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After being nominated by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) for the James Slayton National Award for Leadership Excellence, Saint James is exhilarated to announce that Smit Deliwala has been selected as the 2016 winner! The prestigious honor was conferred at the AMSA National Convention in Washington, D.C. In the eyes of SJSM, this achievement is emblematic of the tireless effort Smit has put in the MD program, USMLE, extracurricular pursuits and beyond, making him a well-rounded and insightful leader of whom we can all be proud.

Shortly after the AMSA Convention, we sat down with Mr. Deliwala to learn more about how he reached this point, and his plans for the future.

SJSM Student Smit with American Medical Student Association AwardI grew up in Dubai and enrolled at Saint James SOM into the premedical program, and eventually progressed to the MD program. While at Saint James, I held various positions within AMSA, eventually becoming the chapter president. At the same time I was heavily involved with the Student Government Association (SGA), planning health fair events and mobilizing the students towards extracurricular interests each semester. I’ve always been interested in the administration and entrepreneurial aspect of medicine, and I used that interest to start multiple ventures on the island.

“After my USMLE Step 1, I decided to pursue AMSA National by attending their annual convention in New Orleans (2014). This experience allowed me to understand how AMSA functions as an organization, what they believe in and ways in which I could immediately get involved. I realized that the organization had a lot to offer and the networks that were created were amazing—at the same time, I could use the opportunity to develop my leadership skills.

“After spending a year making inroads at the organization, in 2015 I decided to run for International Regional Director for Region 1 (Caribbean). As an International Regional Director heading nearly 35 schools (chapters) there are multiple responsibilities we have, the most important being attending National conference meetings. We keep everyone abreast of how the region is functioning, focusing on growth and sustainability as we ensure members are continually engaged with our national programming.

AMSA Award Speech Smit Deliwala

“My efforts in creating a robust growth, engaging international members at our convention and an unprecedented amount of exposure for the region caught the attention of the upper management, who decided to award me with the James Slayton National Award for Leadership Excellence! This year I applied for the International Trustee board position and thankfully I was accepted. The 2016 – 2017 cycle will be about the big picture, and hammering that out alongside the other board members. This includes running a multi-million dollar organization, approving budgets, making executive decisions, planing for the entire year and in my case, making sure all of our global chapters, including my own, are being the best they can be.”

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