Pictured from left on top row: Madison Hill (DO '22), Nathalie Torres (DO '22), Jacob Valvis (DO '22) and Gabriella Mamo (DO '22). Bottom row: Yajaira Hasset, senior medical assistant Esperanza Health and Sarah Wilson, DO '08.
From September 15 to October 15, community members from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) came together to recognize and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. This year, the Office of Diversity and Community Relations, in collaboration with the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and the Student Government Association hosted a series of events for the PCOM community to educate and celebrate the impact and opportunities for Hispanic and Latino healthcare professionals.
After a community-wide kick-off lunch on September 16, the first speaking event titled “Serving the Latinx Community: Language and Cultural Barriers” was held on October 7. PCOM alumna Sarah Wilson, DO ’04, was invited to campus to speak on her experience as a non-Hispanic physician working in a majority Hispanic community.
Dr. Wilson, who currently serves as a primary care physician at Esperanza Health in North Philadelphia, identified obstacles to patient care such as a language barrier, and advised physicians to overcome such obstacles to better serve their patients. During her talk, Dr. Wilson also presented a series of possible office scenarios and invited the audience to interact and ask questions.
Fellow PCOM alumnus, Julio Gomez, DO ’12, was also invited back to campus to speak during Hispanic Heritage Month. Dr. Gomez currently serves as chief resident in the Temple University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and shared his experience as both a Hispanic man in medical school and in the military. Dr. Gomez concluded his talk by opening the dialogue to questions from the audience.
In reflecting on the month, Nathalie Torres (DO ’22), president of LMSA said, “This month is a great opportunity for students to gain insight into the careers of the various speakers. We are better able to understand the personal and professional obstacles they have overcome to get to where they are now.”
Ms. Torres also noted these events are an opportunity for new students to get a better understanding of the diverse medical landscape in Philadelphia. “For many first- and second-year students, still doing didactic work, these events were a great way to gather advice about future patients as they transition into clinical work.”
To learn more about PCOM’s on-going efforts to support diversity and inclusion on campus visit the Office of Diversity and Community Relations.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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