February 10, 2016
Via University of Cincinnati Health News
The University of Cincinnati chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) will host a Midwest regional conference Feb. 26-28, 2016, at the College of Medicine. The theme for this year’s conference is "Creating Your Identify as Future Health Leaders.”
LMSA is a national, student-governed organization, founded to represent, support, educate and unify Latino medical students in the United States. The organization also strives to educate all medical students about health issues affecting Latinos and advocates for the rights of Latinos in health care in the United States.
"Our hope is to encourage medical students, pre-med students, residents and other health professional students to consider attending this conference designed to build cultural competency among health professionals who are charged with improving healthcare for Latino residents in the Midwest and beyond,” says Yasmany Cartaya, a second-year medical students helping to organize the event.
The UC chapter of LSMA was founded in 2011 and is part of the association’s Midwest region which consists of medical students from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
"The conference is not just for Latinos,” says Cartaya. "Everyone is welcomed to attend. Many non-Latino health professionals will encounter and be asked to provide exemplary care for Latino patients. Understanding coupled with compassion leads to better health outcomes.”
The three-day event begins with a meet-and-greet session Friday night, Feb. 26, at the Kingsgate Marriott on UC’s medical campus. Most activities will occur on Saturday, Feb. 27, beginning with a registration at 7 a.m. and followed by a morning welcome address from Chris Lewis, MD, assistant dean of diversity and inclusion in the College of Medicine.
Lewis, founder of Village Life Outreach Project Inc. a local non-profit that has been reaching out to provide health care and education to people in the East African nation of Tanzania since 2004, will present "Creating a Professional Identity in Medicine: The Global Example.”
The event’s keynote speaker, Zelia Correa, MD, PhD, associate professor in the UC Department of Ophthalmology, will present "What Does It Take to Be a 360 Degree Leader?” Other activities include presentations about the medical school application process, a discussion centering on the need for a single payer insurance system in the United States, a tour of the UC Medical campus and an overview of an elective in Spanish and Latino health offered by the College of Medicine.
A mini-health fair will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon at San Carlos Borromeo Catholic Church, 115 W. Seymour Ave, Cincinnati.
"I am very interested in inspiring high school and undergraduate students attending the conference,” says Sandra Zoubovsky, a second-year medical student and organizer of the conference. "I want them to know they can make a difference in the Latino community by becoming professionals who can offer high quality health care.”
Zoubovsky says undergraduates and med students can also start making a difference right away. Participating in community service projects are an option, but students can also be leaders in shaping what they learn while in school, she says.
Conference participants will hear from Aynara Chavez Wulsin, an MD/PhD student in the College of Medicine, who with a fellow med student, worked with faculty to create an elective in medical Spanish and Latino health in the College of Medicine.
Started in 2014, the elective is a three-year longitudinal experience, integrated with regular medical school curriculum. Students in the elective receive training in medical Spanish, didactics in topics related to care of Latino patients and complete service learning at community agencies involved with Latino patients.
The medical training in Spanish encompasses a 40-hour online course as well as a four-week intensive medical Spanish course. The summer intensive course is also open to residents with an interest in improving their medical Spanish skills.
"Doctors, nurses and other health professionals who understand Latino culture and can speak the language are in a better position to help Latino patients who often have higher rates than non-Latino whites of manageable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and asthma,” says Zoubovsky.
According to a study in the journal Academic Medicine, the number of Latino physicians has dropped significantly during the past three decades. In 1980, there were 135 Latino physicians for every 100,000 Latinos in the United States, but by 2010, that figure had dropped to 105 Latino physicians for every 100,000 Latinos, the study reported. During that same 30-year period, the national rate of non-Latino white physicians increased from 211 to 315 for every 100,000 non-Latino whites, according to the study.