Latino Medical Student Association

Querer Es Poder.

Desire is Power. In other words, you can do anything to which you set your mind. The Desire to practice medicine. The Power to change the practice of medicine. Desire. Vision. Leadership. Change. Not uncommon themes at Stanford Med. In the sea of diversity that is our student body, this drive is often our uniting trait as colleagues - our own common ground.

As the motto for the Latino Medical Students Association (LMSA), "Querer es Poder" unites the diversity of Latin America and those interested in it - its different countries and cultures. Statewide, LMSA works towards this goal by promoting Latino culture, supporting Latino medical students, and working to improve Latino health disparities.

Stanford's LMSA Chapter (previously Stanford Raza Medical Association) achieves this by providing academic and social support for Chicano/Latino medical students at Stanford, increasing the number of Chicano/Latino medical school applicants throughout California through recruitment, educational programs, and direct involvement in the applicant selection process. LMSA members also support the efforts of organizations such as Arbor and Pacific Free Clinic who are committed to the improvement of health care in underserved communities.

Membership Activities

As is the norm at Stanford, individually LMSA members are heavily involved in basic science, clinical and community-based research. Basic science research projects pursued by our membership include Drosophila wing development, VEGF and lymphedema, JAK3 effects on immune response, and others. Clinical and community projects include:

  • PTSD in HIV women
  • Cervical cancer screening in Monterrey, Mexico
  • Asthma in Mexican immigrant children
  • Pediatric obesity prevention
  • PTSD and depression
  • Issues in pediatric renal transplantation
  • HAART in Brazil
  • Diarrheal disease in rural Mexico
  • Intervention models for at-risk adolescents.
  • Effect of statins on periosteal chrondrogenesis

As a group, Latinos are significantly represented at Stanford Med; in fact we have one of the highest percentages of Latino students in the nation. Drawing on this strength, LMSA makes significant contributions here at Stanford Med, on the undergrad campus and the surrounding community. LMSA organizes events for Stanford Latino pre-meds, our own student body and the wider pre-med community. The Dia de los Muertos celebration, Medical Spanish conversation lunches, an extensive Outreach Mentoring Program at both Stanford and San Jose State University, Admit Weekend, Cinco de Mayo Celebration, and this year's first annual SUMMA Retreat are among our most successful.

Written by Gina Perez-Baron MS-III

Latino Health Facts

Hispanic women are twice as likely as Black and Caucasian women to avoid seeing a gynecologist. (American Social Health Association)

Latinos comprise over 32% of California's population, yet represent only 4% of California's physician workforce. (Association of American Medical Colleges)

Hispanic/Latina Females have the highest incidence rates and second highest death rates for cervical cancer in the US. (National Cancer Institute)

Latinos are least likely to have health insurance (66%), least likely to receive ongoing healthcare (77%) and least likely to have a usual primary care physician (66%) versus any other racial group. (National Center for Health Statistics)

Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans have the highest incidence of diabetes in the US; they are twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites of similar age. (National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases Strategic Plan on Minority Health Disparities)

Hispanics with diabetes carry an excess risk of retinopathy versus non-Hispanics, which continues even when the degree of hyperglycemic exposure is taken into account. (NIDDK)

Puerto Ricans suffer disproportionately from asthma, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality. (NIDDK)