Michael Bagg, a third-year medical student at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), received the Texas Medical Association Medical Student Section (TMA-MSS) Student of the Year Award. Bagg received the award at TexMed, TMA’s annual conference in Dallas.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Bagg said. “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than being selected by my peers for an achievement award.” 

Since 1998, TMA-MSS has recognized an outstanding student member who excels in furthering the section’s goals and policies to improve Texas’ health care system. The section aims to engage students in organized medicine by encouraging their involvement in local county medical societies, TMA, and the American Medical Association (AMA). 

Bagg joined TMA in 2017. Since that time, he has become an active member of the TMA-MSS Chapter at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. He is a delegate for UTHealth in the AMA House of Delegates’ Medical Student Section (AMA-MSS) and serves on the AMA-MSS Council on Legislation and Advocacy. 

He also is active in the local Harris County Medical Society (HCMS), serving as a member of the HCMS Board of Socioeconomics. 

Anish Patnaik, past president of the McGovern Medical School TMA-MSS Chapter, nominated Bagg for the award because of his efforts to educate medical students about gun violence and prevention and through public outreach on the issue.

Bagg said, “Like many Americans, I’ve been increasingly frustrated by the epidemic of gun violence in our country, and I wanted to be part of the solution. I believe physicians have an incredible opportunity to address difficult issues, such as gun violence, because our efforts are rooted in professionalism and we prioritize evidence-based solutions.” 

Bagg co-created a preclinical curriculum about gun violence for McGovern Medical School, one of the only courses in the country to educate medical students on the issue. The class, which is in its second year and has been attended by more than 100 students, addresses such topics as treatment of injuries and threat identification. He also wrote an op-ed published by the Houston Chronicle following the Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting in May 2018. 

Patnaik praised Bagg for continuing the difficult conversation about gun violence. “He keeps the dialogue apolitical and sticks to the facts, highlighting the emphasis he places on professionalism in advocacy,” Patnaik said. 

Jonathan Eledge, the alternate delegate for AMA-MSS Region 3 who also nominated Bagg, said he embodies the spirit of TMA. “Michael is an excellent representation of our politically determined, passionate, and scientific community that continues to educate one another in our fight for better health care,” Eledge said. 

Bagg graduated from the University of Denver in 2016 with a bachelor of arts degree in international studies and integrated sciences. He is a member of the McGovern Medical School graduating class of 2021. 

-Based on a news release by the Texas Medical Association