privilege to welcome each of you into our SOMA leadership legacy.

I look forward to all we will accomplish together,

Courtney Merlo, OMS IV
National President