LEAD Student and Resident Program

Learn Engage Advocate Develop

The Tennessee Medical Association and its affiliated medical societies offer programs to help students and residents get engaged in organized medicine without creating additional financial burdens or distractions from their education or training.

Participants gain relevant experience to bolster their resumes, become better equipped to successfully transition into practice, and position themselves as leaders in the next generation of advocates for the profession.

How it Works

  • Medical students and resident physicians are encouraged to participate in a number of approved activities at no cost or obligation.
  • Members who complete at least five (5) different activities while in medical school or while completing their residency will receive a certificate of achievement.
  • Members who demonstrate exceptional achievement may earn additional recognition during the annual meeting of the TMA House of Delegates 
There is no application or sign up required. Coordinate your desired program(s) on your own and simply fill out the activity tracker as you complete activities. TMA and your local medical society will verify the activity and keep a record of progress. Certificates of completion will be awarded at TMA's Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates. 

Interested in serving on the Medical Student or Resident & Fellow Section Governing Council?

  • New positions are appointed in May of each year
  • Students, contact MSS-Chair, Jennings Dooley for more information 
  • Residents and Fellows, contact RFS-Chair, Nicole Caton, DO for more information 

Program Activities

Visit the Tennessee State Capitol During the Legislative Session

From January through April each year, TMA staff representatives stay visible on Capitol Hill to lobby on behalf of member physicians and their patients. The General Assembly considers hundreds of bills during the legislative session that positively or negatively affect the practice of medicine. Contact us to shadow a TMA Doctor of the Day or to schedule a separate visit. It’s a great opportunity to see how the legislative process works and to meet your state legislators.

Attend A Local Medical Society Meeting

TMA comprises dozens of county and regional medical societies that meet a few times per year to discuss local medical issues, hear from speakers, network and socialize with peers, and to propose policies and action items for the TMA House of Delegates, Board of Trustees or committees to consider. Contact the officer(s) in your local society to learn more about what opportunities are available. Guests are always welcome, so feel free to invite a fellow student or resident to tag along.

Participate in a Grassroots Effort by Contacting a Legislator

TMA often calls on members to write letters, send emails, post on social media or make phone calls to their legislators expressing support or opposition to a bill. Your voice is important; coordinate with us on a particular effort that you are passionate about. For more information about grassroots efforts, contact Alexa Stole.

Submit an Article to Tennessee Medicine Magazine or e-Journal

Tennessee Medicine is a quarterly magazine edited and produced by TMA physician members and staff. The editorial team accepts submissions from all TMA members, including students and residents. The magazine is distributed to approximately 4,000 members in print and is available for free online. The e-Journal is an online publication featuring multispecialty, peer-reviewed research articles and scientific case studies with a global readership. Contact Managing Editor Katie Brandenburg for more information about editorial calendars and how to submit an article to the magazine or e-Journal.

Attend the TMA House of Delegates

TMA’s House of Delegates gives physicians from across the state an opportunity to gather as a professional group to present and debate policies that affect the practice of medicine and the delivery of patient care in both Tennessee and the United States. Each component medical society is entitled to representation in the House of Delegates based on size (membership count). Students and residents may be able to serve as delegates for some component societies or specialty organizations. All TMA members are welcome and encouraged to attend as spectators.

Recruit a New Member

TMA is an organization of physicians, by physicians, for physicians, and while students and residents are not required to pay annual membership dues, those who get engaged early are usually the members who eventually become leaders in their local and state medical societies. Talk to your peers about what organized medicine is all about, bring them to an event, and get them signed up as members. We’re stronger together.


TMA’s political action committee raises money to help elect and retain candidates to the state legislature who are friendly to the medical profession. Students can join IMPACT for as little as $15. Contact Kelley Hess to learn more about how to get involved.

Volunteer in a Political Campaign

There is no better way to learn about politics than to volunteer in a political campaign. Choose a candidate you support and get an inside look at how medicine and politics intersect. The more you understand about the inner workings of local, state and federal government, the better advocate you can be for yourself, your patients and your profession. Send proof of your involvement in the form of an email or letter from a campaign staff representative to Kelley Hess.

Submit a Membership Recruitment Proposal

TMA and local medical societies are always looking for new ways to recruit members. Tell us how you think we could get more doctors to join TMA, including specific strategies for communicating the value proposition, how you would implement and ways to measure the results. Submit your ideas to membership@tnmed.org.

Attend TMA's Annual Day on the Hill

Organized medicine’s biggest advocacy event of the year takes place each March. Hundreds of doctors descend on Capitol Hill to meet with legislators, attend committee meetings and hearings, and lobby important healthcare issues. This free, one-day event is a great opportunity to see how physicians can positively influence the legislative process. Learn more at tnmed.org/dayonthehill.

Volunteer with a Local Public Service Project

Local medical societies offer various ways to get involved in healthcare-related charitable causes. Medical societies in Tennessee’s major metropolitan cities, for example, operate charitable foundations and other programs to connect low-income, uninsured patients to a network of community-based medical clinics, physician specialists, collaborating hospitals and other partners. Project Access programs have orchestrated hundreds of millions of dollars in care for underserved patients, and rely heavily on volunteers. Contact Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis or Nashville to inquire about ways to get involved.

Not a TMA Member?

You must be a member to participate in the LEAD program.


Activity Tracker

Click the button below to log your progress each time you complete a LEAD Program Activity. 


Medical Student Section


Resident and Fellows Section



Meg Book-Smith
LEAD Staff Liaison 
Advocacy Administrative Assistant