LSUHSC Hosts Latino Medical Student Association Regional Conference

David Mas (Medical School Class of 2020) 

LSU Health Science Center hosted the 6th annual Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) regional conference January 19 – 21, 2018. LMSA is a national organization with a mission to unite and empower medical students through service, mentorship, and education to advocate for the health of the Latino community. The conference consisted of an array of different speakers and panels discussing how we can empower the community through health and how individuals within the community can break down barriers that exist in healthcare today.

The conference brought together roughly 60 medical students along with pre-medical students from across Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana. Originally, it was planned to be held at LSUHSC; however, due to unforeseen weather conditions and water pressure issues that arose the week of the conference, it had to be moved to the University Medical Center conference center with only a few days’ notice. This daunting task would not have been possible without the help of Dr. Robert Maupin Jr. (Associate Dean for Diversity and Community Engagement) who had been working with the regional board and me to plan this conference.

This entire journey started around November of 2016 when I along with some other students heard about LMSA and wondered why, given the large Latino patient population present in New Orleans, we did not have a chapter here at LSU. Dr. Maupin graciously signed up to be the faculty sponsor for our local chapter and from that point on we obtained recognition from LMSA as an official chapter, for which I presently serve as president.

When the regional board asked presidents to suggest locations for the regional conference, I thought what better place than here at LSU. Our city has a plethora of diverse ethnicities and identities along with a top-class hospital. My role throughout the planning period was to meet with school administration and relay any updates from the regional board. Dr. Maupin and I helped coordinate workshop sessions with Mr. Darryl Lofaso along with giving the regional board suggestions on who to contact as a speaker for the conference.

Involved with the planning of the conference was Dr. Joseph M. Moerschbaecher, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, who originally approved LSUHSC hosting the conference. After approval by and meeting with Dr. Moerschbaecher, more of the administration became involved. Dean Steve Nelson, Dr. Patricia Molina, Dr. Maupin, and Dr. Richard DiCarlo all met with me to determine the logistics of planning an event of this nature. Later on, I contacted Dr. Charles Hilton and Ms. Stephanie Galendez for their assistance in reserving the Center for Advanced Practice for the conference. Unfortunately, the location was already reserved for the weekend of the conference, so we were unable to use it. Ms. Galendez continued to meet with me and other leaders to assist in the planning of the conference. Dr. Cathy Lazarus and her Office of Student Affairs also got involved and assisted with the logistics of conference planning.

LSUHSC New Orleans was ultimately very supportive in providing the resources needed for the conference. In addition to providing the location, LSUHSC provided the breakfast and lunch for the conference on Saturday, when the majority of the events were taking place. The Friday of the conference was dedicated to high school outreach, which was set up and planned by Dr. Maupin’s office. Roughly 25 high school students were originally planning on attending. We had specimen demonstrations planned for the kids with the help of Dr. Lisa Campeau and the Department of Anatomy. After this, the high school kids were going to go on a tour of UMC and lastly have a panel discussion with the LMSA regional members.

Unfortunately the Friday events were cancelled due to the school being closed due to inclement weather, which resulted in all of the events moving to UMC. Even though we had unforeseen circumstances occur with the weather the week of the conference, it still ended up being a huge success and would not have been possible without the help of everyone who was involved.