“¡Aqui estamos!” (Here we are!) was the resounding affirmation from all celebrating the rising number of Latinos in medicine at the 12th Annual Latino Medical Student Association Conference and 44th Annual Northeast Regional Conference hosted and co-sponsored by the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.
The weekend-long event, which ran from April 7-9, 2017, brought together over 500 high school, undergraduate and medical students, as well as healthcare educators, practitioners, and sponsors like Kaiser Permanente in support of Latino representation and inclusion in the medical profession and discussion of Latino health-related issues.
“The national conference provides a collaborative environment for the creative exchange of ideas in promoting and advancing Latino and minority healthcare professionals,” said Jamil Alexis, LMSA Conference co-chair and a third-year medical student at Hofstra Northwell. “It is also a time to celebrate how far Latinos have come within the medical profession.”
Brittany Guttadauria, also LMSA conference co-chair and second-year medical student at Hofstra Northwell, agreed. “We have united to learn from one another, grow, and equip ourselves with the tools necessary to achieve greater heights.”
The meeting kicked-off with a five-hour “Mentoring in Medicine” program for more than 100 local ninth through twelfth grade students led by Adam Aponte, MD, pediatrician and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion at Hofstra Northwell. During the visit, students participated in “Lessons Learned in College and Medical School”—a medical student panel who shared their experiences and provided guidance about the road through higher education to a career in the health professions. The high schoolers also took part in workshops that included a demonstration of heart and brain anatomy and a session on how to take a blood pressure.
For pre-med and medical students in attendance, the three-day event featured various speakers and workshops on topics ranging from preparing for the medical school entrance exam and interview process to readying for residency and selecting a specialty. In addition, a wide range of hands-on workshops were offered in bio-skills development, ultrasonography, suturing, clinical diagnosis and reasoning, professional practice building, work-life balance, as well as current issues that impact Latino and underrepresented citizens such as access to quality healthcare, education and advocacy. Networking opportunities, a recruitment fair, and a scientific poster competition displaying the investigative work of nearly 40 students was also a part of a full schedule of LMSA festivities punctuated by a gala dinner and award ceremony.
“I was very proud to be a part of an event that highlights the emerging influence of Latinos in medicine and healthcare,” said Dr. Aponte. “We are a powerful voice in this country and for our community—working together, we can help achieve health equity for all.”
For more information about the Latino Medical Student Association, please visit LMSA.