News » SMHS Student, Elizabeth Wiley, Co-Authored Study Published in PLoS Online

SMHS Student, Elizabeth Wiley, Co-Authored Study Published in PLoS Online

on Medical Students’ Opinions About Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2011)—Fourth year GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences student, Elizabeth Wiley, J.D., M.P.H., was one of seven medical students from the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) to conduct a study on how medical students view the health care reform legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that was signed into law by President Obama in April of 2010. The study was published in the September issue of the online journal, PLoS One.

While practicing doctors have been surveyed about their views towards PPACA, there have been limited efforts to gauge the opinions of future doctors—those who will be entering practice during or shortly after the implementation of many of the provisions. The authors of the study felt it was important to determine the viewpoints of medical students as the legislation will have a significant impact on these future physicians throughout their careers.

“As physicians-in-training, I think that we have an obligation to help ensure -- through participation in the current repeal-driven national dialogue -- that the health care system that we will inherit will enable us to most effectively serve patients in the decades to come,” said Wiley.

More than 1200 medical students across ten geographically diverse schools responded to the survey. The study found that nearly 95 percent of medical students agree that the health care system in the US needs to be reformed, and while 80 percent support the PPACA legislation as a good first-step in health care reform, only 34 percent actually think it will improve health care quality. Additionally, only 53 percent of medical students report that they understand the major provisions of PPACA which seems to indicate that there is a need for further health policy exposure to be integrated into medical school curricula.

“Medical students represent the future of the field of medicine and their voices should be heard in regards to legislation that will impact their careers,” said Jeffrey Akman, M.D., interim vice provost for Health Affairs and dean of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “I am proud that SMHS students like Liz are fully engaged in creating a health care system that works for doctors and patients alike.”

To view the study:

About AMSA and the AMSA Foundation:

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Foundation, founded in 1962 to support the work and mission of AMSA, provides physicians-in-training with unique educational and career development and enrichment opportunities, research projects, and innovative community impact programs. AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online at

About the GW School of Medicine and Health Services:

Founded in 1825, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation’s capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.