Coral Caceres' Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) Experience
October 25, 2023
By Coral Caceres, Drexel MD Program Student
My journey as a medical student and my aspirations to become a doctor have always been centered around giving back to my Latino community. To me, "giving back" encompasses a multifaceted approach that involves healing, educating, mentoring, supporting, providing comfort and understanding, and most importantly, representing my culture in the health care field, where diversity is desperately needed. Though challenging, particularly as a Latina and a first-generation medical student, organizations like the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) have empowered me to pursue these goals, even when the odds and statistics may not be in my favor.
My introduction to LMSA occurred during my time as a graduate student, enrolled in a medical school pathway program designed for disadvantaged and underrepresented students (DPMS). At that point in my life, doubts about my place in medicine weighed heavily. However, as I began following LMSA's social media posts, I felt a growing desire to become more connected with the organization. During this time, I volunteered at one of their student-led health clinics, where we offered routine screenings to the predominantly Hispanic/Latinx community of West Reading, Pennsylvania. I vividly recall that day filled with passion and excitement, as I joined a group of over 20 students to serve a community we deeply care about. This community faces significant health care and language barriers, reminding us of our own parents and grandparents and serving as a source of inspiration to continue our journey. This experience provided me with the perfect opportunity to provide support, comfort and understanding to my people, reinforcing my commitment to giving back.
LMSA has been transformative in shaping my perspective on my role in medicine, making me feel like I have finally found my rightful place. This organization has not only provided me with a supportive community of like-minded individuals and professionals but has also had an invaluable impact on my personal and professional growth. As the co-president of Drexel’s LMSA chapter, I am honored to be part of the mission to increase diversity in health care and to offer mentorship and guidance to those who share the dream of becoming physicians. In this role, I have gained the confidence to take on influential leadership positions, such as being a member of the Admissions Committee at the College of Medicine and serving as the co-executive teaching assistant for the DPMS program.
LMSA has contributed to my goals as a future physician by providing a sense of representation, which has nurtured my drive to achieve goals that once seemed impossible but now feel inevitable. This organization has helped me find my place in medicine and empowered me to be a part of a broader movement dedicated to increasing diversity and equity in health care. Through LMSA, I have discovered that my dreams of giving back to my community are achievable and essential for the well-being of my community. As I continue this challenging yet rewarding journey, I am deeply grateful for the inspiration and support this organization has provided me.
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