Deena R. Mohamed (left) and Trilliah Fazle (right), co-chairs of this year's conference
The Indiana University School of Medicine chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) will host this year’s Region V Medical Education Conference (RMEC) virtually Oct. 23-25. Region V includes 16 SNMA chapters in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
SNMA’s mission is to diversify the face of medicine. They are committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.
IU School of Medicine students Deena R. Mohamed and Trilliah Fazle lead as co-chairs for the conference. They shared what attendees can look forward to at this year's gathering, which is open to high school students for the first time.
Why should individuals attend the 2020 Region V Medical Education Conference (REMC)?
The theme of this year's Region V Medical Education Conference is, “Changing Lanes: Adapting to a New Normal.” The conference will highlight the importance of being able to adapt in the ever-changing environment of health care. We will also explore the complexities of our social world and the impact it has on our health care system and, most importantly, those we vow to protect, our patients.
This year, more than ever, the conference will tackle these topics head-on as we provide insight on how to navigate through these times as a student aspiring to be a physician, a current medical student or a resident. We will address various topics from racism and the impact this has within our own lives to the unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
In today’s climate, the importance of increasing diversity in our healthcare workforce is paramount. The conference this year will work to emphasize our goal of reaching diversity, equity and inclusion to all members within the medical community. At the SNMA Region V conference, we invite all to sit at the table and to be a part of the conversation as we strive towards a solution and change.
Who can attend the conference, and can you share details for high school students who are interested in attending?
The Region V Medical Education conference is open to all. This year, we developed specific tracks embedded into our workshop schedule that are tailored for high school students, undergraduate students, current medical students and residents. In addition to these tracks, we will provide workshops that anyone can benefit from, such as our wellness events. You do not have to be a student to register for the conference. Anyone can sign up and join us.
This year is especially exciting because we decided to open registration to high school students in recognition that they need be a part of the conversation! Early introduction to medical careers increases the likelihood of success in medical school matriculation.
SNMA is made up of several pipeline programs that target students from elementary through undergraduate education. To increase exposure to medicine for students that live in the communities around us, Region V is expanding our perspective on the depth of our pipeline programs. With increased emphasis on implementing more programs within our chapters, opening up the conference to high school students extends this initiative. Many underrepresented minority (URM) students currently in medicine did not have the opportunity to be exposed to a medical community that looked like them until college, and some, later than that.
This is primarily due to lack of diversity in medicine, and ultimately to lack of connection and a network. Our conference provides that space to network and lets students know we are here. This is an important place where we can increase diversity, awareness and shake things up. We are making a mark, and we want them to be a part of that.
What are some opportunities students will have this year to connect with exhibitors and programs in Region V?
Participants will have many opportunities to interact with exhibitors. These include the opportunity to do the following:
Explore the list of exhibitors on our website before the conference.
Enter the booths of the exhibitors they want to connect with.
Upon entering the booth, collect the same information that would be presented at the exhibitor’s table. Exhibitors may provide PDFs with information, videos for participants, links to important websites and more!
Engage with exhibitors by text or video chat 1-on-1 or in a group format. Exhibitors can also schedule chats with individuals if they are busy engaging with others.
Participate in raffles and giveaways, such as free subscriptions to resources!
Most importantly, they will be able to connect with the exhibitors and exchange contact information so they can stay in touch.
We have invited a variety of different exhibitors and programs so all attendees can take advantage of the exhibitor/recruitment fair.
High school students can interact with several different undergraduate institutions.
Pre-medical students can interact with several different medical schools.
Medical students can interact with a variety of residency programs nationwide.
What are some of the highlights you are most excited about as you plan this conference?
We have more than 40 exhibitors registered for our exhibitor and recruiting fair. The list includes various residency programs, medical schools and undergraduate programs nationwide. In addition, we have a great line up of workshop topics and speakers.
Some of the best physicians across Region V will provide us with their insight and expertise on various topics. We will also provide several interactive workshops including a suture clinic, telehealth patient interactive session, mock interview, and more. Exciting social events will allow conference attendees to connect and create an environment that fosters more community across the region. Finally, we have a dynamic speaker who will deliver our keynote address on Saturday evening during our closing ceremony.
How have you benefited from being involved in The Student National Medical Association?
SNMA has provided its members with a sense of community and a home away from home. This organization at IU School of Medicine has created countless opportunities for students to network across the state and even on a national level. Additionally, SNMA has challenged students to be involved, speak up in leadership roles and to provide insight to the student body on ways to improve cultural sensitivity within the school. Overall, SNMA has challenged its members to step outside of their comfort zones and grow as leaders in various environments while also providing constant support.
How has IU School of Medicine shown support for the conference this year and for the Student National Medical Association?
IU School of Medicine has shown their support for the conference this year in many ways. We are incredibly grateful for the willingness of many physicians, faculty members and administrators at IU who have volunteered to participate in the conference. We are beyond grateful to have the support of IU and their dedication to promoting an environment that is supportive of their minority medical students.