Region X: Reaching our full potential

Last year at the January NLI in Sacramento, I spoke to several BOD members and expressed to them my interest in becoming the next director of the Student National Medical Association’s Region X.  I was told by many that it would be very hard work, and that it was a decision not to be taken lightly. I was also told that if given the opportunity to serve in the capacity as Regional Director, that there would be help at every step.  With that in mind, I threw my name in the hat at AMEC, my colleagues voted and I graciously accepted the position.  From that point on, it has been an interesting endeavor to say the least.

The 2011-2012 academic year was a busy one for Region X.  From the end of AMEC through the present, we have been busy making our region the best it can be!  During our time in Indianapolis we, the new officers, all vowed to be at the top of our game when it came to the business of the region.  While there were struggles, we each made it a point to some together and do what was best for SNMA.

In September 2011, Region X played host to a National Leadership Institute in Nashville, TN.  The Meharry Medical College Chapter of the SNMA worked with the national office to provide quality programming, entertainment and a place for the Board of Directors to conduct the business of the organization.  There were approximately 80 attendees from all ten regions, including various MAPS chapters.  Speakers included Dr. Rahn Bailey, President of the National Medical and Dr. Wayne J. Riley, President of Meharry Medical College who spoke on the importance of hard work and the strength behind believing in one’s self, respectively.  Chapter President Armen Henderson remarked that although the process of planning and preparing was than he had bargained for, he was content with the fact that he was able to provide the SNMA a place to meet and continue its efforts in moving the organization forward.

Just two weeks after the NLI, Region X held its Regional Education Conference in Nashville, as well.  Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine was the hosting Chapter and the conference was successful in terms of attendance.  There are 8 schools in Region X and all of them attended except, East Tennessee State University, Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine and LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.  There were 78 attendees, including MAPS members from Vanderbilt, the University of Kentucky and Tennessee State University.  The theme of “Justice for All: The Ongoing Struggle for Equality in Healthcare” was presented through various workshops and lectures.   Dr. Andre Churchwell commented on his path from being the first African American Chief Resident at Atlanta’s Grady Hospital to being the Dean for Diversity in Graduate Medical Education and Faculty at Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine, while our keynote speaker Dr. Charlene Dewey imparted in all of us the need to remember that all people deserve quality healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay.  Her retellings of her time at Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital were inspiring to everyone present.  Special guests included National President, Michael Knight.

Region X’s chapters have also been very active.  In Memphis, the UTHSC Chapter conducts various outreach and community service projects with the Bluff City Medical Society.  In addition to their work locally, the chapter played a central role in national SNMA > AIDS campaign.  Meharry Medical College’s chapter worked with the National Marrow Donor Program, “Be the Match” in successfully getting nearly 50 people registered.  The chapter also threw various on campus programs such as “Real Talk Relationships,” which worked to help both medical and non-medical students better understand the ups and downs of relationships while in professional school.

All in all, Region X has had a great year.  As we continue to work toward reaching our full potential, I welcome you to visit us and see what we’re all about!

David Foster III MD Candidate, Meharry Medical College
Region X Director
Email: region10director@snma.org

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