Conference on campus focused on health disparities, underserved populations

March 17, 2017  //  FOUND IN: UMHS News

Michigan Medicine’s Office for Health Equity and Inclusion — also known as OHEI — is committed to providing opportunities for populations currently underserved in health care.

The office sponsors a number of organizations that help carry out this mission — organizations like the Latin American Native American Medical Association (LANAMA).

LANAMA was founded to increase the enrollment and success of Latino and Native medical students at the U-M Medical School through service, mentorship and community. It also strives to address the alarming health disparities in both of those communities.

Toward those ends, LANAMA recently hosted the Midwest Regional Conference of the Latino Medical Student Association on the medical school campus. The event helped to draw 160 medical students and undergrads from across the Midwest with a theme of “Creating comunidad through mentorship and research.”

“We were focused on showcasing U-M leadership in mentorship and research,” said Grace Keeney-Bonthrone, a U-M medical student and leader of LANAMA. “That way, we hope to attract more students and faculty to the Michigan Medicine family who are interested in relieving health disparities.”

University President Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., and David J. Brown, M.D., associate vice president and associate dean of OHEI spoke passionately at the conference about the importance of diversity in the medical community.

Additionally, Justin Brigham Dimick, M.D., chief of minimally invasive surgery, discussed how those who don’t fit the stereotype in surgery are innovating the medical field and panels gave attendees advice on how to use their unique experiences to shine during resident and pre-med application processes.

The event was also dotted with lectures and workshops on policy and research.

The director of the U-M internal medicine residency program at U-M, John Del Valle, M.D., capped off the conference with a keynote speech about the importance of mentorship in professional development.

The conference was the culmination of a yearlong labor of love for LANAMA and LMSA members.

“So many attendees and speakers approached me delightfully about the passion and the quality of the presentations and speakers,” Keeney Bonthrone said. “This couldn’t have been done without the support of OHEI and OMSE and countless others — faculty, residents, house officers, medical students, pre-meds and BSRB staff — who supported the conference in so many ways.”

To learn more about LANAMA, click here.

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