From left to right: Emily Rodriguez, Carolina Lopez-Silva, and Eduardo Paredes. Photo courtesy of the author.
Carolina Lopez-Silva, guest blogger, is a third year medical student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) – Northeast held its 50th Annual Regional Conference Jan. 27–29 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Three medical students — Carolina Lopez-Silva (MS3) and Eduardo Paredes (MS2), 2023 LMSA – Northeast Conference co-chairs, and Emily Rodriguez (MS2), co-director elect for the Northeast executive board — were at the forefront of planning and executing this milestone event.
This year’s theme, “Un Futuro Para Todos: Highlighting Latino Innovation, Service, and Leadership in Medicine,” aimed to celebrate individuals who have pioneered a path forward for all Latinos in health care. The conference was an overwhelming success, with over 500 attendees (including more than 350 premedical and medical students) participating in the weekend’s breakout sessions, networking events, research symposium and exhibitor fair. These figures made this one of the most well-attended conferences in LMSA – Northeast’s history.
In addition, more than 50 medical schools, residency programs and health care organizations exhibited at our conference, providing students with unique networking opportunities at this pivotal moment in their academic careers. Our conference’s research symposium, sponsored by the New England Journal of Medicine, gave more than 40 students the opportunity to present their scientific work in front of faculty and peers, with 11 awards given to the highest-scoring projects. Furthermore, through this event, Johns Hopkins and LMSA – Northeast were able to showcase Baltimore’s charming food scene by partnering with local businesses such as Franchesca’s Empanadas, Dooby’s and Ceremony Coffee Roasters.
Our conference was also a record-breaking fundraising effort for LMSA – Northeast. As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, LMSA – Northeast will use these funds to provide more scholarships and financial assistance for our student members. Notably, at this year’s conference, we proudly awarded our largest student scholarship to date, which Hartford HealthCare generously sponsored.
Our organization was fortunate to feature some incredible speakers during our conference: Dr. Amanda Hernandez-Jones and Dr. Fidencio Saldaña, our LMSA – Northeast advisers, Dr. Mario Molina, co-founder and executive board chair of USofCare, Dr. Roy Ziegelstein and Dr. Shari Lawson, deans at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. John P. Sanchez, executive director of LMSA, Dr. Elena Rios, founder and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, and Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, chair of the Department of Neurologic Surgery and dean of research at Mayo Clinic Florida.
Eduardo, Emily and I were incredibly proud to showcase Johns Hopkins throughout our conference. We are eternally grateful for the support given to us by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine administration and the Office of Medical Student Affairs: Dean Chretien, Dean Lawson, Dean Ziegelstein, Dean Irvin, Dean Hueppchen, Robin Lenzo, John Steele and so many others who made this event possible. Last but not least, we would like to thank the LMSA – Northeast Executive Board for supporting us and helping us make this event a reality: Claudia Torres, Jordan Juarez, Edeline Sanchez, Emily Rodriguez, Eduardo Paredes, Maria Vera Alvarez, David Hollis, Michael Lesgart, Natalia Torres, Claudia Tang, George Hernandez, Fabiola Plaza, Dianne Mancheno and Edgar Tello-Ruiz.
As I walked through the research symposium and exhibitor fair, I couldn’t help but feel immense gratitude. People looked happy. We had been planning this conference for several months, and seeing it all come to fruition, with students and faculty coming together in this space, was very gratifying. I remember running into a premedical student as she was leaving the event. As we were saying goodbye, she started tearing up and thanked us for organizing the conference. She said she had never been to an event like this, and seeing so many Latina women in this space as leaders in medicine was inspiring to her and let her know that she, too, could make it to medical school.
Ultimately, we hope this conference serves as a catalyst that continues to inspire the next generation of Latino physicians, scientists, advocates and leaders: a generation that will care for Baltimore’s and our nation’s increasingly diverse population and a generation that continues to build Un Futuro Para Todos.
What They Are Saying: Hear from Eduardo and Other Attendees
- “Having spent almost the entirety of my journey to medicine as the only Latino individual in the room, welcoming a 340-person lecture hall filled with other aspiring Latino physicians is something I will never forget,” says Eduardo. “Throughout the weekend, I spoke with countless premedical students who voiced just how inspired they were after listening to Dr. Quiñones’ keynote address, attending our medical school admissions panel and networking with Latino physicians who are pioneers in their fields. Although we currently make up only 6% of U.S. physicians, there was an overwhelming belief that our generation of Latinos is the future of American health care. If Drs. Quiñones, Molina, Rios, Carillo and Sánchez could do it — so can we.”
–Eduardo Paredes, medical student at JHUSOM and 2023 conference co-chair
- “From the moment I stepped into the conference, I was struck by the level of professionalism, organization and attention to detail that you brought to every aspect of the event. Your efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all attendees were evident in every aspect of the conference, from the engaging speakers and thought-provoking discussions to the well-designed exhibits and engaging networking opportunities. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to each and every member of the Latino Medical Student Association Board for their unwavering commitment to promoting diversity, inclusiveness and excellence in health care. Your passion and dedication are truly an inspiration to us all, and I have no doubt that you will continue to make a positive impact in the years to come.”
–Marco Angulo, M.D., M.S.S., medical director of medical education at AltaMed
- “Attending the conference allowed me to discover a world I had only imagined. Being in a room filled with beautiful, intelligent and passionate Latinx confirmed to me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be on my career path and alongside those with whom I hope to lead in the field of medicine.”
–Marissa Abel, master’s student at Elms College
- “Currently, 20% of the U.S. population is Latino or Hispanic. However, only about 6% of the medical community identifies as Latino or Hispanic. This is not enough. Through events like our Annual Northeast Regional Conference, we hope to inspire the next generation of Latinx/Hispanic physician leaders.”
–Jordan Juarez, medical student at Temple Medical School and co-director of the LMSA – Northeast Regional Board
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