Student delegates at LMSA conference

On Friday, Feb. 16, and Saturday, Feb. 17, the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) chapter at NEOMED attended the LMSA Midwest 2024 Regional Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Lauren Falcon, Emily Arellano and Max Dawson, second-year College of Medicine students, shared the following article about their experience:

The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) was created in Chicago, around the early 1980s, by students with a shared commitment to addressing challenges faced by Latino communities. This was a result of years of organizing an advocacy organization for support of Latino students in education. Today, NEOMED’s LMSA chapter joins students across the country in celebrating this rich history and working to improve health outcomes for all communities, and especially Spanish-speaking communities.

Community service, advocacy, research and mentorship remain core values across the country for LMSA chapters. Comparatively, NEOMED is a small school, so it is exciting to be able to take advantage of opportunities like presenting research at conferences, connecting with the community through health clinics, and increasing opportunities to improve Spanish skills through Spanish-speaking workshops.

Each LMSA chapter is required to choose two delegates to represent the NEOMED chapter during regional meetings and events. This includes the House of Delegates meeting in the fall and the LMSA Midwest Regional Conference in the spring. It is an incredible leadership development opportunity for NEOMED students to connect with national resources and bring new ideas to our home school. We are also able to vote on updates and resolutions that will impact chapters across the country!

NEOMED attendees shared the following reflections:

From Emily Arellano

“I felt such an incredible sense of belonging and pride being in the presence of so many who want to serve the community and uplift fellow Latinos in medicine just as much as I do. Not only did attendees learn about the issues that impact the health of the Latinx population, but also about the importance of representation in the health care workforce in tackling these issues through research and clinical practice. Furthermore, as one of the two Delegates to represent NEOMED in LMSA Midwest, I was empowered to think about how I, too, can contribute to this cause through collaboration with the other delegates and voting on motions that affect LMSA students nationwide. In attending the regional conference and House of Delegates meetings, I gained access to an abundance of resources to share with NEOMED’s LMSA, learned how to be a better leader, and was able to develop ideas to strengthen our relationship with our sister Ohio chapters. I also networked with physicians and students from various institutions throughout the country. The leadership opportunities at both a regional and national level within LMSA are chances to expand upon these connections and start building the network of colleagues you will work with one day. I plan to attend these conferences for the next two years at NEOMED and encourage future NEOMED students to do the same!”

From Lauren Falcon

“Attending the regional conference feels like a home away from home. I am filled with pride whenever I see our culture thriving, hear our native tongue being spoken, and witness our resiliency continue to shine through. We may not see each other often, but we always look after one another. I love meeting other medical students who have a desire to connect with their roots and give back to their community. Our shared values are what fill me with joy and hope for the future knowing there is a place for us in medicine that not only celebrates our accomplishments but acknowledges our hardships too. What I will be taking with me is that we all have something to offer, and our unique perspective happens to be invaluable. If you need a reminder of where you come from and why you are here, I believe this is what you have been looking for and you will fit right in.”  

From Max Dawson

“Organizations such as LMSA play a vital role in exposing future physicians to diverse populations from across the globe. My involvement with LMSA has allowed me to meet medical students from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and beyond. I’m very grateful to have been embraced by this community and learn about so many Latino cultures. The theme of this year's LMSA Midwest conference, "Juntos Levantamos" (Together we rise), highlights the importance of unity, a value that I believe all future leaders must embrace. I strongly encourage everyone with a passion for equity to become involved with their university's cultural organizations. These groups provide students the opportunity to broaden their horizons and make lifelong friendships.”

Some of the attendees’ favorite aspects of these conferences is connecting with students from different chapters and the students at NEOMED. We all travel together and attend workshops and panels that explore topics that connect us. Dedicating this time together helps us brainstorm new ideas to bring back to NEOMED and work on with other students on campus.

Even now, there are opportunities for NEOMED students to apply for LMSA Midwest executive board appointed positions. This is especially helpful for students who hope to obtain elected positions at the regional or national level. NEOMED’s chapter will also have positions open every fall and spring for all graduate, pharmacy and medical students.

To students considering leadership opportunities at NEOMED, we encourage you to take it a step further and become involved at the regional and national level.

To read more, visit the LMSA Midwest website.

We would like to offer a special thank you to our incredible members in this year’s LMSA chapter at NEOMED. We would also like to thank Iris Mirelez and Victor Torres for their endless support in all our endeavors, and especially for this opportunity to represent NEOMED at the national and regional level!

Submitted by Sophie Tayade (M1), Lauren Falcon (M2), Emily Arellano (M2) and Max Dawson (M2)



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