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Student group lifts up diversity issues at regional conference in Dublin


Students listen to a presentation on osteopathic manipulative medicine, and practice some OMM techniques, during the SNMA Region V Conference Nov. 13 at the Heritage College, Dublin.

(DUBLIN, Ohio — Dec. 9, 2015) The Heritage College, Dublin, attracted more than 100 medical and pre-med students from three states last month as the college hosted the 2015 Region V Student National Medical Association (SNMA) conference. During the weekend event Nov. 13-15, students from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan gathered to share ideas on increasing diversity in the medical profession, training doctors who are more culturally competent and bringing better health care to medically underserved populations.

SNMA’s Region V includes chapters at 14 medical schools, which take turns hosting the regional conference. Members of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS), an affiliate group that represents undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students, also attended the event.

Leadership of the Heritage College SNMA chapter – which has membership at all three campuses - chose as its conference theme “CARE,” an acronym for Community-Access-Research- Education.

Athens-based OMS-II Arielle Scott-Turner, public relations committee chair for the Heritage College SNMA, was one of the many Heritage College students and staffers who worked long and hard to organize the event, a process that began in early March. The planning process required weekly meetings in which Dublin and Cleveland SNMA members joined with their Athens colleagues by teleconference. Overall, 19 Heritage College SNMA students were directly involved in the effort – 13 from Athens, five from Dublin and one from Cleveland – as well as three staffers from the Heritage College, Athens, and four from Dublin.

“Student Affairs staff on both campus also contributed their time in preparing for the conference by developing name tags for registrants, providing signs, allowing me to use their camera, and printing and adding last-minute edits to important documents,” Scott-Turner said. “This conference planning entailed hours of outside work from each committee and working after-hours for Heritage College staff.”

Scott-Turner said she hoped the event would spark conversation on important issues such as community wellness and health care access “We want to see, what are the barriers to access to medicine – are they getting better? Are they getting worse? What are the challenges we face?”

To dig into these and related topics, the chapter lined up a stellar team of speakers and presenters, including many Heritage College alumni. They also called upon Angela C. Dawson, executive director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, to give keynote remarks at the culminating banquet Saturday evening.

Nathan Lott, D.O. (’08), a former SNMA member who now specializes in critical care medicine and pulmonology in Columbus, spoke about issues including barriers patients face to health care access. “Maybe they don’t have access to reliable transportation. There’s also the health literacy issue – some patients don’t have a good understanding of their disease or their disease process.”

He said he hopes the example of an African American physician like himself can be a confidence-booster for minority students by “help[ing] them understand that this is something that is attainable – that hey, it can be done.”

Following the conference, Scott-Turner called it a success, with attendees praising the frankness of the keynote speakers and complimenting the Dublin facilities. The physicians invited to take part, she said, “ensured that they spoke with attendees and provided all the knowledge and wisdom that they could, especially about the need for leadership in medicine. We were a proud hosting chapter at the end of the day.”

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Last updated: 01/28/2016