HMSOM Hosts SNMA Region IX Conference   

HMSOM Hosts SNMA Region IX Conference

Region IX Conference

“Breaking Barriers and Empowering Change” was the theme of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Region IX Regional Medical Education Education Conference (RMEC) 2023.

The conference lived up to its name. Drawing about 300 medical students, pre-med candidates, doctors, and even promising high schoolers to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine (HMSOM) campus, the crowd was empowered to learn how best to make an impact for a diverse health care workforce in the 21st century.

“This was an excellent conference, and it showed how committed we are to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Jeffrey Boscamp, M.D., president and dean of the HMSOM.

“We are continuing to make headway in attracting attention from candidates from those traditional under-represented in medicine,” added David Kountz, M.D., M.B.A., M.A.C.P., the senior associate dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and chief academic officer and Vice President for Academic Diversity for Hackensack Meridian Health. “This is a historical necessity.”

The first day of the conference was split into three “tracks”: a general health track, a pre-med track, and a medical student track. The talks and panels offered a full range of experiences, including how to choose a medical school, what the recent affirmative action decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court means for medical school admissions, testing prep, insights about residencies, time management, preparing for Match Day, and many other topics that will impact a doctor-in-training.

The keynote speaker was Antona Oladipo, M.D., F.S.C.I., FACOG, an obstetrician-gynecologist and assistant professor of maternal-fetal medicine and surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center and co-director of “The Developing Human” course at HMSOM.

The following day featured an afternoon Community Service Event at Eva’s Village in Paterson. The health fair included free COVID-19 vaccines, blood pressure readings, and activities.

“This event marks a significant moment as it is the first time in several years that we have the pleasure of gathering in person,” said Latia Skerving, the Region IX director, chair of the RMEC planning committee, and a fourth-year medical student at State University of New York (SUNY) - Downstate. “We extend our sincere gratitude to HMSOM for graciously hosting an provident us with the space to convene.”

The SNMA, according to their website, “is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.”

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