Every year, the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) hosts the Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC), a national conference to bring together Black physicians, trainees, and students alike for a weekend of learning, networking, and fellowship. This year’s conference took place in downtown Atlanta, and the University of Chicago sent nearly 50 representatives: 31 students from Pritzker, 15 residents, and several faculty members. This was the first AMEC for many of the first year students, and from the success of the conference, it definitely won’t be their last.
The third year students were able to meet and exchange information with faculty representing residency programs stationed all around the country. Conference-goers were able to sit in on amazing lectures from highly-esteemed physicians of color to learn how to address important issues like the lack of minority representation in medical education. Many Pritzker students found enjoyment in speaking to the numerous undergraduates that came to our table. Some recurrent topics of these conversations were how to best navigate the final years of college and gap years, as well as how Pritzker’s dedication to both diversity and inclusion made all the difference in making the decision on where to attend.
Some of the most memorable moments of the weekend were the informal interactions between members of the University of Chicago family. The Pritzker students got a chance to foster friendships and mentorships alike with the Black residents, and the bonds shared by the SNMA family were fortified in more ways than one. We are all looking forward to next year’s AMEC in San Francisco!
By Vince Morgan, MS1
The SNMA was founded in 1964 with the goals of "supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians." During medical school, I had the opportunity to be involved in the SNMA. In fact, I was introduced to the University of Chicago Medicine and its Anesthesiology Residency program at the 2012 AMEC. It was my distinct pleasure to be involved with AMEC five years later as a resident physician.
This year, several residents from the Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Orthopedic and General Surgery specialties worked the booth and exhibition hall. We talked with medical students as well as medical school applicants, offering advice and encouragement. There was friendly competition between the various specialties to recruit the most future trainees. The UCM hosted an extremely well-attended breakfast featuring a panel discussion between residents and attendees. It was an incredible experience to answer questions and provide mentorship to so many young student-doctors at the beginning of their careers. Mixing and mingling with Pritzker medical students and UCM co-residents outside of an academic setting was an added bonus. As a member of the Housestaff Diversity Committee, I can say that we are looking forward to representing the UCM at next year’s SNMA conference.
By Steven Bradley, MD, PGY-3/CA-2