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The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Blog Healing Our Past: Nurturing AANHPI Advocacy and Visibility

November 9, 2023

The College of Medicine’s Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA), in partnership with other APAMSA chapters in the northeast area, came together on September 16, 2023, for the annual regional conference, held this year at Temple University. Attendees included pre-health students, medical students and residents from Temple, Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Cooper, Georgetown, Sidney Kimmel, Penn State and more. Hosted in collaboration with Temple’s Pre-Med APAMSA chapter and the APAMSA National Board, this event served as a platform for dialogue and collaboration in the realm of health care, diversity and cultural competence.

The theme of the conference was “Healing Our Past: Nurturing AANHPI Advocacy and Visibility.” The conference featured keynote speaker Lin Zhu, PhD, a professor at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, who presented “Unified in Our Diversity to Improve Health Equity in AANHPI Communities.” Thoin Begum, PhD, from Temple’s Center for Asian Health, presented on DEI advocacy and leadership, Xiaoxi Ouyang, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist from Georgetown, discussed the upbringing and culture of AANHPI populations, and Esther Hio-Tong Castillo, PhD, the director of racial equity, storytelling and community impact at the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity in the City of Philadelphia, discussed mental health initiatives and advocacy. The final speaker of the conference was Mohan Seshardi, the executive director of the Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (API PA), who discussed the fight to save Chinatown from building developers who plan to construct a new 76ers arena there, which can lead to the displacement of long-time residents and local businesses.

A resident panel and a pre-health panel were held for medical students and pre-health students, respectively. Included in the pre-health panel was Madhu Badri, an MS2 from Drexel at the Tower Health Campus in West Reading, who was able to share her journey to medicine. “They had a lot of interesting questions for me, such as asking me how my Asian parents dealt with me taking additional gap years before going into medical school, a concept that wasn’t common in their upbringing. It made me reflect and realize the unique viewpoint that I could share with pre-med students that had a similar cultural background to me.”

The 2023 Region 3 APAMSA Conference was a resounding success, building new bridges within the AANHPI medical community. Attendees left with not only with a wealth of knowledge but also with a strengthened sense of community and a shared commitment to creating a more inclusive and culturally competent healthcare landscape.

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