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Notes from the Field: Advocating for the Health of the Latino Community

August 31, 2016

Notes from the Field: Advocating for the Health of the Latino Community

Dr. Orlando Sola is a third year resident in our Harlem Residency in Family Medicine. In his free time he works with the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). (Photo courtesy of LMSA Policy Committee)

The 2016 presidential election cycle has seen political discourse unlike that seen in past years, with race and social equality playing a central role. The Latino community has garnered special attention, as major parties discuss topics ranging from immigration to health care access.  And yet, despite a growing population and increasing voting power, Latinos continue to suffer from lack of political leadership.

As physicians, we have the ability to play a special role within these times of demographic and political shifts, fighting for the health and happiness of our patients in both clinical and non-clinical settings. The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), an organization focused on peer support and training of medical students interested in Latino health care, has responded to the needs of the Latino community by developing the educational resources necessary to create a physician workforce with both clinical and advocacy expertise.

I first joined LMSA as a medical student, where I created the policy committee and acted as the first Policy Chair.  I am now the Physician Policy Advisor, overseeing the policy committee. Since the creation of the committee we have developed a quarterly newsletter, the policy summit and developed the LMSA policy platform, used to guide decisions and behaviors on advocacy topics.

Culminating in their annual Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., LMSA has created advocacy curriculum that combines experiential and didactic training with mentoring and networking opportunities within medicine and health policy.  The future leaders of Latino health care will not only be equipped with the skills to tell the signs and symptoms of clinical disease, but to interpret and address political trends affecting their patients as well.

No longer will the Latino community suffer from the willful ignorance or unconscious biases present in our political leadership, but will work to create an environment where their patients can pursue health and happiness, allowing the American dream to extend to the pan-American community.

To learn more about LMSA and the policy committe, visit their website: