Regional Updates: Region VII

Melody Russell, Region VII Director, Harvard Medical School class of 2010, MD/MPH candidate and
Erkeda Derouen, Region VII Community Service Liaison, Boston University School of Medicine class of 2012, MD candidate

Region VII is comprised of all SNMA and MAPS chapters in the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  Chapters include:
•    Boston University School of Medicine
•    Dartmouth University School of Medicine
•    Harvard Medical School
•    Tufts University School of Medicine
•    University of Connecticut
•    University of Massachusetts Medical School
•    University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
•    University of Vermont
•    Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University
•    Yale Medical School
Of the ten regions of the SNMA, Region VII is the smallest in terms the number of members.   Otherwise known as the “Lightweight Champion of the SNMA,” it is known for being a small region with many strong research institutions.

This year Region VII set out not only to continue to carry out the legacy of service to underrepresented minority medical students and communities of color as put forth by the SNMA mission, but to do so with a spirit of innovation, excitement, efficiency, and expansion.  Some of our initial goals were to increase the number of active SNMA and MAPS chapters within the region, improve chapter accountability and sustainability, promote more collaboration between chapters within the region, and increase national involvement.  The current regional board has certainly risen to the occasion and proven to be relentlessly dedicated to moving Region VII in the right direction so that we can best serve our fellow students and our communities.

To start moving toward achieving these goals, Region VII kicked off the year with its annual leadership conference on August 27, 2009, hosted by Harvard Medical School.  This meeting successfully set the tone of commitment, responsibility, creativity, excitement, and compassion that has motivated SNMA leaders throughout the year.  Participants were introduced to the national agenda of the SNMA and how, as regional and chapter leaders, they could further our mission throughout their institutions and communities.

Region VII Conference
The SNMA Region VII Annual Medical Education Conference was held at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester, MA, on November 14, 2009. Over 80 students and professionals from the New England area gathered for a wide range of educational and networking events.

This year’s theme was Closing the Gaps: Emerging Models in Primary Care. The conference highlighted how progress and new developments in primary care are innovating health care delivery.

Workshops highlighted the medical home model and how it improves the delivery and coordination of primary and specialty care, pediatric injury prevention, effective provision of healthcare to the homeless,  and healthcare within the correctional system.  Additionally, we held a test preparation workshop for USMLE Step I.  The premedical portion of the conference provided practical information on how to successfully matriculate to medical school.  The conference also hosted two community service efforts, one of which was a canned food drive given that our conference was prior to Thanksgiving.  The second was a bone marrow registration drive held in honor of Natasha Collins, a Yale medical student that SNMA chapters throughout the nation rallied around to improve the number of minority and multiracial donors in the bone marrow registry.

The keynote speaker for this year’s conference was Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray of Massachusetts.  Mr. Murray highlighted the importance of the monumental health care reform in Massachusetts that occurred under his administration.  Additionally, he reminded attendees of the importance of engaging and working with our surrounding communities in order to truly be effective physician-leaders.  The University of Massachusetts did an absolutely outstanding job in putting on a successful, practical, and innovative conference that will surely influence how we go out and practice in our communities in the future.

Committed to Service
SNMA’s Region VII has been enthusiastic about serving their community. The commitment of each and every chapter has been broadcasted through their acts of service. The students have worked tirelessly to fulfill the national protocols. Focusing on the Healthy People 2010 initiative, almost all of the chapters have hosted or participated in a health fair in order to educate and serve the people in the trenches of the cities and towns. Our region is determined to uplift New England’s youth, with a strong emphasis on working to expand HPREP and MAPS. Both, the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University and Boston University School of Medicine have hosted high school and pre-medical students in “Meet the Cadaver” sessions. The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) placed a special emphasis on inspiring young males, with its “Doctor for a Day” with Boys Speak Out and Tag programs.

Harvard Medical School did not forget about the academic component of service as they sponsored Human Body mentoring for students. UMass and Boston University remained socially health conscious, as well. UMass hosted a Health Disparities dinner to enlighten students and faculty on the inequities of health care that members of underserved communities face every day. Boston University took another avenue by working to have a workshop on Cultural Competency be incorporated into the first year curriculum. As you can see, Region VII may be small, but they are making a huge impact with their dedication to service.

Student Thoughts
“It was a fulfilling experience to chat with the [premedical] students and know that we made a difference in their perception of what med school is like. They are all capable and motivated people who just need support and a boost of confidence every once in a while – I’m happy and proud that our SNMA chapter was able to provide that for them.”
–Alana Arnold, Tufts University School of Medicine, Chapter President

“In New Haven, most of the elementary schools have discontinued their science programs. So, for a lot of the kids, YSEP was their main introduction to the sciences. I remember one session in which we taught the kids about the brain. At one point I said cerebrum instead of cerebellum, and they quickly corrected me. They were so attentive and bright!  Teaching with YSEP was such a great experience.  If I was not involved with SNMA, I think I may have missed out on [it].”
–Dionne Rudison,  Yale School of Medicine, Region VII Secretary

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