Upstate medical students Daniella De Jesus and Elaine Rodriguez have a lot of goals, and they’ve just checked this one off their list:
Form a campus chapter of the national Latino Medical Student Association.
Now they could use some help with the rest — raising awareness, advocating for students of color, enriching life on campus, reaching out to the community to help underserved patients … and having some fun along the way.
“LMSA welcomes involvement from the entire Upstate community, not just the College of Medicine,” said Daniella, a third-year medical student. “Regardless of what aspect of healthcare we are pursuing, we can all play a role in educating the public and one another while promoting awareness about social, political and economic issues as they relate to Latino health.”
The chapter’s next meeting is Jan. 23, with details forthcoming on its Facebook page. Information is also available by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As future healthcare professionals, we felt that although Upstate had dedicated programming to educating us about the diversity of our current and future patients, there was still much more to be done,” said Elaine, a first-year medical student. “We viewed this opportunity to not only sensitize the medical community to the differences of this underserved community, but to also contribute to student life here at Upstate.”
The chapter hopes to work with other student organizations here (plus the Office of Multicultural Affairs) and at other universities in the region. Connecting with pre-med students at Syracuse University is on the to-do list.
“Many minority students lack guidance when it comes to pursuing medicine, so we hope to demystify the process and provide these students with the support they need to be successful,” Daniella said. “We also hope to have some of our Upstate members participate on the national level by attending LMSA conferences.”
There are also plans to have some fun.
“LMSA is also very excited about organizing a Salsa Night as a way to encourage students to learn more about Latino culture while also having a good time,” Daniella said.
For the 2012-13 school year, Daniella is president of the chapter’s executive board and Elaine is vice-president. Leonardo Meehan is secretary; Andrea Buenrostro is treasurer, and Gonzalo Saavedra is community service chair.