by Donald Rodriguez, ISTP, Juhi Gupta, MS1, Itzel Lopez-Hinojosa, MS1, and Katherine Brito, MS1
From February 1-2, 2019, the Pritzker School of Medicine hosted the 29th Annual Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) Midwest Regional Conference, welcoming 160 premedical and medical students, 20 presenters, and 22 exhibitors to our campus. The theme was “Unicos, Unidos, y Orgullosos: Celebrating Diversity in Medicine,” which integrated LMSA’s mission to unite and empower Latinx students across the Midwest through service, mentorship, and education.
Conference activities began on February 1 with a medical student-networking mixer DJ’d by Pritzker’s own Yazan Eliyan, MS1. On Saturday, February 2, opening plenaries featured John Paul Sanchez, MD, MPH from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Aida Giachello, PhD from Northwestern University, discussing the importance of Latinx representation in medicine and the health disparities that affect the Latinx community, respectively. Participants engaged in capacity-building workshops focusing on resilience, nutrition across cultures, and opportunities to combine research and clinical practice, among other topics. Our conference ended with Harold Fernandez, MD, a cardiac surgeon from Northwell Health in Bay Shore, NY sharing his personal journey as an undocumented immigrant from Colombia and encouraging attendees to acknowledge their roots, fight for their families, patients, and communities, and overcome any obstacles to become the physicians that underserved populations need.
Pritzker’s commitment to support extraordinary students of color, dismantle health care disparities, and strive to create a culture of compassionate physicians was evident throughout this conference. Pritzker’s LMSA chapter wants to thank Walter Parrish, Nikeela Oliver, Monica Vela, MD’93, and several speakers from Pritzker, UChicago Medicine, and beyond for allowing us to enhance the visibility of and expand the familia of current and future physicians dedicated to improving Latinx and Hispanic healthcare.